It is 12:56 on Sunday morning and I am typing in sync with my husband’s snoring. He was quick to sleep tonight. Me? Not so much. I am trying to get laundry caught up, mind racing about my oldest son’s health because of the comment he made right before bedtime tonight: “Mom my neck inside really hurts. It has gotten worse as the day has gone on.” It seems like everyone has a touch of something right now. Some of the families at church have been out for weeks! I find myself pondering about what tomorrow will be like, outside of the frigid temperatures and possibility of snow, I mean.
I’m day-dreaming (is that what it’s called at this time of the day?) about the tomato soup I will make tomorrow…I don’t even like tomato soup. However the Pioneer Woman can pretty much sell anything, I’m convinced. She has a gift with waking up your five senses when you read her recipes. I will let you know how the tomato soup is soon, but until then, you must try her potato soup recipe. Oh…MY…stars…it’s absolutely to DIE for! Ok ok not to DIE for but it’s enough to make you close your eyes upon the first drop of it’s creamy goodness touching your tongue.
Now, to get to the reason I am writing tonight. Over the last few weeks I have come across so many blog articles, bible verses and such about a very sensitive subject. I even wrote a blog post the other day about my conflict with yelling at my family. It is one of those things in my life that I so desperately want to get a harness on. I wish I could just rewind time and take back every hurtful word I have said and change every prideful and arrogant tone in which I said them. I wish I could put a proverbial band-aid on each heart and dream that I may have stomped on or crushed. The Hands Free Mom said it best in her post about her history with yelling, specifically at her kids. She penned the following:
My oldest daughter had gotten on a stool and was reaching for something in the pantry when she accidently dumped an entire bag of rice on the floor. As a million tiny grains pelleted the floor like rain, my child’s eyes welled up with tears. And that’s when I saw it—the fear in her eyes as she braced herself for her mother’s tirade.
She’s scared of me, I thought with the most painful realization imaginable. My six-year-old child is scared of my reaction to her innocent mistake.
Oh my word…If I could count on one hand how many times I have witnessed first hand, actually third person because of the burning, unnecessary anger pulsating through my veins, a scene much the same as this one. That’s where that horrific cycle comes in to play that I wrote about in my previous post. I go and cry in the solitude of my room because I have blown it again. I go talk to these precious souls I have been entrusted with after the embers in their hearts and my stomach have cooled a bit, we pray together. I ask for forgiveness, they grant it. We move on with our day. Before I know it, maybe later that day, maybe the next day it happens again. Ack! How many times does this have to happen before they stop granting that forgiveness?? How many times does it take before I can get to a point where I just let Jesus have control?
Last year around this time, my church was getting ready for a revival team to come in and preach for a week. Now wait, before you start picturing tents and crazy people screaming on stage, people flopping around on the ground and ushers catching people from falling over, that’s not the kind of revival we’re talking about here. Life Action Ministries came in and preached words that burned in the depths of my soul. They will be back at the end of this month for a week to do a follow up session and to give some sessions on marriage! After last visit, and if I am completely honest after day one of the several day conference, I felt I was being called to fast and pray until
God told me I submitted and surrendered to hear what He wanted me to hear.
- I had made myself my own idol. This one came as a total surprise to me, but it makes total sense when God explained it to me. Basically I had put myself up on such high level that nobody, not even my kids to live up to my expectations. “My way or the highway,” was my tagline in short. I didn’t even take the time to consider that someone else had feelings, wants and desires. Subconsciously it didn’t matter to me. I had even put myself above God. Sure I was going to church, reading my bible, I was involved in bible studies and even lead my kids in prayer. I was blinded to the fact that my life was completely off course. You see, God gave me my family. My husband and kids. He put my husband over me as the head of my household. He is above my husband. So if I decide to override what my husband wishes for our family, and if I decide to dominate my kids with my words and actions, haven’t I in short told God my way is better than his ways? *reminds herself to breathe…that’s a hard one to swallow* Haven’t I basically spat in His holy face?
- I had to repent and ask for forgiveness. I asked God for forgiveness. I prayed and asked him to help me to take myself off of the high horse I was riding. I asked him to show me how to do that because, to be honest, I didn’t even realize I was trotting along on a horse to begin with! What He impressed on my heart I will never forget. I was given the task to sit down with each of my family members and ask them to tell me times when I had hurt them with my words or actions. I then had to tell them times I felt like I had treated them less than the gifts God had given to me. After that point, I asked for forgiveness for the things I had done to them. You know what, the hardest one to talk to was my oldest son. He’s 10. We spoke for about an hour (and by the way it took me almost two months to build up the courage to have that conversation with him). My cheeks were SOAKED with tears, his too from recalling times I had yelled at him with such force that he was scared. He asked me to promise that I wouldn’t do certain things again and to this day I have kept my promise. Then I asked for his forgiveness for all of the things I had done to him over the years. Do you know what he said to me? “Mom, I’m just not sure I’m ready to do that yet.” *blink, blink* Recalling that moment right now leaves me with a tight chest and I am finding it hard to even draw my next breath. Wow. I spoke to my second son and he didn’t have much to say. He has such a tender heart and always has. For whatever reason, he hasn’t seen the brunt of my anger/yelling like my husband and oldest son has. He gave me a big hug and said, “Of course I forgive you. Isn’t that what Jesus says to do?” *melt* Then my husband. I cried and cried. He listened. I think he was only half in the conversation for fear that I would relapse in my anger again. Unfortunately, he has been right, however he did extend the forgiveness and grace that a truly godly man would.
I feel like we had a couple of pretty good months. The environment in our home was sweet. I prayed over my home and anointed it with oil and asked God’s blessing on my repentance. I prayed he would fill our home with his presence again. It’s amazing how wonderful it feels to be so close to God.
Since that season in my life, I have only completely blown my lid once. It was bad, but with God’s help, we have stretches of really really good days. Some not so good, but I think all families have that. When you’ve asked for days for the pile of laundry to be picked up and alas, it’s still there, just spread a little wider than it originally was. Or when you request for the 90th time for your kiddos to go to bed and they have to go potty just one more time… Yes, I believe a raised, stern voice comes from every parent from time to time.
I am on a mission to help clear my distractions so I can be more focused on what is important.
- My personal relationship with God. My one on one time with him.
- The needs and expectations of my husband.
- The needs of my kids.
- The needs and expectations of everyone else.
Do I always it the nail right on the head. HA! No way, I am still human. No fasting session, repentance session or quiet time will make you anything more than human.
Last night, in efforts to making today relaxed and stress free, I made a little sign which read: “Keys to Making Saturday Special!” On three separate paper diecuts, I reminded them what is expected of them first thing in the morning. Do you know, I have not had a morning like this morning in I don’t even know how long. The very last thing I put on their little keys was “Smile!” The first thing I saw this morning was three little boys who had finished their chores, had gotten dressed and had beautiful, God given smiles on their beautiful faces.
I will leave you with tonight’s note left for them on their bedroom wall.
I’m sorry it’s fuzzy but I just snapped it with my cell phone. Basically the idea for tomorrow morning is the same as today’s. Encourage and take the pressure off of the kids to perform, complete and achieve on their own. My kids do better with lists and they definitely do better with a little bit of guidance. For Pete’s sake they are 10 and 8 (and 2) of course they need a little guidance! They are learning and are kids! Sometimes I forget that, I hate to admit in public!
Everyday I plan to put a “Smile” line. Today was just “smile!” but tomorrow they each have something different. My oldest has “Smile because you are loved!”
My middle son will be reminded to smile because Jesus loves him!
To add a little fun and silly humor to my youngest’s list, I have asked him to smile because he has a belly button!
I also left a little message to all three of them. I wonder if I did this routine for a month, how much better would our days flow. I know I’d like to start my day with an encouraging and heart-felt note.
“I prayed for each of you last night before bed. I really love all 3 of you with my whole heart! Love Mommy”
What do you do to show your kids that they are valuable to you and loved by you? I’d love to hear your ideas. I never want them (or my husband) to feel less than who God made them to be. I never want to put myself in a place where I have exalted myself above them again (out of God’s design). We could all use ideas for creative ways to express our feelings to our kids!