Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Please Pass the Grace!

Oh the irony of it!  I headed for the back door to tell my boys that they could stay outside and play for the afternoon, instead of coming in for a rest, because they were playing so nicely.  As I opened the back door I saw my 8 year old, adorned with a grumpy face, holding his shoulder and claiming that Luke hurt him.  "He kicked me!  He did it on purpose!"  Luke, dragging his feet behind Jaden replied, "No I didn't."  I began to ask Luke what happened and if it was an accident.  Jaden interrupted me and fussed, "He did do it on purpose!" not even giving Luke a chance to explain.  "Okay!"  "In the house and up to your room for naps; if you can't play nicely or extend any grace to one another, you don't get to stay up!"  And that was that. 

After everyone had washed their hands and was in bed, I laughed a bit.  Just a bit.  Ten minutes earlier we were all outside and it was delightful!  My girls were running through the yard, jumping on the swing, jumping off, and running to the other end of the yard giggling away.  My boys had been working in their construction site (a.k.a. large sandbox turned into large dirt box complete with a boy-made 2.5 ft quarry in it).  They were so cute working together.  At one point Jaden said to Luke, "Luke you are such a great pal for helping me out!"  My mama's heart was full and smiling.  Ahh, but this smile doesn't always last...for kids will be kids. 

I still don't know if Luke kicked or hit Jaden on purpose; or if it was a careless accident; or if it was on purpose--but instigated.  I probably will never know because frankly I don't feel like digging it back up after they nap (or lie awake on their beds for the 45 min. that I require of them).  I can't always get to the bottom of every squabble or tiff.  Moreover, I don't always have the best answer or strategy when these situations arise.  I don't always know what to do and I don't often have time to deliberate.  And it's likely that I react wrongly or inappropriately from time to time.  But, there is grace!  I am given grace from God because He surely knows that parenting is tough work.  This isn't my second go at having an 8 year old and a 5 year old boy.  They didn't come with complete play by play instructions.  I am learning as I go.  So are you!  So, thankfully we have a God who offers us His grace over and over and over. 

Not only am I thankful for that grace, but I choose to offer it to my children daily.  Yes, there will still be consequences, direct and implied, but I will offer grace.  They are imperfect children just as I am a very imperfect mom living in an imperfect world.  That's the imperfect beauty of it.  So, today there won't be any rehashing of what went down in the backyard.  There will just be grace.  There will be a second, third, and fourth chance to try and work out disagreements.  Surely, they will fail again.  But just as surely, they will learn and succeed at working out their problems with one another.  Just as I receive God's grace...just as they receive my grace...eventually they will extend grace to one another.  They will.

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