I had never been more proud of my daughter. And she’d completely screwed up.
My wife and I had just completed the chaos trifecta (my term of endearment for our not-so-routine bedtime routine). As I tiptoed past the open door of my 12 year old’s room toward my self-absorbed world of angel food cake and pre-season football, I caught her eye.
“Dad, I need to tell you something.”
At 12 and a half, Emma is fast approaching the age where this kind of opening statement makes me queasy. Please, God, tell me this has nothing to do with feminine hygiene products or some zit-faced pre-teen boy I’m going to have to threaten to kill.
I swallowed my fear, took a deep breath, and calmly squatted down next to her bed.
“I lied to you and mom.” (Oh thank God, no tampons!).
It had been eating her up on the inside for three solid days.
I’m not sure I’ve ever been happier as a father. Not about the deception (I was already fully aware of her sinful humanity), but because God was speaking to her. Dealing with her. Pestering her.
And she was listening.
She confessed. She repented. We had a good talk about it and then we prayed together. God showed up. It was a pretty special moment.
“…if we admit our sins—make a clean breast of them—he won’t let us down; he’ll be true to himself. He’ll forgive our sins and purge us of all wrongdoing. – 1 John 1:9
Every time we listen and respond to God’s correction, we’re more apt to hear Him the next time He speaks. When we ignore His voice, our heart starts to harden and our conscience begins to dull. This type of responsive interaction with God’s Spirit is foundational for a healthy relationship with Him, no matter what our age.
She’ll blow it again. (So will I). But in that one courageous moment, she learned the liberating power of confessing her screw ups. To me. To God. She was free. You can be, too.
Do you hear God when He speaks to you or have you unknowingly shut off that switch? Is there something eating at you that you need to confess?