I struggle with the concept of grace. Receiving grace from others is difficult, but even more difficult is receiving grace from myself.
Do you struggle with this?
I am currently nine months pregnant and during this entire pregnancy, I have had to give myself a ton of grace, and I’ve had to allow myself to receive grace from loved ones.
My first pregnancy was a walk in the park. I had the typical morning sickness, and a few migraines, but nothing more than that. Easy breezy. This pregnancy is wildly different from my first. In my first trimester, I had so much morning sickness that I rapidly lost 10 pounds within 4 weeks. Sitting or even laying down has become a challenge with the increasing hip and back pain I’ve developed. I have hot flashes at night that make me feel as if I’m in a sauna. Just walking from my bedroom to the kitchen makes me feel like I’ve completed a marathon (and we have a very tiny apartment!). The list goes on. Most days I have to cancel plans, or alter them to make them easier on my body…and I always feel guilty about it.
Not only are my physical symptoms heightened, but my emotional symptoms have been rising as well. I can think of many days where I woke up wanting no one to look at me, touch me, or ask me for something. There was even a time where, while dressing my son, I began crying out of frustration because he wouldn’t stand still long enough for me to put his shorts on. I then raised my voice at him and gave him a full showcase of my hormonal emotions. Seconds later, I realized I had just made a fool out of myself in front of my blameless, spunky, and innocent toddler. I wiped my tears, gently grabbed his hands, and said, “Bud. Mommy lost her cool. I messed up. Can we pray together?”. And you know what? He said yes. We prayed together and it was an opportunity for my son to offer me his grace and forgiveness (a win-win for the both of us!)
Yet, even when my son offers me forgiveness, I still wonder if I’m “good enough” for it.
I don’t want to be that pregnant girl. I should handle this better. I’m a bad mom to my son because of my trouble in this pregnancy. People probably think I’m making excuses or think I’m weak.
These self-condemning thoughts twirl through my head almost daily. If I do some internal evaluation, I would assume the thoughts come from my need of control. Control is having both hands on the wheel. Grace is letting someone else take the wheel. Control is making sure everything is just right. Grace is noticing the imperfect moments, and letting them be just that.
Grace is knowing things are not perfect but accepting them fully.
And guess what? God doesn’t think of me any less just because I’m going through a tough season. He doesn’t judge me, or blame me when “I just can’t today”. He offers His comfort, His help, and His presence when I’m barely making it. And because we are His children, I resolve to accept grace from others, but most importantly from myself.
When I choose to accept others’ forgiveness, including my own, I am diminishing any power for depression or bitterness to settle in. I am standing up to lingering negative emotions and declaring that I believe that God has not called us to live in self-condemnation. So, mama, today allow yourself to be forgiven and live freely in grace.