Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Blessed Assurance

I hate confronting sin. Its an ugly, unpleasant task. Dealing with my own shortcomings has always keep me busy enough, but as a mom I have to deal with the sin nature of five other little people. Its my job to call them on the carpet when they make wrong choices. In that role, I try to emulate the Father as much as possible: confronting sin plainly, offering forgiveness freely, and reassuring love unconditionally.

A situation arose with Kristina this week in which God called me to do all of these things. I learned she had done something and I was beyond disappointed. I dreaded the coming conversation in which I would have to confront her and hope that she would confess what I already knew.

This afternoon I took up my usual position in the Adirondack chairs under the tree in the front yard. I attempted to focus on the book on my lap, but found myself straining to listen for the school bus. Eventually the sound of their chatter drifted towards me as they made their way down the street. Skipping up the drive in her customized sneakers, she plopped her book bag at my feet and fell into the empty chair next to me. I waited until the other children wandered off to begin their homework before I broached the dreaded conversation.

I wish I could lead into a sweet anecdote about how she readily confessed the transgression, but that just isn't what happened. I asked. She denied. I asked again. She lied. I revealed the proof and she became speechless. Her eyes grew round and large and she seemed to shrink within the space of her chair. Once it was out in the open I explained that her choice was not one that we approved of and we were disappointed with her actions. It was clear she knew how serious the situation was as she glanced over her shoulder to the closed front door of the house and then back to me. I had never seen her look that way before. There was something about her face that made my heart sink before she even spoke the words. "Are you sending me back to Ukraine?" She sat motionless waiting for my answer as tears slipped silently down her cheeks.

It was an unfathomable question. "There is nothing you could ever do that would separate you from this family. There is no lie you could ever tell that would make us love you any less. You are one of us and you will always be one of us." Her chest heaved a sigh as if she had been holding her breath. Her face softened as the terrified look melted away. She believed me.

As she hugged me, I contemplated what would cause her to think such a thing. Obviously, her past. She had been forsaken for a lot less. Those she has counted on to love and protect her have abused and abandoned her. We discussed the consequences for her decision and she gathered her things from the lawn. She has spent the remainder of the afternoon grounded in her room. I swear I've never seen a happier punished kid in my life!

The LORD is compassionate and gracious,
Slow to anger and abounding in lovingkindness.
He will not always strive with us,
Nor will He keep His anger forever.
He has not dealt with us according to our sins,
Nor rewarded us according to our iniquities.
For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
So great is His lovingkindness toward those who fear Him.
As far as the east is from the west,
So far has He removed our transgressions from us.
Just as a father has compassion on his children,
So the LORD has compassion on those who fear Him
-Psalm 103:8-13


Gryphonette said...

What a heart-wrenching visualization, that of Kristina frozen with fear, waiting to be told her actions had erased the grace of her adoption.

How marvelously you handled the situation, Leslie! You used this occasion to demonstrate the blessed reality that just as our adoption by the LORD is all of grace, our remaining in His family is all of grace, too.

It's not a matter of "enter by grace, then stay in by works."

This episode will be of immeasurable value and comfort to her in future, I've no doubt.

Thanks so much for sharing this with us, m'dear!

Anonymous said...

Wow, what an amazing example of God's grace--and well handled, Leslie. I enjoy keeping up with your blog and hearing how family life is going!

Bev Burrell

Anonymous said...

One step closer to knowing that she is loved eventhough she doesn't know how she could be. I pray that she doesn't have to keep pushing the envelope to become truly convinced. I pray that this fear will not infest her forever.

God Bless,

Unknown said...

Oh, the beauty of grace! Thank you for sharing this story!


Jim H. said...

What a heartbreaking and wonderful story. I think you and she will look back on this event as a very big day.

These situations are all great opportunities for us to show them God's grace and it is clear that happened here.

Thanks for sharing this.

Tami said...

It's so heartbreaking that these children are so insecure in our love for them...its understandable though. Nothing in their lives have been stable. And they've never been loved unconditionally...until NOW.
You handled this situation beautifully. What a beautiful picture of God's grace and how just like HIM to give us the knowledge we need just when we need it, to help these kids.