I threw my hands and words up to heaven like a maniac.
Lord, you don’t know what it’s like! Your son was obedient! You told him to go die on a cross and he listened. I’m asking mine to stop wiping poop on the walls and he can’t even manage that!
I felt stupid as soon as the words came out of my mouth, but I said them none the less. These days, I seem to be taking that “it’s better to be hot or cold than lukewarm” verse a little too far. I’m sure the Lord appreciates honesty. But disrespectful anger and questioning? Possibly not so much…
Regardless, there I found myself. Again.
Angry. Frustrated. Drowning in a sea of princess dresses, half eaten banana peels, and sour attitudes. There was 3 different varieties of fecal matter smeared on my jeans – some human, some not. I’d just burnt the potatoes I was cooking for lunch. A certain unnamed hobbit was testing the boundaries of obedience, or lack there of, and another unnamed princess was sure to yell and scream at him to put him right.
By the way, this went down on Georgia’s 5th birthday. And this was before someone took a sneaky handful out of the cake.
Most days, most moments, I can handle it. The constant cleaning. The constant bickering. The constant “That’s not fair! You’re being mean!” (Yes, believe it or not, even my angelic children mutter such words).
So sorry I didn’t allow you to eat chocolate for breakfast. You’re right. I’m a terrible mother.
The truth of the matter is that I am a terrible mother at times. I lose my temper far too often. Some woman cry when they react to stress or emotions. I don’t. I get angry. I’m selfish with my time. I don’t want to pour another sippy cup of milk. I don’t want to clean up the bathroom mess. I don’t want to take the time to explain for the zillionth time why we’re not allowed to hit… or bite… or smear food on the windows.
Is it too much to ask that my children act like adults?!
Ha. See how ridiculous ‘the consequence of my ideas’ are? The fact is they ARE children. They ARE learning. And… well… that’s messy.
Messy is an understatement. As one of my favorite authors says, frankly, it’s a “bloodbath”.
… and yet.
These past few weeks, after learning that a fourth child would be coming, I’ve been ever more aware of this bloodbath. And what it means for our family.
90% of the time, when I tell people we’re expecting our fourth child, I get the looks of sympathy.
Oh man… you’re in for it now…
Why, on God’s green earth, would you choose to do that to yourselves?
Do you have no dignity left?!
Believe it or not, my goal is not make this process as easy for myself as possible, because clearly if it was, I would never would have had children in the first place. My goal is not to ship my children off to be raised somewhere else. My goal is to be foundational to their upbringing, being all up in their biznass. I want them by my side… where I can teach them, encourage them, pray for them, and correct them.
You know what this means? It means my life and home roughly resemble a circus that’s been set on fire. And sometimes it means I’m going to get angry at them.
But if my goal was ease, I wouldn’t be doing 99% of what I’m doing.
There certainly would be no farming – no animals, no gardening.
There’d be no homeschooling.
There’d be no disciplining. No correction. No catechizing.
The path of ease has no children. I can tell you that right now. And as much as I love date nights, quiet moments of rest, not changing diapers, not washing 1,294 articles of clothing every day, not breaking up childhood fights, not dealing with selfish attitudes, not negotiating bites of food, not washing vomit/poo/drool off the couches, and not pulling chunks of God-only-knows-what out of the bathroom drain… well, that’s not exactly the life the Lord has for me.
The life he chose for me includes moments of complete, raw weakness in which I shout to the heavens “Can’t you see I’m failing! I’m still failing! Just stop! Quit trying to teach me this lesson… I won’t ever get be able to do it! This life is driving me CRAZY!!!!”
Ya’ll. You can’t make this stuff up.
And yet, despite my selfish, imperfect, angry, and unfocused ways – the Lord still gave us another child. His work in me is not done. His work in our family is not done.
I don’t want sympathy. I don’t want pity. I don’t want ease (okay, fine, sometimes I do.)
But what I want more than those things is to glorify God in the way I raise my children. And drive them continually, over and over, time and time again, day after day, to the foot of the cross, where they’ll find me on my knees, seeking God’s continual and never failing love and mercy.
And what better way to show them that than to really be there?
I am now the mother of four children. And I’m proud of that.
A reader kindly reminded me that “Take it one day at a time!” doesn’t cut it in these little years. Rather, we must take it one second – sometimes one millisecond – at a time.
And each of those seconds, I must remind myself that I am a loved child of an Almighty God who sent his only, perfect Son to die in my place, for my sin, so that I could be reunited with a God so holy, to be in his presence is to be in complete and total perfection.
If that isn’t selfless love, well, I quit yesterday.
I’d count it a success to love my children one zillionth of the amount the Lord loves his children. Even when they’re angry and shout things like maniacs to the heavens.
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