How do you define grace? For my wife and I, grace is an act of unwarranted favor or mercy toward our foster children. By the definition of foster parenting itself some might consider my wife and I to be showing grace. But for our two foster kids we are definitely displaying grace.
I am not germaphobic. But having foster kids definitely adds a new level of yuck to our home. On Sunday… I watched the two boys (age 3 and 5) all day. At 6 p.m., one of them “accidentally” fell off the toilet… into the bathtub, and deposited poop in the bathtub and on our bathroom mirror. My level of anger was probably a 9 on a scale of 1 to 10–with 1 being everything is awesome… and 10 being Mount St. Helens. I was so mad I could barely speak when I saw the natural art in the bathroom.
What happened next? My wife said she would take care of it, and she graciously allowed me to go to the living room while she cleaned up the natural art in the bathroom.
Then the day after the impromptu art show, we took the boys to the Oregon Zoo. It was my first time taking children to a zoo. It was fun to watch them observe many of the animals Monday. While I watched them enjoying themselves, I thought to myself my wife and I are gracious to the boys for taking them to the zoo the day after the bathroom fiasco.
Today (Tuesday) the three-year-old had a meltdown. An impressive two-hours and 45 minutes, screaming for half of the time… kicking the wall… and calling us names. The young one actually hit/kicked my wife repeatedly, and my wife will most likely have bruises from the meltdown. This was after we took them both to see the movie: The Nut Job.
As soon as the three-year-old calmed down and started to eat dinner, the five-year-old melted down. He took the books on the bookshelf and shoved them all onto the floor. He then screamed and yelled for several minutes. It was insane.
My wife calls it “passing the baton”… because it is difficult for them both to be good at the same time. But it is also very rare for them to both be mad at the same time. Typically one displays bad behavior… and the other displays good behavior.
Tomorrow I expect we will do something else nice for them. Grace is being nice to a person when someone else does not deserve it. Grace is not always easy… especially with two high maintenance kids who lie, punch, kick, throw things, and poop/pee in their underwear when they are angry. But my wife and I are still gracious toward them.
How gracious could you be when two people who are angry at the world take it out on you?