Thirteen years ago I wrote these words after a morning that was not one of my best. I don't actually even remember this day as a specifically bad one but I found the words in an old blog and wanted to share them here too.
Man, how many times I have needed the wisdom of heaven to parent our children....I needed it when they were little and I need it now more than ever that they are older. There hasn't come a time when I've thought, "Ok, we're arrived. We are here at our destination and our kids no longer need us". And in that same way, the time hasn't come when I've thought, "I can now do this by myself and no longer need Heaven's Help to get me through". So I share this reflection (as painful as it is to be reminded of my-not-so-great-parenting-moments in the hope that it might be an encouragement to you that we all struggle at times in this role. We all fail. We all need to mend relationships and apologise when we stuff it all up. I hope it may be a reminder to you to call on God for His Wisdom and Help.
WORDS WRITTEN IN 2009
I was barely awaking out of a deep sleep when I heard the baby crying in the monitor. My brain was trying to engage and I remember thinking, 'quick...up baby crying'. But before I could get down there, my four year old helper Ethan had dragged the bathroom stool in to the side of the cot and gotten out baby himself! He presented her to me at the side of my bed while I was slowly coming to. By this stage of course she was crying because it wasn't her milk-bar mama but her brother and quite frankly he just doesn't have the goods! lol :)
'Eth', I snapped unnecessarily, 'You should have just left her!' Poor little devastated Ethan went from being so proud at having helped to spirit-squashed from my early morning berating.
'But she was crying and she wanted you so I brought her.' Ethan cried.
Baby still crying.
Barely six year old Elijah wakes up and wanders down to our room, almost yelling, 'Ethan, your crying woke me up!' and he too begins to wail.
Stassi, our apt seven year old says, 'Can you make porridge this morning mum?' to which I respond back with some nasty comment about children being selfish and can''t they see that I've just woken up and am trying to feed the baby, and etc, etc, etc ..........
It's not even 7.30am and I have managed to have almost all my children in bed with me, crying and devastated when all they wanted was love, grace and a kind cuddly 'good morning sweethearts!'
Oh how that could have all been avoided if I had just said, 'Ethan, thank you for carrying in bubba so gently to me. Next time, can you please come and wake me before you get her up if you hear her crying and then we can go together.' Since his love language is quality time, I know he would have JUMPED at the chance to go and get bubba up TOGETHER with me.
What I really needed in that moment was wisdom - the wisdom to know how to be gracious when all i could do was squint and clumsily remove the sleep from the corners of my eye!
If i possessed such wisdom naturally within myself, then I would have called on it that morning. But the truth is I don't natually possess it. It comes freely from my Father when I ask Him and how willing He is to give it!
James 3:17-18 says this...
"But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness".
As I (we) raise our children, Brett + I are crying out to the Lord to give us His heavenly wisdom so that we can know how and when to be considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Who wouldn't want to be like that in these kinds of situations?
I have needed His wisdom to know when to speak and what to say to our kids. I've needed wisdom to know when to hold my tongue and be silent, whether or not to allow a child to go to a play date or not, whether or not to take that parenting advice on board. I need His wisdom to know which activities they should be spending their time on, which TV shows/dvds to say yes to watching, which homeschooling activities to partake in, how to have fun with them, how to speak their love language in a way that shows them I really love them and how to discipline them too among many other things.
Of course I am not always - and man am I thankful for the forgiveness that is mine all because of Jesus'! I am able to acknowledge my weaknesses and failings in front of my children. Our children get to see what it is like to forgive others. We acknowledge our mistakes and sin to our kids, ask them for their forgiveness and give great big huge hugs and kisses when it is all over. When our kids wrong each other, part of the process is to come together with that other person saying what we did wrong and asking, 'Can you please forgive me?' It is so good to see them release each other and 'show love' (have a hug) and it all be over and done with!
I can't go even one day of parenting on my own. If we wish to disciple these beautiful charges He has given us, then we need to go to THEIR Maker and ask how HE would like them to be raised in the moment to moment situations. We need His Wisdom! Of course He has also given us a great guide book (the Bible) to help us along the way but in those times when you don't know what to do, call on Him and ask Him to impart that James 3 wisdom to you. I'm going to keep at it asking even (especially!) in the thick of it all!
If you are having a day where everything feels like it us unravelling, I pray that you'll be able to take a moment to pause and to model what apologising looks like if you need to. I pray that you would remember to use wisdom to parent gently and kindly and that you know you are not alone in all of this. Big hugs and much love,