Mercy and Peace and Grace

Is it just me or does it seem like life just gets more and more chaotic? I feel like, on most days, Peter and I just see each other in passing. We have so many things going on, and I think lots of other families feel the same way. OT for Jonah on Mondays and Tuesdays, swim team for Brienne on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays, piano/guitar lessons for Brie on Wednesdays, and night classes for Peter on Mondays and Wednesdays. Even when everything goes smoothly, it makes for a crazy week. But when things don’t go as planned, it can cause a lot of stress.

A couple weeks ago, one of those “unplanned” days happened and it almost sent me over the edge.

Brienne had an eye appointment, and since Peter was at work, I had to take all three kids to the eye doctor’s office. This, in itself, can be a stressful thing, since you never know how Jonah (or Vivienne, for that matter) will behave. On this particular day, all the kids were pretty well-behaved. Until they depleted the juice and snack supply that I had brought with us. And once the snacks were gone, everything was fair game.  The little kids thought it would be fun to spin the eyeglass display and try on all the glasses. Fun for them. Not fun for mama. Thankfully, Brie quickly chose the pair of glasses that she wanted and we rushed out of the office.

Next, we had to go all the way across town to the base for flu shots. But before we could head that way, we had to stop at home to replenish our snack supply. (Yes, I stuff my kids with snacks when we have to sit somewhere and wait. When they eat, they are quiet and still. Judge me if you wish, but I promise that you would rather my kids be eating than climbing on the furniture. Or screaming because I won’t let them climb on the furniture.) Anyway, we stopped at home for a potty break and snacks, then headed to the immunization clinic. We had to wait a bit, but the kids were fine and they willingly and happily got the flumist.

By this time, it was getting close to lunchtime, so we rushed back home so I could feed the kids. We were home for approximately 43 minutes before we had to head back across town for Jonah’s OT session. OT usually lasts about an hour, but on this particular day, it ran over by about 30 minutes because they were working on some new skills. By the time we got out of there and headed home, I knew there would be no time for Jonah and Vivienne to take naps. Nap time is my saving grace, so when we miss it, it is bad.

On the way home from OT, Jonah was happily singing and Vivienne was unhappily screaming. This was our conversation.

Vivi: Jonah, stop singing! Mommy! I can’t hear!
Me: I know, baby. It’s ok.
Vivi: No! Don’t say baby!
Jonah: (still singing)
Vivi: I! Can’t! Hear!
Me: Vivienne, stop screaming.
Vivi: No! I can’t! I THE BOSS!

Aaah. Can you feel the tension in my neck? Even now, two weeks later, I can feel my blood pressure going up. It’s delightful.

So, I listened to that the whole way home.

Once we got home, I had to get supper in the oven and then we rushed out the door again to take Brie to swim team practice. We headed back across town and dropped her off, then headed back home. But guess what? Both little kids fell asleep 3 minutes before we got home. Not cool. So I left them in the car while I went back and forth in and out of the house to finish cooking supper. (Is that illegal? I hope not…) Jonah and Vivienne both woke up about half an hour later so I carried them inside and sat them down at the table for supper. Neither one was in a very good mood, as you can imagine. In fact, sweet Vivi screamed through the entire meal. But I was just relieved that we were now home for the evening and we could relax a bit.

Wrong.

After taking four bites of food, Peter texted me with the joyful news that he had a flat tire and I was going to have to go pick up Brienne from swim practice. This is usually his job. And I had to leave RIGHT NOW or I would be late. So, once again, I loaded up my supremely happy children and headed, you guessed it, BACK ACROSS TOWN.

The whole twenty minute drive consisted of Jonah and Vivienne arguing about who was dirty and who wasn’t dirty and who needed a bath and who didn’t need a bath. And Jonah was crying because he needed another snack. Sorry, buddy. Snack time is over.

We picked up Brienne, headed home, and then it was time for baths and bed. Thank goodness the day was over!

Now, generally our days aren’t that crazy. This particular day was a doozy, but most days just consist of your normal busyness that comes with being a parent. But recently I’ve realized that I freakin’ lose my mind around 6:00 every evening. I can handle the temper tantrums and the eight million trips to the potty and the rushing from here to there up until a point.

And that point is apparently 6:00 p.m.

Because by 6:00, it’s bath time for both littles, and then the dreaded bedtime routine follows shortly afterwards. I look forward to bedtime all day. (Don’t tell me that you don’t feel the same way.) But the actual bedtime routine makes me nutso. The kids bounce off the walls while I try to read a story, then everybody has to go potty, then I have to put diapers on both littles, and then we say prayers, and then I attempt to get the kids in the bed. Easier said than done.

It is not my favorite thing.

At the beginning of the new year, I asked the Lord to show me a Scripture that could be our verse for the year. Sort of like our motto. Last year’s verse was a good one and I’ll write more about how that verse came to fruition in another post, but I was needing something for this year.

The verse he gave me was Jude 2:
“May mercy and peace and love be multiplied to you.”

Isn’t that a great verse? I felt like it particularly applied to me because I have been in need of some mercy. And peace. And grace, for goodness sakes!

I need mercy. Mercy from the Lord when I sin. Mercy from myself when I mess up. Mercy from Peter when I offend him. Mercy from my kids when I deliberately make them angry. And I need to show mercy too. Mercy to my kids when they make me crazy. Mercy to Peter when he makes me crazy.

I need peace. I need God’s perfect peace. Peace that surpasses understanding. Even in the midst of chaos and crisis and freak out moments, I need to feel His peace and to know that He is with me. He knew what he was doing when He made me a mom to my kids, and I need to remember that truth.

I need grace. We all make mistakes. And I am so thankful that Christ doesn’t punish me for my mistakes. For my temper. For my exhaustion. But just like I need grace, my kids need grace too. They are still young and sometimes I think they should act like they are older than they are. They love to play and be silly and sometimes they need to have a good old temper tantrum. I need to give them grace when they get out of control. And I need to remember that they are only little once.

This year, 2015, I want our home to be filled with mercy and peace and grace. I want our family to love each other and forgive each other and be an example of Christ to each other. It may be chaotic and loud and crazy, but we can still feel Christ’s presence in our home and in our hearts if we allow Him to fill our souls. That’s what I want from this year.

Friends, may mercy and peace and grace be multiplied to you, too.

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