Losing My Cool and Finding Unexpected Grace in Its Place

I looked at the backseat of my car. It was a cluttered combination of soccer gear, backpacks, water bottles, empty granola bar packages, leftover crumbs and muddy grass clippings.

Kind of like my life right now, I couldn’t help but keep thinking.

Stress had regrettably stuck its little fingers into every crevice of our family schedule. Some we’d knowingly summoned in. And some sat at the sidelines, uninvited and unbidden.

Work stress had amped up with the season and unfortunately so had home stress. I found myself easily irritated. Frustrated. Just on the verge of completely losing it with my precious husband and my beloved kiddos.

Then there was the added bonus of ministry to dos, writing deadlines, the everyday tasks of keeping up with the laundry and dishes, plus helping with the daily pileup of homework, not to mention all the middle school drama.

The more things piled onto my plate, the more my chest throbbed with anxiety, pulsating with notions of potential catastrophes and unmet expectations.

And as each task and each new day brought on additional pressures, my mind and my body simply got to the breaking point. You know the one. Where you suddenly blast out your stress and irritation and I-can’t-handle-this-anymore onto anyone and everyone in your path?!

Like a two-year-old throwing a tempter tantrum, I lost it. Throwing hurtful words and mean statements around like a toddler emptying out a bucket full of toys.

I stomped. I banged doors. I cried my little eyeballs out. Until the words and the tears were empty and the warpath was strewn with the necessarily apologies and hugs needed for the fixing of aching hearts I’d left behind.

Why is it that the ones we love so often become the punching bags for our exasperations? Do we think we should have a pass for losing it with our families? I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to be the kind of mom who preaches, Do as I say and not as I do.

Here we put so much effort into teaching our kids the ways of the Lord, and yet, when the tensions become mountainously high, our actions become the very training ground for the importance of humility and extending the gift of grace to one another.

But back to the eruption of Mount Mama.

I did what I’m sure you’ve had to do from time to time. I swallowed my anger and my pride and went to my sweet little family and said these nine powerful little words: “Mom blew it. And I’m sorry. Please forgive me.”

And they did!

You see, we may not be the perfect mothers, but we are the perfect moms for our kids. And in the good, in the hard, in the totally embarrassing stuff of life, they’re watching. They know when we’re depending on the Lord. And they see when we’re depending on ourselves.

Sometimes it just takes a little leakage of tears and the spilling of grace to reveal the difference. And those, my friend, are the lessons of life worth watching … and living.

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Anne-Renee Gumley

Anne-Renee is a full-time mom who works part-time at her family's party store. She has two children who keep her laughing, a husband who keeps her smiling, and an itch for writing that just won't go away.
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