Last night, I painted Lydia's little toes, put the cap back on the bottle, and forgot about it. A few minutes later, Joseph and I looked over to see her holding the empty bottle in her hand...up-side down. Bright pink oozed down her legs and onto the couch.
I had a choice that moment, to clean her off and when she was older, teach her how to use it properly. Or to get angry, spank her, and tell her she was a bad girl. I was frustrated at having to clean up another mess, but the Holy Spirit reminded me that Lydia was still learning. She had no idea opening the bottle would cause a problem. She was acting out of childlike curiosity, not out of sinful rebellion.
This morning the Lord brought to mind this passage in Psalm 103:
Just as a father has compassion on his children,
Adonai has compassion on those who fear him.
For he understands how we are made,
he remembers that we are dust.
We make messes all the time. Some of them are created by sin, but I believe most of our mistakes are just that...mistakes. Things done out of ignorance and not willful sin. As the above passage explains, the Lord knows how we are made--with finite wisdom, vision, and strength. He knows we are going to mess up. But he knows that we are also made with a capacity to learn and grow. And so I believe he's okay with our messes. He gently carries us, cleans us off, and teaches us a better way.
Women of God, we are far harder on ourselves than our Father is. I will be the first to admit this. But we have a very good Father who is infinitely patient with us:
The Lord is merciful and compassionate,
slow to anger and abounding in love.
For as high as the heavens are above the earth
so great is his love for those who fear him;
as far as the east is from the west,
so far has he removed our transgression from us.
We don't have a Father who is waiting to say "I told you so!" We have a Father who celebrates our moments of childlike discovery and a Father who helps us sort out life's difficult and messy moments.
Let us approach God's throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace in our time of need.
(Scripture from the Complete Jewish Version and the New International Version)