I was so late. The morning hours had slipped through my fingers and we needed to be in the car in exactly 5 minutes. As we raced to tie shoes, zip backpacks and brush teeth, I could feel the tension rising from my stomach, up through my chest and into my shoulders. You’ve been there, right?
I was was barking orders like “Hurry up!” and “Let’s GO!” when I heard my youngest son call from the bathroom…
“Mooooommy! I need you!”
I skidded into the bathroom and confronted what I can only describe as an unholy mess. I won’t disgust you with the details. Let’s just say it involved a 4-year old, bowel movements and an un-healthy dose of “I can do it MYSELF”. Got the picture?
When I saw the destruction, the thoughts in my mind went something like this… “OHMYGOSH! AREYOUKIDDINGME? WHATWEREYOUTHINKING? POOOOOOOP! IDON’THAVETIMEFORTHIS!”
I wanted to explode! Are you feeling me here?
But the preceding days had been filled with thoughts of grace. It had seriously been a non-stop barrage of conversations, lessons and readings about grace. I couldn’t pretend like thoughts of undeserved love weren’t at the front of my mind. In that moment, I resolved to deal with this disgusting situation in love – without yelling or sighing, scolding or shaming. Not my normal reaction, I assure you.
I scooped up my precious, filthy child, and plopped him into the tub where I washed him clean. All the while, this dear child was blissfully unaware of his disgusting condition. He was simply thrilled to be getting a bath in the middle of the morning. He splashed and giggled while I scrubbed and shampooed. There was no regret and no “I’m sowwy, mommy.”
So my irritation level increased. How could this child not see the mess he made? How could he not see the love I was pouring over him? Where was his remorse? I needed remorse! Then I could easily offer grace.
I barely held it together long enough to clean up the mess and get us out of the house. Late again.
But as the day wore on, God began working on my heart and the conviction came. Grace offered through clenched-teeth, with a raging heart, is not grace at all. Of course it would be easy to give grace if my child were receiving it gratefully. But perhaps that’s part of the point?
And I began to wonder – Am I really so different from my filthy child? How often do I spin through my world utterly clueless to the messes that I’m making? How often does my loving God faithfully clean up after me? How often does He love me with a pure heart while I’m still covered in filth?
How often am I blissfully unaware as He showers me with grace unseen?