To the weary Mama: Remember forgetful grace

by Kari on June 19, 2013

Yesterday I had to discipline a certain child. It was approximately the eight-thousandth time I have disciplined this child. For the eight-thousandth time I chose to follow through and give consequences and for the eight-thousandth time I hated it and how hard it is. BUT, I reminded myself of this forgetful grace …


Heidi whined again and I swatted her bottom with my hand.

“Heidi, use a nice voice,” I said firmly looking straight into her eyes.  She understood and changed her voice but my conscience nagged. Was there anger in my voice? What about in my heart? Did I swat her bottom in frustration? How do I be firm but still pleasant? Am I disciplining my children in anger? Why can’t our days be fun? Why are they filled with reminders, rebukes, corrections?  I do try to praise more than I correct but they just need so much stinkin’ correction!

I reminisced back to my childhood days. ”I don’t remember my mom ever being harsh with me,” I thought to myself.

To my continual amazement, even when I’m at my worst (or I feel that way) my kids always want to snuggle up, always want to rock or read together, always want me to carry them and be silly.  I’m so glad they do but the haunting question still nags me, ”Will they remember a barking mommy who spent her hours endlessly correcting? Will they ever remember having fun?”

I got them settled in for their rests — Heidi snuggled into her crib and Dutch playing quietly in his room. Relieved but feeling defeated, I laid down on my bed, prayed, again thinking to myself, “I don’t remember my mom ever being harsh with me.” Why can’t I be more like her?

Then it struck me.

“I don’t remember my mom ever being harsh with me…”

“I don’t remember …”

I don’t remember!

That’s it! Of course.  I don’t remember.

Just 30 minutes later my parents stopped by on their way through town.  Just to be sure, I checked with her… “Mom, did you ever just feel at your wit’s end…?” She laughed out loud, told me about plenty of times the only thing that kept her sane was remembering James Dobson’s words, “Someone has to be the grown-up.” So she’d coach herself through every moment, reminding herself she had to be the grown-up.  When I told her that I didn’t remember a single time that she ever grew impatient or frustrated she just laughed.

“Then that’s a miracle.”

I smiled, understanding.

Perhaps this is the miracle of mommyhood. Don’t get me wrong, there are always consequences for sin, and I understand that if I am sinning against my children it’s not as if it just disappears.  But as I, a mommy-sinner-turned-saint, grow in sanctification and stumble through my days growing in grace and falling on my knees and training and trying and loving and correcting and crying, by faith I trust that God weaves all my messes into a beautiful childhood for my children.

Someday perhaps they will look back and remember, by some miraculous forgetfulness, that their mother was always loving, always joyful, always kind.  Just as Sarah, in the Hebrews 11 Hall of Faith, is remembered as a woman who always considered God faithful. We read that and wonder, Don’t the biblical writers remember that Sarah laughed at God’s promises? Don’t they remember how she took matters into her own hands with Hagar? Don’t they remember how she made a royal mess of things before God brought it all to pass?

They must have forgotten, because all they have to say is that she lived by faith.

Perhaps, then, my fumbling attempts at motherhood are mingled with enough faith that, in retrospect, they will, appear to be something beautiful.

Perhaps, like Sarah, our lives are bathed in forgetful grace.

“For I will be merciful toward their iniquities, and I will remember their sins no more.” Hebrews 8:12

Nothing is wrong with God’s memory. He’s just extravagantly gracious.

His grace extends even to our children, to their memories.

To their moms.

This we must remember: There is forgetful grace.

{Rest in this today, dear mommy. Thanks for reading…}


{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Catie June 19, 2013 at 6:22 am

Oh. my. goodness. This is so good. I had a pretty bad relationship with my parents growing up and I’m sometimes convinced my children will remember every wrong thing I’ve done and our relationship will be scarred for life.

This post is so encouraging. I need to always remember that if *I’m* following Jesus as closely as I can, He’ll take care of the rest. :)


Debra June 19, 2013 at 8:16 am

Rooted in His Grace. Indeed, it is THE place to live and return to again and again AND again…for the eight thousandth time:)


Mark Allman June 19, 2013 at 11:40 am

Wonders out of my blunders!


Meg June 19, 2013 at 9:56 pm

This post timed perfectly with what I needed to hear. Too often I set this ridiculous standard of perfection, wanting days with my kids to go by without a glitch and then when (surprise!) bumps come up I guilt trip myself for using my grown up voice to shape my kids behavior. Though I always need to inspect my attitude for anger and bitterness, I need to pepper my evaluation of myself with grace realizing that God made the mother-child bond remarkably resilient. I just need to keep turning to Him, not do it perfect. Thanks, Kari.


Marilyn Herndon June 20, 2013 at 7:08 am

Thank you for this Kari! I still feel the guilt of being “Cranky” with my kiddos when they were little. I went to the Altar time after time to seek forgiveness for my tone of voice. I prayed and cried and asked for forgiveness and I am very sure God forgave me. They say they don’t remember me being like that! What a relief!!! However, I still do and it still makes me sad. Now I am watching my Grandbabies and the whole process starts again. The same feelings the same guilt, etc. And of course tears and prayers. Will it ever be perfect? Of course not! Not here anyway. :) My heart hurts just as much with my Grands as with my Kids. Thank you for letting me know I am not alone! Love you Friend! Keep writing! I need it!! Blessings!!


Melissa June 20, 2013 at 12:41 pm

Thank you for this Kari! What perfect timing for me to hear this. Just yesterday I felt like I was constantly correcting, redirecting and disciplining thinking my children are going to remember me as a bossy and unpleasant person when really I want them to remember me as patient, loving, kind and that I treated them will endless unjudging love. Thank the Lord for forgetful grace. What a great reminder!


Susan Crowe June 20, 2013 at 1:02 pm

Beautifully stated! Thank God for his forgetful grace. I needed to hear this, and thank you for acting as His messenger. I have made so many mistakes, in spite of setting out to be intentional in raising my kids for God. Sometimes I agonize over the mistakes to the point that it gets in the way. But, God is faithful as well as merciful, and my beautiful girls love me, mistakes and all. Again, thank you for a much needed reminder!


Anjalee September 13, 2013 at 2:32 am

Thank You so much for this too!!! I’m constantly raising my voice with my eldest daughter and after that session I feel bad and think to myself- will she think I’m ALWAYS shouting at her and angry with her- and I don’t know why I get like that? But just last week she made a comment that touched me, ” Mummy, I like to tell you things coz you listen and understand plus you don’t shout!” So basically Daddy is the one who gets upset and she’s afraid of him to some extent but miraculously she feels safe with me!!!
Thank You Again!!


Merrilee June 17, 2014 at 9:22 am

It never ceases to amaze me how God confirms and touches my heart through your blog posts. ALWAYS! After a rough couple of weeks with my 2.5 year old, red headed stallion of a son, I was completely feeling at my wits end and noticed yesterday as I was disciplining him, I needed a change in my heart. Thank you for the constant reminder that God gives us grace. You are a blessing through the words te Lord gives you!


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