When mercy saves a broken momma.

Half listening to her list off dates, I squeeze the phone between shoulder and ear while my hands wave harshly at the two screaming. They use pencils as swords to poke the other, and I raise my voice over their screams so that my friend can hear me tell her that I have to call her back.

I near break the phone, slamming it down, my fury at the two whose sibling screams deafen. Five minutes of peace to make a phone call, can’t I even get that?

I barrel over, lips pierced, my rage burning my tongue so my hands do the talking. There’s no holding back, no prayer, no deep breath, no count to five. I’m a raging ball of fire and with the very pencils they held, I strike each on their hand, the sting rebounding past my flesh piercing through my heart.

They both wail tears and the lump leaps from my heart to my throat and I can’t swallow because I know that His ways speak love, gentleness and self-control. I’m a rancid piece of worm-infested rotten fruit.

My son’s eyes clear, his hand still pulsing pink from my strike, and I fall to his level, rage swallowed by guilt and the only words I can muster, “I’m so sorry.”

He collapses in my arms, his resilience resting in the safety of a broken momma, and his whisper sinks me to my knees, “I forgive you, Mommy.”

My eyes well up, the one who has only known five years of life teaching the one in her fourth decade the ways of the Cross.

My daughter, still holding her hand protectively, melts into our embrace, my babies overtaking my lap as my tears dampen their foreheads. I sigh deep as I drop heavy into the nail-pierced arms of a Savior, my desperation a prayer, forever enveloped in His mercy.