When does thirty seconds feel like an eternity? When it occurs just as you see your seven year old about to wallop your youngest with a toy.
Those thirty seconds count because if they are taken to their full measure you find an opportunity to meet your children with the right word; with grace.
Without those thirty seconds of mouth closed, eyes squeezed shut desperate prayer I know I would have laid down the hammer. I would have met an act of violence with an angry words.
But those thirty seconds allowed me to hear God's reminder: my kids need grace. They allowed me to see that everything we go through as a family is an opportunity to teach my children about the grace of Jesus.
The issue at hand was one of trust. The middle child wanted the youngest to fall back into her arms. The youngest child didn't trust the middle child to catch her when she fell. With trust violated, the middle child felt it was alright to punish her sister with a smack. And I walked in, right smack dab into the middle of it all. Those precious thirty seconds gave me the opportunity to ask God how to handle the volatile situation. Thankfully, gracefully, he reminded me of all the times I failed to trust him. And he never once punished me for it. He simply gave me the opportunity to trust him all over again. As I shared this with my middle child she sank on the couch in despair. She was beginning to see how we cannot do anything without God's gracious hand and help in our lives. Eventually amends were made, forgiveness was extended, and trust was rebuilt. It could have so quickly gone the other way.
There have been many times in my life as a mom that I have missed the opportunity before me to teach my kids about the gracious love of Jesus. But I have been asking myself a lot lately how I can help my kids to learn about and love the grace of God. Since then God has been faithful to provide me with lots of chances to show them Jesus. But I will never see those chances if I don't take those precious thirty seconds to pray through the issue.
The amazing part about this is that it has caused me to fall more and more in love with God's grace. So many times I want to teach my children, but so often I am the one learning through them. And that right there is evidence of grace. If we let it, God's grace can revolutionize the way we parent. All we have to do is take thirty seconds.