A couple of weeks ago I returned home from work to find my children happily playing with new toys at the counter. Confused, I asked my son where the little Lego set came from. My daughter waved a stuffed tiger in the air and chirped that it was from the church kids party.
She giggled, “Mommy, didn’t you know we were supposed to bring something for the gift exchange?” Um, no. I didn’t. But that doesn’t surprise me. Not lately, anyway.
It was just another addition to a series of missteps that seem to pile up regularly these days.
In just one week I nearly missed the deadline to re-certify my medical degree. I mixed up swim practice times and forgot to cancel a meet before the deadline for the fourth time. I didn’t read all the way to the end of a critical email that contained the drop off time for a youth conference – making the entire youth group late to the event. And clearly I didn’t know my kids were supposed to bring a gift to the church party.
These were just the failures I knew about.
I used to pride myself on being a responsible girl. I was the one you could count on to be on time, in charge, and in the know. But it turns out that when you work three jobs and homeschool four children your inbox becomes this monster of 1262 messages that no human could possibly wade through. And it’s only getting worse.
Lately I find myself becoming more and more of that mom. The one I’d inwardly roll my eyes at for being late to everything. The one I’d be annoyed with for missing details and never seeming to have her act together. The one I used to secretly judge for forgetting to bring a gift to the kids gift exchange. (In my defense, I didn’t forget. I didn’t even know I was supposed to – because I never read the email.)
Poetic justice? Maybe. But what I find interesting in the last few months … when I am working multiple jobs and my house is inside out thanks to a remodel and deadlines loom in every walk of my life … isn’t so much the ways I have dropped the ball. But the way my friends have shown me grace.
After I frantically squealed into the church parking lot thirty minutes late to drop off the kids, I apologized profusely to the youth pastor for making the whole group wait. He gently smiled and reassured me he understood. And I’m pretty sure having fifteen teens stare at me like I am a crazy person as they filed into the vans was ample punishment for my crime.
When I cried on the phone to a friend that I was completely overwhelmed with life and work, she offered to take my kids so I could try to reassemble my house without kids underfoot. Even though she is every bit as overwhelmed as I am.
When I ran out and told the bus driver that I forgot all about speech class and I had just dropped the child she was here to collect off at said friends house, the driver smiled and took the opportunity to tell me what a sweet, funny, and delightful child my daughter is.
Anxiety in a man’s heart weighs him down, but a good word makes him glad. Proverbs 12:25
I never wanted to be that mom … the one who misses details and lets people down. But struggling so much to keep my act together lately has cemented a realization of who I do want to be.
I want to be the one who shows patient, gentle grace to a frazzled mom. I want to be the girl who offers a smile and reassurance rather than adds tension when someone drops the ball. I want to extend tangible support rather than silently criticize when I see a friend struggling in the weeds of life.
That’s who I want to be.
God gave us an incredible gift when he gave us each other. And I am grateful for friends who demonstrate tender grace and heartfelt kindness when it seems like all the balls I juggle are falling from the sky.
In our crazy, harried and often discouraging world, we have infinite opportunities to show this kind of grace to one another. Let’s all be that person.
“Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience,” Colossians 3:12