Driving to bible study, I thought about the interaction I had with my daughter just that morning. She had made a futile search through her closet and drawers, unable to find just the right kind of clothes to wear to her dance workshop. She was stressed and feeling the time crunch as the clock moved relentlessly on. I tried to help, showed options, offered suggestions. Nothing worked. There were tears, and raised voices talking of consequences and ultimatums.
The thing is, I know EXACTLY how she was feeling because I have stood in her shoes, I have felt defeated and upset at not finding what I needed in my closet. Yet I did not treat her kindly. I started out well, but as she continued to refuse my offers of help, I let the pressure of the clock override my care for her personhood and feelings. I neglected to act with grace.
Ahhhh….grace. Grace would have been just the ticket, just the thing to add to the mix that morning, both grace for myself, and grace for my dear child.
Driving that morning, I began to travel the well-worn path in my mind, which says that my triumphs or failures as a parent are the last word in the lives of my children. I carry the weight of being the perfect parent. I know deep down that children are not math problems, but I desperately try to plug into the equation that says: if I add up all the elements of being a perfect parent and execute them on my children then they will turn out well and have happy lives. This would be fine, I suppose, if I responded perfectly to every whine or insolent look, guiding my children with just the right amount of grace and truth at every step.
Yet clearly before me was an example of my failure to do just that. No matter how hard I try to be perfect, this equation will never come out right!
My children desperately need an example of perfection; the balance of grace and truth that I have only seen lived out perfectly in one Person.
John 1:17 says, “For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.”
I read in my bible study lesson today that “God’s grace is more immense than His universe and more powerful than all the forces of nature.”
My children don’t need me to be perfect; they need to be shown the One who is; they need me to sit at His feet, and to invite them there with me.