Sunday, March 20, 2011

He gently leads those that have young...

They did a mini-concert standing on their beds after church. All the windows were flung open. In between 'sets', they were precariously balanced on tippy toes, looking out the window.This post is from the Lord, for the Lord. He wants me to write this stuff down. To blog about it. About some things HE has been teaching ME. Through a special little three-year-old daughter of mine.

It is so difficult to write.

And WAY difficult to be vulnerable. Because I know people actually read this blog. And I have a hard time with stuff like this. And I'm embarrassed.

But it's what He has called me to today... tonight.

If you are the judging type, click on something else. Perhaps Fox News? We bombed Libya.

This post is for those that are Mama's, like me, struggling to do the right thing. Struggling to raise children like the Lord wants me to. Teaching them to love Jesus first, in such a whacked out culture... where material possessions are everything, time is short and keeping a child pure and sweet requires tremendous effort.

I don't yell much. Unless I'm teaching Kickboxing or Bootcamp. And even then, occasionally, I feel guilty. But when it comes to my little family, I don't know, it's simply not my thing. To yell. I don't pride myself on it, I just don't do it much. I don't like it. So when recently I have yelled at the girls, it has surprised ME just as much as it's surprised them. I'm not beating myself up, just telling a story. Again, if you are judging me, it won't do you or me any help, click away now. Story starts after this picture Carlisle took of me...
It was Friday night, Brian was away for the evening. I'd been with the girls all day, all night. I had a 5:30pm aerobics class I had just taught. And I was bustling to get us all home, fed and bathed.

They are my early-to-bed, early-to-rise girls. They turn into pumpkins around 6:30 every evening. It was after 6:30, probably closer to 7:00 and we pulled into the garage. I send Carlisle up to start the bath. I get the baby out of the car. I make her bottle and upstairs we go. The older two are moving slowly. Picture... sweet, little, blond-headed turtles.

I am trying to stay reasonable with them. They are tired. Give them grace. But selfishly, I am thinking about me, me, me. I am worn out. I'd been caring for them all day. They don't nap, they don't stop, they barely breathe, they have more energy than me on my very best day. The job of mother to little ones is SO physical. I always have one baby on my hip. But older ones can turn into babies at any point, and want a lap to sit on....or a hip.

It's Friday. It's been a big, great, tiring week. I had grand plans of sitting down and staring at the walls... or something simple that required no energy or brain power. And, I'm hungry after my kickboxing class. I wanted to put them down, have some dinner, have a few minutes to myself. Nope, I had Turtles. Two of em.

Really? Are they really not even in the bath yet? I am trying to be patient. I help them get undressed and in the bath while giving the baby her bottle. Evelyn goes potty.
I bathe the baby quickly and lay her down in the nursery with her bottle. Carlisle and Evelyn are both in the bath playing contentedly. I come in and turbo-style wash them. I rinse them and bath-time is over. One step closer to dinner, I think. I grab their towels, one in each hand.

I say, 'Ok girls, hop on out.'
No movement. Just happy bathing girls.
I say again, 'Alright girls, hop on out.'
I say a third time, 'Hop out please.'
Nothing. Unfortunately for all involved... I lost it.

I yell, 'G E T O U T O F T H E B A T H !!!!' I yell it so loud it hurts my throat.

What is wrong with me?

I immediately want to gather the words up and stuff them down in my hungry, empty belly. But it's over. It's done. I can't take it back. Not when the beneficiaries of my wrath are 3 and 5 year old girls.

I wonder if any neighbors are out on their decks. Did they just hear that? I am embarrassed. Immediately.

Why did that just come flying out of my mouth? I am mortified.

They both jump up and start quickly climbing out. Evelyn immediately falls apart. She is SUCH a softy. She is crying. Sobbing. She is in the process of climbing out, one leg slung over the side. She stops only long enough to look in my eyes, as if searching to see... 'Is this really her? The Mama I love, I trust, I know. Has she been replaced by some impostor?'

She sees that it is in fact ME, and that truth makes her cry harder. Carlisle is out, wrapped up in her polka dot towel and has darted to the bedroom. She is putting on her jammies, probably trying as hard as she can to stay away from the loud, mean lady.

Evelyn sobs; 'Mommy please don't yell at me!'

I say, 'I am sorry Honey. I shouldn't have yelled. But you girls should have been listening.'

THEN THE CLINCHER. I am wrapping her towel around tiny, little sopping wet body. And she cries, 'GOD heard you. God heard you scream at us Mommy.'

I'm not sure I said anything in response for about 10 seconds. In my head....swimming all around is the verse, 'Be slow to anger, slow to speak and quick to listen.' Evelyn is right on all accounts.

And then, 'You are right Evelyn. I am so sorry.' And I meant it.

They should obey and get out of the bath when I ask. But they are children. And I. The adult. What are they going to do when they get frustrated if I am teaching them to yell?

She continues. 'He doesn't want you to yell at us. He is mad that you yelled.'

It doesn't feel like I am talking to my sweet three-year-old daughter. It sounds like the very voice of God. I am SO convicted. I ask her forgiveness. And she says that she forgives me, but she continues to cry. I have broken her little spirit.

She keeps a mantra. 'Mommy your shouldn't yell at us. God doesn't want you to yell at us.'

And I ask her to forgive me. We literally went round and round in circles over this. All the while she is crying. SOOO hurt.

I say, 'Ev, let's pray about this.'

I sit down on the bathroom stool and pull her little, wet, towel-wrapped body into my lap. And I pray. I pray in Jesus name that God would forgive me of being unkind and quick to anger and forgive the girls for not obeying. It was then. And only then, that she quit crying. It had been turned over to the Lord and she let it go. She DIDN'T forget. She brought it up many more times that night saying, 'God doesn't want you to yell at us.' 'God wants you to be sweet to us Mommy.'

The story ends there, except she remembered this traumatic event the next day...and the next. And so I remember this traumatic event. And learn from it.

When you go to God's word, it says lots to the children.

'Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.' Ephesians 6:1
'Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord.' Colossians 3:20

And to me, the Mommy, God's word encourages me SO much.

[Daughters and] 'Sons are a heritage from the LORD, children a reward from him.' Psalm 127:3

'Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.' Ephesians 6:4

'Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged.' Colossians 3:21

'He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young.' Isaiah 40:11

I am forgiven. By the Lord. I am forgiven.

And God himself, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords is gently leading me. To his word. To the TRUTH of his word that cuts me.
'For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double‑edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.' Hebrews 4:12

God wanted me to share this story tonight.

So. There. It. Is.

And just to put it all in perspective. This is the same little three year old who woke up this morning and said, 'I sleeped about a butterfly last night.' (dreamed)
She's just a sweet little baby who is pushing me towards the cross. Praise God.So, we march on into a new week.

I, fully and certainly aware of my big, ugly flaws. My occasionally short fuse, but also thankful for the FORGIVENESS that only a child can give and GRACE and FORGIVENESS that only God can give.

'But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me.' 2 Corinthians 12:9
Upstairs, in the girls girly, green room...

The girls who love me and forgive me, in an almost Christ-like way, of all my yuck-ola and imperfections, give an afternoon concert. Tickets are free...only payment is a smile and even some applause at the end of each song or dance.

Carlisle on bass guitar...Ev on lead vocals....
And one strawberry blond groupie, who's clinging to Jesus in an effort to navigate this important job called Motherhood.


The Hardwick Family said...

I have been reading your blog for a while now and just wanted to say thank you so much for being so honest and for giving God the glory! He is using you to teach other moms how to love Him and love their children. You sure do have some beautiful little girlies!! Thanks again and have a blessed day.

Lisa E. said...

You are an amazing mother and an amazingly good writer. I am so glad to be able to watch you raise your lovely family from afar. This FB that allows us to reconnect with people after so many years...can you believe Karl will turn 20 in October?

gillian said...

you don't know how much i needed this today, in this season of my life...thank you for sharing your sweet heart and the hearts of your precious girls! you're an AMAZING momma!!!

Erika Chapman said...

Isn't it amazing the way they forgive us and teach us and are molding agents for Christ? Thank you for this great post and your transparency! We all need to be able to be imperfect and float in His forgiveness. We're all jacked up! At least I am:) I am so thankful that His mercies are new every morning. You are a great mother and you used that moment to teach your little mini-me's about forgiveness, repentance, reconciliation, grace and how Christ wants to enter EVERY moment! Bravo!

Christyn said...

Jennie, that is so crazy, that was exactly the type of moment I was telling you I'd had recently! So good to know that I am not alone in making mistakes and so thankful as well for a forgiving God, and children who show me His forgiveness! You are a fantastic mommy and the Lord did want you to share that I know :)

Laurin said...

A friend sent me a link to your blog, and I am SO glad that she did. Thank you for sharing so openly!