Her little hand stroked my cheek as I sang, “Amazing Grace.” I could barely choke out the words, tears brimming and spilling over.
It had been a hard day of toddler wills and parenting fails. Of angry flair ups and Hurry-up-we-have-to-go and tantrums on the floor.
A day of being forced to face my wretched humanity and frailty. Of wondering how in the world I’m going to do the next 16 years and not wreck her? Of thinking we should be putting more away for her therapy because she’s going to need a thousand million hours.
How is it that one so small can so quickly expose the limits of my patience, set off the short fuse, and strip me down to the ugliness I pretend isn’t there?
Those fingers on my face, touching the tears that spill down. So like the little hands that first brought grace into this world when God Almighty folded Himself into the helpless form of a babe that we might know what it is to be forgiven. These little hands that cup my face whisper of the hands of grace that are always outstretched, the hands that catch our tears and beckon us to new mercies.
Amazing grace, how sweet the sound.
In the stillness of the night, I’m undone. I do not deserve her grace in this moment. And yet her little two-year old face holds only love for her mama, love that breaks my heart open with its sincerity and continued trust. Love that holds no record of wrongs but continues to hope, to follow, and to delight.
Maybe when Jesus said to be like little children, he knew it meant forgiving quickly, letting go of the hurt in order to stroke the face of the one who hurt us. Extending amazing grace as we ourselves have been extended, by Him and by others.
I ask for her forgiveness and her sleepy smile tells me all is okay. As I lay her down with a kiss on the cheek and quietly close the door, I’m grateful that tomorrow is a new day. A new day to extend and receive grace, to forgive as I have been forgiven and to lean more heavily on my Jesus for strength to raise this little soul.
Amazing grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost, but now am found. Was blind, but now I see.