Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Today I Gave Grace

In May I had planned on doing another round of May Mingle. I even had a few people tell me that they would be happy to do a guest blog for me. The months before and after flew by and I completely spaced it. My friend Katherine sent me her blog and when I couldn't open it on my phone, I decided to open it later on the computer. And that didn't happen until today. And honestly after reading her beautifully written blog, I can't help but wonder if the timing is perfect.

Katherine and I were "forced" friends. Our husbands have been best friends since childhood and so saying that we married into the relationship is a great way to word the start of our friendship. Over the years, Katherine and I have formed our own bond and I consider her one of my closest friends. It's an honor to share this blog that was on her heart.

Today I Gave Grace

Any mom knows the problems encountered by trying to teach their children responsibility.  You're all familiar with the nagging, begging, cajoling, and frustration associated with homework, chores, and just about anything else child-related. And let's not forget the shameful times that I've lost my temper with my children. Mentally raise your hands if you relate to this. Yep, thought so. I know I'm not the only one!

This day was another one of those days. It was a Saturday and I had my list of things to get done.  My two-year-old was busy undoing everything behind me that I had just accomplished. Silverware was on the floor, clothes were pulled out of the dresser and strewn on the floor, throw blankets had been pulled out of their baskets and trampled on, and couch cushions were in disarray. And the books! Oh, the books everywhere!!! Needless to say that my dishes and laundry chores were taking much longer to complete. I needed my boys to help and I had fun things on the list to do with the kids after we were all finished.

But my two boys, ages 7 and 9, had other ideas. They decided that it would be much more fun to turn room cleaning into an all day event. Something which they had perfected through much practice.  Somehow putting away a basket of laundry that I had already sorted and folded was akin to slave labor. Emptying the garbage can? Impossible without somehow spreading half of the trash all over the kitchen. That I had just swept and mopped. I kept hearing the sounds of harmonicas, toys, and other noises that distinctly indicated cleaning was not happening at anything resembling speed. Multiple check-ups on the boys to redirect, refocus, and attempt to motivate seemed fruitless. Finally after taking away several toys and privileges the boys found the motivation to complete their chores. I was beyond worn out and honestly wanted nothing more than to send them to bed. Some peace and quiet sounded like heaven! And surely the boys needed to contemplate their actions to learn from them. With my patience worn thin, my mother's heart was not sympathetic at this point.

Until my precious 9 year-old reminded me of something. At long last, with their room done, my children came to me to make their report.  My oldest asked somewhat sadly, “Mom, we probably don't deserve to play video games, do we?” And this is extremely hard for me. Beyond hard. I'm a justice person. I see things in black and white, right and wrong. I see the need for people to learn consequences of their actions. I'm all about teachable moments. Not kidding when I say that one of my fears is that my kids will grow up being irresponsible! So it comes without much guesswork that I didn't want to reward my children for the actions of the day.

But then I saw the correlation to my own life. How many times have we been given things by our loving heavenly Father that we don't deserve? How many times have we worn his patience by disobeying, and needing constant direction? How often has God had to remind me to stay on task, to trust him, to complete what we've been working on? But he still gives us grace, the gifts that we don't deserve. So I gathered my boys into my arms (something that's getting progressively harder as they insist on growing taller), and asked them if they knew what grace is. If they knew that God loves them unconditionally. We had a conversation about the amazing love of an awesome God. That love doesn't excuse disobedience and sometimes consequences cannot be negated. But that doesn't diminish the love.  That day my heart was softened and taught a lesson. And I got the privilege of passing on the blessing to my children. The timer was set and we played games together before tackling the next project on the list together.  My children do need to keep working on responsibility and work ethic. I need to learn consistency and patience. And we all need to learn more about the grace of God.

 Today, I gave grace. Something our Father always gives.
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