Crabby People Need Grace

Why are you crabby? You told me all you wanted for Christmas was a card. What could you possibly be crabby about?

 

Of course, I’m crabby! Nicholas, it’s February. This is a combined Valentine’s Day/Christmas card. Excuse me if I’m not jumping up and down with gratitude. And don’t tell me I’m crabby. Pointing out that I’m crabby only makes me crabbier!

 

I hate being told I’m crabby. Maybe that’s why my heart goes out to Mr. Fish.

 

Mr. Fish is the main character in the children’s book, The Pout-Pout Fish. His days are spent spreading dreary wearies all over the place. He knows he is crabby and admits it to everyone on the ocean floor. And how do the sea creatures respond? They point out his crabbiness, call him names, and demand he change his attitude.

 

I recently wheeled a cart full of groceries to the checkout only to discover I had an expired card, no checkbook, and not enough cash. Embarrassed, I told the cashier that I couldn’t pay for my groceries. She could have been annoyed, angry, or sarcastic. Instead, she extended empathy, assured me that this scenario has happened before and encouraged me to choose to laugh about it.

 

This is the reaction I need from others when crabbiness begins to surface.

 

This is the reaction I need to extend to my daughter.

 

When my little girl is crabby, I am quick to say, turn your frown upside down, put a smile on your face, change your attitude, stop pouting and stop being a crab! I forget she needs grace extended to her too.

 

Can you relate?

 

Crabby kids don’t need to be told they are crabby. Crabby kids need to know they are seen, heard, and loved.

 

  • Acknowledge that you see your son/daughter looking frustrated, angry, or annoyed.
  • Ask your son/daughter if he/she wants to share why they are feeling this way. If so, listen. If they don’t want to talk, let them know you’re available if they change their mind.
  • Tell your son/daughter that you love them. Nothing they tell you could make you love them less.

Thankfully, The Pout-Pout Fish story doesn’t end there. A fish named Miss Shimmer spots Mr. Fish and without saying a word, she plants a kiss upon his pout and swims away. This simple act results in Mr. Fish replacing his dreary-wearies with cheery-cheeries.

 

I long to be a Miss Shimmer to my kiddo. I also desire to be a Miss Shimmer (minus the kissing part) to my co-workers, neighbors, friends, and even the lady ahead of me in Target who is making 100+ returns.

 

There are pout-pout fish all around us. Which means there may be more opportunities to extend God’s love and grace than there are fish in the sea. And though crabby begets crabby, cheery-cheeries replace dreary-wearies every single time.

Daughters Need Confidence Modeled

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Red feet, slow feet, clown feet and fuzzy fur feet are just a few of the many feet you meet when you turn the pages of the Dr. Seuss classic: The Foot Book.

 

Feet. The very word makes me cringe. In 6th grade I vividly remember a classmate gasping in disgust as she drew the recess crowd over to look at my grossly long toes. The rest of the school day I curled my toes and promised myself I would never wear flip flops again.

 

What started as hatred for my feet gradually turned into full blown self-consciousness. After my daughter was born, my clothes weren’t fitting, my stretch marks weren’t fading, and pimples were breaking out on my face like an extreme dot-to-dot. My hatred of mirrors was as intense as my love of motherhood.

 

Having heard one too many complaints about my appearance, my husband decided to stop reassuring me of my beauty and speak directly to the lie that held me captive. Placing our sleeping newborn in my arms he whispered, how do you expect our daughter to develop confidence if you’re always complaining about yourself?

 

This question has been on spin cycle on my mind ever since. We can tell our daughters they are beautiful every single day. We can write Psalm 139 on our daughter’s bedroom wall in bold letters. We can speak truth to our daughters when they claim they have nothing to wear because they look terrible in everything! But reality is, if we complain about our appearance, we’re giving our daughters permission to do the same.

 

Though The Foot Book was written to entertain, it now serves as a reminder to me to embrace the feet I have been given and ultimately, the person God created me to be.  I decided to turn my husband’s candid question into a personal call to action, vowing to reject, reflect, and replace the way I view myself.

 

  • Reject. I refuse to talk poorly about myself. When negative thoughts about my stretchmarks, pimples, and curves begin to surface, I hit the mental delete button, rejecting the temptation to feed the lies.
  • Reflect. I return to the truth of who God’s Word says I am. I also pray He would be my mirror, enabling me to see myself through His eyes.
  • Replace. I replace my negative thoughts with something positive. I am thankful these stretchmarks mean I’m a mom, that pimples don’t define me, and that my legs are strong.

Would you join me in the effort to model confidence to your daughter? A confidence so strong that she uncurls her toes and boldly walks

 

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                       Right.