Some days in parenting are tougher than others. Today was certainly one of those days. The kids were up way too early, nap-time was a hassle with one kid transitioning to a toddler bed, it was hot (our air conditioner couldn’t keep up with the heat outside) and it seemed that everyone just woke up on the wrong side of the bed.

Anna, in particular, pushed and pushed the boundaries as far as she could today. It all finally climaxed in a stand-off between her and I, which ended with her crying and throwing objects across the living room in response to my yelling at her.

It was not pretty. Especially on my end.

By the time we were preparing for bedtime, I was drowning in guilt. I felt like I was just marking another big “fail” checkmark on my parenting for the day. Just another fail to add to the list. Our bedtime routine was a bit different tonight, which ended with all the kids being asleep in their beds except for Anna. Instead of walking her to her bed and staying in her room until she fell asleep, I picked her up and started rocking her in the living room.

I don’t think I’ve rocked her to sleep since she was younger than 2.

I didn’t say anything and we just started rocking. I could tell she was looking at me so I turned to face her. We locked eyes and she broke out with the biggest smile in her face. She then reached her hand out and touched my face, looked at me for a few seconds and then went straight to sleep.

Without saying a word, she taught me grace.

We both knew what went down throughout the day. She knew my downfalls, flaws and imperfections and loved me. She genuinely, deeply loved and forgave me anyway. She just longed to be close to me.

But much more than that, she taught me the deeper parts of grace. When God shows us grace, He is not looking past our downfalls and turning the other cheek. He acknowledges them and says I am yours and you are mine – no matter what. However, we are not going to ignore this. Instead, we will face this together head on and tackle your burdens and your sin until this part of you becomes beautiful.

When Anna put her hand in my face, we both acknowledged the flaws of the day without saying a word. But I also felt her forgiveness as Holy Spirit began to speak to my heart about my poor reactions and attitude. I felt driven to do better and be better.

I felt grace. Thanks to my sweet, passionate Anna Grace.