Spilling Water and God’s Grace in my Family

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Spilling Water and God’s Grace in my Family

It only took a moment.

In her excitement of being out for dinner, Jessica moved her hand and her water glass toppled over, all over the table. That happens sometimes when you’re seven years old.

Like a well-rehearsed play, each of us at the table went into action. I grabbed some napkins. My husband, Mike, righted the glass, and Nathan, who was thirteen, quietly picked up the pieces of ice covering the table.

Thinking of that moment, I have to smile. My family conveyed an important truth that day: the truth that people are important. The truth that we need to extend grace to one another.

The same scenario at my house when I was a child would have been quite different. I would have been scared. Someone would have yelled, “Nice going, clumsy.”

There would have been laughter, but not the warm kind, but the kind that cuts through you like a knife. A lecture would have been started with “How many times have I told you…” I would have been ashamed, not smiling.

But I smile now, pushing out that former memory, thankful history doesn’t have to repeat itself.

I will not bring up my children the way I was brought up.

They will not flinch when my hand is raised.

Mistakes are a part of life.

So what changed in my life, to bring on this change in how I would raise my children?

I met grace. It was 1971 and I was invited to a home Bible study. I immediately felt drawn to this 30-something housewife with the long dangling earrings. She perched herself on a stool and led us in God’s word. There were long tables stacked with paper and pens, and Bibles for those who were new to this.

In one night I saw who this woman spoke about. She introduced me to her Jesus. She spoke of him as if he were her best friend. The next night I came back to the Bible study. I had to know more. That night I saw that when Jesus died on the cross it wasn’t only for the world he loved so much. It was for me.

Joyfully, I accepted his gift of salvation. Lois showed us what mercy and grace looked like. We deserved to die because we were sinners. But Romans 5:8 says,

“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

God didn’t just tell us, he showed us what love is, through the sacrifice of Jesus and our redemption through him. Mercy meant I did not get what I deserved. Grace meant I received heaven instead.

What God started on that September night in 1971, he continues even today. God shows me mercy and grace, and I get to see his grace play out in my family to this day.

Our family continued our meal that night in the restaurant, not flustered by the spilt water or angry with each other. It was a good meal. Not because of what we ate, but because we knew God’s grace.

Many times I have looked at the family God gave me and been thankful. Thankful that I grew up in one kind of house but by God’s grace created a different one.

I’m so grateful I get to experience and share God’s grace. Grace that is powerful, and extended on a daily basis. Like when someone spills a glass of water.

Check out an earlier post by Anne here.

About The Author
Anne Peterson
Anne Peterson
Hi, I'm Anne. I am a poet, speaker and published author of 42 Bible Studies as well as more than 30 articles with ChristianBibleStudies.com, a Christianity Today website. Two of my Bible studies are published in Bible Study Faith & Work, published by Thomas Nelson. My poetry is sold through gift stores throughout the United States and in 23 countries. I have written my memoir, Broken: A Story of Abuse and Survival, Real Love: Guaranteed to Last, and the author of three children’s books: Emma’s Wish, and The Crooked House, stories illustrated by her daughter Jessica. I’ve also written Lulu’s Lunch. Sonny Follows His Heart is still another children’s book, soon to be released, illustrated by my husband Michael. And Make Believe will be my first poetry book published. This book was written as I looked at the photographs which my daughter made and then wrote poems. I live in Peoria, Illinois with my husband Michael. We’ve been married for 39 years and we have two children and four grandchildren. I love telling stories and playing with words. I am a poet, published author and speaker, but the title I most love is Grandma. Blog:http://annepeterson.wordpress.com Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/annepetersonpoetry
Leave a response
  • Barbara Holt Guest
    December 30, 2013 at 8:01 am

    “God didn’t just tell us, he showed us what love is, through the sacrifice of Jesus and our redemption through him. Mercy meant I did not get what I deserved. Grace meant I received heaven instead.” …

  • Evelyn Maddox
    December 30, 2013 at 10:45 am


  • Micky Zola
    December 30, 2013 at 11:14 am

    Powerful AMEN! ♥

  • December 30, 2013 at 1:47 pm

    Beautiful post, Anne. For many years, I had a mistaken view of God. I thought He was “just waiting” for me to “mess up” so that He could punish me. But oh the freedom to know the truth about His grace.


  • December 30, 2013 at 2:43 pm

    Joan Hall 
    Thanks so much for reading. I can relate to how you felt. When you come from a strict family upbringing such as mine, I too, thought I would never measure up.

    How wonderful to find out none of us do measure up and that’s why Jesus came. To be all we ever needed. Grace. Something we can experience and then pass on to the next person.

  • Diane L. Young
    December 30, 2013 at 7:37 pm


  • Tang Sisavath
    December 30, 2013 at 8:23 pm


  • Savay Sisavath
    December 30, 2013 at 8:26 pm


  • Joyce Hodge Lachappell
    December 31, 2013 at 2:24 am

    I totally agree with this!

  • Rennie Rose
    December 31, 2013 at 2:43 am


  • Anne Peterson
    December 31, 2013 at 5:08 am

    I’m so glad this post resonated with others. It took me a while to identify it was grace living in my home of origin. But that didn’t mean I couldn’t break that pattern.
    2 Corinthians 5:17
    “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature.”
    I could decide what to pass down to my family.

  • Sandra McClure
    December 31, 2013 at 8:59 am

    I loved this!

  • Heather Clark-Sandell
    January 30, 2014 at 6:24 am


  • Judy Miller
    January 30, 2014 at 7:07 am


  • Judy Chiappelli
    January 30, 2014 at 10:22 am


  • Lin Soo
    January 30, 2014 at 10:46 am


  • James Michael McDonough
    January 30, 2014 at 11:04 am


  • Brenda Lee T. Mendez
    January 30, 2014 at 9:47 pm


  • Linda Dixon
    February 3, 2014 at 10:42 am

    Is that water… or alcohol? . . . I spill water every so often. 🙁 🙂 … I don’t drink (unless it is a “hot totty” – made with grapefruit) when I am sick sometimes. – – – God’s word has many scriptures to say on drunkards, and drunkeness, and being drunk. If a person claims to be “following The Lord”. . . they won’t be over doing like that , unless they have an alcohol problem. I pray for people like this, that they may get better. But they also have to make their “choices” – May God help them.


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