Just the other day, my granddaughter Ellie was eating her after school snack and telling me all about her sister Clara. Clara can be quite a handful at times. As if it was a fact of life that could never be changed~EVER~ Ellie said “Clara’s ALWAYS bad”. She then proceeded to relay two recent stories of Clara’s misbehavior. Throwing an apple in the toilet after telling mama she threw it in the trash. Hiding an entire sandwich behind the couch after telling daddy “ yes I ate it THAT fast, I just shoved it ALL in my mouth”. She’s quite the story teller. We parents call that lying. While Ellie was unfolding these events, as if God Himself were whispering to me, a few memories of my own came popping up. The times I told my mom I ate my own sandwich at lunch but really threw it in the creek (every day) on the way home from school. Or the times I told my mom “ yes I wore my snow pants for every recess” but only put them on once after the bus dropped me off at the end of my street. Yep. Up until that moment, those memories had eluded me as I dealt with Clara’s daily indiscretions. Clara was just like grandma and when I crawled into bed that night, there under the covers were her tiny little socks and I couldn’t help but smile. My own socks seemed huge next to hers. It was almost crazy to think that at one time I wore socks that exact size. Even though I am a grandma, I am still my father’s child but through the years, my actions toward him have matured. They are the result of love for him alone and nothing else. Clara will get there.
As children, we can all be like Clara. We have our child like moments that probably cause a lot of gray hair for our parents as they wonder and worry if their child will ever be “good” and grow out of the awful stage they’re in. Sadly, the same can be said of us as adults. Our behavior has not changed. We are still acting and reacting like a child. We stretch the truth. We are selfish. We whine and cry. We want our own way. We have temper tantrums and break downs. We complain that life isn’t fair. Then we stretch the truth some more. We try to hide it, not only from God but also from ourselves. We are storytellers and we’re good at it. We know exactly what to tell ourselves in order to feel better about our terrible behavior. Our Heavenly Father calls it lying. He always knows the truth. We can’t hide it from Him or sugar coat it. At times we can also be like Ellie, easily finding the faults in others and happy to point those faults out. As His child, neither way is God honoring. The good news is, He is our Daddy and He loves us with unconditional love. He always forgives and He will always be our Father, our behavior cannot change that, but we can grow as our love for our Father deepens and matures. We don’t have to continue in the same childlike mistakes over and over. Through the love of God alone, we have the power to change.
So I looked down at those little socks and asked myself, am I being the example to Clara that I need to be? She is watching and learning. Her tiny feet are following behind and one day she will be where I am. A grandma, a mama, maybe even a pastor’s wife. On a daily basis she can see the love I portray for Christ, but she can also see my worst reactions to situations~ and her tiny heart is taking it all in. So, be careful my friends. The steps you take in front of others, and especially your children or grandchildren, can be huge. What story are you telling? Make sure their tiny, little feet slip inside the footprints you are leaving only as you step closer and closer to your Savior.
I Corinthians 13:11,13 Psalm 37:23 Proverbs 22:6 Jeremiah 23:24