Posted by: littlebitofparadise | June 11, 2013

Tantrums and Grace


Tantrums and Grace

Both of my Bear Cubs were screaming at full pitch. It was late afternoon on a rainy day and their mood was as temperamental as the storm clouds above our roof.

My eldest was trying to coax my second born to play with him. He was trying to force-open his younger brother’s tightly-clenched fingers and insert Hot Wheels race car. “HERE LUKE! I SAID HERE LUKE! TAKE THE CAR LUKE!” screamed my two-year-old.

“NOOOooooo!!!” shrieked my youngest with just as much vigor.

My third trimester hormones had utterly had it. They’d been grumpy all day. I’D been grumpy all day too. And my swollen body and escalated pregnancy emotions couldn’t take another minute nano second of the whining and complaining and fighting and mayhem that had been our day.

I was about to explode – to utterly lose it in a yell of “Stop it right now” and “you’re both getting time outs” and “just wait til your Father gets home” and “no dessert for a week decade” and “I can’t take it anymore!” and whatever else I could possibly think of inserting into our family scream fest.

Instead, I took a deep breath and did something unplanned, unprepared, and unexpected by everyone in the room. Including especially me.

I began to sing.

I have decided to follow Jesus.

I have decided to follow Jesus.

I have decided to follow Jesus.

No turning back, no turning back.

I have no idea where the thoughts or words to that song came from. It’s not a song I sing often ever. It’s not a song I think about. And yet slowly, calmly, quietly, the words flowed.

By the end of the first verse, both Bear Cubs had stopped screaming. They both turned. They starred. They listened. So I sank down onto the couch where the “big fight” had been occurring, and I again I sang.

I have decided to follow Jesus.

I have decided to follow Jesus.

I have decided to follow Jesus.

No turning back, no turning back.

By the end of my second round of singing, my eldest had picked up both the tune and the words, and was finishing each line for me.

I have decided to follow “JESUS!”

I have decided to follow “JESUS!”

I have decided to follow “it’s JESUS Mommy!”…

By the end of my third round of quiet, rhythmic singing, I’m pretty sure both boys had forgotten their argument completely. There were tear stains on both sets of cheeks, but the tears had stopped flowing, and the ones fallen were quickly drying on their chubby skin.

… I have decided to follow Jesus.

No turning back, no turning back.

By the end of my fourth round, the second born had crawled over to me and inserted himself into my arms. He put his tear-stained cheek down on my shoulder, and his chubby hand wrapped around my neck. I stroked his hair and kept singing.

The eldest stood between my legs looking eagerly into my face for the song, eager to finish each line with an exuberant “JESUS!”

After the fifth round, I stopped saying the words, but I set them both down and continued humming the melody as I walked towards the kitchen to start preparing dinner. They returned to their toys and their play.

“THIS” I thought to myself, “is what it means to have a moment of grace in the vocation of motherhood.”

If we mothers start our days by giving ourselves over to the will of God, entrusting our work, our chores, our stresses, our chaos, our family circuses to HIS care and control, then all becomes an opportunity for grace. All becomes a chance to bless, to reach into the hearts of our little ones, and pluck them from the edges of their wild emotions and return their hearts to a quiet place. To return our hearts to the One who gives the grace – the One who can satisfy and sanctify and give the peace that passes all understanding.

Sometimes we must look for the moments of grace and actively respond. And sometimes when we are empty, tottering at the edge of “sanity”, zapped of the energy and emotional strength to be the conduit of the grace, I just think He knows. He knows our weaknesses. And He sends the grace all the same, all the more, unbidden, unexpected, but powerfully effective on the heart open to receive.

And because He is that tender and gracious and merciful to His children, it is with a heart full and a soul indebted that I sing.

I have decided to follow Jesus.

I have decided…

And we teach our children to sing with us. And we mothers fall down and get up and fall down and get up and start over and begin again. Again. And again.

No turning back. No turning back.



  1. Thank you for this.

  2. Stephanie, that’s beautiful!!!! 🙂

  3. This was really beautiful. Thank you for sharing that. I’ve followed your articles since CatholicMatch days (I’m still there–pray for me! 😉 ) and discovered your blog. I really enjoy your reflections.

    • Aw thanks for reading Kathryn! And I just said a little prayer for you – I hope you find your Catholic Match very soon. 🙂 God bless!

  4. your baby is so cute. does he have red hair? I tried singing this song to my kids, I love it.

    • His hair is more dirty blonde/light brown I think, but my sister’s kids have red hair so it does run in our family 🙂

  5. Thanks! What a wonderful alternative to the easy-to-fall-into trap of just yelling! Sometimes (a lot!!) my 2-year old really stretches my patience!!! I have just found your blog as I was going to call my Etsy jewellery store this name (its beautiful!) and googled to see if there was anyone/anything out there called the same thing. How wonderful to find another Christian here! Do you think you would mind if I used that name also? Nic 🙂

    • Nic, thanks for your comments! And sure use the name on Etsy! 🙂 hope you have a blessed day.

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