Our weekend began with a pow. Cole hit with a vomitous, feverish flu early evening on Friday. Before morning, he’d thrown up 18 times, not about to miss tallying one as he might qualify for a record somewhere (at least in our home). The next afternoon while driving home from Cocoa Beach, Keegan was hit with the nausea. He darted for the toilet when we arrived home and deposited his first of 7 upchucks within the next 3 hours. Madison and I hoped and prayed we’d be spared. She, in the midst of an aggressive tennis season, cannot afford to be sick. And I, mother of five (along with Dennis) need to be available to our five to run this household.
This morning as Madison and I headed out the door to the gym before the sun’s appearing, she groaned of nausea. 15 minutes into my elliptical ride, the sensation filled my abdomen as well. We finished our workouts like mad women, then she slept for 3 hours. My responsibility to home educate kept me trudging through til I could trudge no more and collapsed in my bed, flanked by Meseret, Kamise and Cole. I slept the afternoon away, unable to move. The girls were delighted when their adoring brother, Cole, set them up with a flick on his IPAD. Keeg’s was happy on his XBOX. Cole was dreaming about creating an artery-clogging dinner in Keeg’s new deep fryer of fried chicken and french fries. This health food momma succumbed to his passion and couldn’t lift her prostrate body long enough to create a meal anyway.
The fry was a hit among all. I steamed some broccoli so there was some sort of nutritional value to the meal. To my bed I retreated again, this time to be joined by Madison, who’d forced herself through a tennis workout. I shared with her about a charm necklace my friend, Tahra, is designing for me. My beloved Judy had sent me a charm for each of my children, their first initials on silver ovals to to hang around my neck. I want to add a pendant with a word which captures the essence of the kids or my heart toward them.
I told Madison two words which come to mind are “beautiful mess”. She giggled and said “heck of a mess” is more like it. We laughed, face to face. After a pause, she suggested the word “grace”. I told her that had come to mind often, thinking of how, through my imperfect parenting, the Father and kids have poured into me transforming grace. It has opened me to love. It has opened me to the gospel.
As I shared my thoughts, she exclaimed, I’m thinking about how much grace you give us. This is the place of grace.
She breathed breath into my weary soul. Demands. Transition. Exhaustion. Delight. Favor. Weariness. All wrapped into one “heck-of-a-mess”. It took me years of walking beside the reckless lover Jesus Christ, to see that only until I can see the ugliness of my ugliness am I able to know the riches of His grace. And I am only able to give that which I’ve received.
My tapestry’s thread of grace, the one my flesh resists, which has so painstakingly been woven into my soul, took on a vibrant hue today. I can’t help but think back to a season in dry land over 10 years ago where I felt like a bug on it’s back, unable to flip over, yet so weary of trying I finally surrendered to my reality and ceased clamoring. I asked God what He was up to in me? So quietly, while on the elliptical, I heard him whisper, I am infusing my grace into you. You don’t get it. You work, and work and work so you can’t get it. I must bring you to this place to open you to receive my grace.
Tonight’s window into Madison’s experience of me, makes every day of discomfort and refining circumstances worth every painstaking tear. This is the place of grace only because so much has been given by our Father.