giving grace

I will be the first to admit that I have said things I wish I didn't, I have done things I wish I hadn't, I have trusted people that, in hindsight, I certainly shouldn't have. I am nowhere close to "perfect" or even just "ok". I think I have fooled my children and future stepchildren, teaching them from my mistakes every single day. But, I will say, over the years I have become more and more skilled in the art of giving grace. When someone cuts me off on I-40 I pray that they are able to get to their loved one in need or that they are able to find peace in whatever is troubling them. When a friend pours her heart out to me I don't judge, instead I try to hear what they are saying and help them through whatever is troubling them. When my children moan and complain about life in general, I try to empathize (even though I know their problems are SO small right now).

Not too long ago, Allan and I went to the Tanger Center to see the Broadway production of Wicked. It was my second time seeing it and I was so excited for a repeat performance. But, just before we took our seats we received a message that Allan's mom's car wouldn't start. She was supposed to pick his 11 year-old son up from football practice. Needless to say, the scrambling ensued. We took our seats as I was frantically texting other moms to grab him and take him home. Sitting in our seats, the lights went down and I received a text from a mom saying she would be happy to pick him up and get him home safely. As I was reading the message the elderly woman next to me said, "Um, I think they told us to put our phones away". I (sort of) politely told her that I have five children and I might need to be communicating with them throughout the performance.

This interaction made me think of another interaction I had years ago with my ex mother-in-law. She told me that she hated seeing young mothers on their phones when they should be paying attention to their children. Did I agree? Sort of. Playing Candy Crush while your little one is teetering on the edge of danger or terrorizing other children? Yeah, probably not a good idea. But, looking up the library hours or making a pediatrician's appointment or responding to an email from your child's teacher? Totally OK.

How about we give some grace? We don't know what anyone else is dealing with, the small things, the big things, the things we find trivial, the things we can't imagine. That mom on her phone might be texting with a friend who has lost their husband or her mom or, as the curtain is dropping on the Broadway show you are watching, she might be taking care of a child who doesn't have a ride home from football practice.

When I was going through the hardest time of my life I remember reading a quote, "Please don't judge her for you don't know what storm I have asked her to walk through" --God. That resonates with me today. I can look at someone else and judge their situation, their thoughts, their feelings, their life...but, it will just be judging. I find honesty and truthfulness such admirable qualities. And, with respect for honesty and truthfulness comes grace. Grace is something that is passed along from one human to another, even when you don't know the whole story. When you don't know the details or the reasons or the thoughts or the feelings. To me, grace is a sign of true maturity...hearing a friend who has to "get something off her chest" and not running with her story to the next person is an absolute sign of grace. We all have those things we need to get out, to discuss, those moments we need to be disconnected from the moment we are in to take care of a loved one, the moments we need to just be real and hope those who are around us are real. The moments we need grace. When we can give others understanding and grace, we have truly taken a step closer to our Father in Heaven.

my blue nest

a perfectly put together mess