A number of years ago, Keith gave me a bunch of poppies. It was not a beautiful bunch of flowers at first as it was a bunch of pods, but I put them in a vase in the middle of our kitchen table thinking to myself that I would never have chosen this particular bunch of flowers as it looked rather ugly.
Much to my surprise, this bunch of pods turned into the most spectacular bunch of flowers imaginable and it happened before our eyes. My family would sit at the table and watch a pod “pop” and burst out of its shell and reveal a brand new flower. I can still remember how I felt looking at this bunch of flowers, as I felt very much like the pod and desperately longed to become one of those flowers.
Being a mother of small children had exhausted me and I had few reserves remaining. I was a Christian, and could tell you with my mouth that I was God’s precious child, but I certainly didn’t feel it inside. I honestly didn’t think that I mattered to God at all. Keith was working at a large church and was very busy and worked many nights and long days. I felt like what he did was important and mattered to God. I had invested most of my energy into being a wife and mother, but didn’t feel like I was doing a particularly good job at either and must be a profound disappointment to God.
Soon after this bunch of poppies arrived, I was asked to give a talk on grace. God in His profound goodness, used this talk to speak to me of His grace toward me. It was like becoming a Christian all over again and I felt like something burst inside me – I was no longer a pod but God’s beautiful flower.
A wise Mum remembers grace and knows its true every day
If you find yourself feeling like a no good, very bad Christian mother, it is good to remind yourself of the depth of God’s deep deep love for you. A wise Mum knows that she is nothing without God’s grace. His love for you today is the same as it was on the day you were saved.
Perhaps it is just me, but it is easy to forget that we are saved by grace. It is not by having perfect marriages, perfect children or filling our day with good deeds – these are all good things, but our salvation is not dependent upon them. It is easy to demand perfection of ourselves and think that this is what God demands. But let me tell you, this will lead to a “podlike” existence and it is pretty bleak – perfection is unreachable.
If you look at Zephaniah it describes how God feels about His chosen people: “He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.” (3:17) This verse tells us that God actually delights in each one of us! Why? Is it because we are such utterly adorable creatures? Or is it because our children are so totally irresistible? No – He delights in us because He loves us just as we are. That is one of the wonders of grace.
Fifteen years down the track from that first bunch of poppies and I still need to be reminded about grace. Don’t you think I would have it nailed by now? I haven’t got small children to entertain during a wet school holiday week. I am not in that same state of zombie like exhaustion. However, I have mastered the art of forgetfulness. It is easy to live each day as if grace is not a truth that has profound implications for how we treat others, how we see our self and the choices we make.
I have started reading Psalm 100 most mornings – in five verses the reader is reminded to be joyful, thankful and glad – why? Because the Lord is God, He made us, we are His and He is good, his love endures for ever and his faithfulness continues through all generations. When I remember these things about God, I remember that I am saved by this God – by grace and I am filled with much thankfulness.