On November 20, 2021, my world changed forever when I gave birth to my first child, Levi. It was a long and tiring labor, but seeing his sweet face made it all worth it. I couldn’t believe how much I could love a person I just met!
As new parents my husband and I took all the classes, read the books, and listened to our friends’ advice. Even with all of that nothing ever quite prepares you for what it’s like to have a tiny person that depends on you for everything. The first days and weeks were hard! Even with help from grandmas and grandpas, my husband and I were incredibly exhausted and drained (physically, emotionally, and mentally). When my husband went back to work and all the out-of-town guests were home and life resumed for everyone else, I was faced with caring for my son alone, all day long.
I recall many days when my tears matched my son’s because I had done everything I knew to do to help and soothe him. I was exhausted and yet I had to keep going because Levi was depending on me to provide for his needs and comfort him. In those moments I was reminded of God’s never-ending grace. God gives me grace in His unconditional love and strength every single day. It then hit me; because of God’s grace toward me, how much more grace should I then give to my newborn son, and myself as a new mom?
This concept of grace has stayed with me. Yes, the days can still feel long, but when I look into my son’s sweet face, knowing he is completely dependent on me for all his needs, I can have grace in caring for him even on the rough days. And I can have grace for myself that I won’t always have it all together and will fail and fall short as a parent, a wife, a counselor, etc. However, I can look in the reflection of the mirror and be reminded that I can give grace to myself too.
Grace for yourself isn’t just a concept for new parents. I sit across from people each week who are incredibly frustrated with themselves for feeling how they feel or not making changes they know they need to. While some of this frustration may be valid, it is important to show yourself grace. Depression is hard. Anxiety is hard. Grief and loss, divorce, medical issues, and life in general is hard. Sometimes showing yourself a little grace can make room for healing and growth to take place.
I have found that sometimes I have just enough grace for myself for each new day. I encourage you, if you feel frustrated and tend to be hard on yourself, look at your reflection and give yourself grace. Know that you don’t have to hold it all together or do everything perfectly. Even when you don’t have grace for yourself, know that God has more than enough for you. He will sustain you, uphold you, and give you all you need to face whatever is in front of you. He will also put others in your path who can show you that same grace and help you find it.