[Guest post by Carla Gasser: Carla submitted this piece when I was scheduling for this series, and although she didn’t intend to be a part of it, I thought her story of God’s grace was perfect for the series. As God gives grace to us, we should extend it to others!]
I had an interesting conversation with one of my sons (whose name I will graciously withhold) at breakfast this morning.
I was asking why he was wearing the same khaki shorts for the third day in a row. He started complaining that he had no clean shorts because “someone” had not washed them. Excuse me? I held my breath while slowly counting to ten in my head and then calmly replied: “Well, why doesn’t “someone” sort and bring his dirty clothes down to the laundry room?” And then he said it. Yes, he did. Four little words:
“IT’S NOT MY JOB.”
Oh, really? To most of you moms out there, those are fighting words, and I had to do everything in my power not to go completely off on him.
I had a choice. A teachable moment. An opportunity.
I also had a lot of laundry to do (obviously!)…
I have four children and have been primarily a stay-at-home mom for over 18 years. I have done a lot of laundry. A lot. You could say it is part of my job (although no one has ever dared until today!).
My boys, who are now teenagers and play many sports, can take up to 3 showers a day. It is not difficult to imagine how much laundry that creates.
One day while folding seemingly endless pairs of underwear, my youngest child ( and my only daughter) came into the room and saw the piles stacked high of just underwear. For fun, for kicks, for laughs (ha ha), I asked her to count them. 37! Yes, 37 pairs of just underwear! Although math is not my strong suit, I pulled out my calculator…I just had to know.
37 divided by 3 boys=about 12 per boy. Let’s see…I did a load of their clothes about 3 days ago. More math….ugghhhhh! I guess that means that each boy went through 4 pairs of underwear per day. Seriously???????? I called a family meeting to discuss the situation. That was several months ago…and the laundry saga continues.
Back to this morning and my response to my son. A few years ago, I would have given him a ten minute lecture, refused to do his laundry for a week, and taken away his phone (I think I threatened at least one of those things today!).
I also would have been angry, bitter and resentful. I would have sulked and thrown myself a pity party. I would have called my husband at work and ranted for several minutes about how he needs to get “his son” under control.
But today I chose differently.
Maybe I am getting soft in my old age, maybe I am tired of fighting the same laundry battles, maybe the sunshine lightened my mood. I don’t really know. But I think it has something to do with grace.
God’s grace. His unmerited favor toward me which he unconditionally extends every day. The same grace that covers me even though I say “It’s not my job,” when He asks me to do something. The grace that was graciously extended to me when I was lost, broken and not even remotely looking for God.
In the book of Ephesians, Paul tells us:
“But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much, that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!” ~Ephesians 2:4-5 (New Living Translation)
The older I get, the more I appreciate and realize my desperate need for that kind of grace. And maybe the more willing I am to attempt to extend that same grace to a strong-willed son who needs it as much as I do.
P.S. I did all the laundry (and there were only 17 pairs of underwear!)
When not teaching, writing or speaking, I am most myself as a wife and mom living in Hudson, Ohio with my four very active children and my husband of almost 25 years. I enjoy serving in the women’s ministry at my church, mentoring young women, and volunteering in the local public schools my children attend. I try to blog weekly and about how my messy, imperfect life and God’s amazing love and grace intersect in the most extraordinary ways. Please visit me AT THE CROSSROADS: www.carlagasser.com
This guest post is part of the first-ever Devotional Diva Christmas guest post series entitled, “The Gifts God Has Given You.” Look for more posts with this theme now until December 23rd!