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.

What’s Your Brave?

We all have something we fear. Mine is acceptance.


In high school I desperately wanted to try out for the school play but didn’t for fear of how my athletic friends would react. I loved being on the court, but for fear of disappointing teammates and upsetting coaches, I quit. In college I wanted to travel oversees for short term mission trips but fear of the unknown kept me close to home. I loved to read and write but did so in my diary only for fear of being classified as a nerd or teacher’s pet.


I’m almost thirty and still have to tell myself to be confident, not apologize for who I am, and the cliché phrase, be myself.


Then I had a daughter. A now independent two-year old who is a walking definition of confidence. She thinks she can do anything from putting on her own shoes to riding a buffalo. She also changes her occupation daily. Some days she tells me she is a doctor, other days a teacher, vet, or princess. There is nothing that that girl doesn’t think she can do or isn’t willing to try.


I don’t want her to lose her brave. So every night I pray confidence for her. I long for Ava to know who she is in Christ and to be nothing but. I desire for her to be herself without fear of what her peers may say. In fact, I pray that her confidence will inspire the other girls in her class to embrace their own uniqueness too.


I hope when my daughter is thirty she is swimming in a pool of I tried it’s instead of drowning in could have been’s.


I recently read a devotional by Annie F. Downs titled 100 Days to Brave. I then had the opportunity to attend a Women’s Conference and hear Annie speak on the topic of Brave. I left that conference knowing what my word for 2019 would be: BRAVE.


How do I plan on being brave this year? By starting this blog. Honestly? I have sweaty armpits and smeared eye makeup thinking about launching this website today. I fear nobody will read what I have to say. I fear everyone will read it and no one will like it. I fear people will roll their eyes at my passion for reading. I fear I will be brushed off as either a know-it-all or unqualified. I fear not being accepted.


But today I am choosing to replace the word fear with brave. Today I am choosing to take a lesson from my two-year old in confidence. Today I am going to put on deodorant, wipe my eye makeup, and trust that God laid this blog on my heart for a reason.


I may not be able to redo my high school and college years, but I can intentionally choose today and every day to embrace who God created me to be. To be brave.


How about you? What brave thing are you doing in 2019?