God, Grace, Mothering

Grace: When People Forget

Butterfly on flowers

By +Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

Of all the times for the boy to forget to do his asthma-managing breathing treatment  . . .  it was on a day when we were already thirty minutes down the road to an adventure.

On vacation, he’d already neglected to check his inhaler and make sure it still had medicine in it. I had no idea how many days he’d puffed on empty . . . which led to a prolonged asthma flare-up, lots of coughing, and purple-rimmed eyes.

Giraffes

On this morning, as the flare-up finally calmed, this boy I love acted in the way a child does . . . sometimes forgetful. We’d been in a hurry to get on the road for the forty minute drive to our outing. Is it really so surprising amid all the other preparations that he forgot this important part of his morning routine?

I wanted to lecture, to raise my voice, even. But what tone would that have set for what was supposed to be a fun day?

Mother with children

And how many times have I been the one  hurrying through activities and forgotten a significant detail? How many times in my rush to get somewhere else do I miss an important detail in the now?

It happens. To the organized and to the scattered.

There is grace, even in the forgetting.

Peter with butterfly

How many times have we rushed headlong into an activity—into meeting the appointments on our calendars—and forgotten to spend time with God first?

We all forget things—important things—at least some of the time.

Ed sneaks up on duck

But God . . .

God gives us grace. He doesn’t lecture us. He doesn’t point His divine finger in our faces and say, “How could you forget? Again?”

He loves us with His perfect Father’s love. He doesn’t often spare us from those consequences, but neither does He condemn.

God is patient. He gives grace even in our forgetting.

Orangy flowers

For my boy, on that morning? It meant Hubby made a ninety-minute drive to the hotel room and back to where we were. It meant an interruption to our family’s plans so Peter could enjoy the rest of his day without coughing.

Was it inconvenient and frustrating? Yes.

Boy meets goat

Wild Rider

Sometimes, we have to choose let go of the frustration we have with another and offer the simple gift of grace.

Grace looks like no lectures, but instead a hug. Or the squeeze of a hand. It often means staying quiet when we’d rather let loose a few of our feelings for the inconvenience we had to endure. Grace looks like kindness instead of condemnation. It looks like a smile rather than a judgmental frown.

Bubbles

I’ve been so quick to give the opposite of grace more times than I care to admit.

But when I think about the grace God’s given me, over . . . and over . . . and over again? I realize that if I want to walk like Jesus—if I want to live with the joy and the freedom Jesus walked out—I need to give grace . . . .

To those who inconvenience me.

To those who make decisions that affect me.

To those who’ve hurt me.

Beachy sunset

Grace lived out is rarely easy. But it is beautiful, redemptive and peace-inducing.

So if—when—one of my boys forgets a crucial thing at a bad moment, I hope I act like Jesus does and offer grace instead of my first reactive response.

What about you? When has someone extended grace to you in a life-changing way? How do you practice giving grace in your daily living?

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17 thoughts on “Grace: When People Forget”

  1. I receive life changing – and lifesaving – grace every day. From my wife, the readers of my blog, become friends, and my dogs

    Without them I would be lost.

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  2. i just saw in your blog how “Giving grace” does not just bless the receiver, but the grace giver as well. How much nicer the day without disagreeable cracklings and frownie faces running through it. Smiles cover the atmosphere with peace and quiet joy instead. Hmmmm. Grace.

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  3. There is no better feeling than grace … when you know you deserve the punishment. Oh, so sweet. When people wrap their arms around you and say, “It’s okay.” And you feel they really mean it … they aren’t going to slander you behind your back. Those are sweet moments … memory makers for thankful takers. Oh, yes. Makes me think of The Sound of Music when the little girl drops the tomato … and she’s waiting to be reprimanded, but Julie Andrews motions with her finger for her not to cry, that it’s okay. Love that. Love you, Jeanne!

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    1. I like your thoughts here. Grace has to be received in order to really understand and express it. The unchurched often think of it in terms of “judge not, or you will be judged.” But its true meaning comes out of forgiveness, not tolerance. When we know we deserve punishment but instead receive mercy. That’s God’s grace!

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      1. Gene, you’re right. Grace does have to be received before one can understand and give it. One of our boys has a really hard time receiving grace for his mistakes . . . which leads to him having a hard time giving it to others. Forgiveness is the key. Love your contributions today! Thank you!

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    2. Sometimes, those two words, “It’s okay,” can be so healing! I love what you said, Shelli: “Those are sweet moments … memory makers for thankful takers.” Very true. Love you too, my friend!

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  4. Oh, I’ve been there so many times. I felt the pain of your story- and the pain for your husband having to drive. But I loved your reaction and your mothering heart. I’m so grateful when God offers grace in my forgetting. And these words are for my journal: “Grace lived out is rarely easy. But it is beautiful, redemptive and peace-inducing.” Thank you, Jeanne!

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    1. Now if I could only have that sort of response every time the kids forget or do something cringe-worthy. 🙂 We’re works-in-progress just as much as our children are. Thank you so much for stopping by, Karen!

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  5. Jeanne, your nature and family pictures are beautiful reminders of our gracious and loving God. Sometimes we need to extend grace to ourselves, too, when we’ve blown it. Self-forgiveness enables us to move forward.

    Blessings ~ Wendy ❀

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    1. So true, Wendy. There are times when we need to give ourselves grace. That’s much harder for me to do. But you’re right, when we can forgive ourselves, we can move forward. Wise words, my friend!

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  6. Wow! I don’t know if I could have summoned the grace to give a hug rather than a lecture. So impressed with you and your presence of mind and heart toward the bigger picture. But it’s so true – God is infinitely more gracious and patient with me. Why would I lose my patience with others? Thank you for your wise words and great storytelling.

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    1. Annie, I’m not always that good. Too often, it’s the lecture that escapes my lips before I stop to think on the better response. But, every now and then, I get it right. 🙂 Thank you for your words today!

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  7. No time to develop this, but often I think we extend grace by example, implicitly, through actions that are not directed at Grace’s recipient.

    By our actions we can show a better world, and Grace is in the illumination.

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    1. Andrew, the Books and Such group is an amazing group of people, very encouraging and gracious.

      I like your thought, that we extend grace by example. I can definitely see what you’re saying. We do so in the way we live, how we respond to others, and to situations we face, and in the words we speak. Those are my surface thoughts on what you said. I’d love to hear more, if you can share at some point. 🙂

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