Tag Archives: grace

Clumsy Girls Need Grace

This post also appeared on My Big Jesus!

Hubby and I always talk about things we hope get passed down to our kids, and things we hope skip right over them. For instance, I had years of braces, but Hubby has naturally straight teeth. Guess which one of those I hope my kids get? Most of those things we talk about won’t manifest until a little later (a couple more years, at least!), but there’s one thing I’ve already seen in my daughter that she got from me…

Her clumsiness.

That actually would be a good royal name for her. More applesauce, Your Clumsiness?

At least once a day, I hear her cry out from across the house. I know nothing major has gone down, because it’s been so frequent that I can pretty much tell you what’s happened. She has stubbed her toe. Almost every single time. Or maybe she dropped something on it, or stumbled off of her plastic, high-heeled princess shoes, or hit her elbow on a doorframe. You know – the usual.

Part of me totally understands. It’s truly frustrating to trip over nothing and have bruises up and down your legs you don’t really remember getting. It’s a pain (ha ha, right?) to bump knees and elbows and toes on everything that sticks out one millimeter. It stinks to be a little less coordinated than the average (already uncoordinated) three-year-old. But the rest of me knows I have one job: teaching her that every little bump or bruise (or thing that doesn’t go her way) can’t be a big deal.

That’s where I’m a fault. Sometimes, I’m the one who makes a giant deal out of a spill, or a crash of something breakable. I’m the one who shouts in pain when I stub my toe – or like this morning, when I hit my knee getting in the car, and exclaimed, “Ouch! I think I broke my leg!” I hit it pretty hard, okay?!

It just isn’t practical to make a huge deal out of a stubbed toe. Or spilled milk. Or a bruised elbow. These things are going to happen, and she and I both need a lesson in patience and shrugging things off. We sometimes bring out the worst in each other, making big deals of things we shouldn’t. But it’s a learning process. I’m hoping to teach her to let it go earlier than I learned – because I’m obviously still working on it even now.

I know that what we need is grace. We need a reminder that we aren’t perfect, we will never be perfect, and it’s okay that way. If we were perfect, we wouldn’t need the love and blood of a Savior to redeem our imperfections. Because we screw up, we react poorly, and then we feel guilt about it, we are human. And humans need Jesus to cover their sins and screw ups with amazing grace. A lesson in grace for my clumsy girl is also a lesson in grace for me.

He Will Come Through

This post also appeared on My Big Jesus!

 After a particularly difficult day with my three-year-old (that wasn’t helped by a fussy one-and-a-half-year-old who thinks it’s time to learn how to throw a proper tantrum), it was finally bedtime, and I was exhausted. I could tell the kids had had enough of me, and I had had enough of them. I hate those days that I haven’t done my best. I wasn’t the best mom to them. I didn’t use the kindest words or have the most patience – or honestly, much patience at all. The fun things I planned seemed to go awry almost immediately. Meals I prepared weren’t liked. The way I tried to fix problems didn’t work. Everything just… sucked.

After my son was down in his crib, I went into my daughter’s room. I said, “You know that I love you, right?” Head nods… with a smile, even! “You know that even when I’m angry or I’m sad, I still love you?” More nodding and smiling… then a jump into my arms.

Y’all, I couldn’t buy that forgiveness. I couldn’t buy that redemption from my difficult, beloved daughter at the end of a crappy day. I melted, tears dripping into her hair, thankful beyond words for the most perfect example of “forgive and forget”. She reminded me that though I fail, I’m still her mama, and she still wants and needs my love.

Just like her forgiveness, I also needed forgiveness for a failed day. My sin was so heavy, weighing on my mind and my heart, and my guilt was even worse. I needed a forgiving Father to smile and nod and tell me He still loved me, too. I hit my knees at the end of that day, begging Him to drag me out of the rut I couldn’t get out of on my own, begging for a reset of my attitude. He comes through, y’all. If you let Him, He comes through. It’s not easy, and often, it’s not pretty. But He comes through.

Potty Training Is Hard.

This post also appeared on My Big Jesus!

I guess the title sorta gives this one away, huh?

I’m not saying anything that tons of parents haven’t said before. The idea that potty training is hard is not new. But for some reason, it really hit home how hard it was when I had my first poop-in-big-girl-panties experience. And then the second.

  
Gross, am I right? Bleaching the underwear, making sure nothing ended up on the floor, trying to firmly scold without shaming said potty trainer… those things are all important. That last one most of all. I feel like I’m stuck in a lame cycle of “Mommy’s so proud you used the potty!” and “We’ll try harder next time.” when what I really want to do is shout, at the top of my lungs, “YOU JUST WENT – WHY DIDN’T YOU POOP THEN?!”

Okay fine. I’ve shouted it. This morning at 8:00am, I shouted it.

I don’t want to shame my daughter. I don’t want to scare her into using the potty. I’d like to her use it for a good reason, like it’s less messy, or it’s more fun (no, that isn’t a stretch). I want to help her do the right thing, whether it’s use that porcelain throne or not bite her brother (I mean, does he taste good or something!?), because she knows to make the right choice, not because she’s scared of what I’ll say or do.

We’re in a season of pushing limits, repeating what I say (THAT is scary, if you’re not a parenting of a talking child yet.) and coming into her own. I’ve learned I have to clean up my mouth, watch my actions, and not project bad feelings onto my kids. She asks if I’m sad or mad when she can tell I’m not happy. And sometimes, I don’t want her to have that feeling put onto her. Sometimes, I don’t really need her to know I’m totally fed up at cleaning her messes when I know good and well she’s able to tell me when she needs to go (she told me once on a farm and used a Port-A-John, for goodness sake). I don’t want her to think I’m disappointed in her.

As for right now, stuck in potty training hell and knowing I’ve got two more rounds to go, I’m trying to set a good example. Not just for the practical side, but also the emotional side. I want to respond to unfavorable situations positively. I want to be an example of grace as I help her correct her mistakes. I want to (figuratively and literally) clean up the mess, and try harder next time. We both need a little grace to be the best we can be.

Looking for Patience and Grace

This post appeared on MyBigJesus.com

I’m constantly reminding myself to chill out. I’m always noticing a pan that didn’t get washed well enough, or seeing that J’s third shirt (of the morning) is dirty, or remembering something I forgot to do, or… you get the point. I immediately want to freak out at these things. My life is full of messes I can’t clean up and accidents I can’t prevent. O ye of little patience, I am your leader.

Being a parent, a wife, a human, is a lesson in patience for me. Being a teacher for six years was as well. I’m all about some deep breathing, counting to ten, and clasping my hands very tightly in my lap. Patience is the biggest thing for which I’m constantly asking God. Sure, I say it different ways: “Help me get through this traffic without succumbing to my Atlanta-bred road rage!” or “Help me not to yell at EK for spilling the sunflower seeds all over the floor because I know she didn’t mean to.” I come by it honestly; I can be high-strung and short-tempered (just like my parents – sorry, Mom and Dad). Hubby is a saint for putting up with me. But I don’t want my kids to grow up afraid of me because I lurch quickly into frustration. I don’t want them to have memories of me flying off the handle over small stuff. But how exactly do I extend the patience and grace that have been extended to me?

Hubby is a wonderful example for me in patience.  When I said he’s a saint, I was serious. He is able to absorb my craziness and let it go. He shows me endless support, patience and grace for my quick temper and my OCD nature. I see his patience with the kids and with me, and I know I can try harder to give others (okay fine, my kids) a little more grace.

I don’t have it perfected yet by any means, but I start by repairing my thought life. Toxic thoughts just multiply unless I change them. Changing the way I think changes the way I react. Changing the way I react changes how I feel. Often, if I have no patience in a situation, I notice it immediately, and then I get angry with myself for having no patience! It’s a vicious cycle if left alone. However, if I can wait, change the way I’m thinking – extend a little grace and a little patience – it makes all the difference in the world. When I feel like I have no patience or grace to give, I sit back for a moment, and draw from the boundless stores we’re blessed with every moment of every day.

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A Tool for the Gospel

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This keyboard is a tool (a darn good one at that). I use it to make music, to provide accompaniment or melody. As a worship leader, I am also a tool, to be used to lead those around me into worship, into the throne room, into the presence of my God. Sometimes I feel like a broken tool, hurt or jaded or so very needy that I could never lead others. Who am I to stand up there, an exhausted and sometimes frustrated mama who makes an embarrassing amount of mistakes, a too-busy friend, a distant stranger, and usher those sweet seekers of grace to the place of self-abandoning worship of the Most High? Who am I to hammer out the chords, sing someone else’s words, and put my heart out there, when others are surely more worthy?

But I guess that’s the beauty of it. Flawed people do great things. Everyone has a little work to do to further the Kingdom. Moses tried to tell the Lord that he wasn’t good enough. In Exodus, when God called Moses to set His people free, Moses said, “Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh to bring my people out of Egypt? What if they ask me questions I can’t answer? What if they don’t believe me? ”  God simply says that He has the answers, He will provide the proof… “I will be with you.” Moses will be the tool God uses to do the work, the freedom work, the work for His Kingdom.

If He can do that, then Jesus can take my half-asleep-on-Sunday-morning self, who is insecure about her abilities and worrying about what people may think, and help me let go. He can take my meager gifts and turn them into something beautiful. He takes my simple singing and playing, and touches someone’s heart. Even on a morning that I feel unrehearsed, rushed, hoarse, and hectic, someone will tell me that they felt His spirit, that they were spoken to. If just one someone grows closer to Him, I know that He has used me for His good. What better purpose is there for a person – a woman, a wife, a mother, a friend – to have than to bring forth the Gospel? To bless others? To lead my precious brothers and sisters to adoration at His feet?

And who is changed? Me. I am most affected by His use of me. I am the one who is blessed by blessing others, who grows closer to Him each time I play a note or open my mouth to sing. I am growing and changing and marveling at His love. From there, I can spread that incredible, mind-boggling love to others.

We All Need Some Grace

This article (here) just blew my mind.

10 Promises for Parents. Gospel promises. Gospel promises to mend your aching heart and give you hope. Hope that you aren’t totally screwing it up. Hope that you can keep on moving forward.

On the heels of a particularly horrific afternoon/evening (which coincidentally followed a truly lovely morning) these Scriptures brought tears to my eyes, conviction to my heart and healing  to my soul. There is grace for the anger. There is grace for the tiredness. There is grace for the sadness. There is grace for the mistakes. There is grace for every possible situation in which you find yourself.

Specifically, this verse spoke to me: A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. (Proverbs 15:1)

How much did I need to hear that?! I have a headstrong toddler. I don’t mean just a toddler. I mean a headstrong, outspoken, defiant, my-way-or-the-highway toddler. She comes by it honest (I’m from a family of just such people) so I can’t hold it against her. But I am butting heads with her over so many things I can barely keep up. Choose my battles, you say? I’m choosing, but she isn’t. I have to keep her safe, clean, fed, watered, and rested. Often, I keep feeling like I have to choose between those because she refuses to give in.

So I needed this reminder of grace. I needed to be reminded that my messy evenings of torturous bedtime routines that drag out for hours can be redeemed. I needed a reminder to speak softly, because my harsh words are thrown back at me from the mouth of my babe. She can be pushy because I can be pushy. She’s loud because I’m loud. Sometimes it’s funny – imagine a rousing rendition of “Let It Go” – but sometimes it’s awful. I needed a reminder that this little one just needs love. She needs patience and grace and love. I realize I’m human and I’m short on all of those things, but there is a fountain of them, flowing out onto me and through me. It’s my job as a mommy (not to mention as a wife!) to channel the flow of patience and grace and love onto my inexplicably wailing, exhausted (and exhausting) two-year-old. Even when I don’t know what to do, there is Someone for me to call on. And God, I’m calling on you. I need that grace, that patience, and that love. I need it desperately, for myself, and for my family. And praise the Lord, it’s coming.