Tuesday, October 8, 2013

How Do You Do It?

I have been asked this question three times in the last twenty-four hours, and I've given three different answers.  However, the truth is that why and how I do it is all of grace.

You see, I've been the recipient of grace more times than I recount.  I received grace from my little sister when I repeatedly stole the spotlight.  I got grace from my momma when I wasn't willing to clean my room, fold my laundry, or do anything in a timely manner.  I found grace in the sight of my daddy when I came home late almost every single night.  I was given grace as a ten-year-old girl by my Lord and Savior when I begged Him to save me from my sins.  I found grace 14 months after I had miscarried our first child and held our first born son in my arms.  I am completely familiar with what grace is.

It is how I live each day being the mother of three small boys.  It is grace that gets me through our crazy breakfast routine which consists of making three different meals.  It is grace that reminds me that the messes they make are temporary.  It is grace that beckons me when I've reached my patience limit at only 9 o'clock.  It is grace that helps me tie every shoe, wipe every nose, change every diaper, clean every spill, correct every disobedient heart, prepare every specific meal, fight for every minute of nap time, spank for every sinful action, and wash every single load of laundry.  Grace is how I do it.

But, there are moments when, in my sin-filled, human heart, grace doesn't seem to be enough, and I throw my own little fits.  You see, I'm imperfect.  I don't always "grin and bear it."  I tend to play the part that I have it altogether, but I don't.  I'm as flawed as they come.  I once cried out to God to bless me with children, and now I'm blessed with three of them and still begging God for help.  I expected my children to be exactly as I had envisioned them...  obedient, quiet, clean, mild-mannered, and perfect.  I wanted their clothes to match, their mouths to be filled with kind words, their manners to be inherent, their hair to lay flat and always be brushed, their hearts to be full of love for those around them, and all of these other things that were dreams I thought needed to be fulfilled when I had each of them.

I learned quickly that my visions of perfection weren't going to come true.  Perfect isn't possible in this life, and yet I pushed it on each of our boys.  I push hard.  I cry.  I act like a child.  I yell.  I criticize.  And, when I finally have their attention and my own way, I realize how ridiculously sinful I have been.

It's through these precious boys that I have seen my sinful actions and faults, and I'm constantly running to my Father and begging for just a little bit more of HIS grace.  What I do isn't easy.  I don't always have it together.  I get really stressed and frustrated, and I usually take it out on my children.  But, I don't ever want them to think that grace isn't enough.  Because it is.  I'm learning that it's okay to apologize to a four-year-old for not trusting him (when I assumed he'd climbed the counter for another snack when he hadn't).  I'm seeing that it's necessary to ask my three-year-old for forgiveness when I've yelled a little too loudly.  I'm teaching my sixteen-month-old to say "sorry" by saying it to him when my frustration peaks at his need for being right under my feet.

If I don't teach these boys what grace is by showing it to them, I'm afraid they'll never know what God meant when He said, "My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9)."  Year from now, when they wonder how their mom did it, I want them to know the answer.  Grace, God's glorious, unmerited favor, freely given to me.

How do I do it, friends?  It's only by HIS grace...  and these sweet faces are worth it.

Post-bath crazy hair

Toasting their ice cream cups

Playing in baby brother's crib

Proudly wearing his mommy's Alaska shirt

Full bath of boys = Full heart for Mom

Cheesy grin

Mischievous smirk

Happy boy

Eating "curly" chips at Taco Bell

Smitten with Taco Bell's rice

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