Do you ever have those moments when you wonder what in the world God was thinking when He trusted you with children?
I look at how I have blown it over the years, like really blown it- lost my temper, scolded in anger, made a poor choice in my wording or modeled behavior that was, well, so far from perfect that even squinting couldn’t help, and I am stunned.
He can’t seriously have seen all of this and STILL have chosen me to be their mom.
Today was one of those days. It really wasn’t my fault. You can’t be expected to be pleasant when you have to wake up at 7:00am on a Saturday to go stand in the pouring rain and cheer your daughter on while she stands on the soccer field shivering like a little popsicle, mouthing to you, Mama, I’m cold. And you, being the amazing mom that you are, forgot the water bottle and the jacket on the kitchen table because you were running late. I started yelling and making hand motions for her to jump up and down to keep herself warm, but quickly realized that if she got to thirsty I had no water, so I shifted gears, motioning her to hold still. Yeah, charades were probably not my brightest idea. She cocked her head to the side and gave me this look like, Mama, I have no idea what you are trying to tell me.
I held it together until mid-afternoon and then, I was shot. Wiped out. My patience were zapped and I was just plain grouchy. I tried to make it sound nice, but that made it worse. I sounded irritated and my voice was pitched way too high, as if I was trying to force myself back into sweetness. They could see right through it. Their faces said it all, We are so not buying this, mom. Strike One.
I decided to throw in a fun activity, hoping that would get ‘us’ back on the right track.
We’re going to Skyzone, I surprise the kids. Skyzone, an indoor trampoline warehouse, is one of our favorites. Maybe if we get out of the house, we will all be in better spirits, which is code for, maybe mom will make it through the day.
But Skyzone was full, so I insisted we head over to Ikea. Dumb. Just dumb, because when I said we were going to have a fun evening, Ikea wasn’t really on their radar. It will still be fun, I insist, trying to rally the troops. We can check out the cool kitchens and bedrooms. You can even try out the beds and then on the way out we’ll get some hot dogs for 50 cents! I glanced in the rearview mirror. Nope. Not buying it. Totally not buying it. I am pretty sure they were throwing fatal darts with their eyes. Strike Two.
By the time we made it home we were toast. Everyone was getting ready for bed and I made a flippant comment to my son. You know those comments where you open your mouth and as you hear yourself saying it you already wish you could pull it back in. It was just insensitive. I saw him respond and I felt sick- just horrible. Ahhh, I didn’t mean it to sound that way. That came out wrong. I apologized, but it was too late.We talked a little and he opened up about why it was hurtful, but he was tired and wanted to go to sleep. I tried to get him to keep talking, but quickly realized that I was trying to make myself feel better, so I kissed the top of his head and left with my head hanging low. Strike Three.
Ughh, Lord, sometimes I just want to give up. This parenting gig is so hard.
It’s so hard knowing I can’t fix everything. I can’t make pain go away. It kills me knowing that I can’t keep my kids from being hurt and sometimes, not very often, but sometimes it will be my actions and my words that are the cause of that hurt.
So, I crawled into bed tonight, licking my wounds, feeling pretty dang awful. And laying there, I began to comfort myself. Hang in there, I tell myself, as if my friend were giving me a pep talk, he knows how much you love him. Let your constant love for him be what carries you through this. Wait for the right time, the right time to work on the repair. The repair with him is what counts. How you handle the mend is what is most important.
I talked to myself and I talked to the Lord.
I imagined the Lord sitting with me, face to face, and in amazement I look at him and accuse more than ask, What in the world were you thinking? Did you see what I just did? I mean, that’s gonna take at least four years of counseling to undo what I did right there. I shake my head, feeling that I have blown it, that I am a failure as a mom and on my worst days- absolutely worst- feeling they would be better off with someone else as their mom.
And it is in these moments, I hear the Lord take me on. Who told you this? Who says that you are a failure or the worst mom? I never said that. That doesn’t come from Me. Do you expect to be perfect, dear one, because it sounds like you are striving for perfection, that you would never make a mistake, never cause harm? You see, dear one, what you are striving for doesn’t exist.
Come , dear one, He will often say, let me tell you what I see. I see one who loves- adores- their child, their children and is struggling. I see one who is frustrated because they have been wounded and the last thing- the last thing- they would want to do is to cause harm to their own, their loves.
Let Me tell you what else I see. I see ones who long to show a love they so often have never received and don’t always know how to express it and if that is the case, come. Sit with Me. Let Me show you how to love, for in spending time with Me, you will learn how to love well.
I love the way He always beckons me to spend more time with him. Not out of guilt. Not out of scolding. No, nothing like that. He just gently beckons me to come and be near Him, so he can remind me once again, that He loves me and that He knows Me.
He knows Me.
He knows what I will do and what I will not do and He still chose me to be their mom and, oddly enough, dear sisters, that gives me peace.
Peace. Comfort. Rest.