Have you ever found yourself asking a question, knowing you didn’t want to know the answer? Asking the question was necessary, but the response had a realistic potential of being hard to hear? That was me yesterday.
Yesterday wasn’t a very good day. If I could do the day over, I absolutely would, but if it hadn’t of been a bad day, I might not have learned what I needed to.
Tensions have been high lately. We have a very sick kiddo (for almost 3 weeks now) who’s been missing school. I’ve missed a lot of work, money is tight, we’re not sleeping well, ministry has been frustrating, work has been stressful for both my husband and myself. Tensions have been high, and then they peaked yesterday via an argument on the way to work. I hate when days start like that. Thankfully they don’t happen often for us, but when they do it ruins the whole day. I don’t like being angry, but especially with my family, and I definitely don’t like it when someone is angry with me.
After some important discussion, requests for forgiveness, and some reconciliation, I asked a hard question…
“What can I do to be a better wife to you?”
I know the question was necessary. I needed to hear for myself what my husband needs from me, but my pride didn’t want to hear the answer. I have a lot of expectations of him, and will tell him if I feel like my needs aren’t being met, but he doesn’t ever really speak up about me. I feel like I’m pretty a good wife already, so I didn’t want to hear how I could be better or where I’m falling short.
His answer was kind, but honest, and although my pride thinks I’m doing great, deep down I knew he was right.
“I need you to give me more grace.”
He’s right. I’ve been hoarding grace. Not just from him, or my children, but also from people I work with (customers or co-workers) kids I minister to, you name it. I’ve been hoarding grace. I want it all for myself but I don’t easily give it away. I want grace when I fall short or make a mistake. I want grace when I’ve been short tempered, too tired, sick, or haven’t followed through. However, truthfully I have not been extending the same grace to those around me.
His request for more grace reminded me of all of the places I withheld grace, even just yesterday. Like I said, I was home with a sick child but I had a doctors appointment myself. With her still being contagious, I thought it would be best for her to stay home for a few minutes (my sister was going to leave work to sit with her) while I went to my appointment so we didn’t risk her sharing her germs with anyone else. After an already bad morning I packed myself up in the rain and headed to the doctor. I start to sign myself in at the front desk when the receptionist asked me (with a very strange look on her face) “Are you here for labs?”
I could tell by the look on her face, and the tone of her voice something wasn’t right.
“No, I’m here for my regular check up…” I said, knowing that either I goofed the schedule or something wasn’t right. I know I had put the reminder in my phone over a month ago when I made the appointment, and set two reminders so I wouldn’t forget, so how in the world could I be at an appointment at the wrong time?
Her response was “Well, your provider is out of town. I’m sorry no one called to tell you.”
I had made that appointment over a month ago!! I’m approaching the end of my pregnancy where they need to see you weekly. I have some important tests they need to do, and I’ve been waiting for some results from my previous blood work. I have a sick child who is home alone, I haven’t slept well in at least a month, I’ve been arguing with my husband. Doesn’t she know that I’m already having a bad day? Doesn’t she know that I drove myself all the way here and now I’m soaking wet from walking in the rain to get to an appointment only for them to tell me I don’t have one?
I was really frustrated. I was inconvenienced. I was mad.
She said they might be able to try to squeeze me in with a different provider but I had no idea how long that would take. I declined her offer and tried to do so as kindly as I could. I couldn’t wait all day to see someone else, I had a sick kid at home.
Then God reminded me that I was hoarding grace.
What about all of the times they saw me, and I didn’t have an appointment? What about the times my doctor returned my call at 5 am because I was terrified I was losing this baby? What about the times they kept their office open late to see me because I was scared and having trouble? They gave me grace then. They calmed this worried momma’s heart time and time again. What about then?
What about the times I mess up the schedule at my own job? What about the times when we have emergencies come in and I have to reschedule people who have been waiting a month for their appointment? What about the times when I drop the ball and it’s inconvenient to someone else? I’d like them to forgive me, and give me grace, so it seems quite contradictory and hypocritical to hoard grace.
The water on my clothes would dry. This week has been an uneventful week pregnancy wise, and truly would being angry change anything??? No. It wouldn’t. I needed to stop hoarding grace.
“Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.”
Luke 6:38 NKJV
When measuring grace, I don’t want God (or anyone else) to use a tiny demitasse spoon, I want them to use a shovel, or a piece of heavy equipment. I want them to heap on the grace when I need it, so I need to start heaping the grace to others.
Do you struggle to extend grace? Do you struggle to forgive when you feel let down? Do you need to give yourself some grace? Sometimes we are able to extend grace easily to others but have a hard time giving the grace to ourselves. It is my prayer that I won’t measure grace anymore, that I won’t hoard it, keeping it all for myself but that I will apply it generously to others as well. I pray you will do the same.
In His Love,
*This post was originally posted in September 2015.
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