|The younger children painted Mother's Day Vases...|
|The finished masterpieces|
Yesterday, the mayhem. Life is like that and it's O.K. It was cleaning day at church... being 37 weeks pregnant with not much to offer in the way of cleaning services, I opted to drop off my 3 oldest children as highly energetic cleaning representatives. I drove back home with my three younger children looking forward to spending time with them in the morning baking bread, playing games and finishing some chores. HA HA HA HA
As the morning progressed I realized something... The older kids have so much responsibility and help out so well, that I've inadvertently taken advantage of them being around to do so. Without them, life was.... not peaceful and extremely difficult. So much for making bread. It took us all morning just to get basic chores done like laundry, dishes, meal prep for company coming, vacuuming, tidying and bed making.
There were tears, distracted minds, fights, and arguments. The last straw came at about 11:30 or so when a friend called while I was in the middle of making lunch. I thought I could just squeeze in a little harmless chat and all mayhem broke loose. To make a long story short one of my children threatened to run away according to the words of my other child... I looked out the window to see a little body speeding down the driveway on their trike only to get half way down, turn around and come back up again. When they made it back into the house, they said they were sorry and had calmed down. They knew they were in the wrong and maybe a little fresh air was all that was needed.
After lunch, naps, and reading time with Mama, life got a whole lot better. Eventually Daddy returned home after working and picked up the older kids and some groceries and things in time for dinner.
I earnestly want other Mom's to know that my life is filled with ups and downs on a regular basis. Perhaps I paint pictures only when I'm feeling good, but they should be painted clearly. I think honestly, Motherhood is full of joy and trials and they all mesh together into one.
Earlier in the morning while doing chores with little ones, I listened to a Christian Radio Station. I was inspired by listening to Joni Erickson Tada about how she couldn't sleep well one night last week. She then described what it's like for her... she is nailed to the bed. She's paralyzed from the neck down and once she's in bed for the night, there is no moving until morning. No tossing, no turning, no walking the halls or rising for a drink.
She understood that Jesus was inviting her in to fellowship in His suffering. In other words, He experienced being nailed to the cross and knew what she was going through. I thought of my upcoming C-section and being "nailed" to the operating table, arms spread out in cross formation and paralyzed from the chest down. Jesus gets it. What an honor to know that He knows and understands my pain.
The next radio program was disheartening...
In the last days…. We’re warned throughout Scripture there will be scoffers and mockers… WOW, did I ever hear a lot of scoffing of Scripture and long held Christian ideals of Motherhood on Christian radio of all places! How can this be? The verse came to mind about fresh water and dirty water should not be coming out of the same fountain. They were trying to celebrate and encourage women for Mother’s Day. Now I was encouraged by Joni in the short few minutes that she shared. But for the next 1/2 hour or so I was so saddened by what advice this other Mother was trying to give to Mom's out there just in time for Mother's Day....
I’ll not point fingers and use names but such confused and mixed up worldly psycho-babble was all bubbling together surrounding the speaker’s effort to ease the fears and inadequacies that a Mother has surrounding raising her children. She went on to say there are no guarantees that what we do and who we are as Mothers will affect how our children turn out. She uses the same illogical argument I’ve heard so often… “good children can come from bad homes, and good homes can produce bad children.”
This certainly can happen but does not support throwing out any level of standard by which we can set some goals and persevere towards and know that there are a lot of things we can do right by the power of God. Even those who don’t believe in God can have the decency and common sense to understand positive ways to love.
This idea of anything can be right is in direct opposition to the teachings of Jesus: a bad tree cannot produce good fruit and vice versa. Also, God cannot be mocked, we reap what we sow. How about the verse, “Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it.” Notice it doesn’t say how old? That is God’s way of instilling HOPE. Just like He has instilled hope for His return…… He never tells us when.
More than ever we need Jesus and His wisdom. I see and hear more partial truths mixed up with some sort of potion labeled good balanced Christianity but when I hold it up to the vial of pure, undiluted, truth of Scripture, it pales in comparison.
A solution to feelings of fears and inadequacies as parents is to constantly go back to Scripture after listening to others speaking or reading their writing. Let’s make sure that what we hear is really in agreement with the Bible. Have we been taken in by a bitter root mixture foaming out of the depths of someone wanting to ease their conscience?
The problem is real…. parents, whether self imposed or influenced by the church or their peers, do feel inadequate and fearful at times. We all have different ideas on what makes a great parent and we find ourselves comparing. We sense that somehow we don’t measure up because we fail or our children fail and rather than keep trying or cutting ourselves and our children some slack (otherwise known as forgiveness) we may stop trying, not try very hard at all, or try all the harder.
Quite possibly we may give into the temptation of false humility and say it doesn’t really matter what we do or how we parent, just pray and we’ll get through. What sort of practical help is that?
What about the temptation of pride and to prove oneself? The fact is God can see into our heart and we do not have to prove anything to Him. He loves us with all our faults and He’s constantly wooing us back to dependence upon Himself. He longs to fill our deepest needs. We need affirmation that what we are doing is right and good. We cannot get all we need from our loved ones neither will we be a perfect giver. Trying to prove oneself in order to get that love is a waste of time and energy. Why not spend the time just making good memories and loving and affirming your own children instead?
We give into the temptation of anger and frustration when we don’t look good as parents. We then have a choice: blame others, ourselves, the child, or our circumstances or any other numerous excuses. We’ll do anything but repent and confess our sins one to another like the Bible says we should. However, it’s not always us that need to confess, it’s our children needing a lesson too. It could go either way.
Do you know how much simpler life could be if we just said, “I’m sorry for ________________.” I was in the wrong and I want you to know that it’s not your fault and I’m not going to make any excuses. A true apology makes no blame or excuse. It’s heartfelt, real and the person on the receiving end will know whether or not it’s sincere.
Our children are watching our mistakes and our triumphs of parenting. They are learning from what they see. My prayer and hope is that they learn to quickly say I’m sorry and I forgive you. I hope they can see me depending upon God’s strength for each new day. I hope they see me reading and obeying the Bible, not just spouting Scripture. I hope they see me respecting my fellow human beings even though I don’t always agree. I hope they are learning to stand up for the truth even while being laughed at. I pray that they will understand God’s Word and know it is always trustworthy and never fails, but man will.
So another Mother's Day has come and gone. Let's spur one another on to good works, not worry about failure, but keep trying with Biblical truth out in the forefront guiding us on.