repent“Pent!” 22-month-old Dorothy squeals in delight. Chubby arms extended, she flings herself into my embrace.

Not two seconds later, her giggles still surfacing, she locks eyes with me. “Again?” she asks with anticipation.

“Again,” I affirm.

Her toddling legs carry her away from me. Back turned.

“I love you, Dorothy! Repent.”

And she literally does. She repents — or, as the word means, she turns around. Once again, she flies into my open arms.

To my four daughters, “Repent” is a fun game my husband Ted taught them; an activity he borrowed from singer and songwriter Andrew Peterson. Each girl takes her turn walking away from her papa (or, in this case, mommy), ears alert for his call. At the sound of his “I love you! Repent!” she turns around and runs into his waiting arms. Happy laughter echoes through the hallways of our home.

It’s a simple means of conveying to kids our Heavenly Father’s heart; a heart that beckons, “You can always come home to me. My grace never runs out.”

While it would be nice to leave you with this heart-warming picture of parenting at our house, here’s where confessions of a real-life mom come in.

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Ashleigh Slater is the author of the books, Team Us: The Unifying Power of Grace, Commitment, and Cooperation in Marriage and Braving Sorrow Together: The Transformative Power of Faith and Community When Life is Hard. She loves to combine the power of a good story with practical application to encourage and inspire readers.