When Giving Your Kids Grace Feels Impossible

Remember when your kids were just a growing bump in your carefree world? You already love them so much, that you can't imagine a time when they wouldn't feel like the most wonderful thing in your world.

Then they come, and they scream and poop and grow up to throw defiant tantrums and wake you up at 5:00 am on Saturdays. Those kids that you love with all your heart and would sacrifice your life for manage to strip you of all your ability to give grace for their daily difficulties.

Why is it so hard to give them grace when we love them so much?

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When a Capable Person becomes an Incapable Mom

I've always been capable. I got A's in school. I succeeded in college. It's true, I couldn't do sports, so I just avoided them at all costs. Instead I did the things I knew I could succeed at, like academics, leadership, and drama.  

I was always a capable Christian. I'm not saying that I didn't accept God's grace and I based my whole life on works. I knew I was sinful and needed God's forgiveness. I knew I needed grace for my failings. I knew deeply the need for God's saving grace. It was his sustaining grace I didn't understand. Because I was generally capable to do the daily tasks God set before me, I didn't lean on him as the provider of everything I needed for life and godliness.

Then I became a mom. Motherhood did not come naturally to me. Suddenly I was no longer capable of simply completing the task set before me. And there was no avoiding this job. There was no accepting failure and finding another route. I couldn't send my baby back until I was better prepared for him. No, I needed grace to sustain me through every long moment of every overwhelming day. 

I've been back in the Gospels lately. Not particularly because it is Lent season, but because I felt a tugging to go back and read about Jesus again with the my new unsupermommy perspective. I quickly reached the Beatitudes in Mark 5, and I've been stuck there for a while because they're just so new again.

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." Matthew 5:3

I knew I was sinful and need of grace before motherhood, but I don't think I had ever experienced true spiritual neediness. I didn't know what it was like to start my day with nothing in my tank to give. I didn't know physical, spiritual, and emotional emptiness until motherhood took me far deeper than my personal capabilities. But Jesus looks upon that kind of lack as blessed. It's the opportunity to receive the kingdom of God anew. 

When I reached the end of my emotional, physical, and spiritual rope, I landed at the foot of the cross. There I found a renewal of saving grace and his endless sustaining grace. I offered the emptiness of my poor spirit and received the fullness of Christ and I would never go back to being capable again.

If the pieces of your life have fallen apart in the work of motherhood, let Jesus bind up your poor spirit and fill you up with his sustaining grace. Grace upon grace. More than enough for today, tomorrow, and forever. 

How I survived 3 babies in 3 years

I had 3 babies in just shy of 3 years. People often ask me how I did it. Here's my secret:

I didn't do it.

On my own I couldn't even make it 5 minutes. I simply wasn't patient enough, strong enough, rested enough, gracious enough, or loving enough.

I wasn't enough for the task God gave me, which was exactly his plan. Because he is abundantly enough, and he equipped me with enough grace for every overwhelming moment of every exhausting day. All I had to do was simply rely on him.

Reliance is the result of relationship. If you feel today that you simply aren't enough for the job you've been given, stop trying. Draw near to God, and be equipped with so much more than just enough.

Let your inability become the means to receiving God's all-sufficiency.