Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The practicalities of Grace

I realize my last few posts on this blog have been mostly about my struggle with being 35 weeks pregnant, having little or no energy, but having tons to do. I apologize if the tone here is not uplifting. The truth is, life is hard and God requires us to hard things. I certainly don't go out looking for hard things to do, but if my life circumstances are difficult, then I run to my Savior. I guess that's what I'm trying to show here.
Yesterday I was emailing with a good blog friend about my recent woes. I feel like a failure in many aspects of my parenting right now. I guess I tend toward measuring my success on what I can tangibly see, not merely on faith. My friend told me: "You're not a failure. You are pregnant!"
I had to laugh. It really is true. That comment allowed me to extend much Grace to myself.
So often in many aspects of our lives, we forget that we need to not only extend ourselves grace, but also our brothers and sisters in Christ, our neighbors and friends, our families, our husbands, our children.
Extending Grace takes work. It means looking beyond the outside behavior and seeking to understand where the other person is coming from. I'm not complainin' for complainin' sake over here. I'm tired! I have a lot to do! I'm pregnant! Not only should we extend a graceful spirit to the people in our lives, but also look for the practicalities of Grace. A good friend of mine called me yesterday and said, "I'm coming over to your house today. Stay in your jammies. I'll give you a foot rub." That's practical Grace.
Edith Schaeffer writes about how we can do this in her book The Hidden Art of Homemaking:
"Food cannot take care of spiritual, psychological and emotional problems, but the feeling of being loved and cared for, the actual comfort of the beauty and flavour of food, the increase of blood sugar and physical well-being, help one to go on during the next hours better equipped to meet the problems."
Sometimes a simple word or simple gesture of help makes all the difference in extending Grace.
Edith also speaks of taking care of children's physical needs when they are grumpy or misbehaving. Perhaps they need a warm bath and a snuggle instead of discipline. A cup of hot chocolate and whipped cream can do wonders for someones frame of mind. (including children.)

I just also want to say "thank you" to you all who have emailed me and/or left comments here telling me you are praying for me, and local friends who have so graciously offered help. I appreciate each and every word and gesture immensely.


momma's heart said...

I haven't been reading here very long, so I hope you don't mind my two cents on this.

No mom, no matter how sanctified she might be, feels good about her parenting this far along in pregnancy. The discomfort is so constant, and the nesting instinct makes us put pressure on ourselves to be MORE productive, rather than less, leading to further frustration. Just ask the kids for forgiveness for anything you think you've done wrong, and move on. It teaches them to be quick to acknowledge their own shortcomings, when we do it readily.

Maybe they can come up with an experiment to try to simulate your extra weight on themselves, and see how they feel after several hours of trying to get through their normal routine. They might be able to extend more grace if they have some idea what you're going through.

I so understand what you're feeling. My latest baby is now six months old, but I remember those last six weeks of pregnancy very well.

I'll say a prayer for you.

Enjoying your blog, by the way. I found it on Joy's blog.

Joy said...

hugs to you dearest...I found myself in tears because (you know!) I could just so relate to every word. And, I'm just holding on to Grace...

Love to you dearest one. Just a few more weeks. My oldest says we should make a paper chain and rip it off...and I'm starting to think he's on to something. I could use some tangible evidence of progress instead of the constant
...errr...'side effects'. *smiles*

Ruth MacC said...

It'a a lovely post and like what your visitors are saying. God continue to bless and mind you and your family...


Ruth MacC said...

If you have time you may be able to help me, or know somebody who can...

I can't continue to teach my son after the age of 13. He will have to go to secondary school. He has been accepted into the one that we really wanted him to attend, I am very glad to say. I am thinking of having a party for him just before his 13th birthday in 2011 to mark the end of his learning at home, his journey into being a teenager and the start of his regular school life. Have you any ideas? What do people usually do in your country?

Would be grateful for any ideas or advice you can give.


Ann Voskamp @Holy Experience said...

I just really wanted to send you love, Andrea...
Yes, grace, grace, grace.

"He giveth more grace as the burden grows greater."



Anonymous said...

May I graciously offer a different perspective on your pains in pregnancy? A barren woman, such as myself, would take your pain TODAY. Your pain is temporary but your joy extends your lifetime. Please remember the joy of BEING able to bear a child as many women long to be able to do.

Andrea said...

Anonymous-- (could you perhaps leave a name next time? *smile*)
Yes, another perspective is always welcome. It is easy to have a myopic viewpoint on my situation. Thank you for reminding me of the joy to bear a child! Trust me, that sentiment is not lost on me! =)