we often get the question, will you tell your kids about the affair?
i have thought about this for a while. we've had time to think about this because when we walked through that dark period in our marriage, lila was was 3 months old and layne was 2. lila had no idea what was going on and layne had grasped that something was different in our family because daddy was gone.i put him to bed one night and he opened his hands out and said, my daddy left. i don't have a daddy anymore.
even at 2, he knew that our family had changed. just a simple statement...heartbreaking to me...but for him, just a fact. i shut his bedroom door and cried quietly. that window into layne's mind, through a simple observation, seemed unbearable to me. eye opening. he knows, why did i think i could hide it.
so as i think through if i should tell my children about our marriage, i think through hiding my sin and i think through repentance.
repentance is a big word.
it is a word i didn't understand very well when growing up. and even until these last couple of years, i am still learning about repentance and the process of forgiveness.
i want to model a life of repentance to my children. what i don't want to model to my children is a life of perfection. a life of false perfection, actually. how does that help children to be repentant when they never see you owning your imperfections. when they never hear you say, i'm so sorry...mommy was angry and she should not have punished you like that.
when we do something wrong, and move along like it never happened? perhaps we even feel bad and go to God and ask for forgiveness. but it stops there. we don't go to the person we hurt, even your 5 year old, and ask for forgiveness from them. no, that's too difficult. no, they wouldn't understand. no, they would think i'm terrible. no, it's not that big of a deal.
it is that big of deal.
repentance in the small things not only points your children to repentance in big things, it points them to repentance was a way of life. that we are all flawed and that we all need a savior. all the time.
i remember in college when i finally understood that my parents made mistakes. that they weren't always right. it was a funny feeling... of course they aren't perfect and of course they didn't have all the answers. they are human. but there was no talk of them being humans that make mistakes when we grew up. they made the rules and we followed them. that was that. and in the process, i formed some thoughts and theories about adults that were way off. adults have it figured out!
which brings us back to telling my children about our flawed marriage.
we will tell them. when the time is right. we do not intend to hide our sin from our children. on the contrary, we intend to highlight our sin and make it very clear that we are all messed up...sinning in every moment. mommies and daddies need God to save them, just like children do and probably more so. we all are on the same playing field as far as our need for the cross. we ALL fall short.
telling your 5 year old that you fall short by looking into his eyes and asking for forgiveness is incredibly humbling. it is hard. i am prideful and i feel entitled not to have to repent to a young child. but by not doing this i remove the opportunity for my child to see the need for regular and constant repenting to each other and God.
it removes the opportunity for them to view me as perfect.
it removes the opportunity for them to think i am better than them.
it removes the opportunity for them to hold me to an unrealistic standard. in essence, i am saying, i will fail you. you need someone better than me to save you.
and it highlights our need for a savior as intricate part of our day. not just lip service or sundays or story time.
ALL OF LIFE.
and not only that, i don't want them to forget that God saved our family from destruction. that there was a miracle that happened 3 years ago and no one should forget. not me and not them. not their children.
i was reading Deuteronomy (an old testament book of the bible) today. and this verse yelled at me.
“Only take care, and keep your soul diligently, lest you forget the things that your eyes have seen, and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life. Make them known to your children and your children's children—how on the day that you stood before the LORD your God at Horeb, the LORD said to me, ‘Gather the people to me, that I may let them hear my words, so that they may learn to fear me all the days that they live on the earth, and that they may teach their children so.’
(Deuteronomy 4:9-10 ESV)
it is important to continually point our children to God. to tell them of his miracles in our lives! it is something to get excited about it. we talk about proclaiming the Gospel to your neighbors and friends and we forget about those little humans in our own house.
proclaiming the Gospel through repentance is so good.
so we will not keep the affair secret. we will shout it to the world and to our children.
not to mention, our story is widely known. on the inter web. (oh, LOL) they could google it. and i'm not afraid if they do because they will not be surprised. it will be normal life.
p.s. don't get mad at me for only taking pictures with my iPhone. and also don't get mad at me if you've seen some of these on instagram. i am addicted to this magic app.