Don't Cry Over Spilled Milk

Don't Cry Over Spilled Milk

A lesson in sincere repentance and grace

It was the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. Though I had been off work all week, as usual, I felt more exhausted than not. I hadn’t had more than a few hours of sleep all week. I had been running ragged with the holiday hustle and bustle of preparation, cooking, spending time with family and shopping. To top it all off, my 2 year old had decided this would be the week she would no longer stay in bed or play in her room after waking in the morning. Instead, she would climb over the baby gate, out of her room and into mine to wake me during the wee hours of the morning (before the sun was up). This particular morning, I wanted nothing more than to sleep in (“sleep in” being any time past 7:30am). But, lo and behold at a quarter ‘til 7, I heard the crash of the baby gate and the pitter patter of toddler feet running across the house. Before I even had a chance to register what was happening, my eyes shot open to my mini patting the side of the bed singing “Good morning, mommy!” and then immediately and matter-of-factly, “I want breakfast, I’m going downstairs.”
I drug myself out of bed to start the morning ritual of taking her to use the potty, brushing our teeth, letting the dogs out and fixing breakfast. My plan was to get her settled in with breakfast and then sneak upstairs to have a few minutes of quiet time. Oh, but the best laid plans… I had barely made it to the top of the stairs before I heard a loud crash and “uh oh, mommy”. I turned mid-stride and rushed back down the stairs to discover the entire contents of what was moments before freshly poured Almond Milk, all over my recently polished wood floors. I know my child very well, so I knew there was a 50/50 chance this was either an accident or on purpose.
Now, normally, the irritated, sleep-deprived version of me probably would have snapped, maybe even chastised her with a stern “Peighton, no!”, and would have grunted and nagged the whole time I was cleaning it, before realizing what I was doing and later apologizing (which really makes no sense, but our knee-jerk reactions to children’s mistakes are often flawed and have to be unlearned from our own childhood and societal norms, but that’s another topic for another post). Today, however, was different. I was frustrated, but I didn’t react. I didn’t even consider reprimanding her. Accident or not, I didn’t care. I grabbed some towels from the laundry room and began to wipe up the milky mess. As I was cleaning, she said “I want more milk” (toddlers don’t know the first thing about appropriate timing). “Okay, mommy will get you more milk, when I’m done cleaning this,” I replied. I continued wiping. And then, in the softest, sincerest voice she whispered, “Sorry, mommy. I help you”. My heart was so warmed and it was as if God was saying “look… pay attention”. “It’s okay, baby, it’s just milk,” I gently replied. I poured a fresh cup of almond milk, handed it to her and reminded her to take care of it and to remember not to spill it. The biggest smile grew across her face as she giggled and said “tank chu, mommy!” As I trekked to the laundry room, wet towels in tow, I couldn’t help the smile that grew across my face, as I reflected on God’s grace and our sincere repentance.
How many times do we spill milk, on accident and on purpose, and God graciously cleans it up and hands us a fresh cup?
My toddler wasn’t sorry because she spilled milk, she was sorry because she had disappointed mommy and made a mess that someone else had to clean up. That’s what repentance is. Sincere repentance isn’t being sorry that we did something bad or being sorry that we got caught. It’s being affected by the fact that we’ve disappointed a loving God who constantly cleans up our messes and exchanges our troubles for His grace and overflow. Repentance isn’t being upset when we’re faced with the consequences and fallout of our bad decisions, it’s truly feeling the way that God feels about sin. Grace is Him taking our dirty cups, washing them out and then giving us an undeserved refill.
How often do we think that repentance means trying to help God clean up our messes and He’s like, “no, I got this, just drink your milk”? Because, much like a toddler, our attempts at “helping” often result in even bigger messes and more work for mommy and daddy. 
Sincere repentance is optional. Spills are inevitable. But, so is His Grace.

Scriptures to reflect on:

  • “And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9 KJV
  •  Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ” Philippians 1:6 KJV
  •  “For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.” 2 Corinthians 4:16 KJV
  • Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.” Isaiah 1:18 KJV




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