This is Day 7 of my 31 Days of Grace series for #Write31Days.
Sometime s Lots of times Most of the time I don’t show much grace to other people. I wasn’t shown a lot of grace when I was growing up, and the tendency to not give grace (as in showing mercy) to other people is probably my biggest struggle.
A couple of weeks ago the kids and I were getting ready to go to C’s science co-op. I really wanted to be on time since we were a few minutes late the week before, so we needed to leave the house in 15 minutes to be on time. I had to finish getting dressed and I told the kids, who were still in their pajamas, to go upstairs and get their clothes on. I put on my makeup then yelled for C and M to come downstairs so I could brush their hair and teeth. After waiting about 30 seconds and getting no answer, I ran upstairs, at this time beginning to panic over the time.
I found the kids, still in their pajamas, playing at the train table.
I lost it.
“What are you doing?” I yelled. “You’re supposed to be dressed. I told you to get dressed. We have to leave RIGHT NOW!”
The kids looked at me with wide eyes. “We were just playing,” Charlie said.
“I needed you to get yourselves dressed,” I whined. (Seriously, I was whining to my 3 and 5 year olds by this time.)
I threw clothes on the kids, not caring that they didn’t match, then rushed them down the stairs and into my bathroom. I brushed their teeth and left their hair like it was.
“Get your shoes on and go on to the car,” I said as I threw some snacks and drinks into their book bags.
I walked into the laundry room with my arms full of our things, and Charlie was waiting there for me, his Converse sitting on the floor next to him.
I said,” We don’t have time to put those on you. Just slip on your Crocs.”
He loves those Converse, seriously loves them. They have flames going up the sides, and they were hand-me-downs from his cousin who he adores, which makes him love them even more. The thing is, they take FOREVER to put on him.
He started begging, “Please, Mama! I want to wear them. I don’t want to wear my Crocs!”
“Charlie,” I said in a not-too-nice tone of voice, “You didn’t go upstairs and get dressed like you were supposed to. Now we don’t have time to put those on. Put on the Crocs and get out to the car right now.” I’m pretty sure I actually hissed the last words at him.
So we dragged ourselves out to the car, everyone’s morning pretty much ruined. As I buckled Charlie in, he began to cry.
I stood there, ashamed of myself. Yes, the kids had not gone upstairs and put on their clothes like I had asked them, but my handling of the situation had lacked patience, kindness, and grace. It had been awhile since I had allowed myself to act like this, and I didn’t like it. I took a deep breath, my eyes filling with tears of disappointment that I was acting like the exact person I try hardest not to be.
“Guys, we’re not doing too good, are we?” I asked.
They both looked down and shook their heads no.
“Let’s start over, okay?” I said.
“Okay,” they both agreed, Charlie sniffling.
“Let’s say a prayer, alright? While I pray, will you guys be praying for me?”
“Yes,” they answered, closing their eyes.
I leaned through the open car door to put my hand on Charlie’s knee and prayed, “Lord, we just thank you for this day and for each other. Please be with us right now. Help us to show only love towards each other. Help me, Lord.”
So we began our day again, much happier and appreciative.
We were 10 minutes late, along with half of the other students and their moms. Even our leader walked in after us. As we walked in with the other late-comers, us moms just looked at each other, giving half-smiles and shaking our heads at each other, understanding how much grace it takes to be in this season in our lives.
One thing about grace: when we don’t have it, Jesus does. He is just waiting to pour it out on us.
And he gives grace generously. As the Scriptures say,
“God opposes the proud
but gives grace to the humble.”