My Son Peed on the Floor and I Shamed Him (And He Forgave Me)


Little feet repetitiously pound down the hall above.

I lose count of how many times I track mine going back up only to meet my son at the top of the steps with yet another excuse as to why he’s out of bed.

He’s Thirsty.

He’s Hungry.

He wants his tenth hug.

It’s getting incredibly late.

He needs a toy.

He forgot to tell us something important.

I argue with my wife about who’s turn it is this time to take him back to bed.  I try to convince her I am more tired than she and that I have to wake up early for work the next day.

Then the foot steps come again. Only two hours till a new day.

I ferociously scale the steps in an attempt to stop him in his tracks yet again.  Towering over him I withhold nothing from my tongue. Every last thread of self control is no more.

Frustration and anger that I unleash upon this small newly potty trained boy, my precious son, I do not withhold.

There he is standing at the top of the stairs.  Glassy eyed from tiredness he is crying saying, “I have to go potty…”  With my demanding bellowing voice, that is sure to wake the neighbors, echoing throughout the house I ‘order’ him to the bathroom.

Barely half awake he loses his self-control and it flows across the floor.  In my wretched compassionless anger I shame him.  I unleash more impatience. More reckless words upon my first born son.

With no shame.

I clean him up and the mess that was.

I return to face the hollow stare from across the couch.

She has no words for me. Either out of disbelief for what had just come out of me or  maybe it was the loss of any respect she had for me was gone in that instance.

The guilt and shame begin to set in.

What kind of dad am I that I should treat my son like this. The one whom I prayed for, the one I had begged God for, the one who I jumped for joy from within when she told me the news. Yet here I am the one who should bare all the shame for what I had just done, not my son.

Time passes and I apologize to him. I let him know how sorry I was for talking to him the way I did and that I love him dearly.  As always, he happily forgives me with such unquestionable ease.

But me?

It all seems to simple to receive forgiveness from him, my son.  Because from Him, my creator,  I feel like I can’t be forgiven.  There has to be something, some form of penance that could ease my guilt and my shame. 

There I stand with nothing.  It seems to easy to receive forgiveness.

How do I treat an innocent child with such dishonor because of my own depravity and be forgiven and loved from the One on high?

The pain that sears from this memory is vivid.  I lose my own control of emotions through tears as he had lost his from his bladder.  And so here we both are together, feeling unjustified shame.  For shame does not come from my Father as I had given to my son.  There is abounding grace from Him.  I have received forgiveness both from my son and my Father. And I am thankful. Gratefully and humbly thankful.

I kiss him and tell him again that I love him always and hope that it covers my shortcomings.

My shortcomings.

They seem endless.  I often sense that I constantly have to say sorry more times than I would like to admit. I feel sorry for saying sorry so much! The shortcoming and screw ups will certainly never end.

But I wonder if that is how God intends it? After all if we could get our act together and fix things ourselves then we might not need Him.

On the contrary, if I never failed over and over again then I would surely miss out on his grace that he gives me over and over again!

I look upon my son, my sweet, affectionate and passionate son. And I make a promise to myself. A promise to always love him and give him grace just as my Father in heaven gives me grace so that I can love him well.

“keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.” 1 Peter 4:8

Whenever I climb my steps I remember that night and I count the times my Father has been gracious to me.  So in turn I share the graces with my son, how imperfectly they may be.

“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:9


14 Things About Me

I had a post ready for today but realized I might want to save it for tomorrow. So instead I thought I would use today for you to get to know me a little better as well as meet some of you!

Here goes: 14 random things about me.

  1. I live in Amish country – aka Lancaster County, PA.  Home to the smell of manure being sprayed in the fields most of the year.
  2. I occasionally ride a motorcycle – yes I am a fair weather rider.  I have tried riding when its cold and it’s quite miserable.
  3. I love donuts. And pretty much anything else with a high sugar content. If there was a DA (Donuts Anonymous) class to attend I would be their seasoned veteran.
  4. I am married to the lovely Sarah Mae. (She is the main culprit to why I even remotely had an interest in blogging in the first place. So thank you!)
  5. Love visiting New York City.
  6. Favorite actor is Harrison Ford…Denzel Washington is a close second.
  7. Favorite movie is The Fugitive. (Side note: I actually have been to dam where the scene in the movie took place in TN while on a motorcycle road trip.  Beautiful scenery there.)
  8. I occasionally become grumpy. More so than I would like to admit; actually to the point Sarah Mae tells me I need to make a website called, “” to which the kids call me  (see #3: usually solves this problem.) Ironically someone just secured the website!
  9. I wish I was going to the Killer Tribes Conference.
  10. Love blasting ’80’s music in our house.
  11. The last website I visited that I enjoy reading was:
  12. I met Ira Wagler yesterday! Author of NY Times Bestseller, “Growing Up Amish.”
  13. I love IKEA.
  14. I want to move to Nashville, TN one day. (It’s warmer down there and not so much manure.)
Now tell me something about you! Also, if you have one, leave your Twitter handle in the comments!


When Life Feels Like a Sham


I’m sitting in a small enclosed room within a room, 5 feet by 5 feet, sound proof. A musty smell is in the air resembling the aroma of an old worn couch. I start to feel claustrophobic until I hear the audiologist ask, “Jesse, can you hear me?” I straighten myself in the most attentive way I can.

Yes”. I reply.

Through my small innocent ears in oversized heavy earphones we begin.



say…ice cream.”

ice cream”.



At three years old, before the soundproof room, I had a hard time listening to my parents. When they called me or asked me to do something, I refused. They thought I was merely being disobedient; this sometimes led to being spanked. My behavior was not changing much and my parents grew worried that it might be something more than me being defiant. My mother grew suspicious that I wasn’t able to hear her. One afternoon my mother decided to test me to see if in fact I was having a hard time hearing.

With my back turned towards her she asked me, “Jesse, do you want some ice cream?”

Ice cream was, and still is, (anything with sugar for that matter) my achilles heel.

With no response she approached me a few steps at a time until she was within steps behind me. She then knew it was for my lack of being able to hear her that I did not listen to her when she called on me.

Turns out, both ears were defective.

Through the years my mother worked hard to help me catch up with my speech: I had many more visits to the five by five room with awkward headphones repeating what they wanted me to repeat and raising my hand every time I heard obscure noises.

Adolescent years led to teen years and I started planning what I wanted to do with my life after I graduated.  At seventeen I was determined to go into law enforcement and be a police officer.  I attended college and graduated with a degree in Crime, Law and Justice.  I had applied to local law enforcement agencies and was to have a choice between two police municipalities.  All I had left to pass was a simple physical.

I was newly married with a newborn on the way when I received the letter I had been waiting for since I was seventeen.  To be offered a job as a police officer.  Instead of a job offer, the letter from the department was asking to remove myself from the application process because my hearing was not good enough.

I was not good enough because of my hearing.

Squeezing the letter in my hand I filled with anger and bitterness. Completely shattered and broken, I fell onto the bed.  Staring up at the ceiling, tears streaming down, my vision becomes impaired as it turns into a mosaic picture.

My wife comes in and she knows. The pain is running down my face.

Helpless to offer words that can change what is, she hugs me.

Anger, frustration, disappointment and more anger was all I felt.  I directed all those emotions in daggers straight towards God.  I blamed Him for making me the way I was.  I blamed Him for giving me “the desires of my heart” yet physically restricted.  I felt as though I had wasted four years of my life in college working for something I could never achieve.  I was exasperated at knowing there was no amount of work and drive to reverse or change this reality.

Eight years have passed and painful wounds still linger. The one question I ask repeatedly is this, “God, why have you made me the way I am and for what purpose?” I wonder what lies before me or will it merely be a reflection of the past covered in pain and disappointment.

I don’t know what the future holds. I’m not sure what will even happen tomorrow. But I know God has a plan for me and I have to put myself out there. To go to a place where I’m uncomfortable and uncertain. I desperately want answers to all of these questions–but I don’t have them.

So in the meantime, I’ll just hold on to these words.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11.