Grace is best taught to our kids by example. We show grace, but the most valuable lessons are often taught by sharing our own need for God’s grace.
In our most humbling moments as moms, we have an opportunity to teach our kids about grace. I’m so thankful that God gives an opportunity to show our kids how we need grace too when we mess things up.
Exactly 3 days after the accident with sunshine girl’s finger and the Epi-Pen, I had another humbling experience.
A speeding ticket.
My first one.
In the mini van.
With all three kids.
In the aftermath of the Epi-Pen accident, I wasn’t feeling like the best mom. I was actively fighting for joy from some pretty heavy mom-guilt. There’s never a good time for a speeding ticket, but this one certainly came at a bad time.
We were having a rough morning. The littlest one was teething and in apparently fierce discomfort. She was just not herself.
After attempting to soothe and distract at home, it was clear we needed to get out of the house. I decided to do a quick errand.
Because baby was so unhappy, I decided to drive further to a less crowded store, hoping she would fall asleep coming home.
As we neared the store, the road was closed. We turned right at the barricade and continued on an unfamiliar road. I was just cruising along at roughly the same speed as the previous road, checking street signs to figure out where to turn. Heading down a hill, I noticed a small park and thought – I should remember that. Then, I saw a police car parked at the bottom of the hill.
Yikes. Sharp intake of breath. You know that feeling, don’t you? See a police car and tap the brakes even though you’re not sure how fast you’re going?
Hmm. How fast was I going? Didn’t know.
Then I saw the speed limit sign at the bottom of the hill. 30. I was pretty sure I was going faster. Sure enough, on came the lights as the officer pulled into the street.
‘OK guys, mama’s going to get a speeding ticket’.
Our cautious, rule-following oldest child looked wide-eyed from the back. He was silent but his shocked face revealed concern. Or maybe horror.
I assured the kids it was going to be OK and reminded them that police help people. Today the officer was going to help mommy be a better diver.
The officer was very kind but informed me I was going 52 in a 30. By a park. And my license plate tabs were expired.Without excuse, I apologized. My own rule-following eyes were definitely as wide as our son’s.
I told him about being diverted from the road closure and how I was paying attention to street signs instead of the speed limit. We paid for our tabs so told him I would go home and find them. He headed to his car. The kids were silent, even the baby. For possibly the first time all morning.
When the officer returned, indeed our tabs were paid for. Find them. Then he gave me my very first speeding ticket, but not the ticket I deserved.
I deserved a ticket for driving 52 in a 30 by a park. That friends, is a humongous ticket. Instead, he gave me a ticket for going 44 in a 30. Two full tiers below what I deserved. Choking back tears, I thanked him.
As a rule-follower myself, I could not hold back the tears as he walked away. I was still shocked, embarrassed, and humbled. Furthermore, I felt guilty for getting the ticket in front of the kids. Then I felt bad for crying in front of the kids, but could. not. stop. Not my best mom-moment.
I may have prayed a silent ‘really, God? Don’t you remember Monday?‘ prayer. Ok. Yes. Actually I’m sure I did that. As we reached the store parking lot just around the corner, I wept.
Our poor kids were silently watching, unsure of what to do next. Finally, our son spoke up from the back, ‘Mama. I’m so sorry you got a ticket‘.
His kind words caused me to glance up at his reflection in the rear-view mirror. His worried look put a stop to my tears;there was a lesson in this. This moment must not be wasted.
Oh Lord, please give me the words to use this moment for YOUR glory.Lord, in the moments we most need grace in front of our children, let us remember to use our need for your glory. #teachchildren #grace #faith Click To Tweet
You guys, it is in these moments, when we have made a mistake, failed or been humbled in front of our children we can make a lasting impact. Don’t be afraid to admit your mistakes to your kids; in the midst of authentic remorse and emotion over our own sin, well-chosen words can be most powerful.Don't be afraid to admit your mistakes to your kids. In the midst of authentic remorse and emotion over our own sin, well-chosen words can be most powerful. #faith #parenting #grace Click To Tweet
Our children are often the first-hand witness that parents are not perfect. While we don’t need to discuss our every failing with our kids, something that unfolds right in front of them should be addressed.
How we address it matters.
When these things happen, whether a speeding ticket or some other obvious show of imperfection, we need to use the moment to teach them about truth.
After some deep breaths, we talked about why I was pulled over. And the many reasons I deserved a BIG ticket – speeding was breaking the rules, having expired tabs was irresponsible, and how as a mom, I should be even more attentive to places like parks where kids could be crossing the street.
The officer had every right to give me exactly what I deserved;but he didn’t.
We talked about how the officer treated me. He spoke kindly to me and listened to what I had to say. Despite the fact that I broke the law, he treated me with respect. We talked about how in our family, we respect police officers. Then, despite the emotional roller coaster in my brain, joy crept in and we began to talk about grace.
The officer chose to give me a smaller ticket than I deserved. In doing so, he showed me grace I did not earn or ask for.
Their sister’s middle name is Grace, which means a gift undeserved.
Just like the officer’s gift was undeserved, we also do not deserve the grace of God. It still baffles me that God showed such lavish grace in sending His son Jesus to die as punishment for my sins. And for the sins of our children.
All because of the simple yet profound reason that God loves us. The imperfect, the sinful, the unlovable; we are the beloved redeemed because of lavish grace and love of Jesus Christ.
Just like I was unaware of my speeding, we were once unaware of our own sin. We didn’t ask him to give grace, He did it on His own. Salvation is God’s work alone.
But God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.Romans 5:8 (ESV)
We don’t deserve it, but Jesus stands in our place of the judgement we deserve because He chooses to. All we need to do is acknowledge Him and receive it. We deserve punishment. God gives grace. Because He loves us. The heart of the Gospel.
Smiles. Nodding. I think these precious children really got it.
When talked out, we thanked God for Jesus. Then we thanked God for the police officer and the kindness he showed mommy. And for the reminder of what Jesus did for each of us.
The call to my husband started fresh but brief tears as I explained how the stellar mom who allowed the accident on Monday had just gotten a speeding ticket with all the kids in the car on Thursday.
Not a great week.
My husband showed me unwarranted grace, just as he did on Monday. He is an undeserved gift to me. Finally, we got out of the car and stumbled into the store with my tear-streaked face but a sense of God-given peace that cannot be described here with mere words.
The outing wasn’t exactly the ‘distraction’ I’d planned. I’m grateful we ended up with a lesson of eternal value that left a strong impression on their hearts.
I guess if getting a speeding ticket is what it took to give them a tangible understanding of grace, then so be it.
Sometimes the most humbling moments as moms teach the most powerful lessons to our kids.Sometimes the most humbling moments as moms teach the most powerful lessons to our kids. #parenting #motherhood #faith Click To Tweet
ALL speeding tickets might not be so bad after all, but I’d rather not get another one.
If you see me driving around town like a granny, now you’ll know why.
This post was shared on the Salt & Light Linkup (#16). Click on the image below to find other great posts relating to Christian encouragement. Check it out!
15 Replies to “Teaching Kids About Grace”
Thank you so much for sharing this!! I love how you prayed for the words to explain things to your kids – I need to remember to do that when I mess up… Grace is so wonderful… 🙂
I find that when I mess up, I am completely without words so find myself HAVING to pray. I think that is a gift the Spirit gives us – a lack of anything in us to help us at that moment except to cry to Him who can do ALL things. Thanks for your thoughts!
Such a great teachable moment! I love when God just shows us more about Him from things like that…I see it all the time in parenting – how He parents us, too! Thanks for sharing! Tweeting!
Thank you for sharing! I so appreciate how He parents us – I certainly have a long way to grow in Him and I’m grateful we serve a God who doesn’t let our mistakes just stay mistakes. Instead He uses them for our good and His glory. Praise Him!
Wow, way to take a difficult moment and see the blessing in it! Thank you for sharing your story, I’m looking forward to sharing this! God bless you!
Thank you Deb! And thank you for sharing this and for your encouragement. Have a great day!
Moments like those are always rough but it’s beautiful how you were thanking God even in that situation. It could have been so much worse, yet God revealed His grace. What a touching story. Thank you for sharing at Salt & Light : )
There are so many opportunities like this one, where I mess up but MISS the chance to recognize His grace and care in my situation. I’m grateful in this instance I was able to see Him and point our kids to Christ. It is my prayer that I will SEE Him in more of daily life.
I’m grateful for Salt & Light-I’ve been finding so many great blogs through the linkup. THANK YOU!
Tears came to my eyes! I recently had a gracious interaction with a police officer as well, and I didn’t even get a ticket, but I’m driving like a granny as well. 🙂 I love how you explained to your children about how police help you, and today this police officer was going to help you become a safer driver. 🙂 Good lesson for kids and parents to remember.
I’m glad you didn’t get a ticket! And happy to know I’m not the only granny driver out there. I’m going to mess up, it’s such a comfort that when I do, God can use it for His glory!
Yes! Totally agree.
(Well, that’s one way to quiet the kids! And, don’t worry. All subsequent tickets are much easier to handle. Just don’t get more than 1 per year.) But what a wonderful lesson for everyone in the vehicle, and, I might guess, for the police officer as well. Police officers don’t often receive grace from the people they encounter in the line of duty. I think many of them want to extend grace and kindness, and you allowed him to. I like this phrase: “…when we have made a mistake, failed or been humbled in front of our children we can make a lasting impact.” I think our kids learn the biggest lessons when we respond in situations that do not go well for us. That’s when our true character comes out. In the heat of the moment, we teach, good lessons or bad. And as we are more in tune with ourselves, with the help of the Spirit, we get better and better and responding well. Thank you for sharing your story and your great attitude and approach with us. I’m glad you entered the store with a special joy and peace. I’m praying you experience more of that on into the weekend.
Thank you Stephen, you’re right, it was a unique way to quiet squabbling kids. God is so good. He takes the most humbling moments t shine in and through us. Probably because that’s when we get the most out of His way!
I like your point that in those moments we teach lessons, good or bad, but am also convicted by it. We put out what we are filled with; it’s imperative we stay filled with God’s Word, and Spirit, turning to Him daily! Thank you for your encouragement and for sharing your thoughts and wisdom here.
You wrote, “When these things happen, whether a speeding ticket or some other obvious show of imperfection, we need to use the moment to teach them about truth.” And you did! By the grace of God, you did so well teaching them how to respond and how to praise the Lord in even the embarrassing and trying moments. You set an incredible example for your kids. When they get their first tickets, they’ll remember your good example, and it will do them good. They’ll benefit because of your example in more ways than one.
Oh Melinda, thank you for your encouragement and kind words. You’re so right, it’s all by God’s grace that anything good comes out of my shortcomings. I’m so thankful God can use it all for His glory, when none of it is in itself glorious!