Being Transformed By the Grace of God

Jun 8, 2011

Grace is hard for me. Intellectually, I get it. But emotionally and personally, I can't quite grasp it. Perhaps, it is because I know that I am so unworthy. Imperfect. Broken. As a result, I find it difficult to consistently show grace to the people I love most, my husband and sons.

While I've been struggling with my feelings and motivation* this past year, my relationships with my sons have been eroding. To be honest, my tank was close to empty and I hit cruise control. The problem with that is that I stopped being an intentional parent and I began reacting to most of the things my sons did, instead of discipling them. Before too long, the only things I could see were the things they did wrong. It became a disheartening cycle of bad behavior and bad attitudes...for ALL of us. Instead of responding to misbehavior with love and grace, I became stricter and angrier. And I lost my joy.

The other side of the problem is the part of me that is hung up on rules and doing things the right way. The part of me that fears that my sons will fall into the trap of sin. That they will repeat my mistakes. That they will become like me. Ironically, I'm discovering that the fruit of my parenting is the opposite of what I desire. While I know what I should do, I have a difficult time doing it. 

I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. 
Romans 7:15

But recently, God has been loosening my grip on my control issues {which is really fear} and leading me to an attitude of grace. Through prayer and quiet time, the grace of God, and a few different books by enlightened authors, including The Ministry of Motherhood and Grace-Based Parenting, I am having my momma spirit renewed. I'm learning to think differently and I'm changing my vocabulary. Because there are words that can build up or crush a child's spirit. 

My Turning Point

LJ, being at such an impressionable age and still in love with his momma, has been most affected by my wrong attitude and his behavior has plummeted over the past couple of months. Granted, four-year-old boys can be a handful anyway, but when their momma is being a "meanie" it can get a lot worse. He has been escaping the house and going down the block to a friend's house by himself or crossing the street...numerous times each day. He has been spouting off several inappropriate words and has been becoming increasingly defiant. Papa Bear and I have both been at a loss as to how to deal with him and have ended up being too harsh.

Inside, I knew that his behavior was linked to mine. I saw firsthand that a mother truly does set the thermostat for the family. I saw the pain that I was causing my precious little boy. I knew that he didn't want to behave badly, he just didn't know what else to do to get my attention. 

Through words printed on a page, the Lord reminded me of my value as a mother. He showed me that fear only begets more fear and that grace releases people. So, this week, I held LJ in my lap, told him how very much I loved him, apologized for being a "meanie", and asked for his forgiveness. The relief was written on his face as he melted into me. Later in the day, he went outside again and when I found him, he was sitting at the edge of the yard beside his bike watching his brother play with friends across the street. I sat beside him and asked what he was doing. He told me that he wanted to go see his brother, but he didn't. I told him that he made the right choice and I was proud of him. That was the beginning of a momentous change in our home. The tension is starting to loosen and attitudes are already showing improvement. I am beginning to feel right again and, with each step, it is getting easier to respond with love and grace toward my children, even when they push all of my buttons. 

*My choice of phrasing seems to minimize what I've been going through since M2's birth. I suspect that I was experiencing minor postpartum depression at first, which then evolved into a period of major burnout that I have only recently begun to recover from. Hormones can wreak havoc on a woman's emotions.


  1. Oh my goodness, I could have written this!! I have three boys, 6, 4, and 2. This past year I've had problems with my feet and had three surgeries recently. Anyway, my 4yo is the one pushing buttons too. Since my husband has had to take over all the house work I've seen our home become so tense. He is an amazing dad and has worked so hard for our family... but he can't do everything by himself. It makes me so sad to see my sweet little boys disappointed that mommy can't do the things she used to. Things are getting better for me physically and we are on the road to recovery.. our family too.

    Thanks for posting your experiences so that other moms can read that this happens and we just have to pick ourselves up, mend, and move forward, gracefully.


  2. @ Morgan, I'm glad to hear that you are recovering. It's difficult being unable to take care of our regular mom duties for whatever reason, especially when we usually have higher standards for ourselves than anyone else would expect of us.
    Thank you for commenting. I was reluctant to post something so...truthful.


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