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One afternoon before Christmas the kids were playing when I realized Heidi wasn’t in the room. I peeked in the kitchen, not there, then pushed open our bedroom door. I heard a slight rustle so I silently tiptoed along the side of the bed and peered over the footboard.
She was peeking at a particular pink gift tucked into a gift-bag.
Startled, she looked up at me, eyes-wide, and her face froze. I knew what would happen. I was her 29 years ago. Her lower lip began to quiver and for several moments her face slowly contorted as she tried to hold it in — but it gushed out.
Wail. Sob. Hysterical crying. Caught guilty she melted in a heap of tears. I can remember exactly the same feeling.
I held out my arms to Heidi and she ran into them. Tears streaming down her face, burying her face in my neck, refusing to look up. Jeff, who had followed me in and seen the whole thing, began to talk to her. She hid her face deep in my neck, wouldn’t look up, wouldn’t look at him.
She sobbed, took a breath, “I wan’ go to bed.”
“It’s not bedtime — you want to go to bed now?”
“Yes! Pease I need go to bed!”
“Do you want to go to bed because you know you did naughty?”
She just broke down again, dug her face deeper in my neck, wouldn’t answer. Oh sweet girl I understand.
“Heidi, I know you want to go to bed and hide because you did naughty, but Mommy is not mad. I just want you to tell mommy you’re sorry for looking at things you shouldn’t, and ask mommy to forgive you.”
I thought it would take coaxing but it came quick. I remember that feeling too — tormented by guilt is a terrible place to be.
“Mommy, I suhwey for looking at thing I shouldn’t. You please ‘uhgive me?”
I smiled wide, nuzzled her nose, make sure she sees my smile all the way through my eyes.
“Yes, baby-girl. I forgive you. Thank you for telling me. Mommy loves you.” Then she asks if we can get a blanket and snuggle together. Of course I find the softest one — the one from the foot of our bed — and we snuggle up together. Inhale each other’s breath.
“Mommy, I wan’ keep you forever.”
“I wan’ keep you forever too babygirl.”
Oh sweet girl, I remember being you. I remember sneaking into mom’s closet one December day 28 years ago. Seeing the brown stuffed teddybear with the homemade sweater mom had knit for it. I saw it, then was plagued with guilt. Overwhelmed. It ruined all the joy.
It made me want to hide.
Because that’s what sin does. Every time. From humanity’s first sin we’ve done it. What did Adam and Eve do right after eating the fruit? They hid from God.
Humanity’s been hiding ever since. From God and from each other.
But once again I will sing this same song: There is freedom in repentance. As my son says it, “When we say sorry, Jesus forgives.” He does, when we confess our sin He is faithful and just to forgive us our sin and cleanse us of all unrighteousness. He pulls us close, looks us in the eyes, smiles a smile that warms our souls and heals all that’s broken.
Remembering this from a few years back. Is there anything that’s making you hide, dear friend? That shame and guilt need not be yours! Hide no more. Go quick to confession — He’s waiting to hold you near. Thanks for reading.