Reforming a Liar {+ a MOPS Giveaway}

This parenting gig is not an easy one. Sometimes when I think it’s too big and I’m not going to make it, I remember this story. It’s a story of a big, creative, loving God who is there for us always. 

{Today MOPS International is giving away a free one year membership. This is also a big creative group who is always there for moms and wives and those of us who are just trying to make it through.  Click  here to find a group near you — they are all over the world. (Enter below…and just in case you’re wondering, if you receive the free membership, you can also give it to a sister, friend, or daughter.) The recipient will be announced on Saturday, October 5 here and on Facebook and Twitter.}

Stephanie, age 4 (2008)

Our daughter was four when we brought her home. Stephanie was adorable with wild red hair, two dimples, and a strong-will. She was a reader, loved math games, and wanted to be in charge.

She was also a liar, a very good liar with no hesitation, a straight face and innocent eyes.

The thing about being four anda liar is that sometimes you’re just being four, but your parents think you are lying. Sometimes you forget. Sometimes you make a mistake. Sometimes you are trying to help and you make a mess instead.

This momma learned something else: A lie can make me come unglued in the ugliest of ways. Instead of healing and bonding, we had an unglued momma and a four year old with one more consequence in a string of consequences.

Although I’m tempted to start the story here, with a nice, pretty prayer, the truth of the matter is I prayed in a moment of desperation. It wasn’t pretty or like anything you hear it church. It probably went something like this: Since Stephanie is going to lie for the rest of her life and I’m going to hurt myself trying to stop her, will You at least help me know when she is actually lying?

We have a creative God.

The next time Stephanie lied, hives appeared. Red welts, the size of half dollars sprouted on her face and neck. The more she lied, the more hives appeared, covering her face and making a trail down her arms. As the lie continued, Stephanie started itching. She lied more. She itched more. The hives spread from the top of her head to the tips of her toes.

The hives were accurate. Every time they appeared, Stephanie was lying. If there were no hives, then there wasn’t a lie. Now here’s the really sweet part — the instant she told the truth, the hives vanished. Blink and you missed it. They were gone without a trace.

It hasn’t been a quick process for Stephanie to quit lying. Five years later we rarely see the hives, but we still trust them. Teachers and babysitters know about her hives. They make life quite inconvenient for her. She’s starting to learn it is easier to be honest than to deal with the large, red, itchy welts.

Some days she’d rather scream. “It’s not fair! I hate my hives!”

We hug her and tell her the story of a great big creative God who loves her so much He gave her hives. Her hives saved from many undue consequences, and they are also a reminder to me that the Lord is near, so I don’t need to get ugly-unglued over a lie. Mostly, though, they remind us how God answers prayers and molds us into the people He made us to be.

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  1. What an awesome story! For a second, I was thinking that it was going to be a joke about the hives but it really happens! That's amazing. Wow. God does work in mysterious ways. I was just talking to my neighbor this afternoon about how parenting is not easy. I'm so glad that people acknowledge it now. I feel like there was a time when people tried to hide from others how frazzled they were. I'm glad more people are open about just how challenging parenting can be.

    Thanks for sharing! I sliced about your bicycling friend (a little bit) today! Hope I captured your story accurately. 🙂

  2. Happy birthday to Stephanie! Such a great story with a great lesson… I'll be looking closely at my girls for more clues about them. You're very right about God's creativity!

  3. I love that God gave you this experience as a real life example of how deep and personal His love for us is. When you share so honestly about your parenting experiences they just expand my heart.

  4. Oh the mysterious ways God works! Life lessons are hard to learn on our own, but with Divine intervention they become easier.