By the third day of school, jet lag had fully caught up to us. It was all I could do to drag myself out of bed while my body screamed that it was only 3 a.m. in California. Nevertheless, the kids had a bus to catch. Little Miss stared into space over her bowl of cereal, undoubtedly reliving the days of splashing in the pool while watching Disney fireworks and dipping her toes into the Pacific Ocean. But math assignments and reading logs were the reality calling for her attention.
I placed her homework folder next to her bowl of breakfast and looked her in the eyes, calling her back to the present. “Please make sure this gets in your backpack.”
A few minutes later with spoon suspended in the air and eyes returned to space, I called her back again with, “Little Miss, you need to finish breakfast. And please put your homework notebook in your backpack.”
“I know, I know, Mama.”
Despite all the gentle nudges we still ended up racing to the bus stop with shoes untied and sweatshirts flying in the wind.
I returned home to clean up the kitchen and plan my day. Before I cleared bowls and boxes the bright pink homework folder caught my eye.
I dashed up the stairs to throw on a hat and change out of my sweatpants so I could arrive at school by the time she got off the bus. The third day of school, while jet lagged and still trying to develop a good reputation with a new teacher, is the time for grace.
When I arrived at school, Little Miss was sitting on the floor next to her locker, waiting for the call to line up and head to class. With elbows propped on her knees, she stared at the floor and didn’t see me walk down the hallway. I could see by her frown and dejected posture that she was trying to figure out how to explain to the teacher how she had forgotten her notebook and homework.
As I approached, my heart squeezed and my breath caught in my chest. My love for her nearly knocked me to my knees. I hated to see her sad. I hated to see her feeling guilty and ashamed. I was grateful that I could fix this problem with a simple drive to school and twenty minutes out of my day. I know that won’t always be the case.
I took a couple more steps forward then stopped. The thought came to me that this is how God feels about me – about all His people. This love I have for Little Miss, how it tore my heart to see her remorse and dejection and shame over her mistake, pales in comparison to the love that God has for His people. If I, as a quite flawed parent, delight in assisting my child, how much more must He delight in helping us in our messes when we cry out to Him. That’s a theme that David repeats throughout the Psalms in the midst of all kinds of troubles:
I love the Lord, for he heard my voice;
he heard my cry for mercy.
I walked up to Little Miss and called out her name. She looked up and with eyes filled with relief said, “I’m so sorry, Mama. I’m so sorry. I meant to pick up my folder. I was hoping you would bring it. Thank you.”
I knelt next to her and said, “It’s ok. I love you. I want you to have a great day, ok?”
She smiled and gave my neck a tight squeeze.
I thanked God for grace and how He meets us when we’re dejected, sitting on the floor in the middle of a mess.
I didn’t realize how much I would need that lesson the very next day.
No matter what you’re facing today – whatever the mess may be– if you find yourself sitting on the floor dejected and alone, cry out to Him for help.