When the snow drifts finally melted, and the threat of a hard frost was almost gone, I made the announcement to my boys: “We’re planting a garden!”
As we gathered supplies, I congratulated myself for such a fun, educational, outdoorsy idea for my 5, 4, and 3 year-old sons. Long garden tools, tiny colorful seeds and loads of dirt! What’s not to love? Add to that the promise of fresh sweet corn in 90 days, and I skipped out to the garden with a hoe over my shoulder and my three helpers trailing with plastic shovel, pail and watering can in hand.
Unfortunately, planting didn’t go as smoothly as I had hoped. My rows were crooked, and every time I drove the stakes to string a line and straighten them, a chubby little hand would pluck it out and carry it away. The bag of seed corn was accidentally dumped in a heap on the freshly tilled dirt, and the watering can spilled on my seed packages.
I eventually scared my three helpers away by barking “Stop!” “Don’t!” “Go!” So when they abandoned the garden for the swing set, I had no remorse.
Finally! I can do this right!
The summer sun baked the dirt, the seeds absorbed the scant moisture and little cornstalks eventually unfolded and poked through dirt clods.
In August my hearty rows of sweet corn stood proudly, and I was anxious to harvest.
The boys ran down the rows and tripped over weeds and ruts as I checked for readiness, but the silk was still white and moist near the ear, and the kernels were still small.
Maybe next week.
Disappointed, I returned to the house to adapt the dinner menu and fix something else. As I began, I looked out my kitchen window toward the garden just in time to see my five-year-old with both arms stretched around more than a dozen ears of freshly picked corn.
And I flew into a rage!
I shot through the kitchen, flung open the screen door just as his overloaded frame reached the top step of the deck.
I noticed a neighbor’s truck disappearing around the corner, and I waited until he was out of sight before I screamed my son’s full name. He looked up at me from behind the pile of corn and started to speak, but I cut him off.
All my hard work! Ninety days of gestation! A premature harvest! Ruined!
I yammered on. “You’ve ruined the corn.” “It will taste yucky!” “Ask before you pick something from the garden!” “In fact, stay out of the garden!”
He struggled under the weight of 16 ears—which looked quite large—and tried to speak again.
I stopped him. There is no excuse!
“Drop them on the deck!” I barked.
As they tumbled and rolled I noticed the silk on each ear was crunchy and dry, and each ripe cob filled out the husk.
“I didn’t pick them,” he said.
Yeah right! And now you add lying to your offenses!
I grabbed his ear and demanded, “Then where did you get them!?”
His voice quivered, “Somebody in a pickup truck gave them to me and told me to bring them to you.”
A cold, breathless feeling halted me, and it all came clear.
Our neighbor. A generous farmer. Sharing the first of his harvest. He’d just turned the corner to the next house.
Generosity and innocence doused my rage and brought me to my knees.
Embarrassed, I asked my son for his forgiveness which he was all too happy to grant now that he was clear of my emotional tornado.
And there on the top step of the deck, my son stood as a little reminder of the exchange God has offered me in Christ.
The innocent one endured my anger. And what do I earn for unleashing an undeserved reprimand? A ripe harvest of sweet corn. Better than I’d hoped. Earlier than I’d planned, and free to me if I would just stop screaming and pick it up.
In the same way, Jesus endured God’s wrath reserved for us. Then in spite of all our flawed striving, God offered his righteousness. Better than I could ever do. Earlier than eternity, and free to me if I will just stop trying to earn and receive it.
Today’s Challenge: Accepting Forgiveness…again.
Do you wonder if you’ll ever stop “blowing it?” Remember, God’s mercies are new every morning. His forgiveness never runs out. Our “Bad Mom Moments” provide an opportunity to demonstrate humility, turn in repentance, give an apology, and accept forgiveness. And someday, by God’s grace, our kids will be able to do the same.
Lord, give us grace to turn toward You even in our red-faced embarrassment. Help us gratefully accept your forgiveness so we can extend it to others.
“When people work, their wages are not a gift, but something they have earned. But people are counted as righteous, not because of their work, but because of their faith in God who forgives sinners.”
~Romans 4:4 (NLT)
Today’s Bad Mom Monday Author: Shauna has the wild and hilarious privilege of raising three boys along the breaks of the Missouri River. She blogs about lessons learned in the “School of Motherhood” at permissiontobereal.blogspot.com.
Check out my new book, I Need Some Help Here! Hope for When Your Kids Don’t Go According to Plan.
Trust me sister, you aren’t alone.
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She and her husband Roger are the parents of four young adults in San Jose, CA. When she’s not dating her husband or hanging out with her puggle Jake, Kathi is speaking at retreats, conferences and women’s events across the US.