excuse me

The kids and I were on our way to a Bible study in town, and I was rushing. Impatient. Annoyed.

In the parking lot, Jack was waiting in the stroller while I threw in the kids' bags. Camille and Catherine were told to wait by the stroller until I was ready. Finally, our bags were in the stroller and I was ready to MOVE...NOW. March, little soldiers. I pushed the stroller and it bumped into Camille's leg.

My heart grumbled. My face showed it. And then (alas!), I spoke!
"EXCUSE me, Camille!!!" (read: the tone, oh, the tone!)

Camille responded like a ray of sunshine on my stormy day. Not a hint of sarcasm in her voice. Not a word of retaliation in reply to my rudeness to her. Not a scowl on her face at my double-layered communication - sweet and proper in word, but sour in tone. In her two year old sing-song voice, I heard Camille reply, "Oh, excuse me, Mama!" and off she trotted to her class.

Like a child can do, she took my comment at face-value. "Excuse me, Camille" to her was simply a collection of words forming a friendly reminder from her teacher- her mama. She carried on - cheerfully - corrected.

But I knew what was underlying that "collection of words." My tone was rude. In the description of God's perfect love seen in 1 Corinthians, we read that "Love does not act unbecomingly." Another translation says, "Love does not behave rudely."

I felt ashamed and embarrassed. In a flash, I thought: How long would it be before her little mind would grow, not just to understand words, but to discern TONE? How long would it be before my curriculum of teaching her the "good things" would include her replicating my attitude? my sarcasm? in a word, my rudeness?

Too soon, I guessed.

Historically, this kind of thing (failing someone I love) would get me stuck in pity, despair, and depression. Thankfully, God has freed me from bondage to "failure", turning it instead into an opportunity to go to Him, to ask Him for forgiveness and wisdom to operate differently the next time. (I have a feeling there will be a number of these types of posts in the future: I think I'll call them 'gtg' - going to God- posts!)

1 John 1:9 says, "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrightousness." I knew God would forgive me.

Now if Camille would graciously forgive me, too! I hugged her and explained the situation and asked Camille to forgive me. Her arms hugged me and she disappeared into her two-year-old class to find the toys and friends.


  1. I am Tommy and Chris' Mom- we met at graduation last year- I have enjoyed your blog- your sincerity is so refreshing in this world of everyone trying to impress everyone else- you seem focused on what Father would have for you- and your family is your priority! Cool! Your words echoed in my mind of my own past "excuse, me's". Thanks for sharing your gtg! I am praying for you and Eric and the crew- it was really special seeing you guys and the love you share with each other and your children- you guys are amazing parents! Blessings!

  2. Thanks so much, Peggy, for your encouraging comments as you see our hearts to seek after God's voice and leading in our lives, especially as parents. He is so good to "counsel with His eye on us" - perfect and personal counselling! Thank you for your prayers for our family as we seek Him each season.
    It was great hearing from you here and getting to know you during your visit to RC. Warmly, Sarah and Erik