Another night…another post that isn’t what I had planned. But isn’t that life? That some things just don’t go as planned?
I did not plan on having this day with my children. I didn’t plan on my agitation increasing as the day wore on and finding them wriggling further and further under my sensitive skin. I didn’t plan on attitude and outbursts and losing my own temper and behaving in ways I certainly would never allow from them. And rather than the hand of correction, I must bear the weight of my own guilt and shame and physical punishment seems it would be easier to bear.
I didn’t plan on having to keep my five year old home from ballet because she would refuse to do her school. I didn’t plan on having to do school on Friday, a day we typically reserve for outside classes or other fun stuff.
But that’s the day I got. From God or from Satan or just from our own sinful hearts, and we found ourselves at four o’clock worn out and wounded by the day and by each other. And I found myself at the cross, asking forgiveness. Again.
I sat them down and repented. I asked their forgiveness for my own sin and spoke to them about what theirs had been. We agreed to start fresh now and work for a better day tomorrow. And then I hugged them. And all the stress and frustration and irritation started to melt away.
Why is it I never think to do that when I am angry and when their behavior cries out for it? Lord, help me to draw them close when I want to push them away. Help me to hug them as often as I feed them* and remind them often throughout the day of my love for them. Only by your grace can I do this thing called parenting.
Tonight, the oldest is at ballet. Matt and the middle two are Christmas shopping. And I am home with Ellie, helping her wrap the gifts she has thoughtfully chosen for her sisters and her daddy. And we have a very entertaining conversation….
Me: Ellie, what are you getting me for Christmas?
Ellie: I’m getting you a dinosaur.
Me: A dinosaur? Really? What will I feed it?
Ellie: Well, if it’s a carnival, you’ll have to feed it plants.
Me: Oh yeah?
Ellie: Yeah. Like those ant-eater ones.
Me: You mean a Venus Fly Trap?
Ellie: Yeah. And you’ll have to train it to catch a ball and stuff.
Me: Yeah. 😛
And I laugh so hard on the inside that I want to cry. No longer tears of self-pity or frustration, but tears of delight at the gift God has given me in these children, in this daily living alongside them.
May your evening be filled with laughter and joy tonight.
*another Ann Voskamp treasure @A Holy Experience
3 thoughts on “Change of Plans”
beautiful sara…. makes me want to cry and also run upstairs and wake them up and recount my failures today (yet again) and ask for forgiveness and hug and kiss some more. i get hope from the fact that i am at least catching myself more often now… as you put it “acting in ways i would never allow my own children to act.” saying things with such harshness and impatience. thinking back makes me want to just crawl in a hole. they deserve so. much. better. from me especially. ESPECIALLY. i screw up so much it just gets overwhelming… but while i used to not even notice how wrong I am in this, at least i am catching it (albeit after the fact) and analyzing my own behavior and striving to improve. i have so far to go in this… but it is continually encouraging to read blogs like this one, Ann’s etc… that give me inspiration and hope for the journey. they also strengthen me. so thanks for sharing and keeping it real.
Chels, you remind me so much of myself when we were just having our third. I began to see sides of myself in those years that I did not know existed and I hated it. Yes,the first thing is to recognize it and repent of it in front of them (when they are the ones offended) and then to be daily on your knees for strength and grace. And ask for prayer, lots of prayer, from John, from friends. I’m praying for you. Keep your focus on Jesus (cliche as that sounds) and it will get better. And there will be set backs, but they do seem to get farther in between. And I think part of our problem of late is that I have grown in confidence, in this whole juggling life thing, and I have tried to take on too much and I just can’t handle it all yet. So it’s always learning and re-learning. But God is good, and gentle, but sometimes firm. But more than anything, He’s good.
Thanks for including the prayer, the reminder to draw them close when I want to push them away and hug them as often as I feed them. It’s so easy to do when they are little, but gets harder as they get older and their desires battle mine. I’ve just been thinking of and praying about this exact thing this week. Thank you for sharing.