August 23, 2015
Here’s a fun story. As I open the garage door to go on a walk with my two kids and dog I pause to let my oldest walk by to hit the garage door button. She loves to do this now that she can reach and it’s kind of her thing. My youngest is used to it and doesn’t get in her way at all, in fact, he is totally distracted, playing with his motorcycle or something. It’s not even 8 am and I am in a fog. But, I am awake enough to see my oldest shove past her little brother while grumbling under her breath, “You’ll never hit the button.” Whaaat?
About a million things flash through my mind and I am burning hot with anger. Why is she so mean? What is her dang problem? Why so nasty? Why does she always want to make him upset? Why can’t she be nice? Like any good mom, I now move on to completely blaming myself. It’s because I am a jerk. It’s because I yell at them sometimes. She is mean because of me. And the grand finale: I flip my freaking lid on her.
Well, the day goes on and it is a pretty good day. Mid-morning I give them their vitamin and save the color my daughter likes for her. She thanks me and is so happy and about five minutes later I hear her singing to her little brother something like, “I got the purple and you didn’t. I got the best color and you did not get the same color.” Wtf? Again? After I just did something special and nice for you? I flip my lid again.
Later that evening, she makes him cry while I am out of the room. I comfort him and then come ask her what happened. With her eyebrows narrowed into a frown she tells me matter-of-factly, without any sign of remorse, that he tried to kiss her baby.
What do you think I felt here? More anger and frustration? Sadness? Shame? Yes, yes, yes. But it was more. I gave up hope. Hope of being a good mom, of teaching her to share and be kind, of feeling happy.
At that moment I bowed my head, closed my eyes and asked God to help me. And then I realized I was going about this all wrong. I think I have control in this whole situation when in reality God is the only one in control. I need to give this to Him. I cannot do it. I am powerless to be a teaching mother without Him. So I calmly took both my children’s hands and told them that I didn’t know what to do anymore to help them share and be nice and so we are going to pray and ask God to help us.
We bowed are heads and I prayed. Things were calm after the prayer and went a little better. But then I had a Doubting Thomas moment. I literally thought, “if only God could fix it.” What is wrong with me? Of course, God can fix it! But He can’t do it if I don’t have faith.
I thought of Jesus going back to his hometown. He couldn’t perform any miracles there because of their lack of faith. He was amazed at this. I thought of Peter sinking after he walked on water, because of his lack of faith. I thought of the faith of the centurion and how Jesus healed his child from miles away because of his great faith. Of course God can work in my children to get them to share and be kind! But he can’t do it if I don’t have faith in him that he will do it.
We still had to pray 2-3 more times that night and it is now our thing. If the kids can’t work it out or if it gets out of hand, we all stop and pray. I don’t lecture, yell, do time-outs, or solve the issue. Instead, I beg God to help us and thank him for all the miracles and wonders he does in our lives and proclaim that He is faithful and loving and will teach my children the right way to treat others.
I think every one likes praying and things go better after the prayer. I also know that I am now instilling the value of prayer into their lives in a way I wasn’t before all this. But, with all that said, it is all for naught if I don’t have great faith in God that He can and will mold my children into what is honoring to Him. Do I want Jesus to be amazed at my lack of faith or my great faith?
So, I am sorry for those of you that thought you might get some parenting tips when you read this. Or if you thought that there was a secret way to decrease fighting in your house. I have nothing for you. I pretty much feel like I am a terrible mom most of the time, have mommy-guilt coming out the wazoo, and have no idea what I am teaching my children. But, the peace that has entered my heart since I gave this up to God is life-changing. God wants to use our weaknesses, faults, and failures because this is when it is most apparent that it is God, and not man, that is working miracles.
“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.'” 2 Corinthians 12:9
Have a blessed day.