For When Your Children are a Mirror (and God Reveals Grace)

For When Your Children are a Mirror | Faith and Composition
She came running in the other night with red, swollen eyes and tear stains on her cheeks. It had been one of those evenings … an evening when a three-year-old, foot-stomping, not-going-to-give-in tantrum collided with the persistent tenacity of a mother who’d had enough. 

At dinner, she flung herself off her chair and refused to eat the food on the plate set before her: homemade bread, grass-fed beef, fresh green beans with carmelized onions. Food that would nourish her, sustain her, fuel her. Food that I’d spent a good amount of time preparing. Food I had selected to suit her little taste buds and her growing body. She asked instead for a piece of candy. She requested to exchange that which is good, healthy, life-sustaining for that which is void of nourishment and sustenance. 

We said no, and she threw herself onto the floor, tears streaming from her eyes.

Later, as I put the baby down, she came toddling into the room. As I heard her footsteps approach, I gritted my teeth. She was interrupting the baby’s bedtime, and she’d worn me down, tested my patience, pushed the limits. I wasn’t exactly feeling like the picture of compassion and grace.

So I shot up an arrow prayer. A quick request, muttered under my breath … I’m not even sure I uttered words. It was more of an inward groan from a frustrated heart.

She crawled into bed, my hard heart softened, and I wrapped my arms around her little frame. And as I rested there, wondering what I was supposed to learn from a girl who has the stubborn will of Jacob, I began to see myself in her. Not just in her likeness—though we do share an uncanny resemblance—but in her spirit.

I may not stomp my foot and throw myself onto the floor (not in a literal sense at least), but I regularly choose to exchange the never-thirst-again Living Water for a cheap counterfeit. The Lord offers words to nourish, His spirit to sustain, His son to save … and all too often, I reach for the candy.

She falls asleep nestled beside me, and there’s still a bit of ugly bitterness clinging to my heart. And I realize that’s where the analogy breaks down. Because despite the fits I throw and in spite of my ever-wandering heart, there’s never any bitterness, judgment or patience-wearing-thin with Him. I’m the prodigal son, and He’s the father. Not once or twice, but EVERY DAY. Every day my obstinate heart stomps its foot and throws itself upon the floor, and every day, in spite of myself, He not only receives me, but He pursues me with unrelenting love!

My mom laughs when I tell her about the girl’s stubborn will, and she says she’s just like me. It’s true, of course. God often uses our children to reveal things about ourselves. Indeed, this little one is my mirror.

She’s nestled near me, and her breathing steadies. She sleeps secure, enveloped by my arms that comfort and my heart that overflows for her. And the reality is that she and I … we’re both washed and we’re held. Washed by grace that covers all our iniquities, and held in an everlasting embrace by arms that stretched wide across the breadth of a cross and the span of eternity.

Does God use your children to reveal things about yourself? Please tell me I’m not the only one who has an object lesson on a daily basis!

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Like what you see here? Then you’ll love my first-ever children’s book, Bruce the Brave. Now available on Amazon

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10 thoughts on “For When Your Children are a Mirror (and God Reveals Grace)


    Girl, you so eloquently laid out for me what I have had a very hard time coming to grips with as a parent. My precious son has shown me over and over again how I struggle with our heavenly Father in determining what is best or what I need. His fierce independence, apparent since he was a baby has absolutely driven me to plead more often “help me let go and let you”. On the flip side of that, which I am so utterly thankful for is the kindness and affection he has allowed to overflow from Zeke to remind me how greatly we are loved even through storms! Washed by grace….held in an everlasting embrace! Can’t wait to see you this weekend, dear friend!

  2. Lisa

    This is beautiful, as is your blog. I look forward to exploring it more. Ah yes, children…they do have a way of showing us ourselves. And I too have found that they show us the magnitude of the Father’s love. Having two sons that I adore beyond words, I constantly marvel that He actually gave His Son because He loves us so. Leaves me speechless. Visiting from ChattingAtTheSky. (Love your photos, by the way…)

  3. Dusty.

    wow. I feel across a photo you posted on instagram and it ess like aspiration at first sight. I immediately clicked the link to your profile and had further confirmation of how wonderful you seem. how much you reflect Christ and his love. I saw in one simple sentence so many things that I want to be. naturally I clicked to come see your blog and wow. these words ring such truth and penetrate my evil desires with such persistence. all too often I gorge myself on sugary treats when his everlasting, thirst quenching water is right next to me. thank you for this reminder of my need for sustance. ask I can really say, is wow. thank. you, and wow.

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  6. Sonia

    You just brought me back to when you and Branny were that age. Put in to words so beautifully what many of us felt and are feeling. I’m extremely proud of the women, mother, wife and friend you have become. Thank you Jesus for honoring me with such a precious daughter. Love you Danielle.

  7. Lauren

    Somehow your thoughts and feelings have managed to mirror mine to a T. I have two daughters, 3 years and a 9 month old of my own, and my three year old has been gifted with my strong will. It is uncanny how they are able to put a giant mirror up to your face and then point you back to God with a grateful heart that thanks Him for his grace towards us.

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  9. Suzie

    For each time that I respond in harshness and frustration at my 3-year old girl’s disobedience and sin against me, the Lord responds with grace and forgiveness at my sin and disobedience against Him. He is the perfect Father!
    Motherhood has shown me my sin more clearly than anything else in my life. Never before have I felt so broken, and never before has His grace seemed so sweet. Praise God for his indescribable gift! Praise God for His salvation!


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