Mornings in our house are not always pleasant. Some of us are not morning people, and others seem to wake up on the wrong side of the bed every day (maybe it’s our fault we pushed her bed up against the wall…).
Early last week, we had a particularly painful car ride to school. I think I have blocked out many of the offenses, but when the kids get out of the car, I always say “I love you, have a great day,” no matter what has transpired that morning. I tried to give one child her lunch, and she spewed, “I’d rather starve then eat something you made.” I said, “This is your chance, I won’t bring something for you later.” She slammed the door and stomped off into the building.
I can usually let the morning go and not worry about it at work. This wasn’t the case that day. I was frustrated. I even emailed the teacher and told her that she chose not to bring her lunch, so she would have to go without one. I didn’t want them to bail her out with an applesauce and crackers. I wanted her to be hungry, to pay the price for the way she treated me.
But as I often do, I prayed about this child and this attitude and what exactly God would want me to do in response. I don’t naturally bend towards grace. But I started to get the feeling that bringing her lunch would be a good thing. Letting go of the offense and not letting her spend lunch time getting angrier and angrier with me for “starving her.” (Obviously this is not reality, but this child’s view is hard to change.)
I wasn’t completely comfortable with going against my word that I wouldn’t bring her anything. But I felt God nudging my heart in this direction, so I drove through and picked up a couple of her favorite things. I was waiting when she came in for recess, and she looked confused. I said, “I want to start over. Let’s forget about this morning and just start over.” She hugged me. Her teacher said we could have the classroom to eat together if we wanted since they had other plans. So we were able to spend a little time talking as she ate.
This is a tiny glimpse into the struggles that occur daily in our home. I rarely share publicly, but I do want other parents and moms to know they aren’t alone when a bad morning, bad week, bad month plagues you and it’s hard to get past it. I didn’t really want to offer grace to my daughter. It was risky. She could have easily said, “I don’t want your lunch, I’m fine.” I risked rejection, but I believe God softened her heart at the same time He softened mine towards her.
“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”
2 Corinthians 12:9 ESV
God’s strength fills in the weakest parts of me. Any strength I might have is no comparison to the strength He has. And that power is perfect, and is made perfect in my very weakness. Some concepts in the Bible go against our human understanding (the last shall be first and love your enemies are a couple others that come to mind). Strength in weakness doesn’t sound right to us, but when we trust God, He makes something beautiful out of our surrender to Him.
The rest of our week wasn’t in perfect. Behavior didn’t magically become wonderful. But when I think about that lunch, I have peace in my heart that I heard God and obeyed Him. I pray that moment will stick with my daughter, that she will see in it a reflection of the love and grace that Jesus has for her, too.