Although “chaos” would have adequately described my kitchen, I had still managed to get a decent supper on the table by the time Phil got home. My dear hubby could sense my mood as he tried to help get the table ready (yes, good Spidey senses do slowly develop as a husband matures, thank you Lord!). He tread lightly around me, trying not to do or say anything that might accidentally spark my shortened fuse.
I finally plopped the last dish on the table and sat down in a huff, feeling quite flustered and exhausted from the long day. Phil began to pray and while I breathed in Jesus (recall that blog?) I tried to remind myself that those praying with me at that moment were really gifts from God (wow is he a creative gift-giver, and with a mighty unique sense of humor I might add).
As soon as our heads lifted and our eyes cracked open, my youngest, Troy, stood up out of his chair and grabbed a huge forkful of fettucine, dripping with Alfredo sauce. He held it as far above his head as his arm could reach and slowly began to lower the long swaying strands of pasta toward his big mouth, making wild growling sounds like a hungry wolf about to eat his prey.
Suddenly the twisted wad of pasta slipped off the end of his fork and smacked him in the center of his face before falling and managing to hit his shirt, the chair and finally the floor. For the first time all day the whole house was silent. Everyone, fully aware of Mom’s strained mood, turned to me in obvious anticipation of what my reaction would be. I could see the fear in their eyes.
In my own mind (as we super-powered moms can do) I quickly assessed the fallout this attention-seeking antic would cause: the cleanup of the floor and the chair and the son, the stain removal from the shirt and the added laundry, the cost of the food he just wasted, and how this child obviously needs better discipline! Would this be the final blow that caused me to (justifiably) erupt…???
Ahh… what the heck… I burst out laughing. Seeing that fettucine bop him in the face and the look of surprise in his eyes was too much. It was seriously funny, and I let loose laughing like a crazy woman. After everyone realized I was not going to freak out, they laughed hard too. The laughs continued and from that moment on the whole tone of the evening changed.
It was a split second decision to love instead of be angry; to share joy instead of more angst. I don’t always make good choices in moments like this, but this one taught me a good lesson. Sometime you just need to SHOCK your kids with undeserved grace. It helps them and you at the same time. It is a powerful reminder of the utterly undeserved gracious gift of God that we are given in Jesus Christ. What a truly shocking reality that is.
“But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8.
The love of our Father God should blow us away. He never runs out and is always generous. We should love others the same way, always being full of grace. “And from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.” John 1:16.
I challenge you to find ways to shock others with this type of grace. The next time someone wrongs you, forgive them right away. When your husband puts his foot in his mouth… again (those Spidey senses don’t always kick in quick enough), don’t pout and act hurt, decide to laugh, roll your eyes and love him anyway.
And every once in a while, give those kids a break and shock them with CRAZY grace! When they know they have done wrong or made a bad decision, grab them, hug them, and tell them you love them and forgive them because God has forgiven you for all of the wrong you have done. Let them feel a small portion of the release and freedom that the power of grace provides.
When the opportunity arises, I enCOURAGE you to make a split second decision to love.