Thursday, October 2, 2014


Last Thursday morning I boarded a plane and headed west to San Francisco and Sonoma for a long weekend with some of my best girl friends.  The weekend was like a dream.  In fact, when I began to describe it to my husband, he made the comment, "Sounds like you got a small glimpse of what eternity is going to be like."

The house we rented was on a beautiful piece of land nestled right against the mountains of northern California. The property held a garden with just about every herb, fruit and vegetable you could think of and we were told we could eat whatever we liked from the garden as long as we left some of the next renters. There were lime trees in the front yard, a big pool with a stone water slide and a large hot tub.  The home itself had two large shaded decks with plenty of seating to relax and enjoy the crisp fall weather.

I laughed more in those four days than I think I have in years. I rested. Really and truly rested. I slept uninterrupted with no children climbing into my bed, no feet in my face. I was able to sit in the quiet of my own thoughts and really reflect without interruption or the stresses of every day life parading in.  I experienced a peacefulness that I haven't felt in a very long time.

But fast forward to Monday morning after my return home and I have to be completely honest, this week has been a huge struggle for me. Levi's whining has seemed magnified, the house messes have seemed like mountains rather than small hills..  The cold and flu season is returning and it seems like we're surrounded by runny noses and germs galore.

I've been fighting the urge to wallow in self pity and ungratefulness. I've returned to "real life" but I haven't been able to snap back to reality and do so with a joyful heart. Haven't been able to find my place or to do my part well for my family. I've yelled at the kids more times than I can count and in general I just feel like one giant failure of a mom and wife. To put it plainly, I feel very graceless.

2 Corinthians 12:9 has come to my mind over and over. "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in your weakness."  But again, I have to be honest... this verse has always been a struggle for me to really grasp and understand.  I mutter it under my breathe because it's the Christian "thing to do".  Because reciting this verse is what believers are "suppose" to do at our low points.

So this week I've asked myself, what does mean for me on the days or weeks when I can't seem to find grace for myself? For my babies?  My husband? It's easy for me to muster up the grace for myself and my family on weeks when things are going "well".

When I'm on vacation and I've got plenty of time to rest and experience the beauty of nature without the demands of real life.

When I'm home and the kids are extra helpful around the house and the messes aren't piling up faster than I can clean them.

When everyone is healthy and happy and it's sunny outside and the birds are chirping and...well, you get the idea.

This morning at MOPS during our discussion group one of the moms made the comment, "THIS is what God's grace is for."  Such a simple statement but yet it really brought this verse home to me.  Jesus is most glorified in my bad mommy moments when I just give those moments up to Him. On the days when I can't find the strength to fight one more battle.  To wipe one more runny nose.  For the days when I feel like I've just totally blown it as a mom and a wife. It is then that I need the Lord's grace to find my way back.  To ask my kids for forgiveness.

And, it is through those moments of really seeking out God's grace that my kids see Jesus most in me. Because I'm able to confess that I am imperfect and it is only because of Him that I can find the strength to keep going.

Monday morning, my first morning back after vacation, we were running late to get Mack to school. I sped there praying that I wouldn't have to wait at the back door of the empty playground waiting for someone to let me into the school at their mercy. And of course, as I'm pulling into my parking spot outside of the school, a cop pulls up behind me and the lights go on.  Thankfully, after a strong scolding, the police officer showed me some grace.  But I couldn't seem to find any grace for myself.  I sat in the car after rushing Mackenzie into her classroom and I just sobbed.  The ugly messy cry. Less than a day back and I already felt like I screwed up.  Like I couldn't pull myself together to get my kid to school on time and I probably could have run another kid over with my recklessness.

That afternoon when Mackenzie asked me if I got a ticket, I was able to use the police officer's act of grace for me as a teaching moment for her.  "Mommy made a mistake, but the nice police officer showed me grace."

And I think that's what God does for me-- for us-- on a daily basis.  We snap at the kids and we beat ourselves up.  We think we've blown it again.  And maybe we have. Or maybe we're overreacting. But regardless, we are at the mercy of God's grace daily.  And thankfully, He gives it freely.  And I'm so grateful for that.

I don't show myself much grace.  This week has been a true reminder of that. And being a momma would be a heck of a lot harder if I didn't have Jesus constantly looking out for me and pouring out the grace where I fail to give it.

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