Grace will lead me home

Amazing Grace (John Newton)

Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.

T’was Grace that taught my heart to fear.
And Grace, my fears relieved.
How precious did that Grace appear
The hour I first believed.

Through many dangers, toils and snares
I have already come;
‘Tis Grace that brought me safe thus far
and Grace will lead me home.

I’ve written before about my intense sensitivity, about how porous I am to the world, about what a generally difficult friend I am because I take everything so ridiculously personally.  I’m certain that this sensitivity, in particular that to the passage of time, is my wound.  Whether it is also a strength remains less clear to me.

It’s all mixed in with Grace.  And, of course, grace.  Grace announced herself to me on the day after my father-in-law was diagnosed with a terminal illness, and those two lines on the pregnancy test shocked me so completely I almost fainted.  I had not anticipated being pregnant – in fact if I’m honest, I hadn’t wanted to be.

When I was 20 weeks pregnant I went to a new prenatal yoga class.  I didn’t love prenatal yoga, finding most classes to be too much breathing through our chakras and not enough vinyasa.  This class was small, just me and three other women.  At the end of class, as we lay in savasana, our teacher asked us to “go inside and communicate with our baby.”  I swear I rolled my eyes behind my eyelids.  Lying there, trying to figure out how I could leave without offending the teacher, I heard an unfamiliar but distinct voice in my head.  It said, “grace.”  I sat up, startled, and looked around the room.  Just three domed-bellied women, eyes shut, and one teacher in lotus position.  I lay back down, willing the voice to come back.  It didn’t.  But I’ve never forgotten that moment.  She was always Grace.  Always my grace.

And then she arrived, and she broke my heart.  The postpartum depression that I plunged into after Grace’s birth terrified me, completely dissolved me, and in its wake I was reformed into a new person.  She taught my heart to fear, and then, slowly, gradually, but surely, she relieved my fears.

She is leading me home.  Of that I am certain now.  And when I sang Amazing Grace last week at a funeral, I burst into tears at that last line.  My daughter pushes every single button I have.  She infuriates me and hurts me and sends me to a shouting, tearful mess faster than anyone else on the planet.  She demonstrates keen sensitivity and an astonishing ability to take things personally, and both of these things annoy me and hurt me in equal measure.  As I lose my patience with her, stumble, and get up again, hugging her against me, my tears dropping wetly into her thick brown hair, I am trying to tell myself, as much as her, that everything will be okay.  To reassure the child – and adult – me as much as my daughter that we will be safe.

In parenting Grace I am confronting, over and over again, my own flaws, my own weaknesses, the deepest reaches of my own self.  What if that sensitivity that I’ve so often bemoaned is not an obstacle on my path but the road itself?  I’m beginning to suspect it is.  And, holding my daughter’s hand, the hand of my grace, my Grace, I’m finding my way home.  She might think she’s following me, but, the truth is, I’m following her.

26 thoughts on “Grace will lead me home”

  1. I fully believe that our children are gifts from the universe made of exactly what their parents need in their lives. To learn from and challenge and make us better… to be aware of how special they are and what we can learn from them is the key to parenthood… and you’ve got that 🙂
    Beautifully written… xo

  2. Interesting that you should write this spectacular post. My next post, just sitting and waiting to be published is about my own difficult relationship with my oldest son. He is exactly like me which is making it so hard for me to parent him, I want to treat him how I wish to be treated. There is merit to that, but he’s not me and I would do well to remember it.

    I think there is a beauty that is pulled in many directions in a mother/daughter relationship, particularly one such as yours that started in such a rocky way. But you honour it everyday, and I think it flourishes in ways you may not even see yet.

  3. A beautiful post, Lindsey. I love that you are honest and your emotions are raw. There is pain and inspiration and love in everything that you write.

  4. We are having lunch in 2011!

    Happy New Year.

    May you continue to receive your ‘grace’ in all forms as it appears.


  5. One of the most amazing things I’ve read in a while. You heard the voice say Grace. Wow. And you listened. And then you met her.

    So beautiful. So in tune. So you.

  6. I think that parenting at its best is always that: a discipline in the truest sense of the word or, the child teaches the parent.

  7. This is amazing. So much of what you said resonates on such a deep level because it is the relationship I have with my own first born. Thank you so much for your own grace in posting this.

    Much love,

  8. Oh Lindsey, my dear, just wait. What you say is so heart-wrenching, and so true. And there is just so, so much more to come. When Jack was five, I tearfully admitted to his kindergarten teacher that he brought out the worst in me every day; that it was easy being a good mom to Henry and the hardest thing I’d ever done, trying to be a mom to Jack. “Well,” she said, “you’ll certainly learn a lot from Jack.” Truer words were never spoken and the learning had only begun. And yet, as you already see, the intensity of the relationship, the self-inquiry, the hurt and the love, the worry and the pride, all of that mixed together adds up to a journey of the heart that you wouldn’t miss for anything. Beautiful writing, deep insight.

  9. This is beautiful, lady.

    I feel this way about Miles. Oh how we struggle sometimes and I see myself in him so clearly. Ever since he was a baby, I’ve leaned into a Sara Groves song (from her ‘songs for parents’ album)–

    “baby I’m afraid you’re a lot like me
    you can’t help feeling everything
    I can see you trying to hold it in
    I see your eyes and your trembling chin

    And for you and myself I will pray
    let our weakness become our strength

    baby there are some holes you just can’t fill
    you try and try but you never will
    baby I believe a God who can
    he loves the boy and he’ll love the man”

    Just a little snippet of the song for you. I do think this “weakness” can become our strength. It’s just a really hard and long road home sometimes.


  10. You write so beautifully about this incredible, intense relationship between mother and daughter. I appreciate how you share yourself with us. I believe, with my whole heart, that your sensitivity is your road – is your greatest gift. It touches me deeply every time I read your words.

  11. Beautiful. Simply and totally beautiful. Thank you for wrinting this. It means more to me than I could ever explain. I hope to have my Grace one day, soon. Because since I can remember I’ve always known that my children will take me home. I belong to them. And I’m longing to meet them. The only thing I have been always sure I wanted to be was to be a mother. Now I’m starting to understand why. Love from Spain 🙂

  12. Such a popular hymn, yet so deeply personal. for me as well. Grace has always been personal for me. The process of becoming a mother is my unmaking and remaking. It is Grace. It is another layer beyond forgiveness because it is not an erasing of my “sins” but an embracing.

    As a mother I am able to welcome that which I formerly shoved aside.

    In my children, to whom I am more kind, I welcome them. So, anew, I welcome me.

    Yes. Welcome home. This is very beautiful.

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