“Ding….” The “dong” of the doorbell was immediately drowned out by my barking dogs. I expected to find yet another door to door salesman. (It’s that time of year, isn’t it?) Instead I found a neighborhood rescue crew coming to tell me there had been an “incident” and my youngest needed me. (Yes- they said: “incident.”Our neighborhood kids are ALL weird. Including mine. My heart started to race at “mommy marathon pace.”

“Is he hurt?  Is there blood or is he upset?” I peppered them with questions, as I walked out, without bothering to grab shoes. “He’s sad.” My heart rate slowed down a notch. As a mom of 3 boys who’s made more trips to the ER for stitches than I can count, “sad” is preferred to “blood.”

My relief was short lived. I found my youngest huddled in the bushes next to the neighbors house, crying hysterically. “What’s wrong?”  I asked- looking for blood- just in case. Between gasps and sobs and from under a waterfall of tears- he said: “I did the worst thing ever, and I don’t want to tell you.”

My mind raced: “What did he do? Will the police  be involved? Is someone else bleeding?”  I looked around. Everyone else seemed fine and accounted for. There were no dead bodies or weapons visible.. No blood. Everyone had their clothes on. (Hey- we moms worry. What can I say?)

I took a deep breath and said “No matter what it is, I love you. And we’ll get through it. Let’s go talk about it.” I tried not to show the panic I felt. Honestly? I wasn’t sure- that no matter what it was- we could get through it. I mean- I knew HE could.. but sometimes I’m just a basket case- and I screw up. I over react- or under react. It’s like I sometimes parent from a pendulum- swinging from one extreme to another. Something told me this was a time to parent from stable ground.

I threw up a desperate mom prayer: “Lord Jesus, I don’t know what’s up- but you do. Please God help me-to help him, and not wreck him. Amen.”

After a few minutes of tears he spilled the beans: “Mom, I did the worst thing ever.” My heart dropped to my feet. “What baby?  It’s ok. (Yeah, I said it was ok- even though I was afraid- it may not be.) “I called my self an effin- idiot.” He said it with more repentance, humiliation and fear than the thief on the cross. I tried not to laugh. Not because I thought it was funny- (it wast) But, because I was so relieved. The police would probably not need to be involved. Whew.

“Did you SAY the “f’ word- or “effin” I asked. (Why?  I have no clue. Just seemed like I needed to know.I mean- saying “effin” is not as bad as actually saying “f-ing- right? Hello-my legalist roots are showing here. )  “I said it.” He admitted. His eyes were still full of fear. I could tell there was something else- too….”I love you. What else happened? Is something else wrong?” Then- he poured out his heart- the “come backs gone bad” that they’d been caught up in… and then- he said he’d done something else. The VERY worst thing ever.

“I told “T (name withheld to protect the somewhat innocent:P)  to go to h***. But, but,  I didn’t mean it!  I feel so bad! It was the worst thing ever. Mom- I sinned.” His tears continued. He was crushed. Honestly?  I was relieved. While it wasn’t a stellar moment-it’s not language I want my kid using- even when pushed and angry- it was far from the “worst thing ever.”We talked and prayed and cuddled on the couch. Later (on his own) he apologized to his friend- and all is now well. (As well as it is at the end of July- when these kids ned to GO BACK to SCHOOL- anyway.:P)

But later, I started to worry- “If he thinks that was some horrid unforgivable sin..(which he made clear he did.)  have I made to big an issue out of it? I mean- the bible talks more about ignoring the poor and pride than it does about language and swearing…..I know I am the queen of judgmentalism.. and language is something that bugs me.. so maybe I’m communicating things out of balance……..But…..then again…his sensitivity should kind of be appreciated – I mean we SHOULD feel bad when we sin… shouldn’t we?  — is this how God wants us to feel? But something about that just felt wrong. When I walked up to that scene- I saw my child. The child I love. No matter WHAT he’d done. I knew there was forgiveness for whatever he’d done. Even if it was the “very worst thing ever.” Not just forgiveness from me- and his friends-but from God.

I was afraid- but I knew the truth- he is loved and was already forgiven. There is nothing he could do that would change that. Nothing.

As I sat thinking about all these things- the scene of him huddled in the bushes crying (hysterically) about how he’d done the worst thing ever- and didn’t want to tell me- replayed in my mind over and over.

I’ve been there. I’ve felt like the worst sinner ever. I’ve done things I wish I could take back. Things I know were wrong. I’ve huddled in prayer ashamed to admit my sin… and found nothing but love and forgiveness when I finally “spilled it.”

I wonder if God feels the same as I did, every time he finds me huddled in hysterical tears (or pouting and furious with myself) because I’ve blown it again……I wonder if he’s relieved when I finally spill it.. I mean- he already KNEW what I’d done anyway…. and was ALREADY- ready to forgive me— wasn’t he?

Yeah….I think- he probably does. He’s kind of promised it….

Romans 8: 37-39

 37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,[k] neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Dear Lord- I thank you for your grace that covers all my sin. Thank you for loving and forgiving me even when I’ve done the “very worst thing.” Help me to remember that there is nothing that can separate me from your love. Help me as I parent to always extend grace- even when there are consequences to behaviors. Help me Lord- to keep your priorities and not get wrapped up in my own issues.. and turn them into “the very worst thing.” Give me your eyes to see and your heart to love—- thank you lord- amen.