A Child Called Grace

When she was born, 6 lbs of intensity, I marveled that such a tiny new baby girl could be that alert… Particularly in contrast to her twin brother, who preferred to sleep the day away and remained in that drowsy state for the whole first month of life.  She eyed me with suspicion, watching every move I made, like she didn’t quite believe I knew what I was doing.  She never slept more than a few hours at a time, afraid she might miss something important, I suppose.  She resisted any attempt at scheduling or even a loosely defined routine, and insisted that we all follow her lead. As a newborn. My husband said often, “It’s Gracie’s world, we just live in it.”

Fast forward 3 years…

This morning, Gracie has been in the time-out chair twice, sent to her room once, and it is not even 9am.  This is a typical beginning to our day.  And I am, as usual, already longing for bedtime. Don’t get me wrong, I adore this child.  I love her spunk, her mischievous grin, the way her long blonde hair is always a mess in the morning… But she flat wears me out.  Our days are peppered with battles, some I choose to avoid, some I insist upon winning, and some that I lose hands down.  Sure, there are moments of fun and laughter, but at the end of the day those moments often seem eclipsed by the difficult ones.

I have said this before, but in case you didn’t know, I am not exactly good at dwelling on the positives.  I tend to be a little cynical in my thinking, and can easily get swept away by negative emotions.  I work on it.  All the time.  And I know God gave us Gracie for that very reason.  She makes me face my own heart-issues every single day.

When Michael and I were discussing baby names, we would often text options to one another during the day while we were both at work.  During one of those “baby-naming sessions”, we volleyed a few ideas back and forth.. Emma Claire? Ella? How about Analise?  All beautiful, but they just didn’t feel right… So we took a little break.  A little while later I was sending a text to him at the exact same moment I was receiving one from him.  Both texts read the same:  “Gracie”.  Coincidence? No way.  I am convinced God gave us her name.  And now I know why.

The joke I have made for the last couple of years is that we named her well, because she requires a lot of grace.  But as I have struggled through trying to be the mommy God calls me to be to a child who truly believes she should be in charge of the world, I have come to realize that her name is a reminder of how much I need grace.  Grace to parent beyond my comfort zone, grace to cover where I fall short as a mom, grace to give to a child who is so much like her mother in so many ways.  Her name reminds me of how I can not only help her become who God created her to be, but also how I will become the Mommy he created me to be.  It isn’t just about how strong-willed and stubborn she is… It is about revealing all the yuck still in my own heart.. The pride, the temper, the lack of patience and self-control… The need for grace.

Being a mom is not for wimps, for sure.  But I am beginning to see a bigger picture… A beautiful portrait of how God uses all things to accomplish His purposes.  Even time-out chairs and potty training.  And I, for one, am so grateful He works in even those fleeting moments and seasons of our lives that seem more tedious and mundane than eternal.

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