Red Nail Polish, Hard Lessons & God

“But I’m not tired.” I was sent to bed any way. It was time for my nap. I don’t remember much about what happened other than there was a bottle of red nail polish on my mom’s dresser. I opened the bottle and began “decorating.” Exactly, how much damage was done I don’t remember, but my mom did save a pair of white baby shoes covered with red polish as a reminder. Ha!!!

What’s important about this event was how my mom responded.

She was obviously not pleased with my artistic expression, but she didn’t lose her cool. She simply handed me some rags and told me to clean it up. I was not to get out of the bed until the job was done.

No matter how hard I tried, I could not clean up all the red polish. I felt overwhelmed by the mess I had created. After a bit of time, which in my two-year old mind seemed like forever, she finally came in and helped clean up my mess.

I learned two things that day.

One, if I’m going to create a mess, I may end up having to clean it up. This simple little lesson probably saved my neighbors and this little Chicago rascal from a lot of needless pain!!! (Not to say there haven’t been more adventures, but I am confident it would’ve been much worse. Ha!!!)

Secondly, my mom helped me after I realized I could not do it myself. She did not rescue me, but first, allowed me to experience my guilt and my need. Then she tenderly came to my aid.

Did my mom know she was preparing the soil of my heart for the gospel? I don’t think so. She was just being a good mom!!!!

Years later, as I watched the world around me and noticed the messes we had created, my heart grieved. In particular, I was drawn to the homeless who would sleep on benches wreaking of alcohol. I would wonder what brought them to this point. What were their thoughts?

I wrote a simple poem, no doubt a reflection of my own angst.

Death over me has victoriously won,
My body now peacefully lies.
My mind’s at ease, now that my life is done.
What good have I done but die.

Then, my mom stepped in. “It is time to go to church,” she said. Since we did not have a car, she figured there had to be some church in the neighborhood and we would just walk.

Sure enough, there was this little Baptist church about a half-mile away.

We begged with tears not to go. Shy and lacking the confidence to meet new people, neither my sister nor I wanted to go. But once my mom’s mind is made up, there was no use arguing!!

She walked us to church.

There this young teenager found people who loved God. They showed me how to read and understand the Scriptures. They embodied the truths they taught!!! It took about a year before I truly understood the gospel, but my heart was ready.

I realized I had a made a mess. The guilt of my sin weighed upon my heart and I could not clean it up myself!!!!

“LORD Jesus,” I cried, “save me.”

Then, just like my mom…He came to me and saved me. He did for me, what I could not do for myself!!

Today, my mom is with the LORD. I am so grateful for the many things she taught me and for the ways she prepared my heart to know God!!!

For you moms who are still in the trenches, take heart. What you do matters!!!

You are preparing hearts for the gospel. And the time will come when your children will leave home, and you will place their hands into His!! Oh, may their hearts be ready.

May God encourage you!!! When you feel overwhelmed, call out to Him who is able to deliver and He will