“I can’t believe it. No way. Unreal. You’re kidding, right?”
It’s all I could manage to say when my husband told me that Aurelya, my usually-so-responsible 5 year old, had cut her hair AGAIN. 27 months ago (but who’s counting) she cut not only her hair but her sister’s, resulting a Mia Farrow pixie cut for sissy. She had gotten in big trouble, drama ensued, and she swore she would NEVER do it again. But alas, here we were. And this time it was worse, way worse. Rather than chopping a tiny chunk from the side of her head she had taken a handful of hair right down to the scalp along the top of her head. To say I was angry would have been an understatement. To say I was livid might be closer, but still off. To say I was in disbelief was more accurate. What confused me, though, was what I saw in her eyes when I confronted her. She looked up at me as though to say, “aren’t you proud of me mommy?”
Honestly, that stopped me in my tracks. I was ready to explode and it took everything in me to pause, but I’m glad I did. The look in her eyes was baffling, but familiar. The look she gave me spoke of an inner expectation I knew all too well. She felt she had done me a favor. Yes, it was something I had told her not to do, but that’s only because I didn’t know she could do it so well. Surely I would see how my rules were unreasonable once I saw how she knew better. I daily complained about her hair being in her eyes. We were working on growing out her bangs (our COVID project) and the transition period was a rough one. Every morning started with, “Where is your clip? I can’t see your eyes.” In her mind she had solved that problem for me. In my eyes she looked ridiculous. Am I being too harsh? Judge for yourself.
But like I said, this was familiar territory to me. How many times had I come before the Lord with that same excuse: “I know you told me not to do this, but that’s only because you didn’t think I could this so well.” When He tells us to love our neighbor, but we choose to engage in an accusatory debate on Facebook because our argument is just “too good;” when He tells us to keep away from sexual impurity, but we cross physical boundaries with our boyfriend because “we’re so in love;” when He tells us to steward well our finances, but we go nuts at a sale because the saving were just “too great,” we are telling God that we know better, that the rules don’t apply to us. But then what happens? We look in the mirror and realize that He was right all along, that we made a mistake and look ridiculous, and we swear to never do it again… until we do. I can imagine God looking down at me and saying, “I know you think I should be proud, but I’m disappointed. I asked you not to do this because I knew it wouldn’t turn out well. You should have trusted me, I have your best interest at heart.” That’s what I had to say to Aurelya, and her face fell. Then her tears fell. Then she realized what a terrible mistake she had made and she was mortified at her hair.
Do you know what my favorite thing about God is? Well, there are lots, but what I really love is that He doesn’t leave us in that place of dejection. He crouches beside us and wraps His loving arms around us and whispers, “You’re forgiven. This doesn’t change how much I love you. I am still here with you and will work with you to make this right.” We are never left to clean up the mess ourselves. We are never told that we finally crossed the line and are on our own. There is nothing we could do that would make Him love us less, and that’s how I feel for my daughter. So I grabbed some scissors, I evened things up a bit, gave her a comb-over, and put a bow on the mess (bows cover a multitude of sins). She won’t soon forget the mistake she made. She will have some discomfort as the error repairs itself and it might get worse before it gets better, but her mommy will be there to remind her that she is beautiful and loved every day. And I will always have a coordinating bow on hand to help make a masterpiece from the mess.
Thank you Lord that You are endlessly creative and can redeem all the messes I make for myself. Thank you that You never abandon me or declare me too far gone. I’m sorry in advance for all the ways I am going to screw up this side of Heaven, and I am so grateful that You never run out of grace bows for me.