Grace for the Broken Fan

It was a typical morning. Summer squealed her high-pitched shriek at Baylor while running circles through the upstairs bedrooms. I rocked Samuel in the glider, flashing Summer a smile each time she passed us by. Watching Baylor run from her with a goofy grin plastered all over his doggy face.

Round and around they ran, until I heard a loud crash. Bracing myself for a cry, what I heard was worse: silence.

I stood up and hurried toward the direction of the crash. There she sat. In her room. Holding her fan, which was scattered about in various broken pieces. “Uh oh!” she exclaimed when she saw me round the corner. “I boke it.”

“Oh no,” I replied. “Yes, you sure did break it.” I assessed the damage, starting with her little body. She wasn’t injured (phew). But the (expensive) fan was, indeed, broken.

I got down onto my knees at her level and asked if she was okay. “Uh huh,” she replied. Still holding two of the fan’s pieces in her little hands.

“Summer, running around with Baylor is so much fun. But we must be careful. This fan was nice and special to mommy and now it’s broken.”

“I sowwy,” Summer said, looking up at my face. Her little voice melted my heart.

“It’s okay, baby. I forgive you. I know it was just an accident. Maybe daddy can fix it! When daddy gets home from work I’ll let you tell him what happened and ask him to help you fix it.”

We got up and I introduced a new activity in a different room. The issue was completely behind us. Until naptime.

As we entered her bedroom for nap, Summer turned to me while pointing at the fan and said, “Oh no mama! I assident and I so sowwy!” (I had an accident and I’m so sorry).

“Aw, baby, we already talked about this. Not to worry at all, accidents happen and we will ask daddy for help to fix it!”

Nonetheless, Summer continued to apologize. Every single time she saw the broken fan. All day long. Over and over and over again.

And with each apology, my heart broke.

I wanted her to really know my forgiveness. Not after the fan was fixed, but at that very moment. Broken fan and all.

Isn’t this how we regard God’s grace at times?

I know I’m a chronic apologizer. I over apologize, even when issues are not my fault. Even before the Lord! I will repent of sin, and then repent again minutes later when I recall my mess.

It was not until I faced Summer’s repetitive, unnecessary apologies that I realized how it must break God’s heart when we do not receive His grace. How He, too, looks us in the eyes with such understanding and compassion and says, “I forgive you. Let me help you fix it.”

The ache in my heart when Summer did not understand or receive my grace hurt me in a way I did not expect. I want her to know that she can be broken and accident prone in front of me.

And I know God wants me to know that I can be broken and messy in front of Him.

That it is His greatest joy to extend me forgiveness while teaching me to avoid future mistakes.

This is the Gospel. The fact that nothing separates us from the love and forgiveness of the Father. While repentance is a critical commandment, receiving grace is even more important. In fact, it is sort of the whole point.

We must be quick to repent and quick to rest in the fullness of the grace extended to us, without wallowing in shame.

Summer’s new, favorite saying is, “Uh oh, I aid a istake. Es okay” (uh oh, I made a mistake. It’s okay). Because, while her awareness of her mistakes is important to me, her recognition of the grace extended to make mistakes in front of me is invaluable.

What I am learning in this season is to live into the grace the Scriptures speak of without shame. To truly appreciate the grace extended to me without wallowing in shame or over apologizing for my brokenness.

To some, this may seem simple or juvenile. To me, it’s powerful.

“Restore to me the joy of your salvation”

Psalm 51:12

This is an adorable picture of my Summershine sitting at the breakfast table in her tutu “helping” her dada fix the fan.

The thing is, Summer could have tried to fix the fan all by herself, but it would not have changed the fact that I forgave her and it probably wouldn’t have gone over well. She is incapable of fixing such a complex problem and she is untrained in the skill of fan repairs because, well, she is two years old. She required her father’s help.

We can’t fix our sin on our own. We can’t clean up our mess well enough to earn God’s forgivingness, and our attempts to do so actually grieve the Father’s heart. We need our Father’s help. And I’m learning that, one “assident” at a time.


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