Where I stop the counting

My daughter is getting great at counting, so am I.  She needs to keep learning numbers where as I need surrender my counting skills.

I must allow grace over all numbers and measures

I wake up to the sounds of a fussing baby, look at the clock, how much did I sleep?  A number…
I manage to put my feet on the floor and my thoughts flit to my weight, how well did I eat yesterday, did I gain, lose?  A number…
My daughter asks to watch Mickey Mouse, I think about how many hours of TV she watched yesterday, was it too much?  A number…
I log into my WordPress stats, how many hits throughout the day?  Are my stats going up or down?  A number…
I try to distract the kids so I can start my day in prayer, how many days behind am I in my reading plan?  A number…
We move through our day, counting the hours until Kel gets home to provide relief.  Counting, numbers, counting, numbers, always evaluating and coming up short.

Every day a rating, an evaluation, am I making progress, forward motion?  Am I a success or a failure?

I’m constantly numbering my days and coming up short.  One too many cookies, not enough books read to my children, too little quality time for Kel, not enough prayer, too few dollars in the grocery budget.

Can I confess something to you all, that may not be a big secret?  I sort of suck at grace, I’m a terrible good conduit of it, I struggle to give it because I struggle to receive it.

overflow at church

Last night our church held a beautiful, candlelit worship service, stripped down, simple and deep.  It was the first hour I’d spent off the mom clock in two days.  As the music flowed and the scripture washed over me I broke down and headed to the cross for the body and bread, where I was intercepted by my a beautiful friend.

As we knelt in prayer she knew my soul, my specific brokenness.  She prayed that I could see myself as valuable, lovely and enough.  She prayed I would realize how valued I was by our church and community and that I could learn to give myself the gift of grace.

I told her about my crusty shell, my walls, my sharp tongue.  I’m hard on myself and my family, I expect more than any of us can feasibly achieve.

I recoil at the idea that God sees beautiful things when he looks at me. Surely he sees my flaws, the weak prayer life, the moments I yell at my children or criticize Kel for the 42nd time.  How could he see me as enough, as lovely?

She knew, she already knew.  I realized the wise soul, ahead of me on the grace journey have been reading between the lines of these pages.  They’ve seen my need to be easier on myself.

We prayed that I would become full of grace and tender, more empathetic and free of the chains of “not enough.”  I prayed in earnest that however painful it may be that God would tear down the stony walls and restore to me my tender heart of mercy and grace, first for myself and then for my family.

I returned to my seat where another dear friend handed me a tissue for my drippy mascara cheeks.  As I glanced around the softly lit room I saw the faces of the older women, those who have gone before, beautifully lifted toward their father.

They’ve lived this season, with young ones, lonely days learning the rhythms of grace.  Oh father may that be me someday, a little more wrinkly and lot more gracious.  May I have eyes for the younger ones and bless them with encouragement and prayers, kind words and surrogate mothering.

As I prepared to write this I breathed a simple prayer, may my broken connection to God’s grace speak to yours if you have one.

May we work together to change our seasons, out of crusty, dry graceless days and into a lush spring valley, full of green grace.  May we begin measuring our beauty by the great worth God sees when he looks upon us and give up our weights and measures.