Today, for the first time, I locked myself in the bathroom so I could take a quick shower. Elijah is 3 1/2 now, and - well, that probably means we should develop some rules of privacy at our house. With only one bathroom that can be tricky, but I thought I would try the locking technique and see how it went. The baby was safely tucked away; Elijah and Haven were playing independently.
I heard screaming. Not the "I want a snack and you won't give me one" scream. Not the "Elijah grabbed that toy from me" scream. A different scream. An "I'm really hurting scream." I yelled for Elijah, intending to tell him to go help Haven. Perhaps she was stuck under the chair or a book had fallen on her. Elijah didn't answer. I yelled for him louder. No answer. No noise at all from Elijah. Haven's scream continued but moved to another room. I was scared.
I grabbed a towel and ran out to find Haven. She was laying down on the living room floor. Elijah was pounding on her back as if it were a drum. Over and over. I yelled - at him. "What are you doing to your sister?!?!?" I grabbed him and threw him on his bed. I grabbed Haven to comfort her. She perked right back up, resilient little thing.
After getting dressed I had Elijah tell me what happened. "I hit Haven over and over again." "What else did you do to Haven?" "I pulled her hair over and over again." I cried. I have never cried over my children's sin. I was so sad - sad because of the wickedness in Elijah's heart. Sad because he was capable of being so mean. Sad because he would be so mean to his sister. I felt desperate. Desperate to know how to help this little boy I love so much. How can I explain to him how wicked that was? How do I tell him, in words that will pierce his hard heart, that God hates those who oppress the weak? How do I show this boy his need of a Savior?
I wonder that I have never cried over Elijah's sins before. Why do they often only stir up irritation or inconvenience rather than grief? I wonder that I do not cry over my sins. And I thank God for this brief glimpse of seeing sin as it really is - wicked, terrible, an offense to a great God.
I am freshly reminded of my need for supernatural wisdom - Biblical wisdom - in raising these children. This afternoon I read I Peter 5. How thankful I am that I can cast all my anxieties on Him (because He cares for me!). So, I cast Elijah's little heart again at the feet of Christ and plead with Him to change it...and to give me gracious guidance in responding to his sins.