Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Gingerbread And Grace For Our Best And Worst Moments

She was sick when we picked her up from school yesterday, with an out of the blue fever that I think was the worst part of an old-fashioned cold.  Her tears fell from discomfort, and I put her immediately in the bathtub and then in fresh pajamas on the couch once we arrived home.  She stayed there most of the evening while I stayed close by, putting out our fall decorations.  She slept with me last night and at 4:30, her restlessness woke me up.  The fever was climbing again.  A dose of medicine, some water, and a little while later, we both got a bit more sleep.

Once the boys were off this morning, I had the unexpected treat of spending the day uninterrupted with her.  Errands would have to wait, for she needed to rest at home. With all the sights and scents of autumn surrounding us, there was a tangible warmth and coziness in the air.

I mixed up some gingerbread batter and put it in the oven to bake.  We looked at her American Girl catalog, dreaming and wishing.  All of a sudden she said, "Something smells like Christmas in here!"  Her surprise and delight when I showed her the warm-out-of-the-oven treat made me smile on the inside.  I made us a tray of gingerbread and cinnamon tea, and we sipped and savored while watching Little Women, being transported together again into the enchanting world of the March girls.  We laughed, cried, imagined, and were mesmerized by the beautiful musical score.  The moment was real, it was alive, it was sugar and spice and everything nice, just how she is.

Well, how she is most of the time that is.  And when she isn't we learn together, for sometimes I guide her gently with wisdom, and other times I am impatient.  Sometimes neither one of us are sugar or spice or as nice as we should be in our responses and reactions and on the harder days, when I lay my weary head down and wonder why on earth do I yell, I ask God to forgive me and guide me gently and give me wisdom.

"He will feed His flock like a shepherd; 
He will gather the lambs with His arm, And carry them in His bosom, 
And gently lead those who are with young." 

Isaiah 40:11 

You see, I am still learning of grace, both how to give it and how to accept it.  Accepting grace isn't always easy for a girl like me.  It is far easier to believe God loves me when I am the happy mom pulling the surprise pan of gingerbread out of the oven than when I am the exhausted, crabby, overwhelmed mom.

The mystery is that He sees both and loves me still.

Just as I know her best days and worst days, yet love her more than a heart can contain.

And just how God knows your brightest and darkest moments but loves you. He extends His grace to you.  At your best, and at your worst. That's the whole point, really.  We are not sufficient of ourselves, no matter how good we are.  We need Him.

"Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God..."

2 Corinthians 3:5

Today was a good day.  The sweetest of days.  One of those days you want to memorize, tuck in your back pocket so you can pull it out and remember clearly the warmth, the closeness, the tenderness, the scents, the softness, the sounds, the serenity.

The love.

The moment.

The beautiful, remarkable grace.

"And it's only time, but it flies right by, 
and today is sweeter than we know..."

Francesca Battistelli

"When we have exhausted our store of endurance,
When our strength has failed ere the day is half-done,
When we reach the end of our hoarded resources,
Our Father's full giving is only begun.

His love has no limits, His grace has no measure,
His power has no boundaries known unto men,
For out of His infinite riches in Jesus,
He giveth, and giveth, and giveth again."

Annie J. Flint


  1. How beautiful! Brought tears to my eyes. My daughter and I have the same relationship. She and I are so much alike, which in most ways are so wonderful, but then there are those moments. Thank you for sharing your sweet story. I always love the precious time snuggling with each of mine, even if they are sick. I hope she's feeling better.

  2. What a wonderful blog post! I felt like I was right there with you two. Feel better M! Jennifer thank you again for another beautiful and encouraging post about being a Mom!

  3. I enjoyed this post so very much! I cannnot tell you how much the sweet things you like to do remind me of what my mom would do for me growing up...gingerbread surprise, Little Women and all! What a treasure to have that time with your daughter although she wasn't feel too well. These will be the things she'll grow up remembering! The pictures make it look so unbelivably cozy and such a special time!