Mothers, you probably know the scene well. Maybe you are here with me. A few busy summer days in a row and all of the kids and all of the parents are cranky. We say unkind things and react instead of respond. Before you know it, everyone’s crying in their salad. Sometimes, on these hard days, my two-year-old says through his tears, “time go night-night.” I couldn’t agree more.
Something about summer calls us to do more and rest less. Perhaps it’s the warmer temperature, the longer days, or the late night ice cream. Once you get all the bags packed, shoulders rubbed down with SPF 50, and finally get to the pool, you hate to leave just because it’s nap time. So you push through and swim until the kids’ eyes are red, and their hair is brittle. When we don’t have to get up early for school, it seems perfectly reasonable to let the kids stay up for one more episode of Seventh Heaven. Please tell me I’m not the only one who loses track of who’s had a bath, passes out extra popsicles, and neglects bedtime routines during the summer months. We go and go until we crash.
Today, this crash looked like a salad with ranch dressing dumped on my kitchen floor by a toddler who wanted to “do it myself” even though I told him to wait for help. How did I respond? Like a two-year-old. I yelled. In all honesty, I screamed. No words, just a guttural outcry of pure, unfiltered mama anger. The room fell silent. The toddler sheepishly requested a spanking. I guess he preferred that to facing the monster who replaced his mother.
My kid is tired. He needs a nap. I am tired. I, too, need a nap. I orchestrated this fiasco by not building in rest time in our lazy, crazy summer days. Even in the middle of this mess I created, I was shown grace in the form of a nap. With one kid at a student conference and one kid at a friend’s house, the two fussiest members of the family (this includes me) got some much-needed downtime.
Even on the good days, my two-year-old needs a nap. He loves the long days at the pool, but he is a beast come six-o’clock. He lays on the kitchen floor screaming for all he’s worth while I try to cook dinner. Those daily naps help us avoid these lunch time salad showdowns and supper time scream session. Regular rest helps his (and my) best temperament shine.
How Grace is Like a Nap
In his book The Discipline of Grace, Jerry Bridges says:
Your worst days are never so bad that you are beyond the reach of God’s grace. And your best days are never so good that you are beyond the need of God’s grace.
He points out the obvious—we need grace on our bad days. But he also reminds us we need God’s grace even on our best days.
I am going to draw a naptime parallel here. Just as my son needs a nap every day to function at his best, we need grace in order to be right with God every day. We cannot base God’s favor on how good we have been on any given day. Likewise, we shouldn’t carry around the shame of our sin on our worst days.
Grace is the foundation of discipleship. We follow Christ out of gratitude and loyalty for the forgiveness of our sins and our right standing before a holy God. The overwhelming love of Christ, as demonstrated by His sacrifice, compels us to follow him. Therefore, it is crucial to preach the gospel to ourselves every single day—to be reminded of both our need for and the gift of grace.
Today, I am thankful for grace. I am thankful my slip into a Hulk-like rage doesn’t define me as a mother or as a Christian. I am so grateful that my son still loves me and treats me as if I never yelled at him. I am indebted to my Savior who makes all of this grace possible.
Today, take a few quiet minutes for reflection. Remember the gospel. Acknowledge the essentialism of grace. (And if you are tired, take a nap. Your family will thank you.)
I am linking up with Suzie Eller for #livefreeThursday where she shares her thoughts: Do We Even Know What Grace Is?
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