Tuesday, January 8, 2013

It All Started with the Soup...

I shared a delicious soup recipe yesterday and mentioned how it prompted a rather emotion experience from Leah.  

It all started with me requiring her to have a bit of soup in order to have some ice cream cake.  A bit of soup is different from a bite.  Here's a little diagram...

So, you can see that there is bonus cheese on top of a teensy bit of actual soup.  I don't feel the least bit mean making the girls eat this.  

Doesn't eating soup build character?  I'm pretty sure it does :)

Obviously, we are huge fans of ice cream cake in this house, as you can see in the following picture of Gracie...

Leah was hugely conflicted!  Should she eat a bit of soup and taste the sweet reward of ice cream cake, or just be satisfied with Amish friendship bread, cheese, and oranges for supper?

This was clearly a huge dilemma, as she spent about 10 minutes deliberating.

10 minutes seems a little excessive, even if she is cute!

Finally, I set a timer for 5 minutes and told Leah she had 5 minutes to make up her mind, and if she couldn't make up her mind in 5 minutes, that meant that she wasn't going to eat the soup or get a treat.  

The seconds turned into minutes and when the timer went off, she still hadn't made a choice, so the choice was made for her.  No treat.

Leah was kind of freaking out about this.  I calmly told her she couldn't have a treat and that was just a consequence of her decision.

Then, of course, she wanted to eat the soup!  I told her she was more than welcome to eat the soup, but she couldn't have the treat, because she didn't make a choice in time.  

Back and forth, the mind changing drama marched on.  I stayed pretty mellow through the whole exchange (maybe because I had a cold); I just kept reiterating that she made a choice and this is what happened.  

Leah left the table and went into her room.

I gave her a minute and followed her into her room, where I found her crying on the floor.

Even though we have a house full of emotional, talkative girls, they rarely cry on the floor.  It makes me sad when they do that.

I sat down beside Leah and asked her why she was so sad.

"I'm sad because I made an awful, awful choice!" she sobbed.

"Honey, is not getting to have ice cream cake a big deal or a little deal?" I asked.  

We have to differentiate what is a big deal and a little deal in this house.  

A. Lot.

"A little deal," she answered.

"That's right.  We all make bad choices sometimes.  I ate 6 cookies today and  that was a bad choice, because it made my tummy hurt.  That was a bad choice, but it isn't that big of a deal."

In my defense, the cookies were really little, but oh, so delicious :)

"But, I'M awful!" Leah cried.

I think my heart broke a little right there.

"Look at my eyes, " I choked out in my cough strained voice.

I gently cupped the side of her sweet face in my hand.

"That is a lie," I said, with the fierce love of a mommy in my voice.  "That is a lie.  Who loves you more than Mommy and Daddy?"

"Jesus does," she said softly.

"That's right," I said.  "How much does Jesus love you?"

"A lot," she answered.

"Honey, please remember that Jesus loves you SO much that He died in your place.  He made your heart new.  You are NOT awful."

She nodded.

"If anyone ever tells you that you're awful, you look at them and tell them that that is a lie.  And you walk away.  Do you understand?  You are not awful!" I over-explained through the beginning of tears in my voice.

Leah snuggled up right next to me, "OK, Mama."

I really hope that when Leah looks back on her childhood, she remembers this...her mom sitting on the floor with her and speaking truth into her life.  

I hope she remembers us sharing the implications of the Gospel with her again and again and again.

I hope she learns to have good grace on herself and those around her.

I hope she remembers the truly important things, and not the times that I get irritated with her because I have to tell her a million times to put her shoes away or take care of her lunch box or stop talking in the reeeeeally annoying baby voice she tries to use.  

Because, when all is said and done, I don't really care if she eats soup.  

I want her to see herself as Jesus does.

And, I want her to know that the fierceness of her mommy's imperfect love is wildly dwarfed by the love of her Savior.


  1. Oh Becky! Keep this precious parenting model coming! As a teacher, I model and model and model every task under the sun, but this is the model I need as a Mommy! Nancy

    1. Aw, thanks, Nancy! I wish all of my parenting interactions were so sweet, but I'm always super grateful for the ones like this where God gives me lots of His grace and His wisdom.