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Receiving Mercy

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Faith Imagined: Receiving Mercy

Faith Imagined

Alisa Hope Wagner: Christian Writer

May 7, 2011

Receiving Mercy

I took my two sons (six and four years old) to an end of season soccer party. The kids got to play on a park, swim in a pool and jump on a trampoline. Many kids were running around having fun, but my oldest son was getting upset. One kid accidentally pushed him on the trampoline. Another kid unknowingly hit his eye with a water noodle. And a girl on a swing ran into him while he was walking through the park.

My son cried to me, “Why do kids keeping hurting me?”

“They are not doing it on purpose,” I told him in my sweetest mommy voice. “There are a lot of kids here, so they’re going to bump into each other.

“But, they are hitting me, and I don’t like it!” He screamed.

“Well, the only thing we can do is make all the kids go home, so you can play by yourself. Does that sound fun to you?” I asked him.

“No,” he answered.

“You have to understand that people accidentally hurt each other, so you have to give them mercy. No one is perfect, and we all make mistakes.”

“Okay, Mommy,” he said and went back into the pool.

Ten minutes later, I found my son standing with his head buried in a lawn chair. He looked like an ostrich hiding his face in the dirt.

“What happened,” I asked him.

He looked at me. His eyes were red and swollen, and his cheeks were wet with tears. “I accidentally pushed a girl!” he whispered.

“How?” I asked

“I was on the trampoline, and I ran into her!” he said, getting louder.

“Did you say sorry?” I asked.

“Yes,” he said, “but everyone looked at me!”

“It’s okay,” I said pointing to the trampoline. “Look, they are all jumping again. They don’t even remember.”

“But, I ran into her, and they all looked at me!” he yelled.

I knew my son needed additional insight on mercy. “Guess what, Son? You are not perfect either. You also make mistakes, and you will need to receive mercy from others.”

“But I hurt her!” he screamed with fresh tears falling down his face.

I took my son into my arms and gave him a big hug. “I think you also need to give yourself a little mercy too.”

As I held my son, I realized that I also struggle with giving myself mercy. Through the years, I’ve learned to give mercy to others, but I never quite got the knack of receiving it. I’m hard on myself, and I tend to focus on my mistakes. I don’t give myself any slack, and this makes my life tense when I’m in a particularity difficult season.

I know that there is a balance between grace and diligence, and I’m determined to figure it out. I don’t want to limit God when I try to stick myself in a mold of perfection. I will never be perfect and I will hurt and offend people, but I trust that God will make my mistakes into something beautiful. I want to lean on His perfection and allow His grace to fill in the cracks of my imperfection. Hopefully, my son and I can step into the fullness of His mercy together.

"But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life" (1 Timothy 1.16 NIV).

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Blogger From The Heart Online said...

Aww, brought tears. I have a tenderhearted son too, sensitive to spiritual things... It's beautiful that you can share the journey together - learn about mercy together.

Mercy for self... boy. When did I assume I'm able to be perfect?

Thanks Alisa, for this precious snapshot of life, a child's heart, and of God's love.

11:00 PM  
Anonymous Ginger said...

So sweet, yet so sad. What a beautiful lesson through the humble tears of a child.


12:04 AM  
Blogger Jackie meant it when she said...

I just at down to try and drum out a piece that has been building in my head all day. A mother's day piece about the mistakes that we make and grace that we constantly receive from our Mothers. What a great story you've composed to keep my mind moving, allowing me to listen to the Holy Spirit's prompting. Happy Mother's Day. Have a great one.

12:33 AM  
Blogger Jan Christiansen said...

What a sweet post, Alisa. Perfectionism leads to self-condemnation and we know that's not God's plan. How grateful I am that He is merciful when I blow it.

His mercy reminds me to cut others some slack when they blow it, too.

1:05 AM  
Blogger Leah @ Point Ministries said...

Wow!! Incredible teachable moments....for your son and for you. I am not very good at giving mercy to myself and often not to others. It is something that the Lord and I work on continually.

Happy Mother's Day.

5:09 AM  
Blogger Pam said...

Happy Mother's Day, Alisa! And what a loving and patient mom you are! Thank you for your sharing your incredible gift of pointing out the golden nuggets of God's truth in the ordinary.

7:14 AM  
Blogger The Unknowngnome said...

A beautiful tender story of mother and son, teaching not only your son and yourself, but us as well.

Thank you Lord for your patience.

And yes, have a happy mother's day.

7:14 AM  
Blogger Renee Ann said...

What a sweet little guy your son is! It's so good he can start on learning this early because sometimes it seems like a lifelong lesson. Thanks for sharing this, Alisa. Blessings!

5:28 PM  
Blogger Missie said...

wow, what an amazing story. your children are going to do amazing work for the Lord, because they have been so blessed with such a wise mother. Thank you for your posts, your blog is so inspiring!

6:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a compassionate heart your son has. There is something so close to heaven about that age - their ability to be sensitive to the needs of others in such a God-like way - like grieving because he accidently hurt someone else.

You explained it so perfectly to him, so mercifully to him. I still haven't quite got the knack of being merciful with myself. I worry about losing sensitivity to others and developing a calloused heart - you showed the balance perfectly!

10:21 PM  
Blogger Michael Manning said...

Children have so much to teach us. I enjoyed this post very much!

11:19 PM  
Blogger Judy (Lazarus) said...

This is amazing, Alisa! I hope you don't mind but I plan to link to it on my own blog - I'm doing a series on "faking it" vs being real - and this post seems to hit where I and so many more live because it speaks to the secret message (the lie) that we are fed since we are very small - nothing we do is ever good enough because it's not perfect.

Thanks for sharing this story.

6:14 AM  
Blogger Sober Julie said...

Thank you for this great post, I've encountered the same conversation with my girls and love when someone will give me scripture based examples of how to share with them.

7:57 AM  
Blogger Patti Hanan said...

What a wise mother you are! And what a sweet, sensitive son. I love how you used this teachable moment to help him understand God's mercy to us. I also find it hard at times to show myself mercy. But with the Lord's gentle leading, I am learning to have trust in his grace. These lessons take a lifetime :) God bless you!

2:05 PM  
Blogger Wanda said...

Alisa, you done a wonderful job of illustrating how so many of us find it easier to give than receive.

2:35 PM  
Blogger Tammi said...

Oh WOW. What Words Of Wisdom the Lord gave for you to share with his little broken heart...and I know that it will be a lesson that he shall never forget. I know I won't. Let him know that God allowed you to share this lesson with us, for God's glory, and that so man hearts have received a much needed balm for their "boo-boos." God has used something "bad" and turned it into something GOOD. Romans 8:28. Thank you for sharing this!

1:13 PM  
Blogger Toyin O. said...

Your son is such a sweetheart, what a lovely boy. I am always happy to see kids that care about other people's feeling. You are doing something right in raising that boy:) Anyway, knowing how much God loves us and what he did on the cross is what make it easy to receive mercy.

7:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a lovely moment with your boy.

5:58 PM  
Blogger Bernadine said...

Aww, this is such a sweet story and a great life lesson. Thanks for sharing Alisa.

10:34 PM  
Blogger the lowes said...

this is so precious!! so precious. thanks for sharing! love your blog and your heart! ...found you through Only a Breath!

10:05 AM  
Anonymous Melanie said...

Hi Alisa! I loved this post so I linked you up at my "Encouragement is Contagious!" linky party so more people could come by and read it too! :)

I'd love for you to stop by when you have time and link up some of your favorites!


1:34 PM  
Blogger tinuviel said...

What a valuable lesson for your son to learn so early. I'm glad I stopped by from Melanie's linky list. God bless you and your family!

2:34 PM  
Blogger Angela said...

Beautifully written! I remember when my son accidentally hit a little girl when he was around six {he's 17 now}, and she cried. Well, he cried way more. It was hard at first for the parents to distinguish between the one hurt.

Your words ring so true. I, too, am much harder on myself than I am on others, and it is often very difficult for me to receive mercy.

2:45 PM  
Blogger Shanda said...

What a sweet little heart you have helped shape in your son. And I love the lessons you brought out of this incident. Yes, we need to receive the same mercy we extend to others.

11:20 AM  
Blogger not accidentally tuesday said...

What a wonderful teaching moment with your son. Blessings, Debbie (our blog is new and if you could come by and leave a comment, it would be appreciated).

12:36 PM  
Anonymous Fibromyalgia and Faith said...

This was such a wonderful post. It shows our nature as humans to not want to accept mercy for some reason. Very cute.

10:23 AM  

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