Sisters & Grace

Oh my heart. These photos just make me swoon with motherly love. I've been thinking so much lately about the relationship that Bella and Lucy have and how that relationship will continue to blossom and change throughout their lives.

Bella LOVES being the big sister. She loves to teach and help and encourage. She is so loving...sometimes a little TOO loving :) Lucy has now figured out that if she doesn't want to be picked up by Bella, she can head butt, pinch, pull hair, bite...whatever it takes to get her to put her down. It's actually quite humorous to observe. This is hard for Bella because all she wants to do is have a real live baby doll. Matt and I get so exasperated from repeating the phrase "Bella...please put her down" all day long. She can't walk by Lucy without trying to pick her up!

Lucy wants to be big like Bella. It's so hard when Bella has friends over to play...because Lucy wants to join in the fun! Unfortunately right now that means she will eat markers and tear papers, and pretty much drive them crazy. She begs to sit in Bella's bunk...and when we finally put her up there, she sits super still and quiet...drinking in the moment.

Sometimes after Bella has an interaction with Lucy...she will share her thoughts with me. She whispers with a smile...

"I did that just like a mommy..."

And I wonder in my heart what "mommy ways" I have modeled for her that day. Often times, I am reminded of words spoken too harshly, concerns dismissed to quickly, or her repeated requests that went ignored because I was "busy". I so desire to show her what gentleness, grace, and kindness look like in a real setting. And yet, I fail often.

Watching her act out my inadequacies is a hard wake up call. And something I am actively working on. Because she copies my actions. And Lucy copies her actions. So by controlling my own selfishness and/or impatience, I can affect the entire dynamic of our family. I have God-given power to mold the outcome of every situation by exchanging my knee jerk reactions with thoughtful, Christ-like reactions.

I cannot do this on my own. I do not believe that deep down I am a "GOOD" person and if I just focus on that, good things will come out of my heart. No, I believe that deep down, I am motivated by selfish desires. I'm motivated by my flesh. And acting in the flesh FEELS good at the time, but it's not good.  I'm a sinner. Every day (sometimes every hour), I have to die to those desires. I want more of Jesus and less of me. I walk with Jesus by my side every day so that I can listen to Him whisper encouragement in my ears:

"...and God is able to make all grace abound to you, that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed... *2 Corinthians 9:8

Jesus shows me grace daily...and for that I am so humbled and grateful. I seriously don't know why He puts up with me sometimes :) In thinking about this grace He offers, I am able to extend grace to my children and husband in the same way. In every middle-of-the-store-meltdown. In every exchange of words. There is always sufficient grace to offer.

"My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me." *2 Corinthians 12:9