I was a younger father then. I know, it's not a good excuse. I had yelled at my daughter (maybe 4 at the time) for disobeying or not doing what I told her or something like that. You know, normal stuff. Life. She dropped her head and walked away dejected that she had failed daddy. I let her go, wrongly thinking I was being the good disciplinarian. Even more disturbingly, I didn't remind her that regardless of her behavior, I loved her. I withheld unconditional love.
Meanwhile, I'm preparing to preach my first sermon ever in church. Big church. You know, not just our youth but their parents (and grandparents). Oh, and the sermon was on James 3: Watching your tongue.
So as tends to happen in my sermon preparation, God took me to the woodshed.
You know where the woodshed is, don't you? It's that place where kids' parents used to take them to find a suitable instrument for a proper spanking. You know, the "Board of Education."
Well, God took me there in His own way. I felt awful for how I'd handled that situation. So I went to my daughter and apologized. Yep, my 4 year old heard her father say he was sorry for speaking so harshly to her and not reminding her that he loved her no matter what.
You know what she said? "It's okay, Daddy!" We hugged. I cried.
Even now my eyes water as I remember such grace dispensed on my behalf. I went hoping to teach her, and instead God--through my child--taught me grace.
So the first lesson is simple: Discipline your children under a canopy of unconditional love.
The second lesson is simple too: When you don't, apologize.
The third lesson may be unexpected though: Stories of God's grace are powerful. Even my own story brought tears to my eyes and a new resolve to dispense grace at every opportunity.
Just think. If we don't share stories of how God is at work in our lives (in big and small ways), others miss a touch from God. So tell your stories. Regularly.
You have many opportunities to share your stories. Work, dinner table, bed time, carpool, and phone calls. But here are 2 more that can have a wider impact:
1. Sharing "My Story" of how you've seen God work (in you, through you, in or through others) during 40 Days of Community. We'll share some of these at our Celebration Service next Sun. (in 6 days)
2. Sharing how God has been at work in, around and through you since last Thanksgiving at our Thanksgiving Celebration service Tue., Nov. 25th. (in 8 days)
If God can use me to touch you through this little story of God's grace, then why can't he use you and your stories too? He can! The only thing stopping Him is you sharing them. Start by leaving a comment here or by emailing Darien or calling Darien today.