Wednesday, April 1, 2015

When Grace Flows Down


 It was a hard Saturday.
There was an issue with the Eldest.
More specifically, with her room. 
Or rather all the stuff in her room that manages, in a very short time period, to unearth itself from where her parents have shown her to put it and to migrate to some other location that's not GPS accessible.
Her room is rough.

She couldn't find her soccer jersey.
Or her shorts.
And all the places where those items should be kept did not contain those items.
And all the other possible and impossible locations did not contain those items either.


I am a master at finding lost things.  (ALL mamas are master lost-thing finders. Amen?!)
And I was worried. And that worry quickly translated to frustration because in the process of looking for her uniform, I found a plethora of other things in unapproved locations.
(Read: Her room was a hot mess.)

So I let her know I was frustrated in a very loud and frustrated way. 
Perhaps not one of my finer mama moments, but there was no doubt as to my message and we have had versions 1.0, 2.0, and 3.0 of this conversation in the last several weeks so I felt my message needed to be communicated in a way she really couldn't misunderstand.

She was to stay in her room and clean it. Every inch, every drawer, every surface.
I removed my frustrated self from her room and up to my room so I could breathe.

She cried. 

And while I was practicing my breathing, I had a grace epiphany.
And I'm finding these grace epiphanies happen not because my children need grace, 
though they do, but because I desperately need grace, and when I need it most is when I'm having a not-so-fine-need-to-practice-my-breathing mama moment.
And this was definitely one of those moments.

I needed to have a moment with the Eldest and make this a different kind of lesson where perhaps there could be a different, more graceful, message that maybe would settle in her deep.
And one which would settle deep in my heart.

The Eldest came upstairs, cheeks splotchy, eyes puffy.
"Mama, I'm sorry for my room."
Her voice hitched on the last word and her eyes welled up again.

I held her and breathed Holy Spirit words that weren't my words because when they left my mouth,
I realized they were meant for me, too.

"Sweet girl, I love you. I am frustrated with what you did. With how you've been keeping your room. I am not frustrated with who you are. I love who you are and I know sometimes my frustration is not always nice and it might seem like I'm frustrated with who you are."
I laid my hand on her heart, really maybe it was my own heart, too.
"I love who you are. I'm frustrated with what you do. I always love you. Does that make sense?"

She nodded her head, sighed, and spent a great majority of the day purging her room.
And doing it with a joyful heart.

And I even helped.

And those words settled in, are still settling in, somewhere deep in me, too. 
I admit that I sometimes show great impatience with the Eldest.
And I start to see her through the lens of my frustration and my impatience.
I lose sight of who she is and 
that who she is cannot be the sum of what she does.
 I lose sight of what she needs because of who she is.

We are not what we do.
Oh sure, sometimes who we are dictates our choices and our words.
Sometimes what we do can determine what we become. 
But who we are, our identity, our core, our value, our worth, 
is not determined by the things we do.

God's love for me is not based on what I've done, what I'll do.
It's because of what He did.
It's because He calls me His Beloved.
He calls the Eldest His Beloved.
He calls you His Beloved.

As in He's in love with us.
And He wants us to BE LOVED.
That doesn't change.
Ever.

If His love for me was based on my behavior, I'd be sunk. I'd be lost and sad and hopeless.

I'm a child of the King and sadly, I don't always act like one.
The Eldest is a child of the King and I don't always parent her like one.
Many days I parent her according to what she does. Or doesn't do.
And instead of consistently parenting her in a way that reflects who she is and what she needs,
I'm reactive and not responsive. 
And it doesn't' mean I'm not disciplining her actions, but it means that my discipline must also nurture her soul because what's discipline without care, without thought, without nurture?
It's just rules and regulations. Legalism without grace.
She is so much more than what she does.
We all are.

When that Holy Spirit breath moved out of me, I saw my own actions, my own doings, my own rebellions, and how far off the mark I so often am. And how grateful I am God grants me grace after grace and doesn't give me what I deserve.

How often my actions or my words are the very opposite of who I am, of who He says I am.
And God still doesn't treat me according to what I might deserve.
He disciplines. Which means I might have consequences.
But He keeps covering me with grace.
He keeps loving me.
He keeps me.

Parenting children is all about grace.
How often I seem to forget that. Forget grace.
How different my Saturday might have been if I'd not been moved by a moment. 
Our day was transformed because it was moved by grace and not anger, grace instead of frustration.
My heart was moved because I gave up my parenting agenda in lieu of a much greater one.

 Because He offers me grace, I could offer her grace
And all that Holy Spirit grace carried me right up in rolling rivers of it.

Grace Always Rises,
Jamie

Hey there, I'm linked up today with some lovely ladies: Holley Gerth at Coffee for your Heartand Jennifer Dukes Lee at #TellHisStory.

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