Parenting & Marriage

Nail Polish, Carpet, and a Whole Lot of Grace

It was my birthday.  That morning my son and daughter both gave me homemade cards that they had designed with nail polish.

Most kids use crayons or markers. But not mine. My kids used nail polish.

I had bought the fancy insta-dry stuff so that it would be easier for my daughter and friends to do their nails. It has been a lot of fun listening to half a dozen pre-teen girls giggling and painting nails around our dinning room table. But at the same time, it’s not the cheapest stuff so I simply told my kids not to use too much next time, thanked them for the cards, and got ready for an appointment I had to get to.

I didn’t think twice about the pretty purple blanket laying on the floor of my daughter’s room.

Later that morning, I got home from my appointment and my husband told me he had something to show me. I immediately sighed. I knew it was not good.

He walked me into my daughter’s room and asked if I knew why that blanket was there? He then picked it up revealing a huge bright red nail polish stain in the middle of the room on our only 4-month-old carpet.

I was overwhelmed with emotion. I was angry because not even two days ago, I had warned my daughter not to take the nail polish in her room because she would spill it and it would be impossible to get out. She had deliberately disobeyed me. My husband told me that he had instructed the kids to be sneaky about making the cards, so that is why they did it in her room. Apparently, they did put some cardboard down, but still had managed to get it on the carpet. He said it was just carpet, and we would figure it out.

But I could hardly hear him, I was so upset. I was frustrated that MY new carpet was ruined. I was irritated that my daughter had not listened to ME. But more than anything I was infuriated that on MY birthday, I was going to have to spend MY time trying to figure out how to fix it.

Notice how it was all about me?

I read today in Daniel 2:14b that “Daniel handled the situation with wisdom and discretion.” I wish I could say that I had done the same. But instead, I handled the situation with tears, frustrated words, and anger.

My husband contacted a co-worker who said she had some magic stuff. She brought it over, spent 10 minutes scrubbing on the stain, and then left the stuff for me to continue to work on. I spent hours putting the paste on, letting it sit, scrubbing, scrubbing, and scrubbing some more. And as I worked hard at getting the stain slowly but surely out of the carpet; God was at work scrubbing at my stubborn heart.

He reminded me that my sins were once as blatant as that red stain, and that although it was easy for him to wash me clean, it still cost him dearly. My sin cost him more than just a few hours and some sore arm muscles. It cost him years of his life and agonizing pain that I cannot even begin to imagine as he hung on that cross.

And He did it for me. Because he loves me.

And He did it for my daughter, too. Because He loves her.

My daughter came in after a while and helped me scrub at the stubborn stain. While we worked together, I shared with her what God had been teaching me.

-That our sins are like the nail polish stain. They are stubborn and hard to remove.

-That it cost Jesus everything to remove our stains. It cost him a lot of time, pain, and heartache.

-That he did it so that he could eliminate our sins. So that we would be washed clean.

-And he did it because he loves us. And he wants to be with us for eternity.

Then I teased her and said, “At least I got a beautiful birthday card out of this,” and I leaned over and kissed her on the cheek. And she smiled.

My birthday might not have gone as I had planned, but it ended up still being a good day. A day when I learned more about letting go of selfishness. A day when I learned more about embracing the chaos. A day when I learned more about cherishing the people around me, and not worrying so much about material things.

But most of all it was a day I learned more about nail polish, carpet, and how He has a whole lot of grace for us.

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