Giving Myself Grace
“Which is harder, going from one kid to two or from two to three?” I asked my friends at my baby shower brunch on Saturday. We've made it a tradition to celebrate each baby that enters our circle, a sweet gesture as I anticipate the birth of my third: a baby girl!
This pregnancy has felt harder than the first two and longer somehow. I find myself comparing my three experiences and trying to make sense of it all; why do I feel so tired this time around? Why do I snap so easily? Why can’t I seem to get it all done like I used to before? And the logical answer is: Umm, because now I have two wild boys to care for. That’s what’s different about this pregnancy. It’s pretty simple, really.
But unfortunately that very obvious truth of “pregnant with two kids” hasn't changed the expectations I put on myself. I trudge through my days focusing on things that don’t really matter—listening to a critical voice in my head telling me that I’m failing because I can’t measure up to the image I've created of what a perfect woman-wife-mom should look like. And if I’m not making the cut as a mom of two, how on earth am I going to be a mom, a good mom, to three?
When I got home from my shower, I read through a stack of handwritten notes of encouragement from my friends. Every single one of them unknowingly told me the same thing: what every mom needs is grace.
“Accept God’s grace for you and go easy on yourself. Oh and the boys and Dave, too.”
“Lighten up, let some things go and don’t feel guilty about them.”
“Remember, we love you not your house, so when we bring you dinner, DO NOT CLEAN UP.”
They know me so well and their words were indeed a showering gift. I felt a freedom wash over me and penetrate the harsh, unrealistic standard to which I was trying to live up. In its place was a new expectation and hope: to let grace make space for what matters most.
Gracious God, thank you for loving us just as we are. Help us to accept your gift of grace and to extend it to those around us. Amen.
Written by Kendall Parkhurst
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