Washable Finger Paints

Sometimes I take my job as a parent to teach right from wrong so seriously, that I forget my responsibility is also to model grace. I allow my children’s acts of disobedience to ruin my day, erase my memory of all the good they do. Granted, sometimes they take disobedience to a whole new level, but I forget that even finger paint stains can be made clean (at least if they are of the washable variety).

Finger paint on chairs.

Finger paint on the carpet.

Finger paint on the sofa.

And various spots that will continue to surprise me throughout the week.

They will all wash clean.

Yet, it is on these stains that I tend to focus. I forget that these children who took the opportunity of Mommy using the bathroom to redecorate the downstairs are the same children who, earlier in the day, shared God’s love with the elderly at a nursing home. These children, on their first time meeting these men and women, most bound in wheelchairs, some with blank stares across their faces, others with sores or masks covering their mouths and noses, didn’t hesitate to walk into a room and share their smiles.

Caleb didn’t hesitate to tell everyone he is five now and share all the details of his life. Hannah Grace, my shy little girl, was able to work through her cautiousness to stand in between two people she had never met and shake the parachute with them during activity time. Even Chloe, once she got over her toddler anger that the ball in the middle of the parachute was not for her kicking enjoyment, watched in amusement at the game.

They were living examples of God’s love. And when they picked flowers lining the sidewalk entrance (to my horror) to give to the man enjoying the birds chirping and fresh, warm air on his skin, they shined the face of Jesus more clearly than any sermon explanation.

Yet that night, I only remembered finger paints.

And at the end of the weekend, as I rolled the steam cleaner from spot to spot, I had to ask myself why do I remember the stains my children make so easily when God willingly forgets mine?

While disobedience comes with consequences and must be addressed, it is not the whole of my children. I need to see them for the beautiful creations they are and the wondrous splashes of color they bring to life.

After all, that’s how God views me, and I’ve left more than my own fair share of finger paint trails.

Reflecting today on the ‘Puzzled by the Bible’ series at 12 Stone Church and the amazing dichotomy of God’s holiness and the offer of Christ’s forgiveness. Come back Friday for ‘Journeys’ and the last fruit of the Spirit topic–self-control.

10 thoughts on “Washable Finger Paints

  1. Jen, this is one of the best ♥ and it would be difficult to pick a favorite.
    I smiled through your entire blog; heartened by the words how God lovingly and willingly forgets our stains.
    BEAUTIFUL message.


  2. I'm still waiting for you to dip your hands in mud! That was a warming reminder to all of us with kids. I appreciate your humility and the desire to be completely honest with God, yourself, and us. The thing your kids will remember will be the fact that you took them to the old folks home, you're teaching them the priorities of life with God at the center. I always love your words, they cut right past the shell and drive into the heart we all struggle with. Thanks


    1. Thanks, Floyd! I actually considered finger painting with the girls the other day, but I decided that at least one of us should have clean hands since they are so unpredictable! Hey, I'm taking baby steps! 🙂


  3. I think as parents we all sometimes forget about the good things our children do and we focus solely on the bad things. Sometimes all we need as parents is a small reminder of all the good things they do. Great post!


  4. "I’ve left more than my own fair share of finger paint trails."…and so have I…what an awesome GOD we have to love us while we are sinners….incredible that…


  5. Ohhh . . . so good – and sometimes it’s my own stains I hold in my hand rather than letting God take and erase. And He WANTS them! Thanks so much for sharing this. Touched my heart!


  6. So good, and so true! My kids are teenagers now and I don't have major disobedience issues with either one of them anymore. I do have memories of times I was too intense, too rigid, too worried about doing everything right. They don't hold it against me (that I know of), but there are things I'd go back and tell myself to chill out about if I could–sometimes even now when I'm supposed to be older and wiser, I find myself having to settle down when I'm over-invested in something trivial. You're wise to notice now–you'll never have to be sorry for responding with grace! Still learning!!


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