The Purple Scar

If anything can trump everything, we are pushed into punishment.

My stomach twisted in fret like it did on the way up the first hill of the tallest roller coaster in the world When I was ten-years-old. I wasn’t ready to face that fear then, nor was I prepared to hear the Elementary School Principal’s voice on the other end of the line now.

 “Lauren made a visit to my office today because she spit in another student’s face…she was very remorseful…that’s what we want to see…”

I caught myself holding my breath just like I did down the first hill of the Magnum XL200 back in 1989, unable to digest the gravity of the situation, nor how my sweet little stinker-pants could possess the ability to make such a terrible decision.

“I’m so sorry, and so embarrassed,” I unraveled to the kindhearted voice on the other end. Not only was this the principal of my kid’s school, but a friend and former colleague from my XC coaching days. I was mega-watt mortified.

Some moments scar more vividly than physical wounds. 

The butterflies did laps in my belly as I waved to the Principal in the pick up line that afternoon, and then laid eyes on my little Kindergarten criminal…who was smiling and waving at me as if she’d had a banner day.

“Hi, Mommy!!!!” She bounced into the car with the sweetest smile and eyelashes-a-batting.

“How was your day,” I let out in a wispy tone of shock. This child, who normally cries of imageremorse before she’s accused, was acting as if I’d gotten the wrong parent phone call just hours earlier.

“Good…he he he!” I expected her eyes to well up and over, but she must have tearfully cleared her conscious already.

“What behavior chart color were you on today?” I asked, and the facial expression fell to fear.

“Purple.” Double edged sword. The first edge being that purple, her all-time favorite color, was at the bottom rung of the behavior scale. The second sharp pinch was the repetition of the offense…this was the second day in a row that the day’s square had been shaded purple. She was warned, reprimanded, repeated and then trumped the previous day’s behavior. And it was Tuesday. #parentfail

“The only reason I didn’t send her home on pink (the very bottom….) was because it wasn’t malicious…I saw the whole thing…she just got carried away…she has an ornery streak in her…” Her sweet teacher explained in a phone call after school.

“Not malicious…” Those words rang like sweet affirmation in my mind filling up fast with motherly doubt. I did know my own child. #notatotalfail

image

In an instant, the light bulb lit on what had burnt Lauren’s capacity to cope and tendency to act out when squeezed. I saw the painful look on her face the weekend before, and noticed the way she isolated herself. I let my own “anything” matter more than taking the time to teach her to talk, unravel and resolve what was bothering her.

When we are put in the pressure cooker, we are inclined to explode or implode without applying God’s perspective. Lauren needed me to do aid her in that process.

“Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” Hebrews 4:16

That’s a hard truth for me to recall and apply each day…especially when little red “uh-oh” button is pushed by a child of mine who has decided to live by her own set of rule …but worth the effort not to leave a purple scar. Download the knowledge of this verse along with me… 

1. Lift it up and let it go.

Lauren may not always talk out what she needs to process, but the little gal forgives herself with amazing ease. She’s very remorseful when the realization of wrong hits her, but then she let’s herself off the hook. It’s the negative reinforcement of the mistake that causes scarring slip ups to linger. She can recall every “bad color” day she’s ever had. Which is too bad, because they are swimming in a sea of banner days.

imageGod teaches me, through her witness of forgiveness, how bitterness is no more productive than a roller coaster train unexpectedly stuck at the top of the hill. All of the passengers are ready to experience the rest of the ride, but the train of bitterness is stuck at the top, unable to budge. It challenges me to do the work that being quick to forgive requires, lest I miss out on the rest of the ride God’s built into my life.

Jesus’ death opened the line of communication directly to God. The curtain was torn (Deut. 4:7),and the key to peace was given to us in grace by Jesus’ death on the cross. It’s easy to jump into a pool of panic and fear whispers when boundaries are crossed and rules are broken. That’s where discipline leaps off the diving-board.

“Discipline is our friend, not our enemy.” Joyce Meyer, “Living Beyond Your Feelings.”

Consequences must be upheld and new boundaries must be instilled. The laps I ran with my older child don’t always get repeated the same way…or at all…for my youngest. She’s cute, and funny, and the baby, and I’m guilty. Guilty for letting her fly under my radar and peek out every once in a while with an adorable melting of every ounce of my heart.

“God has set before us life and death, good and evil, and has given us the responsibility of making the choice.” (Deut. 30:19) Joyce Meyer, Living Beyond Your Feelings.

God showed me recently that “unconfessed sin is a barrier to prayer.” (Foundations, The Chapel.)

“Listen! The Lord’s arm is not too weak to save you, nor is his ear too deaf to hear you call. It’s your sins that have cut you off from God. Because of your sins, he has turned away and will not listen anymore.” Isaiah 59:1-2

I appreciate the way God instills confidence in me as a parent through the work He simultaneously performs on my soul. By teaching me to be quick to recognize my lack of discipline and confess my sins, I am now more able to help my children do the same, on their level. #soulwork

2. Communicate with compassion.

I know that if I ask, He forgives. (1John 1:9) image

If there’s one thing God has helped me do great in my home, it’s apologize to my kids. After all the discipline was addressed, I knew I owed Lauren an apology.

“I forgive you, Lauren,” I began that purple day, “and I’m sorry, too.”
Tears welled up in her eyes, in amazement and relief that someone had noticed, and that someone cared. And with that, the potential for scarring was snuffed out by love.

I apologized to my sweet baby girl for all of the hours every week that she sat in the waiting room at the dance studio while big sister worked for her dream…for all the bed time chats we’ve never had…for not making a better effort to get her together with her friends…and work on her dreams.

“I love you, and what happens in your heart matters to me…you can tell me anything…I’m always here for you…I’ll always forgive you before you even say you’re sorry…and I’ll never love you any less…because that’s how God loves me.”
With a tearful hug, she whispered “thank you, Mommy…I forgive you…I love you…” into my ear.

image

And there it is…Life within the love of Jesus.
I can’t expect myself or my child to be perfect, or “180” into everyone’s glorious approval …and I can’t prevent the scars she racks up from the lack of obedience we all struggle with. But I will love her always, and  I can bring her to lean into everything that I know about Him, to withstand anything that tries to push me into punishment…through Christ, who gives me strength (Phil 4:13) ..through His scars.
Happy Apologizing…
Megs

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36 thoughts on “The Purple Scar

  1. Parenting is a tough gig, right? We had a similar incident in kindergarten with biting someone who’d been torturing us for too long. By us, I mean my son…who will be 13 next weekend! They are resilient little beings and they are so much better at receiving grace than we are at giving it. There are powerful lessons in apologies, and second chances, and watching that ornery streak grow into perseverance and go-get-emness. Way to go, mama – I’m cheering you on!

    1. Thank you, Tiffany! It’s always so encouraging to hear other momma’s stories from the battlefield! 13? Oh, my word. I’m cheering you on, too!!
      Happy Wednesday!!!!!

  2. The lessons we can learn from children! We have our first baby on the way in May and I am daunted but excited at all he is going to teach me about Jesus because I know a child is a gift through which we are sanctified!!! #RaRaLinkup

    1. Sarah! I am so excited for you to begin your journey as a mom!!!!! It’s total awesomeness!!! Even the hard parts! Reach out to laugh and cry and celebrate and share with other moms… Including me!!! I can’t wait to hear how the Lord loves on you through your sweet, precious child!!! It’s the coolest journey. How much longer do you have to wait?
      Thank you so much for visiting!!
      Happy Tuesday!!!!
      Megs

  3. Precious sweetness your little girl.. how we can so learn from these lessons you pose..aren’t we so reactive sometimes, remorseful..we all need God’s grace! Loved this story! Visiting from #Raralinkup today

  4. Hi, Meg, I love your call to Compassion. This is something I struggle with daily—to know my kids well, love them without judgement, and point them back to God’s great mercy and forgiveness. Then to forgive and never bring it up again. I really loved how you described your internal mom perspective at such a crucial moment. Thank you for sharing your heart. Visiting from Cisneroscafe linkup. Ever grateful!

    1. Christina, Thank you for your kind words. I think it’s so important for us moms to share the truth of our struggles. Even if we get it wrong, there is always an underlying lesson to behold from our faithful Father. I feel it’s my duty to reach out an encourage others the way He does me. I would be a hot mess without constant prayer and tons of time in His Word.
      Happy Monday!!!!
      Megs

  5. Thank you so much for what you’ve shared here. There’s so much meat in it for me. I returned to faith less than two years ago and since then am trying to parent my kids as God calls me to do, but it’s been a struggle, especially being the only believing parent. There is so much Biblical wisdom here: thank you!

    1. Anna! Thank you for reading! I struggle in parenting alone, a lot, too. My husband’s job keeps him from us most of the time, from before the kids leave or school until after they are asleep most days. It’s hard. It’s seriously hard. God keeps me glued together. A great friend of mine once told me, “It’s OK for you to be the spiritual leader of your family.” That was a light bulb moment for me. I think you will really like the post I’m working on for this week. Stay tuned, and if you ever feel you need a shoulder of camaraderie to lean on, you have one right here.
      Happy Monday!!!
      Megs

      1. Thank you so much, Meg. That would be super hard. Love how your friend encouraged you like that and love to see how God works through our friends to empower us. Your post has me reflecting a lot on my thought-world and how it impacts my parenting without me even realizing. One thing after another has been pointing me to the Scripture of taking our thoughts captive and bending them to the will of Christ. Thank you, Lord for opening my eyes! And thank you, Megs for leaning into Christ, so He can shine through you. I needed these repeated nudges.

  6. I absolutely love this post! It took me back to the days when my sweet girl hit her first grade “boyfriend” with her purse because he didn’t want to play with her. In Kindergarten my little boy had to sign his own discipline referral. I can’t even remember the offense. I do, however, remember their faces when they got in the car in the afternoon. They couldn’t read me and I couldn’t read them. It was not a happy ride home though. The thing is, we still laugh about the purse assault. I still have the referral. We can laugh now but it was a kind of scar for each of them. I love your advice and … “there it is … life within the love of Jesus.”

    “Sweet stinker pants”
    “Mega-watt mortified”

    Thank you for the memories and the reminder that the scars remain but the veil was torn.

    1. Arlene,
      Thank you so much for visiting! Aren’t we all in this together, us mommas?! Thank you for coming alongside of me today and sharing your “scars,” too. Isn’t it encouraging to know we are all living through the same tests and trials? Where would we be without Christian camaraderie?
      Happy Monday!!!
      Megs

  7. So uplifting and encouraging. I love what we can learn from our children. The love you show is profound and uplifted. I’m so encouraged by you with each and every post that hits my email. Thank so much for linking up at Open Mic Monday for the soul. Press on, beautiful friend. God bless you this week.

  8. I’m a new visitor and so glad I found you! Your post brought back many memories or personal parenting moments. And I really needed to read your first point. I can still relive my parenting fails and my kids have kiddos of their own. So many other great points I’d have to go on and on and on. So for now I will simply thank you for the one my heart needed. Thanks and many blessings!

    1. Welcome and thank you for visiting! Many blessings to you, today! It’s always so comforting and encouraging to hear from parents who have been there!
      Happy Monday!!
      Megs

  9. Thank you so much for sharing this story, it is beautiful and contains a lesson for us all. I found your blog on “Faith Filled Fridays.”

    1. Isn’t that just the most powerful thing ever…to realize we can just lift it up to Him and then stop worrying ourselves into a circle of defeat? That’s my predisposition, for sure. I’m so glad He’s faithful to meet me in the middle of challenging “parent” moments! Thank you, Betsy!
      Happy Weekend!!!
      Megs

  10. ” It’s easy to jump into a pool of panic and fear whispers when boundaries are crossed and rules are broken. That’s where discipline leaps off the diving-board.” So true! I am guilty falling into fear, panic, and then into anger. But His forgiveness is already there. You modeling this beautifully in this story. Thanks!

  11. Wow, Meg this really touched a spot in me. Having 5 kids, sometimes a few can get left behind in things, especially my quiet ones. Sometimes I see them acting out and I wonder “what’s gotten into them” and then realize they feel left out or forgotten. 😁 I pray God gives me grace to realize when they need that extra attention. I pray He helps me to be more aware when they are hurting and I don’t notice. He’s so faithful to show up. Sometimes I think my littles just need a hug- to know that I see them and notice them. Aren’t we the same way with God? Such good thoughts from you today. Thanks for sharing this. 💗

    1. Hi Alisa!
      I find so much comfort in knowing that we don’t have to be perfect. He gave you your five kids because you were perfectly suited for the job. And he will lovingly equip you to be there for them just as He has called you to be. I truly believe that for every mom… And He honor’s our prayers and the time we spend in His Word seeking the answers to be what He’s called us to be.
      Have a happy, awesome, weekend!
      You’re an awesome mom!
      Megs

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