Monday, December 5, 2011

Words that sting…from a 9-year-old


We’ve had a crazy couple of weeks – crazy busy, that is, culminating with a ballet fundraiser (Tea with the Sugar Plum Fairy!) which required me to volunteer in the church kitchen all day Saturday.   Yesterday I was bone tired.  Add to that the cold, rainy weather, and the extent of my desire was to curl up in bed and nap.  Of course that was impossible – too many “catch up” things to do.

By yesterday evening I was a tired, cold, cranky mess.  Most of the “must do today” things on my list didn’t get done.  My feet still hurt from Saturday.  The girls were bouncing off the walls with energy, arguing with each other, and resisting bedtime.

Hannah came in to complain about her sister.  My fatigue took over and I snapped at her, and she tucked her head and retreated to her room.  Soon after I heard whimpering – she was crying.  I called to her and hesitantly she re-entered our room, but wouldn’t look at me – evidence I had inflicted heart pain on my baby.  I held out my arms and she resisted – another sign she was wounded.  Finally she approached me and the crying increased, unintelligible words spilling out amid the tears.  I gently held her face in my hands trying to calm her with words of comfort, but the tears continued.  At last she was able to communicate somewhat clearly:

“Mommy, Sarah is stubborn, and I’m stubborn, and you’re not full of grace like you usually are.”


If only I hadn’t let my fatigue control my words and actions.

If only I had used a softer tone or chosen different words.  I don’t remember exactly what I said – perhaps it was just how I said it.   Or was it the combination of words and tone that wounded my child?  I can’t remember how many times I’ve had the “watch your tone” discussion with the girls.

If only I remembered the emptiness inside when I believed it was not God’s plan for me to marry and have children.

If only I had remembered that my children are  borrowed from God.   I have them for such a brief time that every second is a precious gem.

If only.

For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich.  2 Corinthians 8:9

Jesus sacrificed it all for us.  He gave us grace.  Even through His fatigue, He never used cutting, hurtful words toward those He loved. 

Lord, may it be the same with me.  May I always remember to show my children Your grace.

I asked for Hannah’s forgiveness.  She graciously gave it.

I went to sleep, grieved that I had caused my sweet child heart pain, but grateful for her grace.


  1. This brings tears to my eyes. It's always so hard when we hurt the ones we love the most. But . . . her comment says so much "full of grace like you usually are." She knows you love her. You are obviously a wonderful mommy. :)

  2. I love how simply she put it. Obviously she loves you and you're a good mama if she was able to say "full of grace like you usually are."

    Yes, words hurt and our hearts ache when we hurt those dear to us. Thankfully, grace and forgiveness is there for our imperfect moments.

    Beautiful post and excellent reminder. Children are a precious gift from the Lord.

  3. Being a mom is full of so many learning opportunities. Thanks for sharing.

  4. She sounds precious. Thanks for sharing your painful learning experience.

  5. How sweet. It is so easy to expect Grace but fail to give it. Our children remind us of some valuable lessons, huh? You've done a great job showing her Grace or she wouldn't recognize when it's not there.

    God Bless.