I could write a week’s worth of posts from this weekend. I could write about how precious and irresistably my kids were on Sunday. I could write about the hysterical time I had a girlfriend’s 40th birthday party at a trampoline place Saturday night. But I’m going to write about Saturday and hope you don’t judge me that my kids drink coffee on the weekends (it’s very milk-ed down, but that’s our thing on weekends since they picked it up from their grandfather).
Saturday morning was going swimmingly. We had finished breakfast and were headed outside to enjoy our coffee on the back porch until the eldest melted down because he was missing daddy. Little bit, the baby and I went outside while he lay prostrate inside having a fit. Once he got over it, he went to get his “S” coffee cup when I heard a loud shatter. I ran inside and there was his mug shattered on the ground with coffeemilk all around. I took a deep breath and said give grace to this little one who is having a hard morning. I got it cleaned up, gave him a fresh cup, and we went outside to play.
As we were playing, the baby said, “I need sandals.” Turns out, this is true. We don’t have any sandals that fit them because it’s JANUARY and normally people don’t need sandals in January. So we got dressed and headed out to the Payless next to the Target to pick up sandals before grocery shopping. In we went, we’d hit a sale, and the eldest and the little lady each picked out their pair. The baby didn’t like them, so he said, “I don’t want sandals!” Calmly, I told him that was fine, bought the other two each a pair, and encouraged him to walk next door with me to Target to see if he could find a pair he liked. He wouldn’t budge and reiterated he didn’t want sandals. So I said, “Fine, you’re the one that we went on this trip for, but if you don’t want any, you can wear your sneakers.” And off we went to the grocery story. On the way home, the baby says, “I want sandals!” To which I replied, “Sorry charlie, the ship has sailed on that one. You don’t get sandals. I gave you two options and you said no, so you’re out of luck.” That did not go over well. The baby was still sulking while I started unloading the groceries. When I got back out to the car there was a split open gallon of milk lying on my driveway with all the milk draining down the drive. The eldest looked at it guiltily while the baby offered up, “He was trying to get the umbrella out of the car.” Nevermind that it wasn’t raining so there was no emergent need for an umbrella. I have to tell you, there was less grace offered to him with the spilled milk gallon than there was with the shattered coffee mug. I actually spoke “grace” aloud under my breath in order to try to get my emotions in check.
The thing is, the milk carton on its own would probably have annoyed me, but it wouldn’t have resulted in yelling. But the milk carton on top of the tantrum on top of the coffee mug on top of the defiance and indecision was the straw that broke this momma camel’s back. I was actually telling myself the response was out of whack with the accidental crime, but still I responded without an ounce of grace. I quickly got myself back in check and told him I knew it was an accident but that he had to be careful because that milk cost mommy money.
I think because that’s how I parent, I think that’s how God must parent. FYI, it’s not. I think that if I had just done one stupid thing, then God would probably give me some grace, but because I did ten stupid things He is probably plum out of grace. Or He’d rather use the grace on a more worthy recipient. Someone a little brighter than Gindi who just had one more accident or made one more bad decision. God, oh thank heavens, does not parent like me. God does not have a limited supply of grace offered per person. This is not to say that you should run around making bad choices because you know God offers grace. Absolutely not. But the reality is, even those of us walking in faith, make mistakes. Every single week. And sometimes our human conceptions of God are skewed. For example, I didn’t eat well last week so I didn’t go to my Weight Watchers meeting because I didn’t want the woman running the scales to see I’d gained weight. Silly girl. I’d still gained weight. Not going probably just compounded the problem. It’s how we end up so far from God. We think we’ve screwed up, and He’s running low on grace, so we take a few steps back. Those few steps turn into miles over time.
If you’ve back-talked, broken glasses, or spilled milk lately, then let me remind you God has plenty of grace left in the reserve. He’s a much better parent than I am. Don’t run away for fear of getting yelled at. He’s a God of limitless grace.
II Corinthians 9:8, 14 – And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work….And in their prayers for you their hearts will go out to you, because of the surpassing grace God has given you. Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!
II Corinthians 12:9 – But he [the Lord] 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.
Hebrews 4:15 – For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.
James 4:6 – But he gives us more grace.