The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;his mercies never come to an end;they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.

Lamentations 3:22-23

“His mercies are new every morning,” I whispered again, standing on the other side of her door longer than necessary.

I’ve known this verse for as long as I can remember, but I never really knew it until I’d put my daughter to bed on a particularly difficult day. Too little patience and too many decibels to my voice. How can I be so short with someone I love so much?

***

My husband did a wedding once where the bride and groom asked that the homily be from this passage in Lamentations. Lamentations. The book of laments, of groanings, of laying facedown on the bed wondering if failure or exhaustion will finish you off first. Not exactly celebration material, I thought.

But the longer I’m married, and especially the longer I parent, the more I think the Lamentations couple had it right. This is hard. It will be hard. Anyone who speaks the truth about these things will tell you that.

***

I worked with a youth group for several years, and the kids who went to the local Christian school could spout off definitions for grace and mercy faster than the guy reading warnings and regulations at the end of a Cymbalta commercial. “Grace is not getting what you deserve and mercy is getting what you don’t deserve,” they’d tell me. And because of my kids; through my kids, I think of these definitions often and I’m so very aware of my need of both. My husband and I often talk about how our kids breathe in what we breathe out. But more and more I see that the opposite is also true.

Because the morning after that first really difficult, battle-of-a-day? That daughter, the one who received less than the best of me just yesterday, she greets me with arms raised and a smile that extends past both side of her purple pacifier. It’s as if she’s forgotten the day before. As if it’s been erased. Removed, as far as the east is from the west. I pick her up, she lays her head on my shoulder and says “Cheerios, mama?” She breathes out grace and mercy, and I receive; inhaling her sweet baby scent and these great and mighty gifts.

The longer I parent, the more I’m driven to face my own shortcomings. The Lord works on us through our children. His steadfast love never ceases. Great is his faithfulness.

 

(you can connect with Kristi on her blog "and Babies Don't Keep

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