I didn’t start this writing challenge with a list of topics or a plan. I simply felt that I could generate enough material in my own daily walk that I could easily fill 31 days with examples of God’s grace.
This spring my ladies’ bible study read 1 John together. 1 John 4:19 says that “we love because He first loved us.” I’ve read that verse many times before; however, for some reason this time it really stuck out to me. We do not love out of our own power, it is because God loved us first that we are able to love others. Jesus’ command to “love your neighbor as yourself” is utterly impossible without being fueled by Jesus’ perfect love.
Why do I bring this up? Well, I failed miserably this morning.
As we were getting ready to leave the house and meet our friends at the Zoo I imploded… over a stroller and some toys. It’s rather silly when I think back on it now, but in the moment I was enraged.
Luke, in typical 3 year old fashion, didn’t want to put on his shoes to leave. He simply wanted to throw things around the mudroom and thwart Matthew’s ability to put on his own shoes. I began loading things in to the van while reminding Luke to put on his shoes, which only made matters worse. Now Luke was worried that I was leaving without him, which caused him to cry inconsolably making him unable to put on his shoes.
Joshua then started crying because Luke was so upset. Amidst all of the crying I went to grab the stroller and put it into the van. I found it hiding behind our Burley trailer, covered in a dirty pile of outdoor toys, skateboards and helmets. After moving the Burley off of one piece of the stroller and moving a pot of transplants from another piece of the stroller, I had a break down.
Instead of simply putting away the toys and moving the sports equipment, I cried and yelled. Allan tried to console me and give me a hug, but I wouldn’t let it work. I wanted so desperately to plead my case and be mad instead of submitting to him and accepting his heartfelt love. Eventually I was able to pull it together and Allan helped me get everyone in the car.
In that moment I was desperately trying to love my kids with my own power (getting everything ready to go to the Zoo and ignoring the crying) when I really should have been connecting with Luke and showing him grace so that he could get ready to go.
I wish that I could say that I earnestly prayed for forgiveness on the way to the Zoo, but instead I sat and listened to Matthew talk about how he wished his best friend, who started kindergarten this year, would be joining us. My heart broke for him, because I know that our choice to homeschool will lead us down paths that will separate him from certain desires. However, I know that this choice will also lead us to places that will monumentally enrich and enliven his life.
When we got home from the Zoo this afternoon and everyone was settled for nap and quiet time, I did what I do best. I baked. Tonight after dinner we’ll have pumpkin snack bars and if they are good, I will share the recipe with you tomorrow.
I want to get better at the transitions in life. When things aren’t going exactly as planned or I feel wronged by a family member, I want to be the person who can give my family grace. I want to be the person who relaxes into a warm embrace, instead of getting more upset. I want to love my family because Jesus first loved me.
So, that’s what we will be exploring this month. Will you join me? Let’s pursue Jesus’ love so earnestly that we can’t help but show abounding grace to those around us!