Somebody talked about “grace” at the convention this past weekend. It was a reminder I needed. Right away, God opened a door for me to share the reminder with another mom. I shared with relief, relief that I’m not the only one who needs to be reminded.
God extends His grace to us and desires that we extend grace to each other. When the lady cuts me off in traffic, He wants me to extend grace. When my son pees into a toy pot just for fun, God wants me to extend grace. When my daughter carelessly knocks over a cup of milk in the middle of pre-suppertime confusion, He wants me to offer grace. And when the check-out guy at Wal-Mart grunts out my grand total as he totally smashes my loaf of bread next to a can of soup, God wants me to extend grace.
When people around us absolutely do not deserve a kind response or a sweet smile, when the waiter doesn’t “deserve” a tip, when the mechanic carelessly puts a dent in our car, our gracious Savior longs to see us extend His grace. I believe God wants us to give other people the benefit of the doubt. He wants us to show mercy and love and treat them the way we desperately wish everyone would treat us. Even when we must deliver consequences or require restitution, God wants us to do so with graciousness.
I also believe God wants us to extend grace to ourselves. As a mom, it’s difficult to be gracious to myself. When I lose it with my kids or when I don’t get any items crossed off my to-do list, when I end up in my pajamas until mid-afternoon or when I let my children watch too many TV shows one day — God is not glorified if I beat myself up over these things. If I fall into a spirit of defeat and begin to feel like a failure as a mom, God is not honored. I believe God wants me to be gracious to myself, to grasp hold of the grace He extends. And then, He wants me to move forward in that grace and in the power of His Spirit within me.
Today, I’ve been exhausted and my stomach has been upset (probably from all the junk I consumed over the weekend). I have not accomplished much and I am tempted to be hard on myself for that. After all, we have a pretty big to-do list and a very important goal to meet. Instead, I’ve decided to speak to myself the same way I would speak to a close girlfriend in the same situation. I’m grasping hold of grace.