Grace Upon Grace
But He said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me.
2 Corinthians 12:9
So in that case, this is a boasting post. Boasting on my weaknesses as a mother and rejoicing in the fact that because of Christ I am made strong in my weaknesses.
Let's get it straight, I am not a horrible mama bear, the bear part just comes out TOO much sometimes and it's directed (frustratingly) at my daughter. I know your kids shouldn't have the power to push your buttons or depict your mood, but like I said, it's one of my weaknesses.
And last week, that weakness shown through big time. I punished out of anger, I yelled, and I threw my own tantrum while hers was going on. BUT I'm the adult and the example, and I wasn't being either one with my actions. (No matter how sassy or disrespectful she was.)
I apologized to her for my actions and it became a huge teaching moment for the both of us. I told her I should have not done that and I was sorry for my actions. I told her that I need Jesus to help me, just as much as I tell her to pray for help and guidance.
I told her (and she heard my loud voice while I did it) that I had to retreat to pray and that is how I was able to come out more calmly to talk to her. I also explained that I'll never be perfect but I will do better at being an example for her. To be more like Jesus.
This whole episode reminded me of a story from 5 1/2 years ago. We had lost everything in a fire and we were living in a trailer on my husband's aunts front yard. My daughter, at 3 years old, was trying to get her sheets made and wrinkle free on her bed. The bed that was now an old futon, in a used trailer, in the busy trafficked living room. I explained to her that there was no such thing as a perfect, wrinkl—free sheet, and that she needed to let that notion go. This frustrated her and she exploded, then I exploded, and it wasn't a pretty scene.
Venting to my mother in law later that day brought me revelation of the whole scene. She paused after my story and said, "As an adult you are having a hard time processing and navigating what just happened, and so is she."
And that has stayed with me since. And although it’s something God reminded me of recently, I will never forget that moment.
There I was trying to tell my 3 year old to “let it go” when she was just trying to navigate the trauma she just went through as well. Her controlling the sheets was her way of normalcy. Her way of holding onto something physical when everything around her had slipped away and was chaotic. She was organizing what she could, even though it wasn’t working. (Isn’t that a life lesson for us all)
I blew up on her when instead I should have shown her GRACE. I should’ve put my feelings aside, grabbed her, held her, told her she was seen and heard, and that everything was going to be ok. I should’ve told her I understood but that, that wasn’t the way to express ourselves.
Fast forward to present time. We have all dealt with 2020, and not much has changed in 2021. The trauma of the pandemic is still here. Have we actually dealt with it? Or are we still trying to navigate our way through? I believe it’s the latter.
Have we had melt downs and blow ups in our household since that sheet day? Absolutely, yes. Do I show my daughter grace every time? Absolutely, not. But recently I have been more open and apologetic than I have ever been before.
Just because the whole planet went through the same trauma, it doesn’t negate the fact that we all dealt, and are dealing with it differently.
Our kids miss school, they miss their friends, their teachers, the long drop off line, and pizza Fridays. And I bet they also miss seeing their mama outside of pajamas too. (No shame, I’m still in pjs as I type.)
This is what I remind myself with when my daughter acts up now. She, again, has had her world flipped upside down for the second time. At 8 years old she doesn’t know how to fully express her emotions of the whole thing. I mean, can you? Can I? Can we honestly sit here and explain every emotion, fear, triumph, obstacle in a calm manner? Then why do we expect our kids to?
When they talk back, slam doors, cry out- we as their parents (with the help of Jesus) must pause and reflect. Why are they acting this way? Too much time inside? Not have connection with family or friends? Tough time with online or homeschool?
It’s up to us to recognize the signs of them needing grace and also if they are acting out just to push your buttons because it happens too. But here I am talking about the times conviction sets in and you KNOW your kid needs grace.
Recently my daughter has said, “Mom, I just need a hug.” That’s her way of saying, “I don’t know what’s happening but I just need you.”
Grace is also meant for you too, friend. None of us know how to do this motherhood thing perfectly and we aren’t meant to. We are meant to do our best with what we have. Give yourself permission to feel, to ponder and reflect, to pray, to let go, to free yourself from guilt and shame as a mother. You, my friend, are the perfect parent for YOUR kid. Because God doesn’t make mistakes.
And remember that if there’s been too much yelling, too much frustration, or too much screen time... let it all go because you’re doing the best you can with what you have.
And trust that there will be more chances to “get it right” so let go and let God work through you and for you.
Take a deep breathe next time, see what’s happening in front of you, retreat to pray, and come back with the lens of grace on. This practice will-take practice! I know it’s still hard for me even after all these years. But once that grace is given, to your kids and yourself, the whole atmosphere changes in your home.
Those grace lenses work, and they are oh so worth it.