To get from the bread aisle to the checkout counter, you have to walk through the produce section. I didn't have any fruits or veggies on my list, so it shouldn't have been a problem. Straight through to the checkout and on to the van.
Except that, directly in our path, sat three large boxes full of watermelons.
Well, what little boy can resist? My son ran right up to the first box and picked out the biggest watermelon he could see. It's almost as big as he is and way too heavy for him. "Please, mom! Can we get a watermelon?"
"Not today. We'll have watermelon for the 4th of July. Put it back." He was disappointed, but didn't argue. He walked back to the box and placed the watermelon back on top of the stack.
That's when it happened...
As he turned to walk away, the watermelon began to roll from the top of the pile. He saw it a moment too late and, before he could catch it, it landed with a loud crack on the floor.
I'm going to be honest and tell you that my first reaction was not what it should have been. Had I been by myself, I would have put that watermelon right back in the box and hit the road. But there were 8 little eyes looking at me waiting to see what I would do. So, I picked it up and put it in the cart. After all, "you break it, you buy it", right? So, off we went to checkout, the kids without a peep because they knew. Mom was NOT happy.
When we got in the van, I started with my mom speech. "How many times have I told you not to pick things up in the store? Didn't I tell you we weren't buying anything that wasn't on the list? If you had just listened to me, we wouldn't have this problem." You know how it goes. In the moment, I decided that the best consequence would be that he didn't get to eat any of the watermelon. That would teach him!
As we drove way, my little boy with his tear-stained face in the seat behind me, the anger started to subside and the reality of what had happened started to set in. Was it really a big deal? Yes we ended up spending an extra $5 we hadn't planned on spending. Yes, it had been embarrassing. Yes, the whole situation could have been avoided if he had listened to me. But was it really, now, that big of a deal? I fought the urge to go back on what I said. He needed to face the consequence of his actions. After all, he had been told a hundred times...
That's when God began to speak to my heart. How many times have I done things I shouldn't do even though He's warned me a hundred times? How many times have I tried to do things on my own and ended up making a mess of it? How many times has God tried to stop me from doing something that will hurt me but I have ignored Him? Ouch!
Then I thought of that tear-stained face. Landon was sorry. Not sorry that he got caught, not sorry that he got in trouble, but genuinely sorry that he had disobeyed and sorry that he had caused a problem. He was sorry that he had upset me.
So many times, that has been me. Running to God with my tear-stained face, sorry for what I have done to disappoint him. Sorry I've made a mess of my life. And his response has always been the same. Not a lecture. Not "how many times have I told you?" Not, "now you get to watch the rest of us eat the watermelon."
His answer is always GRACE. I fail. I mess up.I do things I'm not supposed to do. But He forgives me. He doesn't give me what I deserve, He gives me His love.
Acts 13:38-39 says "38 “Therefore, my friends, I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you. 39 Through him everyone who believes is set free from every sin, a justification you were not able to obtain under the law of Moses."
Isn't that awesome? According to the law, I should be punished. I should have to face to consequences of what I've done. I shouldn't get to "eat the watermelon" and receive the good things God has planned for me. But, through Jesus, I am forgiven! I receive grace and love and freedom from the punishment I deserve.
I'm so thankful for God's grace! And I'm thankful for the opportunity He gave me to be an example of His grace to my kids that day. Landon did get to eat some of that watermelon and I got a great reminder of God's love for me.