Wednesday, March 16, 2011

It is done.

He calls me from above, "Mama, I made a mistake!"

I blow a hard breath, slam the dish cloth down and run upstairs.  I think: Again?!  He was too-late again?!  He's six!

And I see - a terrible mess.  Not the kind of mess a six-year-old should be having, I think.

I shout: "How could this happen?!  No one does this!  No one!  What would have happened if this happened at school?"

(and dare I say it...and I did...)

"You'd be kicked out [of school]!"

(I see the foolishness and silliness of that last part now and [by grace] I am able to chuckle.)

It all comes clearer with a little bit of time, with each wiping and spray of the cleaner, and each toss of a sock in the garbage, and the underwear.

"I had a tummy ache," he says in between sobs.  "I didn't know..."

And I see just then.

I see that he was standing up and had to go, but didn't know just how he had to go.

I'm still mad.  Reeling.

Shouting.  In the bathroom.  A place where we said we wouldn't ever shout at him.  A place where he'd be comfortable to go, and to be.

I get him cleaned off and into the shower to wash himself.  And I am calmer now.

Softly I ask him, "Do you understand that you have to go earlier?"

Sobs.  "Yes, Mama, yes!"

"Do you, really?," I ask.

He replies with an emphatic "Yes!," and I still doubt.

A softer voice comes from deep within me.  Gentleness.

"I forgive you, honey, I forgive you."

His whimpers at this point now turn into deep sobbing again.  I can tell he feels the weight of shame, disappointment, and I hope he feels forgiveness now.

More gentleness comes from angry me.  

"It is done," are words that come from my wretched mouth.

The child sobs more.

Then, just the sound of water raining over him.  I pray it's grace showering over him.

Angry me meets Gentle Spirit.  He who saves me from breaking the fragile and still developing heart of my son.

I'm grateful that it is done.

There's no more talk that night about his mistake, and I pray he sleeps peacefully.

I didn't see it then, and I do now...his choice of words - a mistake - once came from my own mouth.

And I see that I might have taught him about grace.  Extending favor on him once or twice before when I was able to say, we all make mistakes; it's just a mistake.

Then, the very next day, my own lack of sleep breaths fire into the same place we stood the night prior.  I take my frustration out on the innocent.  

I'm asking him a question and he's not speaking in a way I understand, and so I shout at him to speak clearer.  And I hurt him without realizing what I'm doing.  Yet, I do realize.

He wails that I'm hurting him.

I'm ashamed.  

Kneeling down to his level, I hold him and apologize.  Ask for his forgiveness and he nods yes.  Knowing that he might not really know what he's nodded to, I trust that he does.  

My fear is alive that maybe this - this episode of the fiery-dragon who just spewed her own selfishness on to this innocent little boy - will be the sticking point for him.

I fear.

Lord, let it not stick.  Let him truly forgive.  Help him to forgive.

I pray he sleeps peacefully.  I pray for Divine Amnesia. 

I still feel the pain of my shame, even now, and it's still difficult to receive God's grace.

Grace for me.  Love for me.  Forgiveness for me.

It's hard to let myself believe, It is done.

These moments - the two situations I've described - they are moments that have humbled me beyond all description this week.

I've realized it is moment-by-living-moment that I need God's guidance, and His gentle hand.  And, moment-by-blessed-moment He shows me His grace - for me.  So that I can know it and trust in it.  So that I can give it away with His strength.

Again I see, all is Grace.  All.


  1. Oh wow do I know those moments all to often with my sweet tender 4 year old. He cannot be spanked, cannot be yelled at, cannot be spoken to harshly without the inner heart sobs that crush a mother's heart. Thank you for this lesson on the grace of God.

  2. I have just found your blog and this is the first post I read and I have tears because you wrote exactly what I experienced with my oldest son(now 10) when he was 4 years old. It is beautifully written and I can't wait to read more of your posts.


  3. I should add that this is the type of experience I had with my son from age 3 to 7. It was frustrating, I blamed myself and I felt alone much of the time because all my friends kids had it figured out. It gets better...I promise!

  4. I am not yet a mama but I can still relate. My little brother was difficult to potty train and I remember having reactions much like this one. I always felt so awful after getting frustrated with him. This will pass and I am sure he wont hold it against you. Little ones have such tender hearts and forgive and forget so easily. God bless. Love your blog :) Following you using

  5. Oh your honesty is often I find myself shouting...growling instead of lovingly dealing with the situation with kindness and grace. You have taught your little boy a valuable lesson when you apologized. I believe our children can learn from our mistakes. Blessings to you. Your heart is lovely.

  6. thanks so much for sharing this, amy. for being willing to speak aloud those moments we've all been at as moms~

    grateful for His example of gentle parenting with us. "all is grace." amen! and how those words breathe refreshment over my parched heart this evening... quiet now, thinking back over the moments that filled this day.

    bless you.

  7. Hang in there momma! Grace will always be there for you. I am so glad you were able to put him in the position of giving you grace - I think asking our children to forgive us when we cross a line we didn't want to and know we shouldn't have is so important. I can't tell you how often in the past 11 years of motherhood I have had to ask my boy to forgive me - often explaining that while what he did was wrong, my reaction was just as wrong and I need forgiveness too.

    God is so good to provide us automatically with the very thing we struggle to give each other!

  8. Take a deep breath, pause, and remember this. Always remember this dear sister..."And this too shall pass."

    Bless you!