Grace for This Toddler
Wednesday morning was a struggle. I had a cold and an intense sinus headache that was going nowhere. Layla pitched a fit when she had to get out of the bath and was currently watching Curious George in just her diaper so I could get changed and get things together for us to leave to do some errands. She screamed and protested as I got her dressed, but seemed to perk up as we headed out the door.
“Okay, this is going to be fun,” I thought “we just need to get out of the house for a bit.”
When we got to the library we just dropped our books off outside (we didn’t have a lot of time and this wasn’t our usual library), but it PISSED her off. She was a screaming, flopping mess as I tried to buckle her in her carseat.
My head was pounding. I felt like screaming back at her.
Exhale. Inhale. I turned on the radio and found the Christian station. I’ve been trying to listen to more Christian music. I don’t like it as much as my usual country tunes, but it’s good for my soul.
“Dear God give me patience,” I prayed.
So I tried to chat with the screaming she-devil in the backseat. I playfully asked her where her nose was and what sound a lion makes. I only got screams or the occasional angry stare.
“I wonder if this is how mothers of teenagers feel,” I muttered as we pulled into the park.
Grace, grace, grace.
“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”
Let me tell you I felt weak that day. I felt at the end of my rope as my headache seared, the toddler fussed, and a wave of headache induced naseau passed over me.
I felt weak and embarrassed at the store when my daughter started crying and doing “the flop” at the register because she couldn’t get her snack right away.
But God sent the grace: the grace for me to recognize that a rough morning is only a rough morning not a rough life. The grace of patience met me in my sickly, fleshly state when I wanted to snap at my child. Grace supplied the wisdom to see instead of the fun outing I’d planned we needed to get home for food and nap ASAP.
I think the one overwhelming thing parenting has taught me is that I am weak and in desperate need of God’s grace.
I hear that from a lot of moms too. In the prayer requests for wisdom in child rearing. In concern over grown children far from the Lord. In the anxious waiting for a child not yet in their arms. In the early days of no-sleep and round the clock care. In the juggle of job and family life—the guilt of not being there taxed with the need to provide.
I hear it from the other places too. From single friends dealing with loneliness and the overwhelming search for “the one”. I hear it in the “what now?” from a spouse left behind while their supposed life-long partner is out “finding themself” someplace other than home.
We are all in the same boat, sinking without the powerful arms of His grace wrapping around us.
And I’m glad (for once) I didn’t try to power-through on my own strength. I called out and He answered me. She didn’t stop screaming and my head didn’t stop pounding, but a sense of calm and sympathy for my raging daughter came into my heart where frustration had previously lodged.
We came home, ate the quickest, easiest lunch I could think of (aka pizza quesadilla and a banana) and took naps. Yes, mama too. Part of me felt bad for walking away from a mess to the comfort of my bed, but mostly I felt grateful, for the grace of a nap in a cool room on a soft bed after a hard morning, and for a child, who even on her most rotten of days, sleeps well.
How has God shown His grace to you this week?
Wow, this is so good. I know that God has shown His grace to me in so many ways this week, but I was particularly thinking of just how God has given me opportunities to love other people, given me strength to get through each day even when my mind and my body said, ‘NO!’ and blessed my relationships in my family with growth, something I can only attribute to His amazing grace.
Beautiful, Emily! There is so much goodness if we just take time to notice.
Great post. Yes we all need a bit of grace, especially with toddlers.
What grade do you teach again? I’m sure teenagers need SO much grace too. Or just working with kids in general. Or some adults. Or all the people. Ha! Some days it makes me want to be a cow farmer. 😉