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15 minutes until we need to leave for preschool and we’re both still in our pajamas. Trying to get Caleb dressed, but he is fighting me every step of the way. Twisting away from my help, then barking orders at me when I try to give him independence. Frustration rises up inside of me. It doesn’t take long for hot, angry, loud words to come bubbling out of my mouth. His anger rises to match mine. More fighting from him, more yelling from me. Finally, his tears start flowing, even as he fights me harder.

Conviction. He is wrong to disobey, but I am wrong to pretend my yelling is being done in love. I’m angry and I want him to feel it.

I stop trying to wrestle clothes on him and say quietly, “Caleb, I need to tell you something.” He stops squirming, but sits still with body rigid and tense. I’m sure his mind is wondering if there will be more angry, condemning words.

“Caleb, I’m sorry for yelling at you. Mommy was wrong to yell angry words. Please forgive me.” He can tell I mean it from my heart. He leans his back into my chest.

“I forgive you Mommy.”

We sit together for a long pause.

“Mommy?”
“Yes, buddy?”
“I have somethin’ I need to tell you. I’m sorry for disobeyin’.”

“I forgive you buddy. Thank you for forgiving me too”

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“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.”  -2 Corinthians 12:9

I am Caleb’s mother, and that gives me authority in his life, but we are both sinners who stand before the Cross, in need of forgiveness. In that way, we are complete equals. Although I’ve asked Caleb’s forgiveness for yelling many times over the past 2 years, this is the first time he’s seen his part in a conflict and asked for forgiveness too, without prompting from me. It’s like watching a sprout come up from the ground. Tender, new, still in need of much nurture, but encouraging and beautiful just the same.

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