The other day I woke up on the wrong side of the bed. Literally. I normally sleep on the right side of the bed but because of some shifting around due to a toddler I woke up not only on the left hand side of the bed but I woke up with a foot jammed into my ribs. My right arm was numb from sleeping on it wierd and I had a pounding head ache from clenching my teeth.
I shoved the foot away from my chest in a not so gentle manner and stumbled towards the washroom. I heard the fan on behind the door but didn’t consider that would mean someone was in it. I pushed the door open and let the cold tile wake me up enough to focus my eyes on my 4 year old son sitting like he owned the place. uuuggghhh…. I took a deep breath and turned around and proceed to make my way to the kids bathroom which seems to not be good enough for my 4 year old. I have only been up for 47 seconds and I already am counting down the minutes to bedtime.
Annoyed and frustrated I stumble downstairs to help ease the pain of my head ache with my best friend, Tylenol. After I choke down two pills with the glass of lukewarm water left over from last nights dinner dishes (i am horrible at taking pills, it is embarrassing.) I clear a spot on the counter to put my children’s bowls down in order to get their cereal ready.
“What kind of cereal do you want? Cheerios or Rice Krispies?” I yell up the stairs.
……. no response. I hear feet running at full speed and then a big …. CRASH!! long pause……. MOOOOOOOOMMMMMMMMMMYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY!!
I march upstairs preparing my super long speech about how they need to stop acting like a 2 and 4 year old and just remember the rules already. No running in the house! No pushing. No screaming. No jumping on furniture. These rules are designed to keep them safe. These rules are in place for their own good. These rules are annoying for everyone involved. The enforcer is exhausted from enforcing and the rule breakers are annoyed at always having to ignore and control their natural urges to ruin my house and hurt each other.
“What happened? Stop Screaming! Go to Time out, Now!!! I Don’t want to hear about it. I said no running and this is why!!!”
“Sorry mom. We were just….” STOP!! I tune out. I am sick and tired of hearing their excuses and their reason for not listening to me. I am as consistent as our dripping laundry room sink. I never waiver. I do not let them get away with anything. I follow through. Why are they still insistent on not listening? I have actually gotten tired of hearing my own voice do the same speech over and over. I know they know it. I have heard them tell their playmobil people to not jump on the couch or run in the house. What is wrong with my children!!!!????
My husband groggily climbs out of bed and asks what is going on. Are you kidding me? Now you wake up? I woke you up? not the crashing or the running or the foot in your ribs?
I go to the bathroom and close the door. I lock it for the first time in the history of me being a mom. I need to be alone or my family or four will become a family of three. Doesn’t matter who. Just who ever gets in my way.
I breath. Deep breathes. How am I supposed to do this? It is 7:17 am and I am the biggest grump ever. I do not have the energy or even the desire to be the mom or wife my family needs me to be. They deserve so much better. I am feeling so horrible and so pathetic and like such a failure. I think of all the days I have felt this way. Sleep deprived, impatient, super lazy, unmotivated, angry, and worst of all SELFISH. I can only remember the bad they do and the trouble they cause. My only fond memories seem to be from before they breathed their first breathes. Those were the days. When I was the best parent ever and I didn’t even have any children yet. I was patient and kind and so well rested.
A sweet small voice comes from the other side of the door. “Mama, do you just need your pribacy? (one of my favorite words she says) I will wait for our cuddle beside the door. Don’t step on me, okay?”
I instantly cry. How can I be so mean? How can I be so frustrated. I spent years (and I do mean years) dreaming of being a wife and mother. Dreaming of having a minimum of 4 children running around my house going on adventures. Snuggling them in my bed and waking up to their sweet kisses. Telling them stories in their beds before bedtime and holding them when they were sick. My dreams never involved me locking myself in the bathroom crying.
How am I going to make it another minute when I am such a mess?
Instantly, it all became clear.
I can not do this alone. I can not mother alone. I can not be a wife on my own strength.
2 Corinthians 12:9-10
9.”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. 10 Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.”
This Verse has always been my verse. I memorized it when I was going through a really hard time in High School and I have always turned to it in my times of trouble. Most of the time when I get in trouble it is because I am trying to do everything by my own strength. You would think after 2 or 3 times of being reminded that I need Jesus I would finally get it. You would think after memorizing this verse and reciting it my friends when they are going through tough times themselves, that I would be a pro at applying it to my own life. You would think that because this verse is written so deeply on my heart that I wouldn’t need to keep constantly being reminded to stop doing things by my own strength in areas that I am weak.
I am a horrible Mother. Without Jesus, I am a HORRIBLE MOTHER. With Jesus guiding me I am patient, Kind, loving, creative, adventurous, calm, level headed, and fun. With Jesus I am the mother both my children were meant to have. With Jesus, I am who I am supposed to be. Without Jesus I am a mess locked behind a bathroom door.
Just like my children I am constantly forgetting the boundaries put in place to keep me safe. I am constantly making up my own rules and getting hurt. Worst part is I am hurting others and taking them down with me. Jesus is so full of Grace and understanding and patience and kindness He is consistant and His love is unwavering.
I was just talking with a friend the other night about how becoming a mother gave us a great appreciation for what our own parents went through. We discussed this very topic, of how parenting a small human being can bring such perspective on life and on how God views our relationship. God loves us more than we love our own children. To me, this blows my mind. I actually start tearing up when I think about how much I love my children. He loves us MORE! He loves THEM MORE.
Yes, we all have bad days. Yes, we lose our tempers and we are not perfect and blah, blah, blah. In those moments are we failing because God failed us? or are we failing because we are not letting God take control in our weaknesses?
Mothering is hard. But in our weakness He is Strong. Not sure Disney intended it be applied in this matter but my two year old would approve. Just Let it Go! Let It Go and Let it God.
-a very humbled Lioness