Ok, switch gears.
Friday evening, my older son was messing about in the bathroom and got water everywhere, and I mean everywhere. Of course we made him clean it up, and we figured that was the end of it. Unfortunately, that wasn't the end. Saturday morning, my husband discovered that water from the bathroom had seeped down into a little used storage room in the basement. So we hurriedly began pulling everything out and cleaning up that stinky little pond.
Well, while we were busy, the boys (8 and 4) were "helping" me by vacuuming the fish tank. When I walked in the room, there was a lake of water on the floor. From what I can piece together, during the younger one's turn, the hose that drains the dirty water into a bucket had escaped its confines and was draining onto the floor. I quickly passed the little one some towels, and we got that cleaned up, too.
Then I went into the kitchen where a new surprise awaited me. The older boy had decided to make some refreshing lemonade for us all. He even tossed out the spent lemons and refilled the sugar bowl when he was done. However, in the process of prepping and "cleaning" up, the entire floor got a layer of sugar.
Surprisingly, I didn't even have an urge to shriek. I suppose 8 years of motherhood have beaten me into resignation. That's when I felt God quietly speaking to my heart.
God: What a mess, huh?So that was it. That whole week of guilt was a waste. But it was over.
Me: Oh, yeah, you ain't kidding!
God: Are you mad?
Me (thinking about it): No, not really.
God: Why not?
Me: Their hearts were in the right place, but they're kids. They make mistakes. Besides, they just don't have the physical coordination for some things. They can't help it.
God: Do you love them any less?
Me: Of course not! They're my children!
God: So what are you going to do now?
Me: I guess I'm going to clean this mess up.
God: You know, you're my child, and I feel the same way about you. I don't love you any less when you make mistakes, and I'm there to clean it up for you.
Learning to see myself the way that God sees me has been very liberating. It means that I'm free to mess up. I'm not talking about "greasy grace" or anything, but in the course of the day, if I happen to fall flat on my face because I'm a kid, that's ok. I know I can cry for help, and my Heavenly Father will be there to pick me up, dust me off, and give me a kiss.