I recently experienced God's grace first hand...you know the kind...the kind you don't deserve, the kind that you feel utterly speechless and thankful for when you see it displayed...wait, that's always God's desire with His grace.
I don't deserve it.
I don't even yet expect it, even though it's God's nature. That's just how God is. He cannot be any other way but gracious!
So this past Spring, I had one of those failures that I wasn't sure Little K would recover from without God's grace for my less than perfect response. My heart ached for what I thought I had hurt.
Each evening at dinner we talk to God and thank Him for our food, family, the day, really whatever the one praying wants to say to God...I usually ask different family members to thank God, to pray.
Little K was in a short habit of praying the kind of prayer that goes like this, "Thanks for everybody everywhere and our all our food, and all the people in our family. Amen."
Kind of quick and half-hearted by my judgement and not meaningful and real. So I observed.
After about the 3rd time, I said something to the tune of...instead of being meaningless think about what you are saying to God, think about your words, don't say things out of habit. It would be weird if when you were talking to me you said the exact same things every time. Put some thought into it.
I felt like I had explained the personal part of prayer and Handsome K chimed in and together we "taught" about meaningful prayer for about 3 minutes and then we ate dinner.
For the next week or so, Little K NEVER said yes to praying, but said he didn't want to and someone else would pipe up and fill in.
One evening at bedtime I asked Little K about his denial of praying...it hit me like a ton of bricks when Little K said he didn't want to because mommy and daddy had said he was doing it wrong.
My conscientious perfectionist.
I can still get teary thinking of this mistake of my judgment and not letting kids be kids. Where was the grace, I was expecting him to talk to God like a grown up. God says, "Let the little children come to me." I got in the way of Little K going to God like a little child should be free to do. I stunted his desire.
Of course laying in his bed when we talked, I apologized for what I had said making him feel like he was doing it all wrong. I brought it up again the next day and he said, "Mom it's ok, we already talked about this." I talked to God about it a lot the next week. I asked God to give grace where I judged Little K's heart. I asked God to mend what I felt like I had broken. I thought I had royally screwed up Little K's desire to pray. It was very sensitive for me to talk about.
During that week, I was with Handsome K and our married church staff away on a marriage retreat. Both Handsome K and my good friend encouraged me as I felt so low about this. We prayed and hoped and believed that God would restore Little K's confidence that I felt I had shattered.
The first dinner after we were back, I hesitantly said, "Little K will you pray?"
He looked at me across the table, as his face lit up and said, "Yes mom, I will pray!" He smiled a smile that to me said a paragraph of forgiveness and courage and confidence.
He proceeded to pray the most beautiful, heartfelt prayer I have ever heard (or so it felt at that moment).
I'm teary as I write this because this is God's grace. Letting me see that my quick judgment of my son's heart and the damage I thought I caused was covered with God's grace. God protected and restored Little K's desire to pray.
That's what God's grace does.
Thank you God for your grace, I need it daily in life and while attempting to mold the little hearts in my home. It restore and protects and forgives.