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Wednesday, February 27, 2013

give her grace.

I find it's so much easier to give. Standing in front of someone who has hurt you, who is genuinely repenting, and relinquishing your hold over them. 
Relinquishing hurt's hold over you. 
Grace is harder to give when they're not sorry. 
And seemingly hardest to give when it's yourself. 
When you're standing in the mirror wanting to desperately to be more, to do better. 
And continually falling short. 

I'm writing from the place of a newborn mama, a place where the grace can surely abound - but I think what I'm learning definitely applies to all women, in all seasons. But, I'll have to give you guys the whole picture. It's the night before my newborn baby turns four weeks old and I'm light years away from having my junk together. Nothing but nothing is normal for me yet. I don't shower on a consistent basis, get out of bed at the same time every day. I haven't had a normal day of homeschooling or work. I've had sporadic times with the Lord and my teeth isn't getting brushed all that often. And the older this baby gets, the more certain I become that I should be getting better. In short, the older he gets - the less I am able to give myself grace. 

I often tell women that one way I embrace walking in grace with myself is by being intentional to love other women. What I mean by that is, if I live life with a stringent set of rules and regulations and expectations that I'll never meet - I don't just make myself crazy, I make others crazy too. If I refuse to acknowledge that I'm a busted human who needs Jesus desperately TIME AND AGAIN and try to float through my days like I'm some sort of expert at mothering, expert at online life, expert at anything - I not only fool myself, but I gravely hurt the women around me who could struggle with comparison. However, when I walk in grace. In humility. In honest and vulnerability. When I acknowledge that I don't have it all together and that I very much need Jesus, I gift them with grace. 

The picture above is me in the post-partum stage after each of my kids. And her, all the way over there on the right - with the tired eyes in the bright green bathroom, she is really struggling comparing herself to the lady on the far left. I'm not sure why, but during the past few weeks, I have felt so intimidated by past Jessi. I've thought "Jessi who was two weeks post-partum with her first baby would never be wearing sweats to church!" or "Jessi who had just had baby Benjamin got up at 5:30am no matter how tired she was, to have a quiet time". I've thought "Jessi with baby Glory was always caught up on laundry" and in general - I've just felt like the most unorganized version of myself ever in the past few weeks. 

Well, the truth is. That's ok. Jessi who had other babies, had only just had her first, second, or third child. This is her fourth and it's different. That old Jessi didn't run side businesses. That old girl didn't work at night and she didn't have a traumatic c-section that left her in sweats for weeks. She had a smaller house, less kids, way less responsibility, and in short - she lacked much grace. She powered through the day, determined to do it all right - and she withheld mercy and patience from most everyone, including herself. True story: I don't want to be a thing like her. I'm thankful for her. But I'm thankful God grew her and invaded her life with the reality of her inability to produce anything good on her own. 

So yes, we should accept the good news of God's grace because it's good. We should accept it because we need it and those around us need it. But we should also lavishly welcome it because future-us might just need it too. 

Today, I'll do just that. I'll patiently pull my sweatshirt on over a body that feels foreign, without beating myself up mentally. I won't chastise myself for a few extra moments spent on the couch staring dreamily into Cannon's eyes or an extra 30 minutes of sleep after a rough night. I will not power through the day or white knuckle it or fake it till I make it. I will ask my Father for help when I fail. I will swim in grace. I will take joy in His help. 

For His glory. For my good. For women around me. And for future me. 
I will give her grace. Join me?

pssst: All kinds of Influence Conference details up on the Influence blog today! Check it out! 


Alesha said...

Oh Jessi. I needed to hear this. I haven't hit that "mom" stage yet (someday soon I hope), but I still struggle with all the same things. I constantly abuse myself mentally and yet, I it doesn't seem to help me change. My whole life has been a struggle of lacking grace toward others. I saw but never so clearly saw the connection between giving myself grace and giving others grace. Thanks for this encouragement. It was so beautifully put!
Alesha <3

Elisha Kemp said...

This is exactly what I needed to hear. Sometimes our comparing is our new self with our old self. Thank you Jessi!

Anonymous said...

I so needed to hear this- because 8 month pregnant Ashley isn't doing as well as post partum baby #1 Ashley. And that sure has made me nervous about post partum baby #2 Ashley. It is always so much easier to give grace to others than it is to ourselves and it is SO NICE to hear we are not alone in our inability. I just love your heart and your writing and your ability to point away from your totally relatable self and straight to the cross. It's really a beautiful example and gift The Lord has given you. And I gotta say, I think post partum baby #4 Jessi is doing pretty awesome. Love love love

Ashley said...

Beautiful words from my Jesus Calling devo today...perfect for this post so ill share...

Stop judging and evaluating yourself, for this is not your role. Above all, stop comparing yourself with other people. This produces feelings of pride or inferiority; sometimes, a mixture of both. I lead each of My children along a path that is uniquely tailor-made for him or her. Comparing is not only wrong; it is also meaningless.

Don’t look for affirmation in the wrong places: your own evaluations, or those of other people. The only source of real affirmation is My unconditional Love. Many believers perceive Me as an unpleasable Judge, angrily searching out their faults and failures. Nothing could be farther from the truth! I died for your sins, so that I might clothe you in My garments of salvation. This is how I see you: radiant in My robe of righteousness. When I discipline you, it is never in anger or disgust; it is to prepare you for face-to-Face fellowship with Me throughout all eternity. Immerse yourself in My loving Presence. Be receptive to My affirmation, which flows continually from the throne of grace.

alyssa zech said...

Gorgeous truths! I am struggling to try and get back to who I was and where I was before baby. I need more grace.

Becky said...

Oh my goodness. I just stumbled upon this post. (I'm sure God thinks it's pretty funny that I would act like it's all a big coincidence.) But I can't even count how many times in the last few weeks I've thought 'Becky with baby 1 was never this much of an emotional wreck.' Or 'Becky wih baby 1 never let her house completely fall to pieces like this.' Or 'Becky with baby 1 did not go weeks without having a conversation with her husband because she was falling into bed by the time he gets home' or 'Becky with baby 1 was way more excited than she is with baby 2.' Good grief. Time for some grace. Thank you!