There are some big ears in my home these days.
During our Sunday afternoon tea-party, Susannah and I read the story of Jacob and how he was deceived by Laban and tricked into marrying the homely-yet-wise Leah instead of Rachel, his true love.
Susannah understandably had a few questions.
“Why didn’t he just say he didn’t want to marry to Leah?” she asked innocently.
“Because divorce wasn’t really an option back then,” I answered.
We then discussed why it was acceptable for Jacob to have two wives. Light Sunday afternoon tea-party material.
While we were cleaning up cookie crumbs and spilled tea, I wanted to circulate back to the divorce topic, to be sure she understood that though we live in a different time than Jacob, God still wants us to stay committed to our marriages. Though it is easy to walk away these days, I wanted her to understand that God feels it is alright to proceed with the dissolution of a marriage for a select few reasons but that He is a God of restoration, one that roots for the sacred union He created.
“Kind of like how you were going to marry Cam and instead you married Daddy?” she asked.
I stopped wiping the counter-tops.
I had never talked to Susannah about the fact that I had been married before I married her father. It was never in my plan to shield her from this truth – I absolutely don’t want to be a family of sacred secrets.
Yet, I was certain this topic wouldn’t be broached until she was at least in her tween to teen years. Instead, here we were, in our kitchen on a sunny, crisp autumnal day in which she was only five and a half years old and asking me about the man I once called my husband.
Inhaling a deep breath while praying that the Holy Spirit would guide me, I proceeded to explain that I had in fact, married Cam.
“Where is he now?” she asked.
“Why did you decide not to be married to him anymore?” she replied.
“Because he made some poor choices that really left me with no other option. I didn’t know God then so I saw things a little differently, too. It was one of the hardest things I have gone through, sis, but I can now say I’m so thankful that God led me through it because it allowed me to meet your daddy, the most wonderful man I know. And just think – if I hadn’t met your daddy, there would be no you. Or Sawyer. Or Solomon,” I said.
She smiled at that last part but the wheels were turning. The processor was on overdrive.
“What kind of bad choices did he make, mommy?” she wondered.
“You know, sweet pea, just trust me for now when I say that he made some choices that weren’t so good for our marriage. I’ll share it all with you when you’re a bit older but for now, just take me at my word,” I blindly answered, hoping this was the best reply and crying out to God to keep guiding me.
Not satisfied, she asked “Well, what? Did he, like, eat too much sugar or smoke a cigarette?”
The innocence of this question was the reassurance I needed. Clearly, there are still some confines on her little world, still places that are so sacred, so pure.
Precisely why I wasn’t ready to open up the oyster of the details of a fallen world. God had reassured me through this simple question: He had led me to reveal just enough to be truthful and yet not too much to be devastating.
He is so good. So faithful. So always there.
There will be other topics like this that will blindside me during this life. In my humanness, I will panic for a moment, forgetting that I have a great puppeteer holding the strings, one that knows the script and will speak the lines for me.
It’s OK for us to be real with our children. In fact, it’s in the sharing of our brokenness, the cracks in our jars of clay, that we deliver the best life-instruction for those who lack the experience to fully-understand how all of this works.
“No, sweetie. It wasn’t that he ate too much sugar or smoked a cigarette though both of those are not good choices. There were some other things he chose to do that you will just have to trust me with. There will come a day when we’ll talk about it, ” I answered her.
She exhaled, looking relieved.
“Good. Could I please have some M&M’s?”
But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may be revealed in our mortal body. So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.- 2 Corinthians 4-7
I’m joining the Soli Deo Gloria Sisterhood with sweet Jen from Finding Heaven. For some rich blessings, pay her and the other sisters a visit today!
Grateful for our jars of clay so God is glorified…..thank you for your vulnerability.
God is glorified.
So important to be honest with our children and yet, at the same time, not to burden them with the ugliness of a fallen world before they are emotionally strong enough to deal with it. The truth, as you have given it, will prepare her heart and mind for what she will one day hear and in the meantime she will have learnt to trust you. You didn’t give her a nonsense story but assured her that the topic would be open for discussion when she is older. You’ve paved the way for a very healthy conversation. Well done, you!
Praise the Lord for the wisdom he so freely gives to those who ask.
.-= The London Lady´s last blog ..Wedding Exit Song =-.
I want to send you an award for most helpful inetnret writer.
there are so many questions that i know my kids will have some day that are going to be hard to answer. i can only hope that i will handle them as well as you just did!
.-= alison´s last blog ..an epiphany- if you will =-.
Ugh, I know there have been a lot of times I have given my children too much information. Thank God you had the presence of mind to save the details while telling the whole truth.
.-= Ordinary Em´s last blog ..Mama- My Hair!!!! =-.
this was so sweet! i have to say, i laughed out loud a little when she asked if he ate too much sugar or smoked! ha! so sweet. you are a great mom. good answers! you did better than i would have! :)
.-= Cat, from iBlog´s last blog ..Sponsors =-.
Oh Natalie….hats off to you! I love how you share in your writing how you are constantly communicating with God for guidance as to what to say or do next. I’m learning to do that. This was a great model for me….to listen in….to see how it is done. Thank you for that…
You handled her question perfectly…..you are an awesome Mom!
Enjoy your day!
What a good Mommy you are to trust God to lead your answers in the proper direction. Another touching post!
.-= Jen´s last blog ..Modern Day Packaging =-.
Isn’t it crazy how the heaviest of conversations come out of nowhere and usually smooshed in between very lighthearted moments?
.-= Amy´s last blog ..Emma and Lexi’s Build-a-Bear Party =-.
I second what Lana said up above! I need that model, both in what to say, as well as in how to ask God to guide my words! I am not looking forward to the day that I have to have that same conversation about my past, but in the meantime, each day that ticks by that I don’t have to EXACTLY explain to my boys why we have two girls at our house that come and go to a different house, and why they call Daddy “Daddy” but they call me Lisa, etc etc. is a blessing to me. They have just grown up with it and don’t really question it too much. But I have a feeling the neighbor boy will explain it to them anytime they want! Definitely need to remember to call on God when that arises!
Love this post~ with my own little ones constantly surprising me, I can totally relate to being taken off guard. But God is definitely faithful to help and guide when we ask. Be blessed!
It never ceases to amaze me that when we stand in the midst of a difficult situation, when we grapple with the words that we should say, if we stand in a moment of silence and ask for His presence, for His words, somehow we end up saying just enough — not too little, not too much. Oh, to remember to be silent for a second, to remember that it is He the one with wisdom, to remember that His words are perfect.
.-= Jen´s last blog ..Soli Deo Gloria Sisterhood- Grace for Me Grace for You =-.
I love that you are willing to have these conversations with your daughter and not be a family with secrets. Growing up in a family of secrets still has it’s effects on me. And how precious is she with her questions…it just goes to show how different our hearts are as children.
.-= Christy´s last blog ..The Season of Wait =-.
This was lovely. I know the scars of family secrets, it is a good thing to be open and honest! Thanks for sharing!
.-= Katharine´s last blog ..5 minutes for Mom =-.
Wow. Little miss S. is one bright little cookie.
You did a GREAT job asnwering her. Her question about eating too much sugar or smoking cigarettes just does to show how pure and innocent our babes are. Doesn’t that make you want to just lock them up inside your home and never let them out?
Love the verse, too!
Do you have time tomorrow morning to chit chat? I have some WP questions for ya.
Hi Natalie–so nice to meet you. Thanks for stopping by my place today and for your kind words. Your children are blessed–not in having a mama who always has all the right words, but in having one who knows she needs to rely on Jesus to help her find them. Blessings to you.
.-= Nancy´s last blog ..The Way They Should Go =-.
Oh how cute! It’s so hard to know when to tell children certain aspects about our past. But you’re right. It’s important that we tell them. They need to know that we make mistakes too. More than that, they need to know about the great big God who covers our mistakes.
Love that verse!
.-= Alicia The Snowflake´s last blog ..A “But God” Moment =-.
Isn’t it good to know the innocence of our children is still intact? That the worst thing someone could do was eat too much sugar and smoke?
I know I’ve been surprised at some of the things my oldest child has been aware of just because he is . . . aware. But the beauty of that has led to honesty and openness that I pray continues for a lifetime.
.-= GlowinGirl´s last blog ..I Hate- Hate Exercise =-.
I’m a big fan of tea time–more informal than dinner, not as hurried as breakfast and lunch. I also agree that there is a balancing act of age appropriate sharing, and you handled that so well! :) God bless!
.-= Emily Woodham´s last blog ..Rhapsody in Blue =-.
I love your honesty. They way you spoke with your daughter reminded me of how God does things with us sometimes. He knows when we will be ready for things and reassures us with His love that He will tell us in His perfect timing.
.-= thesavingmom´s last blog ..It’s you dear soldier… =-.