About the Author

Melanie is a wife and mom who loves to belly-laugh and savor each moment of this precious life. She writes to encourage others and share the hope of God's unfailing love.

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  1. I’m so glad our children forgive us for how silly we sometimes get. If it makes you feel any better, it took me years to straighten out in my head the fact that if I gave the children playdoh that the colors just weren’t going to stay separate. Now, when I hand the shiny new package over to them, I view it as a totally disposable item. I know they’ll have a blast playing with it over the weekend then it will be left in brown/grey crusty crumbles in various places around the house. I’ll just quietly (hoping they don’t notice) throw them away and buy them another package as soon as I can.

  2. Melaine,
    Thank you so much for this post. You put into words for me something I needed to hear. I have done that exact same thing. Why does it matter if they mix the colors?! So what if it turns into a nasty brown blob that looks like a pile of pooh… so long as they enjoyed it and had a creative outlet to express themselves while doing it.

    I immemdiately felt awful for yelling at my daughter and was not able to do what you did, I didn’t recognize the need to ask for her forgiveness. I did not make the bigger picture connection to My Father. I so regret that now. Thank you for this post and for helping me to put it all into perspective. Something I so needed to hear!
    Karen

  3. There are so many days I have to re-teach myself this lesson when my boys use things other than the way intended. How many times does my Father say to me just see the beauty. Thank you for this reminder post AT THE BEGINNING of my day. I pray this is all the reminder I need today. ~Jessica

  4. That is so precious. I love the marbled heart and the imagery it creates. I find myself catching myself in anger all the time -like I start to blow and then the Holy Spirit quickly convicts me and guides me lovingly towards the bigger picture. I love my kids more than the world but the busier I get the more frustrated I become sometimes. I have to stop myself and breathe and love up on my girls.

    What a blessing to read today. Thank you for sharing.

  5. So so good Melanie…love this reminder…I don’t want to “tear down my house with my own hands…” And as you wrote, makes me overwhelmingly thankful for God’s gracious love and forgiveness. Great post!

    This C.S. Lewis quote always hits me deeply:
    “Surely what a man does when he is taken off his guard is the best evidence for what sort of man he is? Surely what pops out before the man has time to put on a disguise is the truth? If there are rats in the cellar you are most likely to see them if you go in very suddenly. But the suddenness does not create the rats: it only prevents them from hiding. In the same way the suddenness of the provocation does not make me an ill-tempered man; it only shows me what an ill-tempered man I am.”

  6. Your post comes at a time when I awoke this morning hearing my older two girls playing in their room, with one doll being “bad” and my daughter yelling at her. And I realized I think through my sleeplessness and stress of the last 7 months that I have done what I never wanted to do in my daily life, I yell too much. My mom was a yeller and I’m afraid I have become one too. Which depresses me. I did not want to be. So I’m trying to make a conscious effort today, and hopefully each day from now on to take a breath and figure out if it’s really important before I yell. I imagine if God yelled at me like it appears I may have over the course of the last stressful 7 months I would be in a puddle of tears. But fortunately my kids are resilient, and they love me, and if they understood I believe would forgive me. {sigh}

  7. Been there! I’ve tried something new lately – apologizing to my kids when I realize I’ve gotten too harsh. It keeps me in check and so I’ve only had to do it once recently. It occurred to me a day later that I had been too quick to snap at my 4 year old, so I brought it up and apologized. He looked at me in astonishment and without a word, gave me a huge hug. Then he spent the rest of the day wanting to hug on me. I knew I had done the right thing by swallowing my pride and showing him how to admit a mistake. I think of that moment now when more angry words are about to fly out of my mouth for “not worth it” things like mixed up toys or scattered crayons.

  8. Yes, we have to learn to give our children permission to color outside the lines, to keep it about them.

  9. Melanie, First: So AWESOME you were brave and submitted to InCourage! Second: Great post – society wants so desperately to make us fit molds, when we should be concentrating on the one-time mold God used to create each one of us. I love the marbled heart :)…and your son’s little beautiful face. Lisa

  10. Thank you (in)Courage for posting my heart’s story, and thank you SO very much to everyone who left such kind comments! My heart is full today to know you were encouraged by my feeble attempts as His servant.

    Blessings!
    Melanie

  11. Amen and amen! I often have to remind myself of this truth, constantly, all the times I find myself in the same place you were at the beginning of your story here. Thank God that He teaches us and guides us through EVERY kind of moment we go through!

  12. Thanks for being “real”. I think all mom’s can relate on some level with that frustration of balancing grace with discipline and order. I know I sure can. Last week I really laid into my kids about a stupid practice state test. I have to say, the beauty from that ugly moment was Mommy’s lesson in humility after going back and apologizing.

  13. What a great reminder of both the need for renewal to His goodness and the evidence of His beautiful grace. Thank you for sharing this with us!

    Great to see you here on (in)courage, Melanie!!

  14. I think I remember not letting my older kids mix the playdoh colors…
    Now with baby number seven? I’m just really glad when he doesn’t mash it into the carpet, or eat more than, hmmm, maybe a handful or so.
    But color mixing? Bring it on! Once everything is mashed into a mottled brown, they can make playdoh brownies! woohoo!

    Isn’t it awesome how God uses our children to teach us His Ways?
    Grateful for Grace –
    Teri

  15. So beautiful, and one of my favorite Biblical quotations/personal prayers. The heart story reminds me a little of a story my then-6-year-old wrote at school, that I kept and treasure: “A Thing” — it went something like, “A dog. A cat. A girl. A boy. A car. A truck.” And then on the back, a glorious colorful scrawl with giant words above it: “A SCRIBBLE!” Her teacher had written, “I like your sentences better than your scribbles.” And there is nothing unkind about her saying that — except that the statement negates the freedom and creativity unleashed in my daughter’s drawing. I just said, “Honey, I love your scribble,” and tacked it up on the refrigerator. I don’t think that makes me better than the teacher — I just think I happened to be having a better day. There have surely been days when I’ve said “Look what a sloppy job you’ve done!” or “Can’t you color that more neatly?” when I might have seen a spark of inspiration in her work instead — or at least offered my criticism constructively. I know I need to practice reminding myself not to speak unless what I am saying is true, kind and necessary.

  16. I so identify with this story, my older 2 children were playing with playdough and mixed white and blue, I was so disapointed, and gave them the whole lecture, then took the playdough away, if only I had seen that like you did… hopefully next time… This gives me hope that tomorrow can be better, Thank you.

  17. I stumbled upon your post while doing some “surfering” for an up-coming youth group lesson.

    More times than I’d like to admit, I find myself doing the same thing – snapping at my son because he didn’t do “what I wanted him to do.” The goal of our parenting lives should be to point our children towards Christ and His love. Yes discipline is necessary. But discipline done in love and not out of knee-jerk anger.

    Thank you for sharing.