Brittany Arnold: Seeking serenity among beef slabs, SUV screams | Moms

I never really knew what the word “grace” meant. Growing up a dancer, the word “grace” to me always meant elegant, soft and beautiful. I tell you what: I could be the prima ballerina and not have real grace.

Right now, I can give you good examples of the opposite of real grace.

This mama takes her babies to the grocery store, one baby yelling and needs to be out of the cart and the other one running up and down the aisles. Baby two is spitting up and baby one is grabbing her girl parts because, “Mommy, I need to go potttttyy. NOW!”

We are running to the potty, cart loaded, baby two screaming and baby one grabbing and waddling from side-to-side as slow … as … she … can … go. “Come oooon!” this mama yells, spitting almost the last amount of grace she had left out on the shiny grocery store floor.

This is no easy race to the finish line. Of course, I am running into everyone I know. Why does this always happen?

No shower, no makeup, spit-up on my shirt and about to have pee on my feet. Oh, those sweet friends are saying, “You’ve sure got your hands full!”

Now, most of you all were mamas at some point, so you should know that saying, “You’ve sure got your hands full,” isn’t really a compliment. I’m not sure what it is, but it sucked out the last lingering particles of grace that were in this mama.

Well, we made it to the bathroom and out of the bathroom with baby one in different pants and baby two still yelling. Mama: minus all grace. Somehow we went into the grocery store with a full tank and left on empty.

Going in, this mama would have been sporting a T-shirt bearing the words, “I love being a SAHM (stay-at-home-mom)!” Coming out, this mama closed all the doors on her SUV, stood in the crowded parking lot and did one of those internal tantrums. It’s the kind that goes something like this: “I’m not going to scream out loud, but I’m going to close my eyes, tighten my fists, stomp my feet and internally scream, scream, scream! Maybe throw a baked potato.”

My grace was sucked bone-dry because things were not going the way I wanted them to.

These are the moments where I need to know real grace. One is sitting at my steering wheel after a nightmare grocery store visit. Another is a few days later, when I am taking my loss of grace out on the half-defrosted ground beef in the frying pan.

“Why can’t I ever plan ahead?” “Why doesn’t this beef defrost faster?” All my unglued-ness got wrapped into a fight with the partially frozen slab of ground beef.

Now, my friends, that is one sad, pretty little mama letting a dead cow get the best of her.

When you look up “grace” in the dictionary you will see: “a controlled, polite and pleasant way of behaving.”

Come on. We are the human race. We are exceptional at deceiving people on the outside about what is really going on in the inside. Having nice manners and putting a smile on your face while cussing in your head is not grace.

I moved onto what my dictionary says is the “full definition of ‘grace.’” It says, “Unmerited divine assistance … a virtue coming from God ... a special favor ... an act or instance of kindness.”

This is the grace I need: Jesus Grace. I need it wrapped into a little package, tied with a bow and delivered to my doorstep about every day. No, every hour.

Ground-beef-fighting mama just needs to surrender her control and craziness and he will fill my plea with a spoonful of tasty, tasty grace. I don’t deserve it, but he gives it.

Praying for a refill of grace is like looking for hidden chocolate in the back of the cupboard — or, if you are like me, in the freezer. I just needed that little piece to give me a boost. I can’t count how many times I was searching for chocolate in the freezer last week while at the same time pleading for grace.

Christian author and speaker Lysa Terkeurst explains real grace as someone who rises up and unexpectedly gives love, forgiveness, kindness and patience when they could have acted completely the opposite.

Jesus Grace means calling on him before you explode and throw potatoes outside your SUV.

This time of year, schedules are tight, lines are long, patience is short and grace is hard to hold onto. Ironic, given that grace is the meaning behind our celebrations.

Let’s try to have some grace in this season of grace. Let’s stop our tempers before our kids wonder what happened to Mommy. Let’s stop taking out our frustration on the grocery checker or post office personnel.

Close your eyes, ask for some of that divine grace and then gulp it down like the seasonal Starbucks drink so popular in November and December. Let’s do the unexpected and give grace. When we give grace, we will feel grace in our own souls.

Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. Heb. 4:16  

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The News-Review Updated Dec 16, 2013 12:33AM Published Nov 26, 2013 08:21AM Copyright 2013 The News-Review. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.