It happened again this morning. That moment when you are trying to get everyone out the door on time, but you feel like you are stuck in quick sand. It requires everything in you just to take a few breaths and calm down before you snap. Once everyone is loaded in the car, you know the dust will settle. But for now, you’re drowning under the overwhelming pressure of a toddler running around in her underwear and a fussy baby crawling after you, demanding to be held. The goal of getting into the car is drifting further and further away.
You see, I was always (and still am) considered graceful. I was raised in the dancing world, majored in dance, danced professionally, and now I teach dance. You can usually pick out dancers by how they walk, stand, or move their arms. My husband always teases me about how I throw and catch a football. While my spiral is pretty decent, I always throw in arabesque and catch in passe`.
If only this were the type of graceful I’m talking about. I’d be set! Being graceful in the sense of physical grace and elegance, comes naturally to me. However, in this season of my life, I struggle with being graceFULL. Being so full of grace that I pour over onto those around me. That when my toddler wants to run around in her underwear because she thinks it’s funny, I allow her a few extra minutes, that I laugh with her and tell her how silly she is. And then I remind her if she wants to leave soon she needs more than just underwear. Or that when my baby is crawling after me, whiny and crying to be held, I remember that she’s teething, that she’s tired and while we might have somewhere we need to be, she doesn’t understand why her Momma won’t let her take a nap in her crib.
This type of grace appears in a millisecond before you implode or explode. It reminds you that your husband is a decent human being who loves you, and despite his seemingly hurtful action, he is not out to get you. He doesn’t want to make you cry. He is an amazing man of God who just got home from work and has no idea how stressful your day has been.
It’s what reminds you that your friend was not purposely trying to cut you out when you didn’t get an invite to a play date. This kind of grace reminds you that, even if they forgot your birthday, your Facebook event, or forget to call you back, you have no idea what your friend is going through at home. It helps you trust the foundation of your friendship and give them the benefit of the doubt.
What triggers rob me of grace? BUSYNESS and COMPARISON.
I am a schedule-type girl. I love having a plan and executing it flawlessly. However, the more people I involve in my plan, the more likely it will get altered. Alterations stress me out. I don’t know why, it just does. (I’m working on it). So when I’m afraid we might be late and my expectations for the day start to fade or need to be more flexible, my stress levels go through the roof. Good-bye millisecond for grace, hello angry mom who lashes out at anyone near her.
And as someone who loves to write, I also love to read. But these days I don’t have time for books. Instead, I read blogs…mom blogs…or mom posts on Facebook and Instagram. I know social media paints life differently than it really is. BUT, sometimes I can’t help but feel like I’m the only one who doesn’t have it together because I don’t do educational games and crafts all morning long with my toddler. While playing stimulating developmental activities with my baby. While cleaning and organizing the house. While prepping dinner and folding laundry. While saving the planet and cultivating world peace.
Let’s face it, we’re all in different stages of survival mode and that’s ok. What helps me center my thoughts back on my own family and off of comparison? Grace. Grace for ME. Knowing that I’m doing the best that I can. That in order to be the best Mommy to my girls, I might look a little different than other moms. And that it’s fine if my days vary. That, today, everyone might be in a great mood and we spend all day outside exploring bugs, flowers and rainbows. But, tomorrow, no one is in a great mood and there needs to be a television break to regroup. Who cares what Mommy Do-Good is up to today. Maybe her kids watched TV yesterday…
If “from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace” (John1:14-16), who are we to deny grace for our children? Our friends? Our husbands? Ourselves??
Let us all commit to practicing grace this week. And there’s no better time than during Thanksgiving week, when we are being challenged to consciously focus on the blessings around us. I’m not sure what that looks like to you, but for me, this means I have to purposefully wake up before my girls (the baby is a terrible sleeper so this is very hard for me at the moment…but no more excuses!). I need to splash water on my face, sit by myself, and have some alone time. I will meditate on God’s Word so His fullness becomes my fullness, and then I can pour grace and love on my girls throughout the day, instead of frustration and anger. I can greet my husband when he comes home with joy that is not based on my current circumstances or on the events of that day.
Today I choose to be graceFULL. Will you join me?
Lord, bless this busyness ~ Jenn
***A little back story: I first started meditating on the idea of extending grace towards OURSELVES when my toddler was eighteen months old and going through a very difficult developmental transition. I had just started my health and wellness business and won some money to spend on some swag from a team challenge. I found a shirt that says “surviving motherhood on grace and Plexus.” To me, this shirt holds so much truth and has challenged how I attack the day. If I could buy seven of them, one for every day of the week, I would!
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