I have every intention of continuing my little series on discipline and affirmation. It's important stuff. When I put my thoughts into words, I am better able to clarify things in my own head and heart. If you benefit from it as well, that's a huge bonus.
But today, I want to clear up a misconception.
It is NOT all sunshine and rainbows over here.
And by over here, I mean our home and family.
If you have somehow let yourself believe that any person has "got it all figured out," then you are sadly, sadly mistaken. I don't care what it looks like from the outside—no family is perfect. No mother has all the answers. No kids are above selfishness and whining.
Are we pretty secure in our family and our parenting? Yes. Do we truly enjoy our children? Yes. Do we consider it a blessing to care for these young souls and to partner with God in raising them to love Him and serve others? Yes. Is life all sunshine and rainbows? Um, no.
We have bad days. We have kids who don't want to do school. We have kids who crumple up a paper "telescope" because they don't like their little sister "spying" on them. We have kid tears. We have mommy tears. We have days when I literally ache for a long vacation...alone. We have spilled water and messy rooms. We have "I'm bored." We have lighting fast "pass the baby" moments the second dad walks in the door. We have kids who cry because they lost in musical chairs. We have kids who can't distinguish the words "this" and "that" no matter how many hundreds of times they have seen them. We have kids who pick their nose and eat their boogers. We have dirty dishes and unmade beds. We have three-year olds who don't "feel like going to the potty" and instead go in their pants. We have kids whine and complain when they hear that Dad volunteered to have the rest of the family cook dinner while mom writes about sunshine and rainbows.
Yep, we have all of these things.
And this was just today.
I have this fear that if I strive to encourage others in their parenting— to take their job seriously, to cherish the moments with their kids, to recognize the awe and wonder of building little hearts and minds, and of putting family FIRST—then there will be a misconception that all of this just comes easily to some people. A misconception that if you aren't one of those fortunate souls then you must not "have it in you" or that you just aren't "wired that way." That isn't true at all. If God has given you the gift of children then you DO "have it in you" and you ARE "wired that way." Will it be easy? NO! Will it be work that sometimes makes you want to scream, throw things, and run away? YES. But is it worth it?
A million times yes.
Being a mother is the hardest thing I have ever done. It has taken me to depths of humility and servitude I never knew possible. It has forced me to look honestly at all the laziness, selfishness, ungratefulness and impatience in my life and cry out to God to strengthen me in a supernatural way. Because in the natural realm, I don't "have it in me" either. This is where the Holy Spirit comes in— that Helper that Jesus was talking about. The Spirit can accomplish what we in our humanness never can. I have nothing but sin and pride to offer my children. They have nothing but selfishness and tears to offer me. But the Spirit? The Spirit has all we need and more. We need to look to the calling we have received and then call out to God and remember, "And He has said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.' Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me." (2 Corinthians 12:9).
So here I am...boasting in my weaknesses. I am weak as a mother. I am weak (oh so weak!) as a wife. "For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not. For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want" (Romans 7:18-19).
None of us can do it alone. I can't. You can't. But God can. We can't continue to strive to parent these precious hearts in our own strength and our own grand plans. But if we cling to Him and pray for His wisdom and His love and His compassion and His vision for motherhood then we can draw upon the strength that He graciously offers as we strive to raise wholehearted kids who understand that they are loved by God and created for a purpose.