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…}