give her grace.

I find it's so much easier to give. Standing in front of someone who has hurt you, who is genuinely repenting, and relinquishing your hold over them. 
Relinquishing hurt's hold over you. 
Grace is harder to give when they're not sorry. 
And seemingly hardest to give when it's yourself. 
When you're standing in the mirror wanting to desperately to be more, to do better. 
And continually falling short. 

I'm writing from the place of a newborn mama, a place where the grace can surely abound - but I think what I'm learning definitely applies to all women, in all seasons. But, I'll have to give you guys the whole picture. It's the night before my newborn baby turns four weeks old and I'm light years away from having my junk together. Nothing but nothing is normal for me yet. I don't shower on a consistent basis, get out of bed at the same time every day. I haven't had a normal day of homeschooling or work. I've had sporadic times with the Lord and my teeth isn't getting brushed all that often. And the older this baby gets, the more certain I become that I should be getting better. In short, the older he gets - the less I am able to give myself grace. 

I often tell women that one way I embrace walking in grace with myself is by being intentional to love other women. What I mean by that is, if I live life with a stringent set of rules and regulations and expectations that I'll never meet - I don't just make myself crazy, I make others crazy too. If I refuse to acknowledge that I'm a busted human who needs Jesus desperately TIME AND AGAIN and try to float through my days like I'm some sort of expert at mothering, expert at online life, expert at anything - I not only fool myself, but I gravely hurt the women around me who could struggle with comparison. However, when I walk in grace. In humility. In honest and vulnerability. When I acknowledge that I don't have it all together and that I very much need Jesus, I gift them with grace. 

The picture above is me in the post-partum stage after each of my kids. And her, all the way over there on the right - with the tired eyes in the bright green bathroom, she is really struggling comparing herself to the lady on the far left. I'm not sure why, but during the past few weeks, I have felt so intimidated by past Jessi. I've thought "Jessi who was two weeks post-partum with her first baby would never be wearing sweats to church!" or "Jessi who had just had baby Benjamin got up at 5:30am no matter how tired she was, to have a quiet time". I've thought "Jessi with baby Glory was always caught up on laundry" and in general - I've just felt like the most unorganized version of myself ever in the past few weeks. 

Well, the truth is. That's ok. Jessi who had other babies, had only just had her first, second, or third child. This is her fourth and it's different. That old Jessi didn't run side businesses. That old girl didn't work at night and she didn't have a traumatic c-section that left her in sweats for weeks. She had a smaller house, less kids, way less responsibility, and in short - she lacked much grace. She powered through the day, determined to do it all right - and she withheld mercy and patience from most everyone, including herself. True story: I don't want to be a thing like her. I'm thankful for her. But I'm thankful God grew her and invaded her life with the reality of her inability to produce anything good on her own. 

So yes, we should accept the good news of God's grace because it's good. We should accept it because we need it and those around us need it. But we should also lavishly welcome it because future-us might just need it too. 

Today, I'll do just that. I'll patiently pull my sweatshirt on over a body that feels foreign, without beating myself up mentally. I won't chastise myself for a few extra moments spent on the couch staring dreamily into Cannon's eyes or an extra 30 minutes of sleep after a rough night. I will not power through the day or white knuckle it or fake it till I make it. I will ask my Father for help when I fail. I will swim in grace. I will take joy in His help. 

For His glory. For my good. For women around me. And for future me. 
I will give her grace. Join me?

pssst: All kinds of Influence Conference details up on the Influence blog today! Check it out!