Unfolding Grace

closetBy Megan Greiner

I sat at my computer screen, staring. Password? it asked, and I typed in the same password that I always type in. Or at least I thought I did, but it said it was incorrect. The more I thought about it, the more trouble I was having remembering my password, so I couldn’t log into my account. Finally, I clicked on the “Need Help?” icon to, well, get some help. And a screen comes up, saying yes! They would love to help me. But in order to help me, I needed to enter my password.

UGH.

How did we ever survive before the internet?

In reality, though, sometimes being a Mama can feel like that to me. Like, yes, I NEED HELP! But this? No, this isn’t helping.  You know that feeling? I need a better way to discipline, because yelling sure isn’t cutting it. I need a better way to probe the heart of my child, because getting “I don’t know” is doing nothing. I need to be more patient, but these toys all over the floor and this milk on the counter and these dishes in the sink are about to make me snap. I need to take advantage of those teachable moments, but sometimes I’m more caught up in myself to remember. Like I need some sort of message or sign, because this doing it on my own is for the birds.

“Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without his unfolding grace.” 2 Corinthians 4:16 MSG

Ah, THERE’S my message. There’s my help. Did you catch that? Not a day goes by. Not a day goes by that God doesn’t pour out His grace on me. Were you impatient? (So was I.)  Here’s grace for you. Did you mess up? (Umm, me, too.) More grace, just for you! You yelled at your kids? (Don’t we all?) Still MORE grace. Not a day goes by!

Being a Mama is TOUGH work. (I can picture you nodding your head up and down.) It’s hard, sometimes it’s thankless and demanding and exhausting and full of challenges. And that’s all before noon. There are endless tasks, and constant attention is needed. I have three children that I love fiercely, but at the end of the day, I oftentimes want to lock myself in a closet with some sweet tea and close my eyes and hear nothing but silence.

And that’s on a good day. I won’t tell you what I long to do on a bad day, but it may or may not involve many cartons of Graeter’s ice cream.

But most often, those “bad” days are when I’m relying on me to get through the day. When I rely on God to help me in my weakness, I have the energy and the patience to tuck my kids in bed, read a bedtime story…..get one more swallow of water….and kiss my kids goodnight. (And maybe avoid that closet altogether.) And when I hear their sweet voices chime back “love you, Mom!” I breathe in the full grace of God. I know that it was His grace that allowed me to get through this day, and it is a blessing straight from Him that I get to live these days, be home with my kids, teach them and love them and yes, learn to be patient with them.

Carolyn Mahaney in her book “Feminine Appeal” says this:

“Because mothering requires constant sacrifice, the temptations to resentment, complaining, and self-pity are always close at hand. But such selfishness will quickly sap the strength of our love for our children.”

Oh, isn’t that so true? No one sees selfishness rear its ugly head quite like a Mama. You need a toy from that shelf right now? But I’m reading a book. Ok, not really, because who has time to read when children are awake? Not me. But I just sat down to enjoy my delicious glass of sweet tea. (You’ve detected a problem, too? It’s just a little habit.) You want a bedtime story? But I’m SO tired. Selfishness as a Mama comes in all sorts of shapes and sizes, and it is so easy to start to feel resentful and want to complain about the task that God has so graciously given to us.

I often wonder what my life will be like when my kids are older and I don’t have the constant demands that I do today. Sometimes I’m envious of the friend that can sleep until ten or the couple that can trot off to the movies whenever they want because they don’t have children. But God gently reminds me that these precious little ones are placed in my care for a very short time and it is up to me to enjoy them, to love them, to nurture them, for this season. I don’t want to waste this time! (I remind myself of the season when I will get to sleep until ten. I don’t know when that season is, but it gets me through.)

If you are in a weary season, I am praying for you right now, that you would gain strength as you seek to glorify God in your mothering. These days will be gone so soon, but the legacy of a loving, godly mother will remain. And if you aren’t in a weary season, I would encourage you to help another Mama who is! This could be as simple as a word of encouragement to the Mom with the screaming kids in the grocery store, or a note dropped in the mail to one of your favorite mom friends.

When you are feeling like you aren’t up for the challenge, that you just make mistake after mistake and can’t seem to catch a break, remind yourself that God’s grace is sufficient for you.

Girlfriend, God’s grace and sweet tea can get you through the roughest of days.

What’s your biggest challenge as a Mama? I’d love to hear from you! You can leave a comment here or email me at meganjgreiner@gmail.com . And you are always welcome to leave a comment on my ramblings – www.megangreiner.typepad.com

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3 Comments to “Unfolding Grace”

  1. Emily Shaw says:

    Thank you for this post. This is my first time on WOG and this is by far what I needed to hear. I am a first time mother of twenty-two month old twin girls in the midst of potty training and I feel like nothing but an absolute failure as a christian mother every Thank you for the redirection… His grace is sufficient! I will focus on that each time something goes awry:) Which yesterday was a lunch plate and three bowls of rice krispies on a newly mopped floor and one very strong willed upset little girl and today so far is multiple pairs of underwear:) … His grace IS sufficient!!

  2. Hi Emily! Thanks so much for commenting! I’m so glad that you read this on a day that you needed it, and can continue to remind yourself in those difficult moments that His grace is sufficient! I’m doing that today myself. 😉 Potty training is exhausting stuff! Praying for you today.

  3. Tracy S says:

    This is also my first time on WOG. Thank you for this post. It is a sweet reminder that reminder, as the kids are in the other room arguing over the spelling of pizza, that I CAN do this is His grace and strength. (and sweet tea) As for Emily, hang in there! You can do it! With twins it seems overwhelming at times. Just remember you are a little further today than yesterday. The bar gets raised every day.