Grace for the Moments
It was the end of the fall semester and my husband was in the throes of finals. He went to work, studied, and wrote papers. The 4 year old was arguing with her 2-year-old brother. Again. The baby was crying. Again. It was time to make supper and all day I had heard arguing from my children, and yelling from me. To top off the day, the 3-week-old baby was going through a growth spurt and needed to eat much more frequently. I remember this particular day well because shortly after a stressful Skype call with my Mom, she called me on the phone and said, “Why don’t you let me take the two older kids for the weekend? It looks like you could use a break.”
I may have started crying on the spot.
That weekend without the 2 older kids was just what I needed. I remember talking to God about how I had just been trying to stay afloat. I was miserable. I was speaking with such unkindness towards my kids. I remember asking God to show me a way to help me focus on my children’s hearts, not just on their behavior. The reality was, we had a 4 year old, a 2 year old, and a newborn, and I needed to put some structures in place so I didn’t lose it on my kids day in and day out.
As I listened to God remind me that He cared much more about the state of my heart and the hearts my children, an idea began to form. After a quick trip to the craft store, I made something we could hang on our wall that helped our children think about their hearts. It was a wonderful tool that worked well in our family for about a year. It was something that helped me, a busy mom of 3 kids, remember that any discipline or correction I gave the kids needed to be and should be focused on the truth of the Gospel, not just on their behavior. And it gave the kids a tangible way to think about how they were acting towards others as well as loving others as Jesus did.
I’ve been reading the book Glimpses of Grace by Gloria Furman, and one particular paragraph reminded me so much of that particular day. After Gloria brought home her third child (For those of you pregnant with your 3rd, I hope we aren’t scaring you off!), she hit a wall and cried out to the Lord for help. I love what she says here:
“Maybe you feel like your life is suffocating you. Perhaps you don’t have sleepless nights or a gassy baby who needs you, but maybe your circumstances dictate how you feel and how you relate to God. You’re trapped in an endless cycle, and you can’t see any way out. You’ve prayed about it, and you deeply regret that you don’t meet God’s standard of holiness in the midst of your circumstances.”
Is this you? Do you feel like you don’t meet God’s standard of holiness? This was me five years ago, before I read Graced-Based Parenting by Tim Kimmel. Had I hit this life phase before I understood God’s concept of Grace, I would have probably lost it. Knowing my personality I would have freaked out, written myself off as a hated child of God, and then worked really hard to manipulate my circumstances to be just as I wanted them to be.
But now my understanding of the Gospel and the Grace that covers everything has set me free. I can experience days like that this and still find myself running into the arms of Jesus for true comfort and peace. After a long night of a teething toddler, I thank God that my eternal home is not here, but in heaven with Him. I can thank God each day that I get to live a life with Him NOW, and not just in when I pass on from this life.
Written by Julie Masson
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