The Happy T-Shirt Accident – A Perfect Expression of Grace

The other day, Josiah and I were not seeing eye to eye. He was on a complaining and whining rampage. Nothing was good enough in his world and any kind of formal activity made him angry. He wanted to stay home and play video games and nothing was going to convince him otherwise.

I was patient and gave him lots of space, but after 2 hours of complaining, banging walls and eventually saying mean things to me and his sister I had to sit him in front of me, hold his face in my hands and draw the line.2012-08-17 19.59.52

At this point, he at least submitted and got into the van, dressed and ready for his martial arts class.

After dropping Leigha and Josiah off, I went to pick up Toby from daycare and we went to Target to check out their going out of business stuff. While I was there I found the perfect shirt for Josiah. He likes Baymax from BigHero6 and the shirt was 30% off, I couldn’t resist.

Toby noticed but didn’t mind or suggest any lack of fair play about Josiah getting a shirt so we were good to go.

When Josiah got into the van Toby instantly told him I had gotten him a shirt. “Really?” was his reply. He pulled it out and put it on immediately after getting home.

I didn’t think much of it. I will admit that I wasn’t jumping up and down to give it to him. In fact, I did consider holding it back until he deserved it for good behaviour, but I chose not to intervene when his little brother spilled the beans.

Later that night Melissa asked Josiah how his day had gone and he said “not so good, I was mean to Dad today” and proceeded to confess. Then he said something that surprised Melissa.

“But then Dad did something weird, he bought me a shirt even though I wasn’t being nice to him.” It wasn’t said in a way that suggested he felt rewarded for bad behaviour but instead as if he didn’t understand how someone could still do something nice and loving for another when they didn’t deserve it.

WOW! Talk about powerful, Josiah noticed that I had given him “unmerited favour” (AKA Grace) just like our Father in heaven gives each of us. Given the amazingly perfect teaching moment, Melissa pointed the parallel out to Josiah.

I call it the “Happy T-shirt Accident” because I didn’t do it on purpose. Sure I bought the shirt but Toby spilled the beans and I simply stayed out of the way. Isn’t it amazing how God intervenes in moments like this, not just to lay it on my heart without being shrouded by frustration but even as far as Toby’s little voice announcing it to the world. Most importantly He showed Josiah what it means to receive grace, unconditional love and forgiveness without us having to say a word.

Thank you God for Happy Accidents that you use to teach out children deep spiritual truths!