Repentance: to turn away, in both mind and heart, from oneself to God
For my non-Christian loves, Webster's Dictionary defines it like this:
Repentance: 1. deep sorrow, compunction or contrition for a past sin, wrongdoing or the like. 2. regret for past action
I think all of us would agree that it's really difficult to change a behavior if we just don't care. Isn't that why I still drink Vanilla Dr Pepper? I know it's the same reason my pregnant smokers still smoke. We just don't care enough to turn away from past mistakes.
For Etienne, Ryan and I have really prayed through accepting how some things will always look or (dys)function. We really don't want to spend our lives nagging and disciplining and running ragged because our son won't change. Yet we know his loving, squishy heart and we desire for him to live in a way that allows others to see that heart too.
Forget the attachment models. I'm tired. I just want redemption in one area of our crazy life. So we've been giving examples of repentance ("see the snot running down Zeke's face from his sobbing? He's sad that his ninja moves took out the plant"), of conviction when we are wrong ("This mama was wrong to freak out about pooping with the door open, it doesn't really matter, it's just gross."). We've been working on memory verses in the bible. And, more than anything, we've been specifically praying for Etienne to repent.
Friday night Etienne put a hole in the drywall in the bathroom. Since he's done this a time or two before, Ryan has gotten fairly skilled at the patchwork and repair. I can sand and paint. But GEEZ WE JUST DON"T WANT TO SPEND OUR TIME AND MONEY DOING SO!!!!
When E did the damage, I didn't lose my cool like i did in the above sentence. I told him I was angry that he did something he's been asked by his parents not to do many, many times. I made him clean up the immediate mess on the floor. While he was sweeping the crumbles, he started crying. Not his fake, manipulative whine but real snotty tears. He began telling me how he knew dad would be upset when he got home. I sent him to his room to pray and then I held him on my lap until Ryan got home.
This is a big deal. I realize my skeptics will speculate that he cried because he's afraid of his dad. He's afraid of his dad being upset. Any of you who know us know that Ryan doesn't raise his voice, we don't physically discipline E and I can count on one hand the times I have seen my man really, really mad. I don't care about skeptics though. I care that I saw and heard a little piece of repenting. Whatever the root of the reason, it doesn't matter. We start little and we grow these things big.