On Wednesday night, I attended a class at church with 3 other moms call The Parent Adventure. It was a small group of moms, but it turned out to be perfect. The facilitator is the wife of our church pastor. One of the first things she asked us is what we hope to get out of this class and what our "win" was (like in the future).
My answer to the latter was that I wanted Jenna to learn to talk to me and that there always be an open line of communication between us and for her to always feel the conviction of the Holy Spirit on her life.
For this to make sense, you must understand that my girl (who is 9 1/2 years old) a) became a Christian last March (2010) and b) is not an ultra-emotional child. I guess when she became a Christian, I expected her to show visible signs of wanting to do better...no lying, talk back, etc. I have to admit, I was a little disappointed when I didn't see immediate improvement and conviction. But Jenna doesn't usually cry. If she's crying, you better pay attention because something is wrong...she's sick, hurt or worse.
About a week ago, I caught Jenna doing something she'd been told over and over not to do. I caught her red handed. And she told me to my face that she wasn't doing what I'd seen her doing. So I called her out. But then the funniest thing happened...she acted like nothing had gone on. She didn't act the least bit remorseful. In fact, she actually got over-animated. I was stunned. I kept talking to her about consequences of actions and how I couldn't believe she'd lied. And she continued to act like there was nothing wrong...showing absolutely no remorse whatsoever. And I started to worry because it was SO obvious that she didn't care. But as we continued to talk, her animation came to a fever pitch until I asked her if she'd done something else I needed to know about (this was a total shot in the dark, just trying to get her to show some remorse for what I'd caught her doing). She immediately started to tremble and tear up.
Unknowingly, I'd hit the nail on the head and uncovered something else she'd been doing that she shouldn't have been. Her animation was her attempt to cover up the guilt that was about to bubble over. Long story short (too late), she began to sob unconrollably and confess these things she'd done and say how sorry she was. We were up late into the night with her sobbing with conviction. Ultimately, we got down on our knees and prayed for forgiveness and talked about ways to do better and to call down the Holy Spirit to help during times of temptation (this was done on a child's level mind you). And the days since have been better. I've seen little subtle changes in her. She responds the first (or second!) time I ask her to do something, she fulfills her duties around the house with no complaint. She even says ma'am when answering a question.
After this whole thing, I went to Amazon and purchased a sweet little devotional book for elementary kids. It turned out to be the neatest little book so far and I can definitely recommend it.
"But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”
And I thought my own heart would burst. There is absolutely nothing better than hearing your child recite a scripture from memory and using it in the correct way! This was a memory verse from her homework a few months ago. Thank you Jesus that she is hiding Your Word in her heart! May I learn from such childlike faith!
As our conversation continued, she began to tear up and her chin began to tremble. She confessed another sin in her life which is going to require confession to her teacher at school and asking for forgiveness, which as anyone knows is never easy. But she wept and we prayed for courage and I have no doubt that she will make things right tomorrow with her teacher. I've been blessed to watch the Holy Spirit continue to convict her. And I'm humbled that God is working in her life despite me and my mess ups.
Anyway, I'm a proud, and humbled, Mama tonight.