Mama Grace

I have a…friend.  She is a wretched thing. You know what she did this morning?

She yelled at her kids.  And said words like, ‘Why do you’ and ‘When will you’ and ‘Haven’t I told you’.  She unleased a force of verbal vomit that she could not stop even if she wanted to try.

Which she didn’t.

You know the worst part?  Her fingers were still warm from typing up an article on fighting for joy that I will post next week.

Yep.  My wretched friend is…me.

Some days it feels as hard for me to find joy in school mornings as it is to find that other sock in the dryer.  We know what time school starts and we always start out with easy, slow hugs.  But somehow the morning time warps and it ends up feeling like a firehouse drill. Before you know it, we are all crawling on our hands and knees looking for lunchboxes and signing homework beneath a layer of smoke.

The drive to school was silent and heavy.  I was still so mad at the repetitiveness of my weekly Responsibility Lecture and lack of enthusiastic response to it that I was playing mental bumper cars with the smiling drivers around me.

By the time I let my biggies out…my steam was evaporating and in its place…a fog of shame and disappointment so thick I couldn’t breathe.   I am blinded by tears and choking on regret.

Once home and after a bit, I start to feel grace warm on my shoulder, nudging against me and I brush it off.

Why is it the thing I am willing to give others is often the very last thing I will extend to myself?

There’s Mama Grace that covers these holes in my parenting and the cracks in my heart and the lack in my person.  I’m never far from that grace.  Just sometimes far from claiming it for myself.  But…

Only in the claiming of grace are my wretched moments redeemable.

This isn’t just for Mamas, of course.  (This title just sounded catchier to me.)  There’s Daddy Grace, too.

So much Daddy grace.   Sometimes maybe more…you men that hold the moon in your hands for these little ones and yet still retain the capacity to kneel down in honor and admit falling short.

I know the scene that will occur this afternoon before we even get to the kitchen from the car:

I will get on my knees while I look them in the eyes and say, ‘Mama messed up this morning.’

They will say, ‘I forgive you, Mama.’

They will mean it and it will be over just like that.

And I learn more from them about grace than I could ever teach them.

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  1. Jill Tucker | 24th Jan 14

    You are a terrific mama, Melba. Imperfect parenting moments are no fun, but Grace is. Hugs!!!

    • | 24th Jan 14

      Jill, you know what helps with these imperfect parenting moments? Friends you can laugh about it with. Thank you, mama.

  2. Rachel | 24th Jan 14

    You know, when I look back at my days growing up, I remember (with fondness and respect) the days my parents apologized….for being human. That single act of humility & obedience makes me feel great freedom. Freedom to know I’m not the only screw up, freedom to know they didn’t “ruin” me even though my mom used to cry thinking she had, and freedom to know that there’s a covering of new mercy from the Lord.

    I admire you and your parenting. Those 3 know you love them. The moments you show this well speak far louder than the moments you fall short. Jesus’ love shines through you and fills in the gaps.

    • | 24th Jan 14

      To hear you say things like this, because I know your heart and the caliber of woman you are…it is balm for rough spots. I know it is all going to turn out okay. And you are right…I had the neatest conversation with Gavin last night about my Mad Cow morning. Remind me to tell you. Funny you say shine…that is my unofficial word for the year. Allowing Him to fill those places and being willing to go there? More shiny. Yes, please.

  3. Lori Lehrmann | 24th Jan 14

    I love everything about this because I can SO relate. No farting rainbows here. Thank you for going there with us. Love you!

    • | 24th Jan 14

      Lori, I know you will always go there with me. I feel you over there calling my name down the hall. I love you, sister!

  4. Amber | 24th Jan 14

    Made me tear up this am! Yes, mornings are not always fun and then I always wish I could have about one more minute to give a hug to start their day the right way….

    • | 24th Jan 14

      Amber, oh it made me tear up too 🙁 Mornings aren’t always fun, are they? It gets hard. So thankful for mamas that will raise their hands beside me and say, ‘Me, too.’ Thank you for this…bolsters my heart.

  5. Misti R | 24th Jan 14

    Tears. So true. Thank you girl. I needed to hear that more than you know.

    • | 24th Jan 14

      Misti, I love your guts. And miss you like crazy. I want to see you this summer and we can share about all our mama moments and we can laugh a lot and eat well and play in the sun. Thank you for letting me that I am not alone in my struggles.

  6. Misti R | 24th Jan 14

    How can I love your comment?! 😀 Me too friend. Teen boys. I love em sooooo much! They do the same dumb boy things over and over. Don’t be surprised how much thinner my hair will be this summer with sparkles of fabulous glittery white mixed in.

  7. Kela Nellums | 24th Jan 14

    Oh friend!! Quite often this is me!! It usually takes a friend telling me to remember grace that God gives (hugely) to moms! Thank God that these outbursts aren’t the norm.

    Thank you for sharing your heart in this!!! 🙂

    • | 25th Jan 14

      Kela, yes ma’am. I was talking to my son the night this happen and (we are all quite honest with each other) I said, ‘Bud…how do you feel about days like this? It wasn’t my best day as a mama.’ And he says, ‘Well…I don’t think it’s abnormal and I don’t think it’s normal for you. It wasn’t my best day as a kid, either, mom.’ Grace. Right there. So happy we found each other as friends. You are a light, sister.

  8. Lana | 24th Jan 14

    This made me tear up! This is me on too many mornings! Thank you for being so brave and putting this out there! I really needed this!

    • | 25th Jan 14

      Lana, sometimes when I write (or maybe a lot)…I think…okay, now I’m letting it hang out a little too far…and I find that those times I have brave sisters next to me raising their hands and holding mine at the same time. It is so powerful. I feel like the encouragement from this post was, selfishly, more than you received from it. Thanks, girl…I so appreciate your words.

  9. Kela Nellums | 25th Jan 14

    Oh my goodness!! How mature of your son to know that he may have played a role in that episode! (awesome training for his future wife too!;) )
    Who knew that a book, and a couple of twitter “favorites” would bring us together as friends! I’m so happy too!! 🙂 You bless me!

  10. Allison | 13th Feb 14

    Melissa – I could have written this.
    Well, that’s a lie. I’m not a writer. 😉 However, I have lived this more times than I like to admit. So thankful that our children are so forgiving and that His mercies are new every morning. ❤

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