I sit here in the quiet of the morning, my coffee steaming beside me – too hot to drink. The only sounds are the soft whirring of the baby monitor and the cars out on the road; increasing in frequency as people begin making their way to work. I’m feeling very nostalgic this morning, every little moment causes me to remember that day. The day that my life changed dramatically – that my whole world shifted a little – that day that my way of life would be no more… the day I met someone very special. There’s something about our relationship that’s difficult to explain. There is a greater love than I had ever really known, but it’s a different love. It’s natural. I didn’t have to work to love this person, or even choose to actually. It was pure instinct to love fiercely and unconditionally. This person that I met four years ago today was my firstborn daughter.
Becoming a mom was an exciting and scary milestone for me. But, I knew it would be great! (And it has been!) What I didn’t realize was just how hard it would be. I gave of myself throughout my pregnancy as my baby grew, and I gave all I had to give to bring her into this world. But.. that turned out to be only a tiny taste of what giving myself for my children every day feels like. Some days, it doesn’t feel very good at all. And of course, there are many moments that are so sweet, wonderful, and exciting that I am reminded that it’s all worth it.
However, there is a much deeper reason for which I celebrate today. I celebrate my daughter(s) for how God has used them as daily teaching tools of grace. They are my grace stimulators. He has allowed all sorts of other avenues to show me His grace, but none have been quite so in-my-face ALL OF THE TIME! You see, if I really want to walk in grace, and model that grace to my kids, it takes constant dependence on Christ for His strength and wisdom. There is no taking a break from grace. Because that is when my ugly flesh rears its head. And flesh has no right to interfere with my relationship with my kids, my husband, or anyone else!!
Don’t get me wrong. I am not blaming my kids for making my life harder, therefore showing my need for more grace. Quite the contrary! They have made my life better, fuller, more satisfying, more joy-filled, and richer in every way. My point here is that motherhood has stretched me in unimaginable ways, and I have learned (ok, I’m still learning..) that it is impossible to raise these kids well on my own abilities.
The beauty of grace is that it is the same for everyone in every walk of life. Look at the Apostle Paul. It [obviously] didn’t require parenthood for him to come to such a deep understanding of grace. It was being saved out of a life of rules and hatred that taught Paul the richness of walking with Jesus. And God had a very specific, very public, very difficult (from our viewpoint) plan to show the world how grace works, as it did for Paul.
So, what about you? What is God using in your life to teach you more about His grace? What is it that is stimulating your growth in grace? Are you paying attention to these lessons? Or have you been selective in where you allow grace to penetrate your life? Selective grace won’t do you any favors. Be all in today, and watch God work His goodness, faithfulness, and love into every crevice of your life.
Paul witnessed an overflow of grace from a prison cell, in the midst of perilous voyages, and in the beautiful growth of a fruitful ministry. I am seeing that same grace at work as I raise my children. Perhaps you can relate to my story… or not. Either way, let the Teacher’s tools be effective in you. Rather than seeing them as frustrations (as I have done many times), look at them as they really are – a gift.
Enjoy your gift today, and grow in the wonderful knowledge and experience of grace in you. It’s going to be a great day!