When my oldest daughter was two, I began a home-based daycare. I had been working evenings and weekends, so this would give me a chance to be with her, she would have friends, and I could continue contributing to the household income.
I revamped the basement with new carpet, paint, bought many toys, and got my training and licensing through the county.
I put a sign in my front yard, and the kids showed up. At one point, it was seven against one, but somehow I learned how to be a conflict resolution director quickly. Daily, I dealt with perfect angels one minute who could turn on a dime and bite their best friend. There were episodes of mutual hair pulling, tussles of arms and legs in wrestling matches on the floor to get a specific object, and name calling that would make a peaceful temper flare. Something as simple as “dum-dum” would cause a barroom brawl.
My day started at 6 am and would often go until 6 pm. There were times when parents were under pressure by their employers to be at work no matter what, so that meant I would get sick kids drugged up with Tylenol. I got to know them so well that I could look into their eyes and detect something was wrong. The parents were often aware they weren’t well, but the pressure of losing their job would win out. So I took them in and tried to make them feel better when they often just wanted their mom.
I always provided them with structure no matter their ages. I taught colors, numbers and read one book after another. There had to be a balance of free time versus activities, or the restless energy would descend, and trouble would start.
I tried to keep God at the center of all things. If aggression popped up between two or more of them, I would try to explain that they should treat each other how they want to be treated. It seemed to work, and just when I thought I was not making any progress, I would leave the room for a second and come back to find them all hugging each other. I had unseen help around every corner.
My daughter loved having friendships, and at one point, I had to stop her from giving all of her toys away. She had a very generous personality, so she felt that she needed to give each child a parting gift at the end of the day. Every single day. I went out and bought items for her to continue to do this so her room wouldn’t end up empty.
The oldest of the group was Molly, who was four. She knew she was the top dog, and I had to often bring her down off her own self-made pedestal where she tried to control the rest. While they all wanted to do their own thing, she wanted their total undivided attention. She was most upset when the other kids would run away and not do what she wanted.
“Miss Chris! They aren’t listening to me!”
“Then stop trying to make them listen. Maybe they will later.”
“I want them to be over here, not over there.”
“They don’t want to be.”
She was coming to me to see if I would give her back up to enforce her rules.
“But I want them to listen to me!”
“Why don’t you just tell me what you want to say.”
“That’s not fun.”
“This is as good as it gets for now. It’s either me or no one.”
She would grumble in frustration and start trying to read or go into a very long dissertation on how life should be. Soon, all the others would notice and come sit by us. She would get her way the minute she didn’t try to force it.
She also had a reputation for not telling the truth. I caught her multiple times doing things that she would deny.
“Molly, did you hit your brother?”
“Then why is he sitting on my lap crying with a red mark on his leg? How did that happen?”
“I think he bumped it over there.”
“Are you sure that’s your final answer? Do you want to think about it for a second? I just want you to tell me the truth. So does God.”
Her eyes would go everywhere but look at mine. It was an inward battle as a younger sibling had given testimony against her, I had exhibit A as physical proof, and now she had to scramble to come up with an alibi.
“I think he tripped and fell.”
There were more hard swallows and no eye contact.
“Well, he was bothering me.”
“She push me!” Her brother was at the stage of having less speaking ability, but enough to verbalize he had been wronged.
“So you pushed and hit him?”
Now there was hair twirling involved as she nervously shifted from foot to foot.
“He was trying to take away something from me.”
It was always the usual speech about not concealing the truth and letting me know to intervene.
No matter how many times I tried to help her see this, she feared the punishment, even though all I had her do was tell him she was sorry. It killed a part of her to have to apologize and admit wrongdoing. Something that should have taken minutes turned into a long, drawn out process until she would finally come clean.
One day, during lunch, she was accused of another offense. There was a witness list against her a mile long.
“I did not do that!” She said adamantly.
The noose was tightening as each of her companions gave me details of something she had done. None of them were changing their story, and I had a feeling she was guilty as charged. Her demeanor suggested total deception like all the other times I had dealt with this.
“Molly, I want you to tell the truth, and that’s all. Lying isn’t a good habit because it won’t seem wrong to you at some point.”
It was a breezy, nice day, and I had all the windows open. There was work being done off the back of the house as the porch was being constructed, and I had pulled the curtain closed across the sliding glass door. The person out there had overheard what I had said. None of the kids were aware that he was there, and he had taken a break and was sitting quietly.
“Molly, God is always watching, and you need to remember that. You need to be nice to people, and God wants you to be good to others.”
She still wouldn’t cough up the truth. The wind made the floor-length curtain billow inward toward her back.
“Molly….” came this deep voice from behind her.
I saw her jump.
“What was that?” She said, looking at me, and now I was suddenly her lifeline.
She turned to see the curtain blow toward her, and it was the best visual effect I could have asked for, especially if God was showing up to reprimand her for me.
I had a hard time not smiling. Instead, I pretended to be as in much shock as she was. Because they all trusted me, the entire table had gone silent. If I was reacting in surprise, then it had to be God!
With eyes wide, she blurted out,
“Miss Chris, I did do what they said, and I was lying. I am sorry.”
“Really? Just tell the truth all the time right away, okay?”
She was utterly unnerved that God had spoken her name out of nowhere. In a split second, she went from deceitful to the most honest person in the room, thinking the Creator had appeared to deal with her.
I pulled the curtain back and had her see it wasn’t God but a person.
She went on to correct herself after that. She often still wanted to cling to her false stories, but that moment solidified what I had been trying to tell her all along.
Many years later, way after I had quit childcare, I was outside raking. And I heard:
“I am what you think I am.”
What does that mean?
“If a person thinks I’m revengeful, then they don’t think they can approach me. If they think I’m forgiving, then they come freely. If they think I put sickness and disease on them, they blame me for it. If I am seen as a healer, then they come for healing. People put their own restrictions on me. I am unlimited in the reality of all things. I am who you think I am.”
Molly thought she was dealing with an angry God from the many times outside of my care when the hammer was thrown down after she confessed. So she decided it was easier to try and sneak out of it. I kept saying that while she needed to not act like an animal from the wild, there is always a way of humility and taking responsibility for wrong choices.
Psalm 86:5 says: “You, Lord, are forgiving and good, abounding in love to all who call to you.”(NLT)
Molly should have had Proverbs 28:13 stamped on her forehead:
Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper, but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy. (NLT)
Your view of God is what you will get, and you will create it.
Proverbs 23:7 says: For as a man thinks in his heart, so is he. (NKJV)
Are you ducking and running from a God who is ready to blast you with a lightning bolt and requires you to feel horrible every single second of your life? Even for something you did a long time ago? Or, are you walking in the light of the truth where no matter what, you can always ask for forgiveness from the One who offers peace and closure?
Being taught anything other than this is an illusion. All things can be forgotten and concluded. Just look to the sky at the close of the day, and you will see this message displayed in full array in every beautiful sunset.