grace under fire

I spent all day rejecting grace, until it burst into flames. 

I was in the darkest depths of not living up to my own pre-Thanksgiving expectations when my husband yelled out “FIRE!” 

The day before turkey day, furiously washing dishes at the sink while murmuring my frustrations about everything going wrong, his shout caught my attention and I whipped around to see that in fact there was a fire. In our oven. That I had started while angrily deciding at the last minute that I was going to bake a pecan pie. It’s my grandmother’s recipe, a family tradition, what’s one more thing? 

Except I was already bubbling with internal pressure. The weight of my to-do list was an Instapot of emotions about to burst. Hosting Thanksgiving while also mothering a toddler and breastfeeding a baby, going to THREE different stores to find ham hocks for the green bean recipe, coordinating multiple families about arrival times and side dishes…

My social media feed was brimming with words of encouragement about not worrying about the perfect holiday and how important it is to be present with family instead. But instead I became a frantic madwoman trying to do it all and basically failing at everything. The rolls I attempted from scratch ended up tasting like gummy biscuits. The more I cleaned the more I saw a need for more cleaning. The washer started leaking. I ignored all the nice platitudes about giving yourself grace and started seething at my inability to do anything right.

 I was not in a place that was willing to pray or look to God. I knew I should, I knew my priorities were screwy, but I was deliberate in my stubborn ways. I chose to stew and ruminate and continue to get more flustered. And that’s when the sticky contents of the pie spilled over to the bottom of the oven. 

Upon seeing that I had in fact started a fire, thankfully I reacted quickly. Thankfully the expandable sink faucet could reach the flames and the fire was put out fairly easily. Thankfully my husband was in the other room and saw the light of the fire. Thankfully our biggest problem afterwards was cleaning up a smoke filled, puddled pile of burnt corn syrup and not anything more serious. Thankfully my husband extends me grace far more often than I ever offer it to myself. And thankfully our toddler now thinks I’m some kind of hero because I put out a fire while he watched in amazement. 

I was a total brat leading up to the night before Thanksgiving. But with this forceful shift in perspective I can now prepare my heart for true gratitude, an acceptance of grace, and a slightly tinged slice of pie.