I have been learning a lot about grace in the past few years – mostly pertaining to how infrequently I offer it in my daily life. The book “Grace” by Max Lucado was eye-opening and I was so challenged by it when I read it a few years ago.
A practical example? Most of my early driving years were in Southern California. Enough said. 😉 I am much better now in that area.
I have found that patience and grace go hand in hand: for example, being willing to be patient with people is often a form of grace (think Bill Engvall’s “Here’s Your Sign” stories).
I always try to remember that I usually don’t know the back story behind someone’s behavior or attitude and that helps me to be graceful toward them…usually. Do they deserve my patience and kindness? Yes.
When I became a parent, I was amazed at how naturally patient with Tori I became (I now believe that God gives mothers an extra dose of patience and grace for their babies, especially given the sleep-deprivation that accompanies motherhood). Granted, she was also the perfect baby for the first four months and was rarely fussy or irritable. She didn’t sleep much, but she was at least happy about it.
Throughout the past two months with Tori’s increased/constant irritability, decreased sleeping hours, and the added stress of a terminal diagnosis, I have had to make a conscious decision many times a day to show a new level of patience and grace toward her and the situation. She can’t help how she feels and she doesn’t have any other way of telling me that she is uncomfortable.
I fully admit that the first two weeks of this behavior change were frustrating and I was not very patient. I assumed that the fussiness was simply a growth spurt or something like that, and, given that I haven’t had a full night of sleep in about ten months, its constant presence wore me down quickly.
However, it is amazing how the word “terminal” can totally transform your attitude in an instant.
Now, I recognize that a day may come when I would do anything to hear that cry again. To be up all night with her, as sleep-deprived as I would be. To comfort her and hold her. Just one more time.
I pray that this lesson doesn’t fade away as quickly as it came, because it applies to everyone I meet and not just Tori. We have no idea how many days are left in our lives or the lives of others. We cannot imagine what impact our kindness and patience may have on someone’s hurting heart.
And so, grace continues to be the primary lesson the Lord is having me learn thus far during this wonderful journey of motherhood. It is often accompanied by the lessons of selflessness, humility, and patience. And I am so thankful for the changed person I am becoming, even though the lessons aren’t easy.