I went through my stage as a young mother and young wife, when I didn’t think I was going to make it through this thing without a homicide charge.
I had a three year old who had just now started sleeping through the night, a newborn, a teenager, and a husband who worked twelve hour swing shifts. I would be up all night alone with the non sleepers, then waking them up at the crack of dawn to drive the teenager to school, and not be able to go to bed the next night because at 10:30pm the bus would just now be pulling back in from a basketball game and I would be dragging the toddler and newborn out to go pick up the teenager.
Those years were not always filled with good days… Did I mention I was completing a college degree during that time?
I feel like I was an emotional wreck most of the time. I remember being angry with my little ones because my heart was hurt because of something or someone else, but they caught the lashes. Their childish spills and moments of messiness would catch my overreactions due to my own built up anxiety.
I wish I could go back and do those years over again.
My youngest will be ten tomorrow. Ten. All my babies are in double digits. The years have flown by so very fast. Did I say that they have flown by fast. Because just in case I didn’t, they have. Fast.
What I learned almost too late… was that it was not them… it was me.
Young mother, young wife, what I desperately want you to know is that the problem is not your kids… the problem is you.
Work. On. You.
Any time you point your finger and blame someone or something else for your own actions… the problem is not them. The problem is you. Whether the emotions, hurt, frustrations, etc is valid or not… it might be very valid… but your reaction to that is on you. You are responsible for your own responses.
I learned to spend a lot of time on my face in the bathroom floor. I learned to apologize to my kids. I learned to sit down with my girls and tell them it was not them… it was indeed me. I learned to recognize the sin in my own heart… so that I didn’t spew my vile onto my kids.
Now listen… I still have my moments. Moments when it creeps up. I have not arrived by any means.
Last week we were having work men come over to do some repairs. They were going to be on their hands and knees in our bathrooms. So the bathrooms had to be clean. My husband and I see things a little differently sometimes (shocking I know). My plan was to wait to attack the floors after all the showers and hair blow drying had been done. So I was waiting…
Well my husband rolls out of bed and I hear him making commotion upstairs. I just assume he’s getting ready. He’s not. He’s cleaning the bathroom… and he’s now irritated because he thinks I ignored the job. So this leads to me getting irritated back.
I had planned to let the girls sleep to a certain time, but in my irritation at my husband I literally screamed up the stairs for the girls to get up an hour earlier than what I told them they could sleep to. They woke up scared to death.
To which my husband turns and says, don’t scream at them because you are mad at me.
That quickly, the redheaded reaction momster reeled her ugly claws… yet my husband now quickly recognizing her, called me on it. So she was put to death pretty fast.
In our early years we were both too caught up in our own agenda’s to think clearly enough to diffuse a situation that quickly. We have come a long way.
Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
That emotion that rises up from your gut… that makes your ears ring… your neck twitch… and puts that tingle in the back of your throat… that seems like it will only go away if you unleash it with a voice that sounds like it comes straight from the pits of hell… a voice that after you hear it with your own ears you ask yourself… was that me?
Remember Romans 12:21. Memorize it. Begin quoting it in your mind and in your heart when that moment… that temptation arises… and don’t be overcome with evil… but overcome evil with good.
And what is good?
He has told you, O man, what is good;
And what does the Lord require of you
But to do justice, to love kindness,
And to walk humbly with your God?
Ask yourself is your reaction just?
Is it kind?
Is it humble?
Is God with you in it or have you stepped out of the Light of His fellowship and are you now walking in the darkness? Is pride controlling you or is consideration for the heart and mind and soul of your family?
Just because you think you can validate your emotions by the circumstances surrounding them does not mean you should react according to them. Remember you are responsible for your own response.
Christ did not die on the cross, be buried in a tomb, arise from the dead, ascend to heaven to serve as your Advocate and High Priest, and send His Holy Spirit down to dwell within you for you to remain under the control of your sinful flesh.
He promised you more.
Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord; seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust.
Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge, and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness, and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love.
For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
For he who lacks these qualities is blind or short-sighted, having forgotten his purification from his former sins.
Therefore, brethren, be all the more diligent to make certain about His choosing you; for as long as you practice these things, you will never stumble; for in this way the entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be supplied to you.
2 Peter 1:2-11
Are theses qualities increasing in you? Or do you lack them? Are you still blind and short-sighted, trapped in the circumstantial moment?
Have you forgotten the purification from your former sins?
Oh precious one, heed the Scriptures, don’t just read them. Be all the more diligent to make certain about His choosing you.
He. Chose. You.
He chose you that grace and peace would be multiplied unto you. He doesn’t want you to lay down at night with regrets over the countless times you have lost it with your kids. He doesn’t want you to count the hours until school starts again and you can send them out the door. He wants you to be victorious. He wants you to be an overcomer. He wants you to love them with the love that He loves you.
Is it easy? No… there is a reason that diligence is mentioned twice in this passage… but as you grow in HIM… in these things… it gets easier.
I don’t know where you are in your parenting journey… maybe you are just beginning and you have the colicky 3 month old that has not slept through the night since they were born… perhaps you have the sixteen year old who thinks they know it all… where ever you are don’t make surviving till bed time or graduation your parenting goal.
But the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.
1 Timothy 1:5
Let your goal be to love your children with a pure heart, a good conscience, and in sincere faith that God is able to accomplish all that He has promised in you… and in them. Don’t just love your kids because you think you have to… learn to like them. Raise them to be people that you like and not relatives that you just tolerate.
And remember that it’s not them… it’s first you. It always begins with you. When you allow God to love you… to work in you… then you will begin to see your children through His eyes and love them through His heart. Remember the promise is that in your diligence to apply what you do know and what you do have… then what you do know and have will increase and if you are faithful to teach what you do know and do have to your children and help them to apply these with all diligence as well… and teach them that they too are responsible for their own response… then it’s quite probable that you will all grow together.