Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Goodmorning Mercy!

But this I call to my mind, therefore I have hope:
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end;
They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
Lamentations 3:21-23

Earlier in the year I had a friend who was in between day cares for her 5 year old son, so I agreed to keep him until she was able to find something suitable for him. We are going to call this 5 year old Steve.* Steve is a delightful child with an extremely strong will. With most children that come into my home, whether they have a strong will or not doesn't affect me. They are usually there for a few hours, or overnight at most, and they are sent back to their parents for them to deal with. However, when you open your home on a daily basis to the same child I feel that he needs to follow the same rules as everyone else. It keeps order and peace, and it keeps mommy sane and sober. It took Steve a few weeks to adjust to the Mabry government: This is not a democracy, it is a dictatorship, and I am your fearless leader. But adjust he did, and quite marvelously, I might add. (I am patting myself on the back now.)

One of the rules of my house is you have to TRY whatever food I put on the table. If I spend time to prepare you a meal, you can have enough gratitude to put it in your mouth and proceed to make all of the vomiting faces you can come up with. One bite is all I require. If you don't like it, you don't have to eat it. I will NOT, however, make you any thing else to eat. You eat what I make, or you don't' eat anything until the next meal. Now hear me. I don't make disgusting meals for my family. I'm not cooking up fried pig intestines with a side of dog foot sprinkled with slivered toenails. It's good normal food. (With the exception of the time I made some sort of fish concoction that made my son and my husband vomit. I feel kinda bad about that.) Anyway...this particular day I made some delicious fried rice with chicken. I sit everyone down to eat and Steve looks at his plate and says, in the MOST SOUTHERN accent possible, (this is only important because it makes all my stories funnier when you picture a 5 year old boy sounding like Scarlett O'Hara)

"I hate fried rice."
"Really, Steve? You hate it?"
"I do. I hate fried rice. I want a piece of bread."

Because Steve doesn't belong to me, I wasn't going to be as harsh with him as I would my own children. I told him he just had to try the rice and then I would be happy to get him a piece of bread if he didn't like it. No deal. He actually said, no deal to me. At the time he was obsessed with Deal or No deal. If he agreed he said, "Deal." If not, it was "No deal". This was a "no deal" moment. Remember to insert southern belle accent where appropriate.

"Steve," I said, "You know my rule. You have to try the rice. There is no way around this."

"I hate your rice," he says.

"But you've never even had my rice."

"I hate your rice. I only like mall rice."

"You only like WHAT rice??"

"Mall rice. You know, the kind you get at the mall."

This to me was hysterical. What kid says they only like mall rice? What kid knows what mall rice is? I thought lying to him was a great way to get him to eat the rice, so I told him I actually got the rice from the mall. No dice. He didn't fall for it. He just looked at me and said, "I'm not going to try your rice."

At that moment, it no longer became about food but about wills, and I was fairly certain mine was stronger. Steve sat at my table for FIVE HOURS! He had no food, no toys, no TV. He got up once to use the restroom, (yes, DHS, I allowed him water). He even took a nap in the chair at the table! I was stunned. I still am stunned, to be honest with you. As time went on I made his bite of rice smaller and smaller. Eventually it was nothing more than 3 grains on a spoon, and still he refused. I bribed him with ice cream, Mc Donalds, mall rice. Anything to not have to tell his momma I made him sit at my table for 5 hours over 3 grains of rice. But he refused to budge, and so did I. It's funny now..heck, it was funny then, but I really took no pleasure in this day. I felt bad for him. I wanted to give him a piece of wonder bread and tell him good job for being so stubborn, but I knew if I did then the hours he had just spent in the chair would have been for nothing. I loved him too much for that. So, he sat. And sat. And sat. Finally at 5:00, it was time to go. I was taking him to meet his mother. He was free. I didn't really know who won that day, if anyone did. All I knew was that we both had met our match. Being one who hates to lose, (yes, even to a 5 year old rice hater) I had a thought flutter through my head. I was going to leave those 3 grains of rice on the table. When he came the next morning, he was getting nothing to eat until he TRIED my stinkin rice! As quickly as I thought that another thought came into my head. It was that quiet still voice that likes to interrupt my evil plans.

"My mercies are new every morning."

Excuse me?

"My mercies are new every morning."

But, Steve needs to be taught a lesson. I can't let him think that he has won this battle. What will that do to my reputation?

"My mercies are new every morning."

And then the weight of that word hit me, and I all I could say was, "Thank you, Father." Without question, His mercy is there each morning, ready to wash over me and give me another shot to get it right today. And if I don't get it right...if I come up short again, there is always tomorrow. There is always the morning, there is always His mercy.

*Names have been changed to protect the guilty.


  1. BAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!!! Oh my goodness.... how i miss "Steve." Man, I miss living there!

  2. Tasha...this is the most beautifully, terrifyingly, hilarious story I have read in a long time! I loved it...and with it the strong message of mercy. How wonderful God is to us that He, our Most Holy God, (who, I am sure, has NEVER lost an argument) would grant us fresh mercies every morning. This burst my heart with gratitude. Keep writing girl!
    Blessings to your heart and ears as you share God's lessons and words.
    Ulrike Grace