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We All Need Undeserved Grace

It was turning into a rather trying day. Ashley, my nine-year-old daughter, had come home from school in a sour mood. Nothing was to her liking. The lunch I had sent was to large, she didn’t want to do her homework, her teacher was mean, why did she have to pick up her coat she had thrown on the floor. 

I tried to joke with her, hug her, cheer her up, but her bad mood moved in, like an unwanted flu virus.

 “Ashley, you need to complete your homework before you read your new magazine,” I reminded her absorbed form hunched over the kitchen table.

“Mom,” she exploded, “why do you always have to tell me what to do?  Nag, nag.  You’re always telling me this and that. I hate it and I hate you.”

I stopped washing the lettuce, frozen. It was the first time she had said she hated me. The first time my usually cheerful and obedient daughter had talked to me in this manner. 

She stood up and stared at me defiantly, her arms tightened at her sides, daring me to do something.

We all need undeserved grace… Share on X

“Ashley,” I said, trying to settle into my normal voice that now seemed to be hiding deep in my throat, “I’m not sure why you are so upset today, but you need to go upstairs to your room until you can come down and be civil.”

“You can’t make me,” she threatened.

I took a deep, slow breath, trying to fight down the urge to scream back at her, the urge to argue that I was the mother and it was my job to tell her what to do, the urge to engage in her challenge. 

“You’re right,” I contended, “I can’t make you do anything, but we need some time apart right now and I’m asking you to go to your bedroom.”

“Why don’t you go to your bedroom?” she argued.

“I’m trying to get dinner made, but if you don’t go, I’ll go.”

“I’ll leave,” she shouted, stomping up the stairs to her bedroom, slamming her door so the house jumped awake.

I wanted to yell up after her retreating anger that she was grounded for a week–no television, no computer, no playing, no reading, no friends over, just scrubbing the bathrooms with a toothbrush and cutting the lawn with a pair of scissors, but instead I continued making dinner, trying to calm myself down and plan a strategy. I thought about times I also had hated my mother, although I had never dared say it. 

Motherhood Keeps Teaching Me About God

It was only after I had a child that I began to better understand God and his relationship with us. I began to make sense of what unconditional love was. How we all need forgiveness. How harsh life would be without grace. Loving something so much you are willing to make sacrifices.

6 Lessons My Relationship With My Child Taught Me About God

1. God Loves Us Because We Are His.

It wasn’t until I had a child that I began to realize that God loves me for just being His child. Not for what I did or could do for Him. Just like I loved my child from day one, just for being my child. Even though she were doing nothing to help me, (unless you count creating dirty diapers and waking me up at night helping me).

2. God Loves Us No Matter What.

Even when I am angry, whiny, and sinful, He still loves me. His love for me is not dependent on my behavior. On whether I am being good or bad. Just like I love my child on good days and bad days. 

3. He Wants To Give Us Good Things And Delight Us.

Just like we want to please and reward our children.

4. If We Are In A Relationship With God, There Will Be Discipline.

And it doesn’t mean He loves us less.  Discipline is necessary in a loving relationship; it shows love and concern. I don’t enjoy discipling my child, but it is necessary for her good and to teach her lessons.  

5. He Gives Undeserved Grace Every Day.

More than I deserve. Grace I need to pass onto those around me. 

6. God Treats Me Better Than We Treat Ourselves & Others.

His unconditional love, forgiveness, mercy, and grace constantly astound me. They are so unlike my sinful human heart and its desires within relationships.

6 lessons my relationship with my child taught me about God

Related Post: Living The Dream Between Sticky Messes and Sacred Ground

A Chance For Grace

By the time Ashley reappeared in the doorway twenty minutes later, both of us were composed.

“I’m sorry, mom,” she said, burying her face in my shirt front as we hugged.

We sat down and talked about her day and why she had been so unhappy.  It was decided that her punishment would be that she would not be able to read her new magazine until the next day.

The rest of the evening pleasantly passed.  Ashley willingly completed her homework, set the table, and was enjoyable to be around. 

After she had brushed her teeth and slipped into bed, I went up to tuck her in. Behind my back I carried her new magazine. I set it on her lap and told her she could read it.

“But mom, I don’t deserve this, not after this afternoon,” she protested.

Her words echoed in my ears as I left her room, “I don’t deserve this.” How many times in life had I received grace that I didn’t deserve–acts of love, compassion, forgiveness, and kindness from my parents, child, mate, and friends, even from strangers.

I receive acts of grace from God on a daily basis. I don’t deserve them, and yet what welcome gifts they are. Gifts arrayed in beautiful wrapping paper with no strings attached.

Join The Conversation

In what ways has your child taught you about God and His relationship with you? Join the conversation in the comments below.

Check out these 6 lessons about God @TheresaBoedeker has learned from her children. Share on X

Meet the Author

Theresa Boedeker

Theresa Boedeker has learned that God desires a relationship with us and that life is always teaching us something about God and his grace towards us. She has two children and lives in Missouri.

Theresa blogs at https//, where she encourages women and unwraps life with words. She enjoys people, flowers, laughing, being outside, and doing creative things.

Related Resource For Christian Women

If you are tired, stressed out, or overwhelmed, Candid Gal, Laura J. Marshall invites you on her journey to enter into the rest that refreshes and find freedom from weariness. This is A Mom’s Battle Cry for Rest.

A Mom's Battle Cry for Rest by Laura J Marshall


  1. This nearly brought me to tears, Theresa. I agree that parenthood has put my relationship with God in a totally different light. As I get frustrated with my daughter sometimes, and I don’t understand how God can put up with me. It’s hard to fathom the undeserved grace He gives all of us. Thanks so much for writing for us today. It’s an honor and a pleasure to have you!

    1. Yes, Valerie, it is hard to fathom the undeserved grace He gives us. I think we get glimpses and see parts, but we will never see it all until our next life. When I realized that as a mother I was willing to give so much and do so much for my children, I saw a glimpse of how much more God’s love and desire is to do for us.

  2. It’s so easy to respond to our children with sinful anger instead of grace and understanding. It’s not that we never discipline but if we do so in anger, we’ll get it wrong, won’t we? This is a beautiful example, not just of God’s love and relationship with us, but of how you’re allowing His love and grace to shine though you. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Thanks, Donna. Not disciplining in anger is hard not to do, but so important. I don’t get it right all the time,. It helps me to remember myself as a kid and how I would want to be treated.

  3. Oh, Theresa … the joys of mothering daughters! You were so wise in your response to Ashley, and I love the lessons your relationship with her has taught you about God’s love. This post is timely for me as my older daughter who likes to have everything settled gets ready to go to college in the fall … there are so many things up in the air due to Covid and the stress of that sometimes comes out in not-so-pleasant ways. Responding with grace and understanding is definitely the way to go, even when it’s hard. Wonderful post!

    1. Lois, my heart goes out to you. A daughter growing up and leaving home is not easy. But then there is an opportunity to turn into more equals. Best friends. I hope plans get solidified and your relationship with your daughter only deepens. As parent’s, we have wonderful opportunities to mirror God’s grace to our children. And to ourselves.

  4. The story about your daughter brought a lump to my throat and tears to my eyes. She is such a good girl. We all have “those days”. I am glad to read you decided to finally give her grace (after she apologized and repented). You made a good choice not to respond to anger with anger. Escalating the situation is never a good idea, even though it may be our first instinct.

  5. You have such wisdom here, Laurie. Escalating the situation is often our first instinct, but not a good idea.

    I heard years ago that the most precious thing you have with your children is your relationship with them. We want to do all we can to preserve that relationship. Just like God keeps his relationship with us. Remembering this has helped me.

  6. Oh Theresa! Where were you about decades ago when I was parenting? Thank you for the reminder Who has shown us lavish grace … and the prompt to spread it around to those we encounter.

    Starting with ourselves, our families.


    1. Linda, Parenting is such a growing and learning process. We wish we knew what we know now when we started the journey. And yet God gives us and our children grace and helps bless our lacks.

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