The desperate cry on the phone was not one I was accustomed to hearing when talking to my strong, ever-upbeat daughter. I could not imagine what could have brought her to the sobbing tears that echoed to me on the phone. Once I verified that all was okay with her newborn twin boys, I listened intensely to her feelings rattled by intermittent sobs. She had just learned that she would have one month to move from the rental house they had moved into a year ago. She had humbly called on her network of friends to help her as she navigated three months bedrest and delivery of her beautiful twin boys. She was reluctant to call on these same generous people a second time as she was faced with packing up the house that she just unpacked, even knowing she could not do by herself.
The picture became clear to me as I listened to her unpack these feelings, and in the same breath, she was also compiling a list of all the things she needed to do, felt compelled to do or wanted to do: Have this couple over for dinner to say thank you; Be more invested in the new neighbors. The list went on and on. The picture was two- fold: we, as women, tend to carry much more than we were ever intended to carry. A work horse with a slumped back.
Side by side:
A beautiful box with the prettiest bow I could find.
Just the word Grace in the box.
As we conversed about expectations, I challenged her to write down the things she wanted to do or felt compelled to do; Put them on separate note cards. List as many as she could. Put these in the box. Cover the cards up with the word “grace”. Also include the things that she was regularly doing, like nursing the boys, reading to Evelyn, preparing meals, cleaning the house, connecting with her husband.
For the days when she felt overwhelmed, discouraged, disheartened or just exhausted, the box is by her bedside to remind her of grace, God’s grace. His grace lavishes us with a gift we don’t deserve. He takes our burdens. He carries our load. His grace sustains us. A gift we give ourselves is to accept this grace. To not put more on yourself than the Lord Jesus Himself excepts of us.
How many of us women, weary from life’s demands, place unrealistic expectations on yourself? We as women are skillful at juggling many demands. As the old adage states, We can “ bring home the bacon and now fry the bacon.” I wonder if this is what our Creator intended of us.
Today, Receive the gift of grace. God’s grace. Take something off your plate today. Cuddle a little longer with your toddler. Sip some tea with your teenage daughter who needs you to listen. Race matchbox cars with your pre-school son. Play dress up with your princess -want- to be! Gaze into your husband’s eyes and tell him how you first fell in love with him.
Grace: Relish in His grace! Relish in what you are called to be, not in your never- ending to-do list. Enjoy today! He has given you grace with a beautiful bow!