Mirror, Mirror . . .

You know the old adage "God won't give you more than you can handle?" Well, the truth is we can handle a lot. Every day I survive tantrums, screaming, whining, toy explosions, art in various unartistic places, unkind attitudes -- you get the point. No matter the day I have had, each evening I snuggle up with my kids, pray and sing with them and say goodnight. It's usually at that moment that I breathe for the first time in what can seem like hours. It is also usually at this time that I get my first reflective glimpse into my day. As I pray over my children and thank God for the amazing treasures He has given me, I have to face the reality of how I have treated those gifts that day.  Some nights I smile in contentment and joy and some nights tears flow down my face in regret for things I have said and done. But every day I survive. Every day I "handle" it. That isn't enough.

Last week I was having a particularly rough day. Ron was away counseling missionaries in Greece, and I was "holding down the fort," though some days a breeze could have blown it over. As J has gotten older these trips have gotten easier for me. However, this week was crazy. I was trying to clean our way too big house with three kids running around. My mental image all week? That Facebook e-card that says "Trying to clean your house with kids around is like brushing your teeth while eating Oreos."  I was preparing to host 2 exchange students for 2.5 weeks, and preparing to teach 2 weeks of English classes, as well as preparing for our homeschool year which starts directly after this teaching commitment. I was struggling. Spiritually I was being attacked and I knew it. I was allowing sin a foothold and it was obvious to me and my children. You know that awkward moment when you hear your child being nasty to another and your heart freezes and then sinks because . . . well, they sound just like you.

That is not who I want to be as a parent. Generational sin is tough,and way too many times last week I got on level with one of my kids and apologized for raising my voice. I am not proud of those moments, but I am ever so grateful for them. As I heard myself in my children, I was slapped in the face with my reality. They are the most effective mirrors in my house and sometimes what I see is not pretty. In the trenches last week as I was struggling and too often failing God spoke. You know the lighting bolt to your heart that stops you in your tracks. It's not about what you can handle. It's about what you can handle with grace. It's about what you are handling well. I stopped and prayed to be filled with God's grace. Grace that only He can give. Grace that forgives. Grace that causes peace in the midst of the storm.

2 comments:

  1. Nicole, you have no idea how much this post was written for me today. I called Stephen in tears earlier this afternoon because I was so ashamed at the way I had acted today and how I had lost my patience in mothering J. We are all sick and exhausted from moving into a new house, Stephen has been working extremely long hours, and J is getting into all of the unpacked boxes - still not an excuse to behave poorly. What you said about "generation sin is tough" is also what I was sharing with him as well - that I don't want to parent out of experience but with grace, like you said. Anyway, just wanted you to know this really hit home with me today. Thank you for writing it. Praying for you specifically as you parent your three little gifts with the grace that He gives.

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    Replies
    1. Kassi, thank you so much for your comment. I am so very glad it spoke to you, God is so good and I love that He is using my failures and weaknesses to help in some small way. Parenting is hard, and so proficient at chiseling the chaff right off of us. A great refiner! It is in that we can rejoice that though it is hard, and we often fail, because of the challenges, sin that might otherwise have been hidden in the recesses of our heart are brought to light, cleaned out, and as a result we are more like Christ.
      Thank you for the encouragement. Praising God for you my friend, and am so grateful for moms like you parenting in God's strength for His glory!

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