It was Thanksgiving, a beautiful white Thanksgiving Day with fluffy, fresh snow on the ground. My daughter decided on making a snowman cake for dessert, instead of one shaped like a turkey. It sounded good to me, and it would be lots easier. All we needed were two round circles. I baked them early, and set them out on the counter to cool.
I was getting ready to call her to come down and frost the cake with me, when I did a double take. “What happened?” I felt confused as I looked down at the cake, wondering why it looked like a mini Bobcat had been digging at it. Then I recognized how the bits of missing cake went all down the side, right within reach of a little five-year old hand.
“Abigail! Please come downstairs!” I showed her the cake and asked her what had happened. She sweetly smiled, and said she couldn’t wait. I told her it was naughty to get into the cake without asking Mommy, and that it would be harder to decorate it now. I wanted her to know that being sneaky was serious, but I didn’t want to crush her spirit, or ruin our time we would have decorating the cake.
Suddenly, I was five, again. I envisioned myself standing next to a beautiful gingerbread house that had been made for Christmas. I had eyed the cookie chimney, and licked my lips in anticipation of its sweet crunch. It would be so easy to break off a little piece. I didn’t think about any consequences. In a flash, I had broken off the chimney, and I had eaten it all up! Years later, I didn’t remember the taste, but I did remember the trouble that was caused, and that another chimney had been recreated.
I wanted to capture this moment with my little girl, and create a different type of memory. I felt God touch my heart, as I sat my daughter on the floor and taught her a new word: temptation. I pulled her close, and told her to look at me when I was speaking.
Then I told her to really look at me: “Look at Mommy’s eyes.”
I asked her if she’d heard the word temptation before. I explained to her what it meant. I told her that the devil is the one who tempts us, and that when he does, God will provide a way out. The bible says so. I told her how to get God’s help. She could pray and ask God to help her. God might send someone downstairs, or God might tell her to go talk to Mommy. Maybe a little piece could be cut early, or the cake could be frosted sooner. Or, maybe she would still have to wait. But God would help her to do that.
We talked about how God’s power is greater than the devil’s. We talked about how Jesus lives in her heart, and because of him, she can tell the devil to get lost in the name of Jesus.
Then we prayed together. We asked God to forgive her for being sneaky. We asked God to help her not to do it anymore. Then we hugged, and I told her I forgave her. And that most of all, God forgave her too.
I frosted her snowman. She decorated him her way, making his carrot nose out of peppermint patties. The cake was fun, and delicious. It was a reminder of a child’s tender heart, and how God gives us our children to love and nurture. He wants us to teach them about His love every day. He provides opportunities when we open our eyes and our ears. I’m so thankful for His love.
“No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.”
~1 Corinthians 10:13 New American Standard Bible