“I don’t know about you, but I have it all figured out. I know what motherhood should look like. I know how my kids should behave, and I know how to get them to behave that way. I have a teaching degree, plenty experience with kids, and a mother who has shown me exactly what to do. Why all the fuss? What’s wrong with parents these days?”
I am ashamed to admit that these were my feelings before I had children and even for a little while after. I believed that as long as I kept my eyes on the bigger picture, the goal at hand, that I could accomplish any difficulties thrown my way. I had the necessary parenting tools in my tool belt, and I knew they would work.
Than I began being PELTED by those difficulties.
At first I just became more strict. I was (and still am compared to most), a fairly strict mother. The law was my tool. How else will these kids learn unless I crack down immediately? Negative actions receive negative consequences. Positive actions are expected. I was in a daily battle that I was fighting tooth and nail to win. My kids will NOT be the naughty kids. My kids will behave. My kids won’t scream. These were the goals. “Stay focused on these goals, Anna, and you’ll win.”
Only I was losing.
I was yelling. I wasn’t accomplishing my goals. My kids were still naughty. I felt horrible every day. My patience was wearing THINNER, if that were possible. Why can’t I do this? NOTHING I do works! I’ve tried EVERYTHING, and my kids still won’t listen.
Then I slowly began to realize something. Normally I pride myself on staying somewhat objective and on keeping the big picture before me. Unfortunately, I realized I was missing the biggest picture of all: Eternity. I’m talking life everlasting. Heaven. Home with Jesus. I had lost my clear picture of why I do ANYTHING in this life.
This life is temporary. A blip in the span of eternity. I had lost my way, and I had stopped talking to my Savior. I had halted my daily devotions. I had ceased my singing. In my desire to have the world’s most well-behaved children, I was forgetting that what I really wanted was to see my babies in heaven. So I began changing my routine and my methods. Daily devotion came back into my life. My days started to end in prayers for my husband and children and those that I saw throughout the day. My hymn-singing started up again. THIS was the tool that I so foolishly left behind. The powertool of the Gospel in my life and in the lives of my children. Does it really work?
Jesus died. Jesus rose. Jesus is coming again. And I’m worried about some crayon on the wall?!!! Jesus lived perfectly for me. And I am worried about my children being perfect, why?!!! Didn’t he live perfectly specifically so that I wouldn’t worry about my own shortcomings? The Almighty and Ever-lasting God sees perfection when he looks at me and my little mess-makers. Why should I see anything less than?
Am I perfect? Not by any means. I still yell sometimes. I still loose my patience. I am human after all. Are my children the world’s most well-behaved children? Of course not (although I think they do quite well!). But now I remember that strength to continue on without losing it on my children cannot come from within my own feeble self. And my children cannot be relentlessly disciplined into behaving. The strength to be a mom and the strength to behave come from our Savior-God.
Are you also searching for the perfect tool? Have you tried EVERYTHING without success? Go to your Savior. Pray. Read your Bible and/or a devotion book. Sing. There you will find the missing tool. Maybe you need more Law in your home. Maybe, like me, you need a little more Gospel. God is in the miracle business, so step aside and let him work.