Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Grouchy for Grace

I took this picture to make myself happy.
It didn't work.
Our Lord's making of a disciple is supernatural. He does not build on any natural capacity of ours at all. God does not ask us to do the things that are naturally easy for us--He only asks us to do the things that we are perfectly fit to do through His grace, and that is where the cross we must bear will always come. 
Oswald Chambers

Yesterday I woke up on the wrong side of bed. I dragged myself out of a deep (and unusually uninterrupted by Tiny) sleep at 530 and staggered into the kitchen for a glass of water. And that's when I saw them next to the sink: three different glasses that had not been there when I'd gone to bed. That's how it started. Instead of thinking about how awesome it was that I hadn't been up multiple times with Teething Tiny, I was frustrated because I had three (horrors) glasses to clean before the sun had even come up.

Then I went for a walk with the dog and we tried to look at the stars while walking, which was difficult because I am naturally clumsy, and that's another story, but suffice to say, I couldn't get out of my crabby mood. I tried to pray about it (I really did), but all I could feel was frustration with my husband (well hydrated but sleeping innocently in our bed), lack of excitement to spend the day with the boys, and annoyance with myself for being cranky. Things went downhill from there.

The boys made every mess imaginable (even ripping the cover off one of my favourite books), they were loud, they wanted attention--they were boys, and on the whole (aside from the book ripping), they weren't even bad boys. But nothing was good enough for me. I was impatient. I snapped at them. I gritted my teeth and handed out the time outs like they were candy. And in between spasms of awfulness, I apologized to my children and prayed that God would change my attitude and help me act more like his Son and less like, well, me.

The interesting thing is that yesterday came on the heels of a week that was really hard but to which I had responded with grace and gratitude. Yesterday, when, for all intents and purposes, there was nothing wrong, I couldn't have behaved well to save my life. Which is where the Oswald Chambers quotation comes in. All day long I was miserable in my snappishness, and all day long I was praying for grace and wondering why it wasn't coming, why the Lord wasn't miraculously fixing my attitude. I tried to do fun things with the boys to get myself out of my funk. I got us outside for some endorphin boosting sunshine. I made plans for the day so that I had a point and purpose and wasn't just sitting around in my mood. Nothing was working.

At four in the afternoon, in between vacuuming and before a last minute planned Sonic run (I was trying everything--even ice cream), I decided to just make a joke of my awfulness and write something silly. And as soon as I started typing, I began to feel better. The clouds lifted, the sun shone, and there I was, ready to do the things I was perfectly fit to do through His grace. At first I didn't understand why God hadn't answered my desperate prayers for a changed heart until my mother pointed out that He'd already given me the tools I needed to get there: written words and a sense of humour. I just had to choose to use them. I hope that next time I roll out of bed feeling like Oscar the Grouch I remember that a little earlier in the day...


  1. "Then I went for a walk with the dog and we tried to look at the stars while walking ..."

    I am always impressed with dogs that are fascinated by the stars. May the Lord give you some encouragement.

  2. And reading what you write always lifts my spirits and makes me smile...

  3. I'm thankful you kept trying and finally the joy returned. Yes, it's true that joy comes in the morning and sometimes in the afternoon as well. Love you!