My husband is awesome. He sends me an encouraging e-mail response to every.single.post I write. His email to me after Kids in the Kitchen added the question, “Are you going to mention how annoying it is to have to be patient while you teach them?”
He’s right. I get annoyed with my precious children. I get annoyed when they ask questions, jump ahead in the instructions or miss important steps and overlook details. I also get annoyed when they don’t ask questions, lag behind the instructions, or pay too much attention to details. Really, they can’t win. It can go either way. Anything can annoy me.
And it is not limited to the kitchen. I get annoyed when I am training them in their chores. I get angry while homeschooling. I even get frustrated during bedtime prayers, Sunday morning worship, and during Bible class at school.
I know I am training eternal beings. I know how we go about our day is as important as what fills our day. But all the “eternal perspective” in the world doesn’t ultimately change the sinfulness of my heart.
From within, out of the heart of [a mommy], come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person. Mark 7:20-23.
I really like it better when I am examining someone else with that verse. The reality is, there is a lot of evil that comes from within this mama.
One of my closest friends became one of my closest friends as a result of the evil in my heart spilling out. Several families formed a carpool for our kids who all went to the same preschool. Shannon and her family lived across the hall from our family, so she stopped by our apartment to see if my son was ready to head out.
Before she could knock, she heard my voice shouting, “This is the door” (then I pounded on the door for emphasis) “THAT is the window! I said ‘Stand by the DOOR!’ Door! Window! Door! Window! Now will you PLEASE stand by the DOOR!”
Our apartment wasn’t huge. We’re talking about a difference of six feet, maybe. Granted, at the window he would be behind the door when it swung open, but still… my desire to be ready on time became an idol. Out of my heart came rage at a three year old who was essentially standing on the wrong strand of carpet. There was no excuse for my rage. It was not one of my finer mommy moments.
As Shannon stood in the hallway outside our closed door, she had a choice to make. She could pretend she didn’t hear anything. She could shame me for my sin. Or she could knock quietly, look me squarely in the eye, and tell me we all have rough mornings and she’d love to talk when she got back from taking the kids.
Would you “love to talk” to someone like that?
Our friendship went to a new level that day. My heart was exposed in all its ugliness. Her heart ached for, related to, and comforted mine. She didn’t leave me to hide in my sin. She didn’t judge me for it, either. She entered into my brokenness and offered grace.
It took courage for her to confront my sin with grace and to come alongside me and choose to be a part of my messy world. It took courage for my husband to ask me to tell you I get annoyed with my kids on a blog that supposed to be about cultivating grace.
But that’s just it. I am cultivating grace – planting seeds, watering, and harvesting. But I also have to weed, prune, eliminate pests, irrigate, train growth, repair damage, and wait for grace to ripen. I won’t pick the fruit of grace from our family tree until the growing season is over. Meanwhile, there is a lot of growing going on in our house.
The question becomes, will I leave my children to hide in their sin? Will I shame them for it? Or do I have the courage to meet my children where they are and walk alongside them in their messy world? Will I enter into their brokenness and offer grace?
By Jef Poskanzer (originally posted to Flickr as smash) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons