I lost it with my kids one morning this week. Seriously LOST IT! Complete with screaming and tears (mostly mine). How did the morning go from pleasant to disaster in the span of just 15 minutes?
We were getting ready for the day. It was 15 minutes before we needed to leave for school and was finally my time to get dressed. I’d already packed lunches, served breakfast and made sure the kids were dressed. So, just a few minutes for me to finish getting ready before we ran out the door. The kids were playing together, riding their scooters around the house. Then, I saw the scooters in the bedroom, on the light color carpet – the one room the kids know scooters are not allowed. That’s how it started…
Before I knew it, there was some blatant disobeying, lying and a mommy yelling. Then, the scooters went in the recycle bin (just for a day). This only seemed to fire up the kids for more mischief. So, more antics, more yelling. Until I finally caught myself and realized I had lost it. I shooed them all out of my room and locked the door. Took a few minutes to calm down and pray for God to restore my sanity. Pray for forgiveness for my behavior this morning. Then, I sat down to finally finish getting ready – in peace.
The kids, still being mischievous, found the key to the door and came in. I hugged them and told them I was sorry for yelling. But, then they kept pushing my buttons – and now we were running late for school. And, I still had to stop by the grocery to buy a plant for Ryan’s class project. So, I fell apart again – this time in tears. Tears from the stress of these past 15 minutes. Tears of disappointment in myself. Tears that I couldn’t get my own kids to behave for a measly 15 minutes!
My daughter told me, “Mommy, it’s OK.” I replied, “No, it’s not OK”.
“It’s not OK that you didn’t do what I asked. That you disobeyed me.”
“But, more than that, it’s not OK that I yelled at you. That I overreacted and got so upset.”
“It’s not OK that we’re not treating each other with love this morning. It’s not OK for us to act this way as a family.”
As I sat crumpled on the floor in defeated tears, I felt guilty and a failure. This wasn’t the kind of mom I want to be. How could I claim to be faithful if I lost it and yelled at my kids? If I call myself a Christian shouldn’t I be better than this?
But, isn’t this part of what grace is all about? No matter how much we grow in our faith, we will still mess up. We still sometimes do the wrong things, say the wrong things, make mistakes. The growth is learning to recognize the sin and confess it. To stop ourselves and say “I’m sorry”. It’s when we admit our failures and apologize that we can receive God’s grace. Grace that God still loves us and forgives us. Then, we can pick ourselves up and try not to do that mistake again.
I spent my drive to work in prayer, asking God to forgive me and guide me to be a better, more patient parent. I examined the events of the morning and was able to see how much I’d overreacted. Did it really matter that the scooters were in my bedroom if the kids were having fun? Instead of allowing the stress of the morning rush to influence me, what if instead I could listen to their laughter and be thankful? Be thankful that I have two beautiful children. Be thankful that they play together. Be thankful that we’re rushing out of the house to get to work and school because we are so blessed with great schools and a job that pays the bills.
I have to admit, I really didn’t want to post this story, but I felt God encouraging me that I needed to share. Needed to share encouragement that we all have these moments and that’s part of being human. But, as we grow in our faith, we learn better ways to handle ourselves when these moments happen. We learn to catch ourselves sooner, before we continue too far down the path. We learn to turn to God in prayer and admit where we’ve fallen short. We learn to ask God for help to do better next time and to accept His grace when we fall short. And we learn to be more forgiving of ourselves and each other. None of us are perfect, but at least we’re trying.
So, I’ll start again tomorrow. Start again to be more patient. Start again to look for God in their faces and be thankful. Start again to show them love in everything I do – even when they wear down my last nerve. I’ll keep starting again and again and again and allow God to use these moments of failure to refine and improve me.
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