I sometimes wonder why God saw fit to bless me with five children. Children who I feel utterly unequipped to raise, teach, train, and even love.
It's silly, but at moments like this, I wonder what Beth Moore would have done. Were her girls kind and gentle, always obedient and loving to one another? Maybe. I'm sure there are a few kids out there like that. But if they weren't, if they had sibling rivalry moments - where one child destroys another's artwork, and child two retaliates by kicking in the gut, and when reprimanded the first child is unrepentant and disrespectful to the mother (hypothetically, of course) - how did Beth deal with it?
My discipline strategy this morning was to send child one to the bedroom for half an hour of reflection, to be followed by a letter of apology. Once disrespected, the consequence was doubled to an hour in the room. Child two was sent for a time out and will also be writing a letter of apology.*
Here's the thing... I didn't lose it. No foul words escaped my lips, nothing I will later regret was spoken. While my voice was raised to be heard over the yelling of the disrespectful child, I would not consider what I did to be yelling. Essentially, dealing with this blowout was a victory for me. Yet, I feel far from victorious. Rather, I feel weary. Confused. At a loss.
There are mothers out there who are so good at this. They see it as a challenge and an adventure. Wouldn't one of those mothers be better? Better at this job? Better for these kids?
I know that these feelings and questions are unwarranted. I'm pretty sure that, no matter how Godly she is, Beth Moore probably felt some of these same things. In fact, if I weren't so darn sure that about 99% of mothers struggle to some degree, I wouldn't even dare to write about my own struggles. When I wonder if God made a mistake by entrusting me with the physical, spiritual, and emotional upbringing of five people, I know that I am believing lies whispered by the enemy.
As I push back against the liar, I make room for truth.
I cannot do this job in my own strength. That's why I so desperately need Jesus. With Him, in His strength, I can be a good mother for these children.
God doesn't make mistakes. Each one of those children was soul-matched with me, by the Creator of the Universe, for His good purposes.
Walking where God has called us isn't usually easy to do. Typically, it involves hard work and a high level of dependence on Him to help us.
Sometimes, parenting is less about raising our kids than it is about building our character.
I'm not sure why I wrote this today. I often need to write out life's experiences in order to process them and let them settle in my soul. But I'm also pretty sure I wrote it for you - one of you, two of you, more? Please don't worry about filling the comments with words of encouragement for me (I'm okay :)). But if you needed to hear about my morning, and if the truths God reminded me of are truths you needed to hear, please let me know (either in the comments or by email). Because I want to spend my day praying for you. And hey, feel free to do the same for me! A week off school is enough to undo even the most energetic of mothers.
* In the process of writing this post (which, incidentally, took nearly two hours!) I also asked each child to find a Bible verse that applied to the situation. That verse was not only to be written in the card, but also on an index card for memory work. Child 1 needed a bit of guidance (I pointed to a page and said, "Try reading in here.").
Child #1's verse: Love is patient. Love is kind. It does not want what belongs to others. It does not brag. It is not proud. It is not rude. It does not look out for its own interests. It does not easily become angry. It does not keep track of other people's wrongs. ~1 Corinthians 13:4-5
Child #2's verse: Jonathan and David became close friends. Jonathan loved David just as he love himself. ~1 Samuel 18:1
P.S. Now that it's all said and done, I am actually feeling a little victorious.