Grace: A perfect and free gift

Amazing diversity.  Love this place!

I did have a laugh the other day when I was talking to my husband about this blog.  I’ve blogged so much about my child’s struggles with ADHD.  You only need to cruise around my blog posts to see there may be some adult ADHD happening.  I think I know exactly who he got it from. About one year ago, a sweet lady nominated me for a ‘Verstile Blog’ award.  Really I just think, ‘Adult ADHD blog’ award.  I don’t think I could focus on one topic even if I tried. My friend suggested I go into special education consultancy work.  She said I should create a blog specifically for special ed.  That’s just so funny.  There’s no way I could stay focussed on the one topic.  That’s how scattered and busy my brain is.  Before I’ve  finished thinking about one thing, I’m already considering something different. Versatile indeed! We will go with that for now.  Now onto my post, something entirely different to what I was just writing about.  Stay with me.

I wanted to write about something very important to me, grace. You can receive grace, greet people with grace, be saved by grace, be strengthened by grace, filled with grace, share grace, parent with grace, be gracious. The list goes on.  But it suddenly dawned on me, what actually is grace? We hear this term used often.  Christian or not, it’s used often.  It is used over 150 times in the New Testament of the Bible alone.  Some people call the Gospel in the Bible,  the Gospel of Grace.  We assume we know what it is, using the term, but do you actually know what it means? 

I’ve enjoyed exploring the Bible, articles, podcasts etc in trying to find out what grace means.  My favourite example of grace was in a podcast sermon about grace.  Imagine you were speeding and a policeman pulled you over.  Grace would be to not only let you off with warning (that would be mercy), but for the officer to then give you money to fix your broken headlights.  In light of this example, the meaning of grace is a free, unmerited gift.  The grace of God is the free gift of salvation to the undeserving because of our sin. You can then understand how the Gospel can be called the Gospel of Grace.  It’s the story of God’s free gift to everyone. It has nothing to do with people’s good works, it is free undeserved goodness.  Now that I’ve got this understanding of grace under my belt, I’ve now got to work out how to parent with grace. Oh my, watch this space. That’s if I can stay focussed on this topic long enough.

Play parties: When large families have friends over

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Oh the chaos. Oh the noise.  This mumma duck is still getting used to the size of her family.

We had a play date today.  Can you call it a play date when you already have so many kids? I think not. I’m officially renaming play dates in our family, Play Parties! Seriously, you add an extra child or two to my five kids and there is so much extra noise, chaos, and fun, it feels like a kids party.  When the friends left this afternoon, I needed a nap.

I’m having fun wading through the big family waters, although I know especially in the Middle East, 5 kids isn’t really that big.  As a teacher, 5 kids is manageable, but for me, it’s the noise that kills me.  Some days, I wonder whether I’m the one with Sensory Processing Disorder, and not my child. The excessive amounts of noise coming from kids with shocking volume control makes me stressed! It makes me want to hide in a corner with my hands over my ears and rock.  Yes, yes, it does.  This is one of the big skills I am still to learn as a mum of lots of kids, how do I stop the noise from causing stress? It’s not fair on the kids that I get stressed and grumpy with them.  They didn’t choose to have a big family so it’s no way fair to get cross with them.  As part of my new year (as mentioned in my previous post), I’m trying really hard to have a heart of gratitude. I want to find more joy this year and to do this I’m working hard in having gratitude in every moment. Having thankfulness in all situations, is changing my attitude and renewing my joy every day.  I guess this is why I’m feeling so proud of my big tribe.  I’ve been working through the things that are stressing me out, and finding joy in those moments.  Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds (James 1:2). I love the book of James, but I was finding it way too challenging to find joy in tough situations that would arise.  By focussing on gratitude and looking for the positive in challenging moments, I’m having way more success. For instance, rather than getting down and frustrated at the noise, I try to smile and thank God for my awesome tribe of mini Thorpes, or the particular clown causing the chaos.  I find I smile more and frown less throughout my days. Nobody is perfect, so there will be days that I forget to try and find gratitude, and end up in a stressed, frazzled mess.  For those days, I think I need ear plugs!

Does the noise of your large family cause you stress or is it just me?