Grace. Defined as “the unmerited favor of God toward man.” It’s the good we get that we don’t deserve. Oh, how we need grace. It’s something I’m always begging God for more of, and I’m so thankful that it’s something He never runs out of. I’m counting on heaping helpings of that grace to get me through this summer with all these kiddos and all the big changes that are coming this fall.
I am thankful for GRACE.
One of my kiddos had a pretty bad day. Well, pretty much it’s been A BUNCH of bad days piggybacked on top of each other. And I’ve had to discipline a lot. Like a LOT LOT. And it left me feeling discouraged and sour and like the World’s Meanest Mommy. But Saturday morning, I stretched my my arms open, and this child crawled up into my lap.
I whispered, “I love you,”
and they said, “I love you too.”
And I said, “Do you know I love you even when I get onto you?”
“And do you know WHY I get onto you?”
They replied, “because you love me and so I can learn from my mistakes and do better next time.”
Deep sigh. Big squeeze. Tiny tears from mama’s eyes that I tried to hide in their hair as I held them tighter. Ok, maybe not the ACTUAL meanest mommy in the WHOLE world. Thankful to my loving father who gives me the grace I need to be a mama to so many. And the unique grace He gives me to be the exact mama that each ONE CHILD needs at that moment. God, give me the grace to extend that grace to others, especially my children.
~ for my flyswatter. Anybody else dealing with 834,267,559 flies?
~ for our cardinal family. I’ve been captivated by watching their nest and the comings and goings of the parents. Now there’s a baby bird out of the nest, not yet strong enough to fly. It hides itself all around our yard and the neighbors’, and the Mama and Daddy cardinals tirelessly tend to it and bring it food. So far our benevolent neighbors have not called the cops on me for climbing my ladder and constantly peering over their fence with my telescopic camera lens.
~ for the community of prayer warriors who rise up around a need. If you follow me on social media, you likely saw my urgent prayer request for our beloved nurse Kelly and her infant son, Lucas. He has been battling rhabdoid tumors for several months and just recently has started experiencing a decline of appetite and increased pain. A CT this week indicated a new tumor. And y’all hit your knees. Kelly was thankful to report that the mass was not attached to his brain, and that the insertion of an NG tube should provide a nutritional boost to increase Lucas‘s strength as he continues his brave fight. How I wish there was no cancer for him to fight, but today we have the grace to praise God for every piece of encouraging news! You can follow Lucas’ journey on Caringbridge.
~ It’s been a big week for our oldest daughter. Monday Josh, Carson Grace, and I drove to Marshall, TX for New Student Orientation at East Texas Baptist University (ETBU). It’s such a beautifully manicured campus, and all the staff and other students and families were so friendly. After the first general welcome session, all students and parents headed to meet with the heads of the major they had chosen, for Carson Grace, that was Communications. She hasn’t been sure what exactly she’d want to do in that field, but she has some interests and strengths in those areas, so it seemed like a good place to start. Next was a meeting with the department heads for whatever you want to minor in: Music/Worship Arts. Carson Grace was eager to meet with these professors and discuss the choirs and worship team. The head of the Worship Arts department begin to ask lots of specific, pointed questions: “So why are you here?“ “What are you passionate about?” After just a few of her responses, he said… “I don’t know, but you sound like a music major to me!” That was such an unexpected, abrupt shift that caught all of us unaware. But when he asked her, “Do you like music? Or do you LOVE music? For me…” he said, “I’m interested in a lot of things, but music is what gets me out of bed in the morning. It’s what makes me tick.” And her eyes filled with tears as she said, “ I love it. It’s the only thing I’ve ever wanted to do.”
And that was that. She’s a music major! Thank you God for the grace to take a step out in faith.
~ also this week, Carson Grace had her very first job interview. After about 25 minutes, she walked out with the job!
~ not only that, Carson Grace, our sweet girl, our Princess Peanut, turned 18. I swear, yesterday she was a baby. A bitsy, blue-eyed baby, sucking her thumb behind a pink crocheted blanket. A tiny, sassy toddler shaking her thing to the Wiggles “Pony Song.” We’ve ridden the predictably unpredictable hormone roller coaster, cried happy tears and tears of frustration, and learned the hard way how to communicate. Josh says she’s just like me: sometimes that’s a compliment, and sometimes it’s most assuredly NOT. But as I look at her as a young adult, a young woman, my heart is bursting with so much pride and so much hope for her future that it genuinely feels like pain.
Grace was my grandmother. My dad‘s mom. She was a farmer, a school bus driver, 4-H leader, and a world traveler. She knew how to cook and sew and her house was cozy and neat as a pin.
I pretty much grew up at her house, at her kitchen table, in her garden, and in her basement. I spent all my time with her when I was little bitty, but when I grew older, I spent time with her by choice. I would ride my bicycle 3 miles down the treacherously steep loose gravel road that led from our family farm to her house in the valley. I loved to be at Grandma’s house. I played “olden days,” dressing up in her old furs and hats from the 50s and the reading the old primers she had saved from when my dad was a little boy. I waded and fished in the creeks around her house. We watched deer and birds and squirrels from her windows, and watched the trees explode into color on the bluffs that rose up around her on every side. She was feminine, but not girlie, and I never remember seeing her wear a drop of makeup. She loved me unconditionally and was my biggest fan and supporter through every endeavor. I loved my Grandma. And even though I never expected to have a daughter, when I found out that my second baby was going to be a girl, it was a given that I would name her Grace. Josh and I traveled from Texas back to Minnesota about once a year to visit early in our marriage, and each time it was more heartbreaking to see Grandma’s health decline as Parkinson’s Disease robbed her of her physical strength and independence. She passed away when Carson Grace was 6. But I will always treasure the memories I have of her, and I love sharing them with my kids. I know she would have gotten such a kick out of my crazy oversized Tribe, and they all would have loved her just like I did. And I’m so proud that my first-born daughter bears the name of such a special lady, one who lived up to the definition of the word.
Let’s love lavishly and extend extra measures of grace this week! Everybody else needs it just as much as you do.
Thanks for giving thanks with me.
“in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.” Ephesians 2:7-9
“Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” Hebrews 4:16