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Wednesday night we resumed AWANA after a much needed nice long though not long enough break. The girls love to dress up in their little uniforms. It’s a Cubbies t-shirt, with the official AWANA red vest which holds their badges and jewels awarded for memorizing Bible verses.

Much less sewing involved than the Girl Scouts. A bonus for me. I usually just need to super glue the jewels into the little crown that is pinned to the vest. Another bonus to AWANA, over, say, Girl Scouts, is that no camping is involved.

Those camping trips can be brutal.

On our way home, I was compelled to stop in at Target because another AWANA leader told me that boy’s shoes were on clearance. Jensen has been stuck wearing once-white sneakers that were hand-me-downs from his two older sisters. And they looked the part.

And since I refuse to pay more than $10.00 for kid’s sneakers, I justified the purchase of two pair, plus some little boy sandals for $2.48.

I should have been ecstatic. However, I was too consumed with correcting my daughters’ behavior. They were bickering over who got to push the cart (because everyone knows that you need a whole cart to buy a pair of sneakers). I tried assigning drivers in different aisles, but they would retaliate by “accidentally” rear ending the other sibling. At one point Emme grabbed a vacated cart and an all out cart war erupted. With me in the middle.

I kept a level head, even through the following dialogue:

“MOM, she touched me.”

“MOM, she’s looking at me.”

“MOM, she’s thinking about flicking me.”

“MOM, she just pointed her bottom at me.”

That one is my favorite.

I hurried them up to pay for the shoes before I had to pick pieces of my brain matter out of the merchandise display.

And the fact that we were all wearing our AWANA t-shirts made the whole event even more wonderful.

I was fuming on the way home when Fiddledaddy called. “Have you gotten them anything to eat?” “What? It’s after 9:00, they ate dinner.” “No, they didn’t eat that much.”

I had been too busy getting everyone ready to notice who ate what.

Begrudgingly, I said that I would head to McDonalds to get them a nutritious meal. Because that’s the kind of mom I am.

The backseat was quiet. I was grumbling to myself about how they didn’t deserve a treat like McDonalds after how they were acting.

And I thought about all of the times that God has extended me grace, when I totally didn’t deserve it. In fact, when I really deserved just to be smited right in my tracks. I looked in the rear view mirror at my two disheveled girls with their big blue contrite eyes.

And I ordered them a bag of cookies, to go with their healthy cheeseburger. Because grace comes in small cellophane wrappers as well.

On the way home we talked about how the whole concept of how grace works. Grace is the free and unmerited favor of God. A bestowal of blessings. When none have been earned. And I reminded them about how we were given the gift of Jesus, and that He died on a lonely cross so that we could spend eternity with Him. Even while we are still sinners.

Then we drove in silence for a while. The only sound was that of cookies crunching. Emme’s small voice came out of the dark of the backseat, “Mom, we’re really sorry about how we acted. We just went crazy, I guess. I was really selfish about the cart.”

“Thank you, Emme. I forgive you.”

And then something quite unexpected happened. Cailey began reciting the entire Book of Psalms. Word for word.

Okay, I’m lying. Actually, my number two child just nodded her blonde head in agreement with her sister. Still thoughtfully chewing.

I thought back to when I was in one of my first Bible studies, and began actively memorizing scripture. At first I didn’t understand why that was necessary. I mean, I could always just look it up! But then, as I began memorizing, something happened. These scriptures found their way into my heart. And during times of distress, they would pop into my head and bring me comfort. And sometimes even wisdom.

And then, during that quiet drive home, I remembered:

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.”

Ephesians 2:8-9

38 Responses to Graceful

  • I just read your previous post and this one together – my mom had a vita mix mixer. She LOVED it. I think she still has it but she got it about five years ago – she made soups and all kinds of good things in it. It is pricey – but she said it was worth every penny. Hope that helps. She also has a juicer and I think she ended up using the Vita Mix more than the juicer. BTW I LOVE your blog. I know I say that in every comment I leave you – but it tickles me and I love your perspective – it is light and funny! Have a great night – Sunshine

  • I LOVE this post. Thank you for the reminder to give my kids grace. Sometimes I am leaning way to far the other direction.

  • This is beautiful, Dee. Just perfect.

    And as usual with you, I’m laughing my head off even as I’m nodding in agreement.

    “She pointed her bottom at me!” That’s classic.

  • That’s such a great reminder! Very sweet.

    But the Target thing was still hysterical!

  • I often have to be reminded that I need to extend grace more often to my children than I do. And sometimes it’s not easy to flip the switch from being upset to showing grace. I hear ya. I hear ya.

  • oh those trips out in public. they are humbling every time.

  • I needed to read this tonight. Since my youngest is trying to single-handedly drive me insane today, and auctioning him off to the highest bidder has seemed to be a grand idea…a little grace just might be in order. Thank you…on behalf of my three-year-old.

  • It’s a little freakish… I have lived that same adventure, except mine involved a some screaming and less butt pointing. And I also did the grace talk and bought them shakes from McD’s. So APPARENTLY God is really moving and working through the golden arches.

  • Love this. God really has taught me the most since I’ve become a parent.

  • Great reminder to us all!

  • For many reasons, I needed to hear this today.

    Oh that there was a bridge from here to Armpit. Such a hug I would bring.

  • What a wonderful object lesson about God’s grace…and God gave YOU the grace to teach it!

  • I love your blog. This is great!

  • Oh, where would we be without grace?

    And I’m guessing the ugly Target incident had more to do with being hungry than anything else. At least that’s the way it seems to work at my house. Of course, nobody can just say “I’m hungry.” Instead they start whacking eachother.

  • Oh man alive — why must I be convicted when I’m reading a blog?? Are you Holy Spirit #2?


    Thanks for sharing your heart with us today.

  • Grace- a good thing for all of us.

    Those shopping carts really give our family opportunity for revival with all the repenting we have to do. Me for the under the breath muttering I have running throughout the store, and the girls for similar cart hogging and bottom pointing tendencies. Oh, grace was a very good idea God came up with, indeed!

  • Thank you for another excellent post. I definitely needed the reminder that God’s grace didn’t stop at me…it must be extended to others, as well. This includes those little rascals that test our patience publicly…the Target incident cracks me up.

  • That was awesome and just what I needed to read today! Thank you!

  • Wow, what an awesome post! I’m so glad I visited here tonight! You are a great writer!

  • How refreshing! While searching for a blog by a kindred spirit, I instead came across sites that made me feel like the biggest incompetent loser. It must be a bad hormone morning. Photos of beautiful, clean neat homeschool rooms and complcated 4 month long unit studies. I just can’t do it in this time of my life- 11 years homeschooling now. But your post grabbed me- and within two minutes I had laughed, then cried. Thanks for being real. With humor and transparency, you delivered a message with substance, which is no small feat. Bless you.

  • Wow what a powerful message! Thanks for teaching me something useful today.

  • Isn’t it wonderful when they acknowledge their misbehavious of their own accord? I love those moments and the still, quiet prompting of the Holy Spirit is just behind us all.

  • Are both your girlies in Cubbies? Isn’t Emme too old? Goober (7.5) is in her last year of Sparks, and Beanie (5) is in her last year of Cubbies.

    Ahhhh never mind I think I figured it out.

    Don’t you just love those times of true apologies you don’t have threaten out of them? Warms my heart.

  • This post was great…it was like looking at my childhood and my future at the same time 🙂 thanks! I needed a good laugh! 🙂

    I really enjoy your blog. I hope it’s okay if I put it on my blogroll so I can find you again-who can remember all the links it takes to get to one awesome site?

  • What a great story! How wonderful that you were able to take a potentially explosive situation and turn it into a lesson about grace!

  • You always manage to make me laugh and I think if P31 doesn’t pick you article, they are crazy!

  • Read it the second time, coming from Lysa’s site, and loved it again. 🙂

  • CONGRATULATIONS! on the writing contest. I loved this story. Have a blessed day!

    Miss Sandy

  • so funny and so something I can relate to! thanks for sharing. God Bless.

  • Excellent verse! I just read a book where a Christian missionary was in a POW camp and while in solitary confinement, every verse that she had memorized (and thought had left her) had come back to her at the very moment she needed to hear them the most!


  • Your article was fun to read. I loved the part about “she pointed her bottom at me”. I had to laugh because I have lived some of those moments. I have 5 children and you can only imagine the chaos that sometimes happened in the aisles of Wal-Mart as they fought over who could push the buggy.

    Now three are teenagers, one is out of the house (on a 5 months missions trip to England) and the baby is 10. No one much wants to go to the store with me, unless they have money burning a hole in their pocket. But I can still remember the days…..and fuming in the aisles….

    Thank God I still have my brain matter!!! : )

    You can read about my family on:
    I am in my 16th year of home schooling!!!

    Congratulations on winning honorable mention in the contest. It was truly a pleasant read.

    Many blessings,

  • Congratulations! If I had known you were entering, I wouldn’t have even bothered! (just half kidding!) As always, very well written.

  • I’m thinking I must be living your double life. It sounds just like my family outings to Target topped with trips to McDonalds as well.

    Well, there is no shame into going to McDonald’s. You never know what will happen there. 😉

  • i can picture this perfectly–
    excellent post and great job!


  • Thank you for sharing this encouraging story of grace. Sweet girls.