Last weekend, Philip's parents came to visit bearing gifts for all. It is always great to have another Christmas in January. In one of the bags from Aunt Karen the Great (Philip's Aunt) was a small spray perfume bottle. Jennifer immediately wanted to use it, but we asked her to wait and use it another day. In typical "mom of many children" fashion...I forgot all about it.
Saturday evening I was sitting at the computer working on a project for church. I suddenly got a strong whiff of something flowery and then it went away. I am not sure why it didn't click that one of my children was up to something unusual. A few minutes later, the whiff turned into a windstorm of lavender and I questioned the boys immediately. Obviously, the one I needed to talk to was tucked away in an secret location.
As I continued my project, the scent became overwhelming and I started to search for the only child not in the room. I called for my daughter...silence. I looked under chairs and behind doors. I finally found her in the laundry room. On the floor next to her position was a certain gift bag that I had quickly tucked away when we had company a few days earlier.
She stood up when she saw me. As she rose, I could smell the cloud of perfume rise with her. I asked her if she sprayed something in the room. She replied, "No." I rephrased the question, "I smell something very strong and it smells like perfume. Did you spray perfume?" She continued to insist she did not spray the perfume.
Quickly, I got my husband on the case. We found the almost empty bottle in her bag. Obviously, we knew she had sprayed the perfume, our problem was that she was not telling the truth.
Finally, after several long and drawn out moments of intense conversation, our angel confessed to using the perfume. At the end of the incident, we talked to her about taking responsibility for her mistakes, speaking the truth, and apologizing. We pointed out that no one likes to be wrong and no one likes to get caught doing something they shouldn't be doing, but it is how we respond to that situation that can either hurt us or heal us.
There is something refreshing and healing about confessing our sins and our shortcomings to one another. James 5:16 says, "Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed." The Bible never says to confess so we may be punished or put to shame. It says so that we may be healed.
I knew Jennifer sprayed perfume. I also knew she lied. It was more important to me that she confess the lie than it was for her to apologize for the perfume without asking. Not to mention stealing all usable air from my home. In order for her to grow and become the woman I know she is destined to be, she has to learn to own her mistakes and ask for forgiveness.
When I go to the Lord and confess my wrong doings, he doesn't need me to confess so he can know my mistake. He already knows. He can already smell the stench that creeps into my heart every time I willing chose to sin, hide truth, and keep secrets that can hurt the people around me. So often, I am like my daughter when I come before Jesus. I hide the secret places out of shame or pride. What God desires by my confession is my healing.
In these moments with our children, we are teaching them that the most powerful relationship words are "I am sorry." and "I forgive you." Every time we ask for forgiveness and every time we forgive, we are demonstrating the value of humility and grace that empowers us to grow. Our friends will let us down. We will be disappointed. We will let others down. We will fall short. The true test of a solid friendship is when we use these moments of disappointment to go to the next level of trust: you can hurt me and I love you enough to work through my disappointment to forgive you.
In our relationship with Jesus, how quickly are we willing to humble ourselves, confess when we fall short, and allow him to shine the light on the secret places of our lives? I want to live a full life, a life where the enemy doesn't have any room to whisper lies, steal my joy, and hinder my growth. The power is not in the secret or the lie, the power is found in the confession.
This year, I pray that I will pursue my relationship with Jesus with a sincere honesty and openness that will not only change me, but those around me. I pray I would have eyes to see my shortcomings, my sin, and be brave enough to own them, repent, and accept forgiveness in those areas. I pray that I would grow in my maturity and would be willing to be vulnerable and honest with the ones I do life with.
I also pray for a boldness for the truth. In times where I shy away, may he help me speak words of hope, grace, and forgiveness.
Living Completely Undone
I am a girl passionately in love with Jesus, my husband, and my children. I am forever learning how to live a life completely undone for my God. This blog is about my journey and a few funny stories in between.