Bedtime Chats…

My oldest son, Tucker, is 7 years old. He is a thinker, that one. Artistic and focused and serious. And he loves words like I do. At 3, he asked for ” a little compassion” when he was overwhelmed. Seriously. I looked at him and couldn’t decide if I had just misheard his little 3 year old vernacular, until he said it again! I am consistently struck by the questions he asks, and the thoughts that plague his brain.. he told me not long ago, “I have more stress than an adult! There is so much to do and I have all these brothers I have to take care of and so many decisions!” When I asked him what sort of decisions he was talking about, he responded with great exasperation, “Hundreds! So many hundreds every day!”

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The quirkiest and most endearing thing, is this little man most often opens up long after he is supposed to be asleep. He’ll wander into my room sometime past 8:30 and with a little crooked grin and eyes that are asking if he is going to be in trouble, inquire if we can “talk”. It has taken me some time to learn, but I most often now drop the mom tone along with whatever else I am doing and pat the spot next to me on the couch or bed to signal him to climb on up. While the kid has a lot of words, he rarely snuggles or opens up on anyone else’s terms, and I am learning that I never want to shut him down if it is one of those moments.

One night, he came in told me he had something to tell me. To give a bit of context, that afternoon he had shared that a boy in his class had peed in the line to PE. With a bit of exasperation, he had told me he didn’t know what to do because the boy was in the back of the line! He repeated it a couple times and had clearly been disturbed by the situation, so we talked through a couple possible responses and that was it. Frankly, I had no idea he had lied. But as he began talking that night, he said, “Remember when I told you that boy was in the back of the line? Well, he wasn’t. He was right behind me… and I just didn’t know what to do!”  It was so clear in his hurried voice and lack of eye contact that he was scared of the possible fury that might ensue for lying, and while we take lying seriously in our home, I believe the holy spirit helped me to see the incredible opportunity this moment was.

I got to praise my son for the hard work of confessing without having been caught.

We talked about that “heaviness” he had on his heart since he told me the lie. And how it gets lighter when we tell the truth. And as we talked through what had happened… more came out. He got it all out. And I got to receive it all and give him back forgiveness. I got to restore him and hug him and tell him that if he EVER feels heavy, that I will do my best to never be angry when he is trying to get light. That is what Jesus is all about. The light stuff.

My son learned, and I was reminded, that repentance is safe and good. That honesty after we have already lied is the hardest kind of honesty, and the kind I want to celebrate in our home. Before he went back to bed that night, he turned and looked at me from the doorway and said, “Mom, how about if I ever tell a lie in the day, I always tell you the truth at night.”  My heart swelled as I responded, “absolutely buddy.”

I spent a lot of my life in great deceit because I feared consequences; I bent the truth because I feared not being good enough. There were so many times that half-truths would fly out of my mouth before my lips consulted my brain, and I wished I could reel them back in, or be bold enough to say, “No! No… that was not true. Forgive me!” But I was often too scared, too prideful, too afraid that that person would trust me less, think me weird, judge me.  The Lord did a huge work in me in college {another story for another day} to root out deceit in my life, and I can say with gratefulness, that no longer is this a part of my identity. So while it is a rare occurrence, not long ago it happened again. I distorted some story and was quickly convicted; though the detail was inconsequential, the Lord would not let it rest and hours later, I confessed the silly detail, the lie, and honestly felt silly. But I felt free, lighter. And the response was so gracious. This woman actually shared that she grew in trust for me that I would confess such a thing. Really?! Grew in trust as a result of hearing the confession of a lie?

But I got it. I got it when I had that moment with my sweet and complex son. Vulnerability and repentance grow our trust and respect and love of people. It is so true. I was so proud of him, so proud that I got to be the safe one. So excited that he might be a man that grows to know that the Lord’s kindness brings us to repentance, and that Jesus is our safe place, our burden-bearer, our strength, our forgiveness, our restoration. He is the source of truth and the source of light.


One thought on “Bedtime Chats…

  1. I was missing all of you this morning when I noticed a new Tethering Place entry. How beautifully written and heart-felt is your telling of Tucker’s tale.
    I love him so much and find he is going deeper and deeper into thought. Life is so serious for our little artistic Tuck. He is so special and has such insight for one so young. I am always learning from so many who are so much younger than myself. It’s a brilliant gift!
    I love you all so much.

    Like

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