Today I did something nice for one of my children and another child got exceedingly angry at me. As if I have done nothing for them…as if I have only chosen to bestow blessings on one child and left the others with nothing.
I was so shocked by the behavior I didn’t know how to respond at first. But after a moment, my response came full force. I remained relatively calm…pretty calm. I didn’t yell or accuse. I just tried to state facts.
But facts and emotions don’t often mix. Specifically my facts and my child’s emotions.
Sometimes the issue is life’s facts and my emotions. And then I can be an awful lot like my child. I can get my feelings all in a mess and mix up things more than I care to admit.
It’s difficult when all you can see is the hurt.
There are days when I just can’t bear the thought of dealing with what I just gotta deal with…you know what I mean? It can be a child’s behavior, another person’s words, and another’s opinion of me, a friend’s situation, or my life in general…
There are times I feel like I can barely breathe in the face of my emotions. There are times I want to scream or cry or both.
Today I disappointed a child by blessing another child.
Yesterday my littlest told me she wanted a different mommy because I told her it was bedtime. That angry little line is something all my kids have said at one time or another, but this little one will often add something about her birth mother which makes me want to fall to my knees.
Tomorrow I will surely do something to aggravate another child, but I’m trying so hard to love them well.
Part of the problem is there is only one of me to meet all those needs…there is only one of me to deal with all the behaviors and temperaments and emotions.
Part of the problem is I have limited resources…I can’t always do what they’d like or what I’d like…just can’t. And sometimes that gets held against me…sometimes no matter what I do seems to be enough.
I feel like I literally pour myself out each day for my children and sometimes I feel very empty…and sometimes I feel very weak…and sometimes I feel very tired….and sometime, like right now, I feel very hurt.
But I can think of so many ways God is nudging me right now…
When I’m looking at life through the haze of my emotions (like my child), I can’t see the blessings, the good things, the provision and faithfulness of my heavenly Father.
I forget about all the good He has done. I forget about His sacrifices. I forget about His sacrifice to live down here instead of up there. I forget about His sacrifice to give up His position in heaven to become a carpenter on earth. I forget about His sacrifice of time and energy and sleep to bless people while He walked on this earth. I forget about His sacrifice of being worshipped in heaven to come down here to be spit on, beaten, maligned, brutalized, and murdered. I forget His sacrifice of separation from the Father so that I will never be separated from my Father.
I think Jesus understands better than I ever possibly could what it means to be poured out. I can bring the hurt, emptiness and exhaustion to the Cross and He will take it and love me. He knows.
And that leads me to the second thing that God is nudging me about…
How can I be empty when I have Him?
If’ I’m empty it’s because I’m doing things in my own strength…finding my fulfillment in the wrong things…looking to others not God.
And ya know…I’m thinking my kids aren’t necessarily gonna think to say the things I need or want to hear…but God’s word does.
God tells me all about how loved I am. God tells me that His love isn’t contingent on me doing anything for Him.
God loves me when I succeed and when I fail. Today I don’t think I failed my child – I just think this single parenting thing is hard. Really hard.
And if I don’t find my fulfilling in Christ…if I don’t do this thing with Christ’s strength…if I don’t seek godly wisdom…I’m gonna feel pretty much overwhelmed.
I want to make things better with my child, but I’m not sure what to say. Maybe I’ll just say, “I love you.”
Maybe that’ll be enough right now. I think it will. I know that when I’ve got my knickers twisted that’s all I need to hear God say. I want answers, but I need His love more.
I can’t be the perfect parent, but I have the Perfect Parent. And even though I’m going to disappoint and frustrate my children, I’m thinking that as long as I have my Father guiding me, we’ll be okay.
During times like these, instead of getting all goofy and hurt about things, I’m going to pray that God will enable me to share the gospel again and again and again with my children so that they will learn that Jesus is the answer to all the questions. He is the filling of the emptiness and the comforting of the hurt and the calming of the heart. Momma loves them, but Jesus loves them the most.
I won’t ever be enough, but Jesus is.
Just a little PS – my sweet child came and apologized before I even had a chance to do what I planned to do! I’m blessed beyond measure by how God is working in the hearts of my children. It ain’t always pretty…but God’s workin!