It was a Barbie shoe in the grass that prompted her to yell at me. I had been playing Barbies with my friends outside on a blanket, but somehow, that shoe ended up in the grass.
My stomach tightened and my hands shook. I hated being yelled at. I hated the tension of how to act after the yelling. I hated feeling like I was always creeping over landmines.
The shoe, that was just one time of many.
Today, I gave that feeling to my daughter.
A Barbie shoe.
I screamed. And then I sat on my steps and cried. I held my hair in my hands and I shook. Have I become her?
She shook. With big eyes and her body half hidden behind the doorway, she nodded that she would clean. I yelled at her because she didn’t clean. “I’m sorry, I just wish you would do as you’re told.” My feet dragged my body up the steps and into my bedroom where my bed caught me and I cried. I could hear her crying downstairs. All for what?
My husband had had a bad day at work, and I had a bad day, and the badness of the day got flung onto my kids through the sharpest weapon I have: my tongue.
And in bed as I cried, I remembered the tension and the shaking and how I hated being yelled at.
Back down the steps.
She was on the couch. We were two teary-eyed girls who needed each other. She nuzzled into my body and I rubbed her head and I said, “I hate being yelled at. I did to do you what I hate. I’m so sorry.” We held each other for a long while, and then we began again.
In those moments of cuddling, God’s grace broke through the guilt and regret by telling me that I wasn’t her. I never had anyone rub my head or cuddle me or tell me they shouldn’t yell at me. I never had the warmth of a nuzzle; I was left with only the tension.
But my girl, she has my skin close to hers, and my heart, and my love, and my warmth. She has my sorrow. I may have botched up, in a moment of incredible weakness, but I am not my weakness.
God shows up in the cracks; His light comes through my dark, and we go on. We kick tension to the curb.
You can kick it, too.
We all botch up, every day, some days, but we don’t have to stay there, in the mess. Sure, we can choose to stay hardened, to not apologize, to not accept His unwavering grace. But we also have the choice to lay ourselves low. We can feel sorrow and we can get up from the muck. We can enter into real love when we break before others and let Him bind us up; they see the mending and the scars, but they forgive us, as we forgive them. This is grace and freedom. And with grace and freedom there is no room for tension, the painful, ugly tension that strangles a soul.
You can choose to begin again.
His grace never retires.
He will never quit you and the work He is doing in you.
Love, Sarah MaeLeave a Comment
Oh Sarah Mae, I LOVE when I get to have a small “in” to women being real and I especially love to hear about God’s grace and goodness. The past 9 months have been an amazing journey…..one that started off with the verse “Therefore I am now going to allure her; I will lead her into the wilderness and speak tenderly to her.” He has done that so that I would hear His voice and not mistake it for anyone else. He let me trip along the way and he let me choose paths that didn’t look as narrow because I thought they would be easier but He kept pursuing me until I finally looked up with open, empty hands and asked Him to fill me up, tell Him I would no longer fight His love and SURRENDER to Him. We are on a cool journey and I’m so grateful He didn’t leave me in my mire and much! I’m setting out to fight for my marriage with a boldness and tenacity yet with His tender love. We aren’t going down after 19 years without an official battle done Jesus style!
I cried reading this because this is me,and I know my sons hate being yelled at. I too apologize but the sadness still sticks with me because I have yelled at one of God’s precious children.
Kelli mcknight says
This story was mine hundreds of times over the years raising three. If it weren’t for grace the tension, just as you beautifully describe, would all we’d be left holding. Thank you God for grace that comes in the admitting sin, in the weary moments our tongues unleash. And in the precious cuddling reconnection that can come only by grace!
Michele Morin says
Sarah Mae, I love how your bio sums up the truth of your post today — because it’s true for me as well -> My past would be present if it were not for Jesus. What a great way of summing up redemption!
Thank you for reminding me of God’s patience with us and especially the words that He shows up in the cracks and His light comes through my dark. Our mission is called Opal House because it is the gemstone that owes it’s fire to the fissures inside that allows the light to come through and emit all those beautiful colors. We are broken so He is the one that shines through us!
And I Shall KEEP ON. Surely if not for His Grace! My bad day was just yesterday and behold- my kids got it! All because I didn’t care for what y my husband said to on the other end of the phone.
Homeschooling 3 kids, I yelled when they couldn’t get it, I yelled because one had a hood on in the house. I yelled because one was hunched over reading. Even yelled at the dog for barking. I cleaned and cooked with and attitude. My kids tearing because I yelled at them, I’m Ms attitude with tears(without letting them see because I thought it would be weak on my part). It’s a rare for mom to be in this way. But God’s Grace brought me to more tears as I asked each for forgiveness.
Bad days happen for sure, but the Greater One gives us Power and Grace to pulled through and overcome. By His Amazing Love
Gail Noe says
Thank you Sarah Mae! Another one that can relate. Asking the Lord to get down deep into those roots and dissolve them along with crushing the pride that would like to hold on. How desperately we all need God’s grace to pour over and thru us each and every moment. May His grace flood over you and your family in every way.
Thank you for sharing your heart dear girl. I struggle with this so often. I sometimes become who I don’t want to be, them…my dad, my mom…but I am making huge strides to change. I lose it on my kids, mostly it is over a dumb thing, but sometimes it is a genuine upset…but it is confusing to them the spectrum I give them. Then I apologize, even though I was never genuinely apologized to. I admit my fault or mistakes, even though that was never done to me by my parents-I guess they were “perfect.” I want to be different for them…for the treasures in my home that God gave to me to care for. I do a lousy job some days…but I strive show God’s grace. His blessings every day! I also want more moms to talk about their downs. It is all a facade, a pretending show for a lot of people. I don’t like that. I don’t live like that. I am who I am and I want to change with God’s grace, and I don’t pretend that I need to change. People are always amazed I am open about my struggles…I am amazed when people aren’t! God bless you in your walk with Him. Keep on keeping on.
I love”I am not my weakness.” Preach it or rather I need to preach that to myself.
Pearl @ Look Up Sometimes says
Sarah Mae, wow. Thank you. Grateful for this. For you.
Sarah Mae, so thankful to the Lord for His tender mercies of love, forgiveness in your beautiful words, for your sharing, for you. I understand your struggle as I have lived in fear of becoming “them” all my life. Yet by the Lord’s love and grace, He has been redeeming my life, helping me to not act of old wounds or confusion, to beg forgiveness when I do and offer reparation. Your words-“God’s grace broke through the guilt and regret by telling me that I wasn’t her.” are such a grace to my soul. He made all to be different vessels, some for one thing and others for another. How wonderfully blessed we are by His love! May we all listen to His gentle voice today, following His path over our pasts, praising Him for His mercy, being present to His gentle tugs on our hearts to love those around us with His love 🙂
Crystal Storms says
As a non mom I almost didn’t read this, but I am so glad I didn’t let the title stop me. ” We can enter into real love when we break before others and let Him bind us up.” Such grace in these words. Thank you, Sarah Mae, for reminding me His grace is enough and there’s healing in our brokenness.
Kathy Cheek says
I think blowing it and messing up and the beauty of God’s grace to rescue us is where we live most days!
Thank you. Simply, thank you.
Jeanne Takenaka says
Oh, Sarah Mae. SUCH a beautiful post. And this line—”I may have botched up, in a moment of incredible weakness, but I am not my weakness.” Yes. Too many times, I have allowed myself to be defined (by myself or by others) by my weakness. God doesn’t see us that way. He sees us through His eyes of love, a filter of grace.
I love how you and your daughter were able to work through this event. That is the amazing power of love and grace. Humility required and (dare I say) honored leads to peace.
Thank you for sharing this today. I needed the reminder.
Rebecca L Jones says
If we really have a heart for Jesus, we will never become what we hate. I am dealing with children of addicts, yelling and screamin g is the norm for them, I have to careful to avoiid that even their regular voices are extremely loud, I’m constantly saying indoor voices, even though it is my mother with full custody, it’s been hard for me too. But I still encourage people to foster and adopt because so many children need Chrisitan parents. Don’t let the devil make you beat yourself up over the little things, it happens. If people tell you otherwise, I;m not sue ‘b believe them.
Beth Williams says
I do the same things to my hubby. When I’m depressed or in a bad mood I can lash out on my sweet lovable hubby. Later I come back and apologize. I don’t like being yelled at-yet in my weakness I do some yelling myself. Like you said “I am not my weakness”.
How wonderful that we can try again and again and God takes our mistakes and remakes them into new beginnings when we submit to his will and ask forgiveness. Grace and freedom. New beginnings. Forgiveness. I can’t imagine living without these.
“He will never quit you and the work He is doing in you.” is an encouraging reminder to me. I struggle in this area with my children so much and feel hopeless to fix it at times. But, I find renewed hope when I read things like this. Thank you Sarah Mae.
Once again God has used you to speak to my heart. I really needed to read this today. Thank you so much for sharing.
I just don’t see the big deal in yelling. I grew up in a loud house. We yelled when we were happy, sad, or angry. We were always talking, singing, yelling, or laughing. My mother yelled at me frequently. We laugh about it now because she says she has no one to yell at.
As Christian women, we are always told to be quiet, but there is an entire world of loud, lively people out there who feel like they don’t fit into the church or are less holy because they aren’t calm and quiet 100% of the time. I am not talking about unrighteous anger or taking things out on others, but simply the yelling aspect.
Yes, God’s grace is the only thing that saves us. God’s grace is constant AND so is our growth. Can we stop perpetuating this idea that never raising your voice or losing your cool is attainable this side of heaven? Can we stop pretending that we don’t live in a flawed world?
Yelling happens. Unrighteous anger happens. We can try our best to avoid it, pray when we feel like we are getting close to our “boiling point” and ask forgiveness when our anger hurts others, but it STILL happens. We are not perfect. If we were, we wouldn’t need Christ and we all know how much we need Christ.
I don’t know. Something about this post just paints a picture of a carefully crafted perfection in which you only fail very rarely. I don’t know about you, but I fail daily… hourly, really. And when we pretend that we don’t, it creates barriers to those who recognize their total failure and humanness.
This isn’t to say that we shouldn’t be constantly striving to become more like Christ and to avoid pitfalls that will position us to sin. Don’t mistake my comment for that. However, I read so many Christian blogs where it seems the authors are ok with allowing the “small” sins to be visible, but they fail to honestly communicate how frequently this kind of thing happens to Christians. It is a balancing act between glorifying the unholy and being forthright with our struggles, yet I think it is incredibly important to communicate that.
Sarah Mae says
“As Christian women, we are always told to be quiet.”
This post has nothing to do with being quiet. It has to do with yelling in a way that was just ugly. And yea, it happens, but I hate when it does, and I want to always ask forgiveness. I was yelled out and lashed out at as a kid and it was vicious and awful and I don’t want to do that to my kids. But I do sometimes, and they do sometimes, and we’re working out it each day because we love each other and are committed to growing together.
As far as being loud, we are loud. 🙂 Yelling to hurt and tear down and taking our anger out on someone is always cause to say, “I’m sorry.” Being loud and fun and silly and crazy sometimes, I’M WITH YOU.
Also, read more of my stuff and you’ll see there is no perfectly crafted anything. 🙂
Love to you.