GRACE: Give more than you hope to received

In my mind I see the person I want to be.  The person I believe God wants me to be.  The person I am (at heart).  In reality that person is displayed a totally different way than I would like.  That person makes mistakes, says things that are spiritually inappropriate, thinks sinful thoughts, yells, cusses occasionally unexpectedly, and needs forgiveness almost every hour of the day. Gosh!  That person is in between holiness and worldly.  That person needs GRACE!

As I returned to the office reflecting on my recent encounter the usual guilt had began to sink.  The guilt I always feel after saying whatever comes to my mind. Only in this instance it’s more of what I didn’t do or say.  I only mouthed off words of annoyance that were not in ear shot but the eyes could read that it was not the nicest thing being said.  This particular time I walked off with no gesture of embrace but rather a very telling OK.  In the moment I feel righteous for being mean, a little rude, aggravated, annoyed. I mean I hadn’t done anything for anyone to be upset with me. I felt slighted because my innocent words were taken offensively.  I thought, here we go again. I then put up my walls and dismissed the other person’s feelings while adding to their annoyance by being short with them.   In those moments, I have no regard for the other person’s feelings or recent circumstances.  I feel justified that they were the ones that were upset with me for some reason I don’t even know.  I feel as if I am owed something by them.

I did it again. I took my eyes off Jesus and placed them on me, my feelings, and my situation. The funny thing is the matter wasn’t even that important to me. I could have chosen grace but instead I chose to make my feelings an idol.

But even after feeling righteous in my behavior, guilt often sinks in. I begin to feel guilty because I know that my reaction was not a righteous reaction; and even though i will be over the disregard of the other person they will more than likely sulk in their resentment towards me.  I should be the bigger person.  I can choose to respond with love and gentleness.  I can choose to exhibit the fruits of the spirit.

I’m disappointed in myself again.  I come to the realization that  I can do nothing without God. I find that I have once again chiseled away at a meaningful relationship for the price of increasing my pride. Pieces that can only be rebuilt with the chiseling away of my prideful nature.  My conviction reminds me that the same grace I need and am given in this very situation is the same grace I have to learn to give others.

20151206_152017.jpg

Ephesians 4:23

A Day!

todayA day. Another day.  A blessed day, but nonetheless a day.  A day of a toddler who doesn’t want to take a nap. A day of a 1 month old infant who seems weary but won’t sleep.  A day of an overwhelmed mom thinking on a couple weeks earlier as she came home and her husband asked “Where is my snowball”.  That day a couple weeks earlier when she was leaving as he was coming home.  That day when she, with two energetic kids and an infant, had to escape the house that had her feeling dreary.  I imagine it was a day like today, a day when the infant who survives based off the total care and love of that mother would not go to sleep.  A day like today, where the clothes are half folded on the sofa some still in the basket.  A day where the cabinet doors are all open because the mother just didn’t have time as she scurried to eat a meal for the first time that day (12pm).  A day where she felt guilty for taking a nap after returning from dropping off another car that needed to be repaired.  A day where she had to take calls to ensure her laptop works for work (while off on maternity leave).  A day where her mind raced.  A day where she felt slightly guilty that her toddler may be a little bored, where she felt responsible for playing and interacting with her on top of everything else she needed to do. A day where she had no idea what to cook or what the others would eat when they returned.  A day when she dreaded that 12 year old coming home looking for something to eat.  And more children running around the home looking for “something to do”.

She also thought on her pregnancy where people often commented how big she was getting, or how big her face was etc. Those comments now turn into scorns of her parenting with “she’s spoiled already” and “you got her like that”.  Comments that seem harmless but somehow leave an already overwhelmed mother striving for perfection feeling more like a failure.  When in reality that baby just wants the same attention as that 12 year old who asks question after question for thing after thing, the same attention as the four year old who wants to play baseball as the mother processes her feelings through words or wants to read just as that mother’s eyes are struggling to stay open; that infant wants the same attention as the joyful 8 year old who tells joke after joke and continually asks bible trivia questions that the mother doesn’t know. Lol.  The same attention as the four year old who is currently banging the metal baseball bat on the ground as the infant naps in her rocker outside (because she wouldn’t stop crying so mother brought her out to hear the rain plunder the carport). The same attention as that husband who mistakes the mother’s overwhelmed demeanor as distance or anger.

Through all this, tomorrow will be better.  Tomorrow will be full of inner smiles and pride of these children, this overwhelming job that never ceases to stop needing the attention, love and comfort of that mother.

Today.  Monday, August 17, 2015.