My friend Kelly takes her two-year-old grocery shopping. A few minutes in, her daughter starts writhing and flopping, screaming her head off.
When faced with this decision, each parent must decide “How do I respond?” Do you give the child what she wants? Do you argue back? Do you negotiate? Do you appease?
“Quick! Take her!”, she says to her husband. He picks their daughter up and carries her (flailing, biting, kicking) out of the store.
Kelly ducks behind cereal boxes and pretends she doesn’t know what’s going on.
Another shopper walks up, glares at Kelly’s husband, and whispers, “Isn’t that a shame?”
She looks up, “Yes, ma’am. Yes, it sure is.”
I relate to Kelly’s story. I’ve seen my share of tantrums. Now that my kids are older, I look back at those moments and laugh. But, back then, my life included a two-year-old, a baby, all the while in the second trimester of pregnancy. Exhaustion and feelings of being overwhelmed distinguished most days. One dear friend encouraged me to simply stick to the basics: Diapers, dishes, and laundry. Survival mode meant trying hard to keep my head above water.
Motherhood drives us to the end of ourselves, doesn’t it? So, what truths can anchor us when it seems we’re drowning in a sea of stress?
The author of Hebrews points us to Jesus—our great high priest who bids us come to him.
“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who has been tempted in every way as we are, yet without sin. Therefore, let us approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace in our time of need.” Hebrew 4:15-16
Jesus lived in the real world
Even though Jesus isn’t a mother, he is still able to sympathize with every weakness we face as moms. We are fraught with things like fatigue or an aching body. Moms often eat numerous meals while standing—too busy to stop but desperate to sit. Jesus also experienced weariness.
Jesus’s ministry consisted of high demands—surrounded by needy and hungry people. He made large meals with few ingredients. He explained important things, several times, and he was still misunderstood.
He faced temptations of selfishness, impatience, sinful anger and harshness. Yet, he lived sinlessly.
Jesus has mercy for us
“Let us approach the throne of grace with boldness…” (Hebrews 4:16)
Because Christ paid the penalty for our sins, we approach a throne of grace and not a throne of judgment. Charles Spurgeon writes: “Grace sits not on the footstool of God, grace stands not in the courts of God, but it sits on the throne.” Jesus isn’t at a distance, waiting for us to get our act together. He sees us, loves us and his heart is full of mercy. He is eager for us to come and receive.
The small things matter to Jesus
Because of Christ, we are able to pray boldly. We can present big requests. We can confidently pray for the long term big things like our children’s salvation.
But here’s the thing I’ve learned -- the thing I’m still learning -- we can especially bring small requests.
We can boldly ask for grace during our toddler’s tantrum at the grocery store.
We can boldly ask for grace in the midst of a sleepless night.
We can boldly ask for grace for potty training.
We can boldly ask for grace when we are swamped with demands at work and at home.
Spurgeon writes: “Our heavenly Banker delights to cash His own notes. Never let the promise rust. Draw the sword of promise out of its scabbard, and use it with holy violence. Think not that God will be troubled by your violence. Think not that God will be troubled by your reminding Him of His promises. He loves to hear the loud outcry of needy souls. It is His delight to bestow favors. He is more ready to hear than you are to ask.”
Hear the promise from God’s Word: “...we will receive mercy and find grace in our time of need.”