It’s always my desire to be as transparent with you as I can be so you know I’m just like you – flawed and fractured…bumbling through life, trying to stay plugged in to the source and trying to glorify the One who created me. I use to try to come across to those around me as one who had it all together – a woman that loved and blessed her family with grace and joy and kindness. One who never shared a cross word with her husband or children. Oh brother! I gave up on that facade a long time ago, and it’s my desire now to live life out of a place that I call real Christianity.
Growing up, I watched my parents make occasional mistakes, but what stood out to me was that they rarely admitted those mistakes, or apologized when they should have. Sort of the if we ignore the mistake it will just go away policy. So when I became a parent I prayed that I would be a mom who admitted her mistakes to her kids and apologized for them. My desire was that I not only could model what that looked like so they knew how to do it themselves, but also so they understood that their mom wasn’t perfect…and needed forgiveness as much as they did. Good concept, but BAD IDEA!
Praying a prayer like that is akin to praying for patience. If you pray for patience, God’s not going to just zap you and bestow a supernatural ability to be patient upon you. Not that He couldn’t do that, but that’s not typically how He works. No…what God usually does is He increases the moments in your life that you get the opportunity to practice that gift you prayed for. Imagine that! So unless you really want more opportunities to practice patience…don’t pray for it!
So God has been gracious (way too gracious!) in answering my prayer by allowing me a plethora of opportunities to practice asking forgiveness of my kids. There have been more moments than I would have liked where I had to apologize for something I did to hurt them, whether knowingly or unknowingly, and most often for words that came out of my mouth. What was I thinking praying that prayer??
One such moment happened recently. It involves two of my favorite loves, who also happen to be two of my most difficult relationships to maneuver through, but they are both SO worth it. Before I begin, let me just ask for your forgiveness, mercy and grace in advance, in case you thought I had it all together.
There’s more detail behind this tale than there is room for on this page, but our story starts in the kitchen where Salsa guy and I greet our 29 year old female child-unit (alias “daughter”) and are ready to head out the door to game night at friends. Said child-unit is no different than most young adults her age who have a relationship with their phone and sometimes can’t get their nose out of it with texting, and tend to forget that there are actual human relationships standing right next to them. So in a “Mom Moment” I casually suggest that she be mindful of the other adults we would be interacting with that evening, and maybe consider putting aside the phone for a portion of the evening.
What happened next was not pretty on anyone’s part, but the next day, as I shook my head in disbelief, there was also a giggle that slipped out and I thought to myself…”this would have been a perfect comedy sitcom script”. I also knew that I would have to come clean with you all eventually, as I feel there is a connection with Christ and my transparency of this blog.
Child-unit chose to try to shame my suggestion with a dramatic “OH MY GOD…are you JOKING?”…which launched her male parental-unit into a fury in reaction to her disrespect, and with the swipe of his arm her purse somehow took flight across the room. Keep in mind child-unit’s OCDness about germs and purses, which launched her into a rage and words flew back and forth around the room like a scene from The Birds and I felt the need to duck…but I quickly regrouped in time to step in the path of husband-unit heading towards child-unit to send her back to the world she came from. I sent them to their specific corners… which translates into a daughter storming out the door home, and a husband sitting on the bedroom floor in utter frustration.
After delivering husband-unit a tongue lashing for his part in the escapade, I arrogantly returned to the kitchen to fix the situation, because I wasn’t the one who had screwed up. That arrogant thing gets me in to trouble every time. I picked up the phone to call child-unit, and of course, there’s no way she’s going to answer, so I begin to try to share some of my free maternal wisdom over the phone with her on her voice mail.
About this time husband-unit returns to the room and is, shall we say, more inspired to encorage me to say specific things to our child-unit. Try to picture this now – I begin this back and forth conversation with two people – like a verbal tennis volley between me politely asking the hub (NOT) to stop talking and sharing his thoughts in one ear, and between me sharing my wisdom into the phone with my adult child. As the heat intensifies, and the back and forth gets louder and louder, first to my husband, then in to the phone to my daughter, then back to my husband, I feel myself begin to lose (a) any recognition of who I am actually talking to with each volley, and (b) any control of my emotions, and (c) my mind completely!
At that moment, it felt like I was observing another person from afar, who has lost all control and is yelling at her husband using a phrase that I don’t recognize that sounded like GOD !$@&?# (I didn’t even know I knew that phrase!) and then shouting the same phrase into the phone towards my first-born and I’m thinking “who IS that woman?” Back and forth, the same profanity, over and over, louder and louder,…at least two specific times toward each of them.
Now press pause. Can you see this in your mind? A crazy woman shouting profanities at her husband and then at her daughter into the phone. I suppose it was my feeble effort to call down condemnation on the situation; a situation filled with stubbornness, a lack of self-control, and selfishness on all our parts, but here comes the big finish. I make my final dismount with the exclamation to both my cherished loved ones…”YOU’RE BOTH [posterior body part] s!” …and BAM, I slam the phone down.
And then suddenly, the dove’s whisper into my heart penetrates like an arrow…oh my gosh…I am that woman who BLOGS ABOUT GRACE! Sigh. Doesn’t God just have the funniest sense of humor?
I don’t mean to make light of my sin. Sin is sin, and I’m the biggest sinner of them all…but that’s exactly why God sent his son – to die for those sins and he’s crazy about me even still. So I’m guessing he was sitting and watching this scene play out, dropping his head into his hands and shaking his head saying “really Kris?”…and then getting a smile on his face because he knew that from the ugliness of the moment there would spring redemption.
The redemption came three weeks later (because that’s how long it took our daughter to decide to speak to us again) and we called a family meeting. Apologies were made, conversation was shared, each of us were heard, feelings were talked about, forgiveness was given, and we all came out the other side stronger in relationship, healed and in a better place than when we went in. I just love it when God can make lemonade out of lemons. When He can make fun out of dysfunction. When He uses your mistakes to make something better…now that’s what I call grace.
And God works ALL things together for good to those who believe. ~ Romans 3:23
So if your family is anything like mine and you don’t hide behind a mask, then take those dysfunctional moments, have conversation, take your walls down, learn from your mistakes, ask for and give forgiveness, take a different path next time, and even giggle at the obsurdity of it all…and then move on. Better for the conflict. Better for the fight. Better for the healing. This is real life. This is real Christianity. This is grace.