It was a peaceful afternoon; I was preparing for company. My thoughts were on the Lasagna I had in the oven and the salad I had yet to make, when the phone rang. . .
“This is Meijer, your son’s been arrested for shoplifting!”
“What! You’ve got to be joking”
“No, I’m quite serious. We have called the police and we would like you to come down to our store.”
As I hung up the phone, questions began tumbling around in my head, “What was he thinking? How could he do this to us? What kind of parents will people think we are? I thought we taught him better than this. All those times I dragged him back into the store to pay for something that had been forgotten under my cart. You would think that that would’ve kept him from doing something like this!”
Over and over, around and around my thoughts spun in my head as I jumped in my car and headed to the store my son had attempted to rob.
When my kids were little, I lived in fear that one day they would grow up to be alcoholics, drug addicts and murderers. It was an irrational fear that threatened to over take my life until I gave it up and surrendered them to the ONE who created them and loved them even more than I did.
But as I parked my car in the parking lot and shakily stepped out, I felt that overwhelming fear whispering in my ear once again, “You’re a failure as a mom and your children will be too! See this just proves it!”
As I got into the store I looked around – what was I supposed to do?
I’d been in there a hundred times but had no idea what to do in this situation. “What do I do? Go up to someone and say my son’s been arrested for stealing something from your store, where do I go?”
Frantically I looked around wondering what to do. I finally swallowed my pride and asked someone where I should go. Fortunately, they knew and were able to point me in the right direction.
I’ll never forget the look on my son’s face when I walked into that room. He was mortified and ashamed. I mouthed to him “I love you!”
Because he was seventeen the police officer explained that he would be tried as an adult. There was really no hope of leniency or understanding, even though this was his first offence. He did the crime, he must be punished.
Some of our friends counseled us to have him plead “not guilty” but we felt that he was guilty and needed to pay the price for what for what he had done. The officer that arrested him encouraged him to write a letter to the judge.
As a mom I was heartbroken – my son had so much potential, he was just beginning his life and now this. It had the potential to change everything.
I got down on my knees and begged God for the “impossible” – to somehow not let this crime go on his record.
The day of his appearance before the judge arrived and with great apprehension we stepped into the Court office. My son gave his name to the woman barricaded behind the glass wall. She couldn’t find his name and asked us to wait as she checked somewhere else.
“You’ve been put on the deferment program.”
“What’s the deferment program?”
“Basically, it means that you are on probation, you’ll need to meet regularly with your probation officer and do some community service. If you follow through with all of that, this crime will not go on your permanent record!”
I watched as the relief washed over my son’s face.
We gathered in the parking lot, arms around each other and gave praise to our God for such a wonderful blessing. My son was given grace, something he didn’t deserve.
And I was reminded of God’s glorious grace to us - something we did nothing to deserve and never can repay.
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