Heart Of Stone

Child #4 wakes with a fever for the third straight day.

Today is the Halloween dress-up parade and she will have to miss. If you’ve ever been the parent of a seven-year-old girl who sleeps in her fairy-princess costume the entire month of October, you will understand to what depths of woe we have already travelled before breakfast.

Spent, we stare glumly out the kitchen window and drink our tea. A flock of Orioles, the plumpest we’ve ever seen, hop in the frosty grass; their fat orange breasts reflect the rising sun.

It’s 7:15am.

Child #3 yells down the stairs that he cannot find his jacket. Or a sweatshirt. Or anything with sleeves. It was time to go ten minutes ago. He comes into the kitchen wearing only lacrosse shorts with bananas on them. I put down my tea roughly, and stomp upstairs to his room. I find all three items instantly.

“Mom, it’s kind of your fault for putting them where I couldn’t really see them.” He says from the safety of the landing.

If you’ve ever witnessed a wounded bull before a red flag? Snorting and pawing before the matador’s untimely demise? Then you will understand exactly the way that conversation went down.

It’s 7:40am.


I am still aggravated with Child #3 and can’t seem to let it go.

I pour all the grievances and hurts of the last week on his slumped ten-year-old shoulders during the car ride to school. I’m miserable delivering him over to the day in this bitter fashion – but I soldier on! Because this time I know my harsh-toned, critical, and accusing lecture will surely soften his heart and change his ways.

“I love you, mom” he says to the side of my face when we arrive. Gathering up his bag, he kisses my clenched jaw and closes the car door softly behind him. He’s gone. I won’t see him again until 3:15pm.

It’s 8:05am.

If your heart of stone has ever been pierced straight through by pure grace, then you can understand my quiet ride home.

Surely it is only kindness that leads anyone towards repentance.

Surely it is only goodness that can overcome us; move and change us; heal and shape us. It can only be goodness that pierces a  heart of stone.

“…or do you think lightly of the riches of God’s kindness, and tolerance, and patience? Don’t you know that it is the kindness of God that leads you to repentance…? (Romans 2)

Why can’t I remember this for even one hour? One fall morning? One freaking day?

Father, forgive me.

I’ve taken your kindness lightly. I’ve been a demanding and intolerant bully. The harsh words I’ve spoken have caused my own son to flinch. My mind has been dark. My heart has been as unyielding as a stone.

But, you are light.

You are healing.

Your mercy never ends.

Your compassion never fails.

Your goodness and love endure forever.

Father, help me to see the incomparable riches of your kindness.

“I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh.” (Ezekiel 11:19)


Peace to you – whatever the hour – as you remember the kindness of God to you and yours.


14 responses to Heart Of Stone

  1. tiggerandbug says:

    Girlfriend, (May I call you that?!) We are in the same boat. Oh, to grab hold of grace as quickly as we do the irritations and sinfulness of this world. Thanks for sharing and “keeping it real.” I will be sticking a Post-It note with the word “kindness” to my desk today. 🙂

  2. Mary says:

    Although I no longer spend my days raising children, your devotion brought back many memories of my days as a young mother. Every day, no matter what stage of life we are in, we need to be reminded of the grace that is ours in Christ. It is in our mannerisms that we look more like him! Lord help others to see you in the way we interact with those around us!

  3. Vaneetha says:

    Love this, Kim. I can relate all too well…

  4. Rob Fynn says:

    Thank you – very special

    XXXX From: Given Breath To: robfynn@yahoo.co.uk Sent: Monday, 26 October 2015, 15:47 Subject: [New post] Heart Of Stone #yiv7509861109 a:hover {color:red;}#yiv7509861109 a {text-decoration:none;color:#0088cc;}#yiv7509861109 a.yiv7509861109primaryactionlink:link, #yiv7509861109 a.yiv7509861109primaryactionlink:visited {background-color:#2585B2;color:#fff;}#yiv7509861109 a.yiv7509861109primaryactionlink:hover, #yiv7509861109 a.yiv7509861109primaryactionlink:active {background-color:#11729E;color:#fff;}#yiv7509861109 WordPress.com | Given Breath posted: “Child #4 wakes with a fever for the third straight day.Today is the Halloween dress-up parade and she will have to miss. If you’ve ever been the parent of a six-year-old who sleeps in her fairy-princess costume the entire month of October, you will un” | |

  5. Julie Knight says:

    Oh Kim, I have a teen who is addicted to video games and a few other things on the internet. He is lying and stealing too to keep going back there, trying to find where these things of his have been hidden. Pray for me and my boys. Being a single parent in this situation seems even tougher. He is a teen, he is stubborn like his Dad and me. I have gone over the forgiveness and grace part so many times in the last two weeks. it’s a repetitive cycle. I am asking God for His grace for me as I continue to love him through all of this.

  6. Given Breath says:

    Julie. I will pray for you and your sons. Father, be near to Julie. Give her discernment and strength and an extra measure of your grace as she walks this road with her boy. Protect her son from harm. Protect her family from the enemy who loves to shame and condemn and dim our hope in your goodness. Make yourself visible to her in a hundred ways today, and give her your peace. Amen.

  7. Given Breath says:

    Girlfriend! Thanks for the note, the encouragement, and the smile. I love the name of your blog. So perfect. Peace to you and yours….

  8. Given Breath says:

    Thank you Mary. This story was from a few years ago, but I still think of it often and am sorrowful and glad at the same time. We need Him every hour, and he IS making us more like his own son every day. Thanks for stopping by. Peace to you and yours.

  9. Given Breath says:

    Vaneetha! I am so very proud of all the good work you are doing! Your writing is piercing and comforting the hearts of many…mine too. Love you.

  10. Trisha says:

    “Because this time I know… My accusing …lecture …will surely change his ways.” A word fitly spoken…pierced my heart. Oh that I can live this with my 11 year old tomorrow…or better yet, tonight while she stalls her bedtime routine.

  11. My perspective with grown children is different. Parents travel a rough road. While loving our children unconditionally in our homes, we must at the same time train them for the outside world. It is not okay to blame others for your own mistakes. If you don’t call them on it while they’re growing up, their chances of survival with others is questionable. Kids have to see that their mothers have feelings too, and letting them see that preserves your relationship. Be encouraged, the truth must be spoken – sometimes loudly.

  12. TL Bond says:

    Once again I have finished reading Given Breath, and I am astonished by how much I can relate to it…how much I understand what you are saying…how much I really needed to hear this here and now. I am always wanting to “dig deeper” when it comes to interactions with my children, but sometimes I feel like it’s always me doing the digging. Then, I read this, and I remember that it should be me doing the digging. They are children, and I am the parent. I need to be more gracious, in the name of God, so that they can learn by example. Thank you for your words of wisdom and the completely unpretentious and non-judgmental way in which you deliver them 🙂

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