Y’all, I love a good heart to heart. You know, those conversations that occur in a nice cozy setting, with hot tea, and nothing else to distract you. The kind of conversations where both parties share their heart, get to the bottom of their feelings and you come out of the conversation feeling like your relationship has really grown. That’s not always how it goes, in fact, usually those conversations can’t be planned nor do they occur in that setting. It’s usually in the kitchen in midst of a disagreement, or on the phone while a bunch of other distractions are happening on both ends of the line, or in my case recently, at the top of the stairs.
Let me back up. Me and the kids had just arrived home from a weekend at my parents house while Charlie had to stay back and work. We were all tired from swimming, playing and just the usual exhaustion from a trip with kids. All 3 of the kids were screaming when we unloaded from the car. The baby was hungry, Faith wanted to paint before she even got out of the car and needed to do it immediately, while I was trying to unload everyone and everything before a huge storm came in. Who knew what was going on with June. She walked in the house and fell on the floor in a fit of rage, completely unable to communicate with me.
Our June is a fiery one. We had this impression of her before she was even born just by the way she was inside of me. Our impression was true and has been consistent for her 3 and a half years of life so far. She always keeps us on our toes, always challenges us, always questions, and always has a plan. She’s hard to keep up with; she definitely has a mind of her own and I’m told that this type of personality will change the world one day if we just hold on tight and guide her through these years.
This particular day I was just DONE and didn’t feel like having patience or grace (though I had been listening to a podcast the entire drive home specifically about this and here I was with a perfect opportunity to practice it). So I sent her to her room to calm herself down since she wouldn’t communicate with me and was just thrashing all over the place.
Thirty minutes later, the baby was fed, Faith was painting at the kitchen table, and June was still screaming. She was inching herself out into the hallway to the top of the stairs still throwing a fit, but losing steam and probably forgot why she was crying in the first place. I was still unpacking and determined to finish before figuring out dinner from the 4 things we had in the pantry, but I made myself sit down in the hallway next to her. Instead of asking her “what’s wrong”, which would have just reminded her that she’s mad and prolonged this entire thing, I attempted to “fix” things and asked her what we could do so she could feel happy again. Her broken response through tears was “you can give me a kiss.” She crawled in my lap and I did just that.
Most of the time, that is where our children need us, on the floor in the hallway, when we’re doing a million other things. I had to actively tell myself to JUST SIT DOWN. That’s all they need, for us to be down at their level so they can crawl into our lap and receive unconditional love.
What’s so amazing is that we have the best example of this in God. He is the perfect parent, never too busy for His children, and always waiting for us to crawl in His lap and say, “I’ve tried it my way, and it’s not working, please just love me and make things better.” Isn’t that the definition of grace?
I wish I could say that my children never misbehave or throw fits, and I also wish I could say I never lose my temper when they do. But if that were the case, if everything was perfect and we were in constant control, we’d never be reminded how much we need God’s grace and mercy. He is constantly pruning us, and it’s no fun, but you can’t grow without the pain.
I learned a huge lesson that day to just sit down. My children need to experience grace, learn to extend it to others, and they need to know they can always crawl into the lap of our Heavenly Father. It’s our job as parents to teach them that, but isn’t it funny that in that process we end up learning the same lessons as well?