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Shame vs Grace

Crossroads: Shame vs. Grace

by: Elizabeth Thorndike

A few weeks ago, during my early morning quiet coffee time, my 7-year-old little guy came clumsily around the corner. He slid under my blanket and snuggled up next to me. Wiping sleep from his eyes and yawning, he looked up at me and quietly asked, “Hey mama, can I please have a medical appointment with you?”

For one split second I was confused, but then, after a brief moment, I understood, and my heart sank. My little guy was asking for time with me. I spent so many mornings and afternoons at Children’s hospital with my 3 medically needy kiddos and although it was for doctor’s appointments, it is still one-on-one time with mom.

My non-medical, quality time kid, was hurting and craving one-on-one time with his mama. So much so, that he was desperately asking for a medical appointment.


Meet, Shayland. Age 7.

Oh mama’s, what do you do when you are trying so hard, and you still feel like you fail? There are so many intricate parts in a family, and we exhaust ourselves trying to balance it all. We love deep, but also fall hard when we realize we have let something drop through the cracks.

I teared up as I pulled my little guy closer to my side. I knew, in this moment, I could berate myself with shame for not seeing his needs, or I could curl up in God’s amazing grace and make a fun plan with my boy.


Many times each day, we can find ourselves at this crossroad, shame vs. grace. My habit is to wallow towards shame and believe the lies that I am not enough. The truth, though, is that I am actually NOT enough. I need to surrender it all to Who is and know, that if I co-partner with God, I stand a chance of thriving in grace. I stand a chance of walking in a lightness that can make motherhood enjoyable.

Friends, I want to encourage you first by saying that I have been at this crossroads more than I care to share. When I prayed for grace for others at the beginning of our special needs journey, I forgot to pray for grace for myself. It is so easy for us to go down the road of shame and completely get lost in its grip. It can be sticky and so heavy. It also can deeply affect those around us. Grace for us is like the oxygen mask on the plane. Position yours first, then you can help others. Easier said than done. (Am I right?!) Yet, the longer I am on this unique journey of life, I see that grace is essential, and makes the difference between survival and barely breathing.

For me, this self-grace is hard, and takes falling flat on my face somedays to realize that I have gone down the wrong path. When I am rockin the day, it is usually because I have spent time in prayer that morning asking for help. The prayer might be quick, and on the toilet, but God doesn’t care where or how we pray! He just wants to walk beside us each day. Mom and dad warriors, my prayer is, that when you find yourself at the crossroads of grace vs. shame throughout the day, your heart goes towards grace. You are worth it, and your kids learn from you. Our village works better with grace!

That day on the couch with my little guy, I took a deep breath, said a little prayer, and whispered to my son… “wanna skip school today?”

Shay and Elizabeth playing football

about us

Meet the Thorndikes - Moment to Moment Family

Hi there! We are the crazy cool parents to 5 amazing and crazy cool kiddos. But, first, we are Dan and Elizabeth Thorndike – married 15 years and living this life one moment at a time. We have a full and blessed life, but we are clumsily tackling a journey we never foresaw ourselves living.

Read our story of how this journey all started in our blog post titled:
“The Beginning. Our Special Needs Journey”


Elizabeth Thorndike

Introverted extrovert – that’s how I describe myself. I absolutely love being a mama but never knew how hard it would be, nor how deeply I could love.



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