What does grace mean to you?
I feel like I didn’t have a true grip on grace until I had my son. I had listened to this concept loosely. My whole life. In church. Out of church. But I never really understood how the tenderness of love inspires grace.
Until I experienced it.
I knew when I started parenting that I was not going to be an authoritarian. The words “controlling” and “children” used in the same sentence never quite resonated with me. Because let’s be real...anytime someone feels controlled...they are going to buck.
And I don’t believe that control actually stops behavior in the long run. They will absolutely still find a way to do that thing, they will just get better at hiding it.
But the truth is that...our kids are going to mess up. They are going to mess up small and they are going to mess up big.
And our responses to those messes either connect them to grace or connect them to shame.
So many times our responses to those mess ups are the exact words that we say to ourselves when we make mistakes.
And so many times the response to our children’s mess can actually be more about us than it is about them.
Meaning that it is less about their behavior and more about how WE feel in that moment about their behavior.
Boundaries are so important. But so is grace. We need the beautiful balance of them both.
When we can learn to receive grace only then can we tangibly teach our children what a gift it is.
If we don’t stand in a revelation of the grace that has been given to us, then we will never be able to lend that grace to anyone.
And that’s the point right?
That you would become so filled, that you can multiply it, and give it away. Over and over and over.
How hard are you on yourself when you mess up?
How do you feel when you don’t know something? Especially when everyone else is somehow clued into this very sensical fact that you have missed.
What is the dialogue of your inner world when you don’t do something exactly right?
What happens when it’s not perfect the first time you attempted a task?
How do you feel when you are corrected?
I think the things that we cultivate internally, naturally influence our world externally. There is this natural spillover. All the goodness. All the greatness. Even the dysfunction and pain.
If we are stewarding our hearts to receive the grace that has already been laid before us. It’s much more natural for us to look at our children and extend the same grace that they need.
But when we sit in the place of judgement of ourselves, listening to the voice of criticism, never quite being enough...we actually extend that to our children. Maybe not intentionally, but we do. We can try to hide those things from them, but it has a way of seeping out.
So I felt like grace is sort of this overused Christianese term, and I needed to actually write out my interpretation of its meaning to bring you where I’m going.
So here we are:
Grace is the unmerited mercy and love being present in the most offensive moments of your life. Even in an offense that you may have incited, caused, or intentionally carried out.
It’s stepping into the worst version of yourself and still receiving love and grace like you’re the best version of yourself.
It’s taking hard moments into connection instead of separation.
That’s crazy right. But it’s the truth.
And this is what it to means to be a son and a daughter of a good Father. What if we could grab ahold of that in our hearts, and learn to look at our own children the way the Father sees us?
What would grace look like when it is intentionally cultivated in your home?
What would it look like for you receive the fullness of grace in your life?
What if it was okay to mess up.
What if you traded the self judgement, not-good-enoughs, and inner critic to a voice that actually liked you. A voice that rooted for you. A voice that could guide you into learning. And a voice that would call you up into wholeness. A voice that could call out the gold underneath the layers of shame. And what if we just all acknowledged that we are all on a learning journey. That we will be learning our whole lives. It never ends. It’s constant and steady.
Often times, our children are the spark plug to our learning.
And perhaps, a gift that will ripple into the span of their lives would be to root our hearts into that mysterious grace. That it may strengthen us. Empower us. And that we can teach our children how to live bravely because their connection to that grace is profoundly evident in their lives.