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Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Purple Unicorns

Several weeks ago, while getting the kids secured in my minivan, I saw a flash of purple shine from my daughter's hand.

"What is that, Emerson?" I asked.

"Nothing," said Emerson.

Every mom out there knows what "nothing" means, right? Nothing means everything. Like when you hear a shriek from the other end of the house and one kid starts wailing like a siren and you ask the other kid, "kid, what happened?" And then they answer, "nothing." 

Nothing, my foot.

So again I asked her what she had in her hand. This time, she opened her hand and showed me as she said, "Oh, it's just this purple unicorn, mommy."

We don't buy a lot of toys in my house, and when we do they are typically not two-inch-long purple glass unicorns, so I was racking my brain as to where in the world she had gotten this lovely creature. 

"Where did you get that, Em?"

Her face gave it away before she even spoke a word. A look of guilt crossed her face as she said, "Oh, I took it from Avery's house."

Took it? As in...stole it? 

"Did she give it to you, Emerson?"

"Nope, I just took it cuz I liked it."

Well, okay then. So I now I have a daughter who steals stuff. Awesome.

After thinking for several seconds, I turned to look at her.

"Emerson, I don't know what to say. You know that we don't take things from other people without being offered them. You know that this is called stealing. How would you feel if Avery took something from you without permission?"

She didn't say much, but I could tell she was upset.

"Emerson, I know this is going to be difficult, but you are going to have to go to Avery's house and take this purple unicorn back to her, and apologize and confess to her that you took it without her knowing."

Emerson didn't miss a beat. "I know, Mom."

In that moment, I was proud of her. She didn't buck her responsibility. She didn't beg and plead with me to cut her some slack, to pretty-please not make her do the embarrassing deed of taking it back to her friend. She immediately embraced the idea of confession, and simply asked, "Mom, will you go with me, because I'll be a little scared to tell her what I did?"

My sweet girl. I assured her that I would, indeed, go with her, and that I'd be right by her side while she did what was needed to make restitution for her sin.

I called Avery's mom, who happens to be a good friend. They weren't home so we couldn't go over at that moment. Then, the next day I called again, but again they weren't there and we couldn't go and make things right. This process went on for several days, and I am embarrassed to tell you that four weeks later we STILL have not gone to return the unicorn. Mom fail.

However, my reason for sharing this story is this: Though I haven't followed through yet on returning the toy, Emerson has not forgotten. She reminds me on an almost-daily basis that we still need to go and return the cheap, chintzy purple unicorn. It still scares her. She's still embarrassed. But she is convicted and won't let me forget to take her to Avery's house to make things right.

This is the Holy Spirit working in my almost-six-year-old.

Do I allow Him to work in me the same way? Am I sensitive enough to my own sin that I will do what it takes, as long as it takes, to address it and find freedom from it? Will I do the hard work to make things right, confessing my sin, asking for forgiveness from my Heavenly Father (and maybe even others), and turning from it once and for all?

I could stand to learn a lesson or two from my daughter. Once she was found out, she didn't deny her sin, or try to justify it. She humbly embraced it, recognized her own depravity, and won't stop until she has fully repaired what she has broken.

It's easy to sweep sin under the rug. It's easy to pretend like it's "no big deal," because, let's be honest, others around me sin much more severely. Right? 


Doing the hard work of self-examination, and the ultimate turning from our sins is what is required and necessary in order for us to look more and more like Jesus. If that's what we say we want, they it's time for Christ-followers, starting with me, to put our spiritual money where our mouth is by actively and routinely searching our own hearts for sin and then humbly and brokenly asking for and receiving forgiveness from the Lord and others. And then TURNING from that sin, to be slave to it no more.

"If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness." - 1 John 1:9

Confessing it. Turning from it. Walking away. Cutting all ties with it. Easier said than done, right?

We all have purple unicorns.

God's been at work in my heart lately on some issues that I have been unwilling to completely turn over to Him. Some areas of disobedience to the promptings of the Holy Spirit. And I have to say, the example my daughter has set for me has been a huge catalyst for me to address my own sin, and to choose full obedience to my Heavenly Father, even when it's hard. Confession is key to receiving new life and freedom in Christ.

"Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed..." James 5:16

May we all live with a mindset of active confession, and the turning away from our sins. May every purple unicorn convict us and spur us on to look more and more like Christ.

And now, in writing about this, I am reminded YET again that the Watts family needs to take a trip to the Casey's house to return a certain, infamous purple unicorn. Kim, watch out, 'cause we're coming. By the time my tribe leaves your house, you might be wishing we had just kept the daggum thing and saved you the trouble privilege of having us in your home.

Feel free to laugh!