Man, this mothering thing is hard. It takes a lot of time. It takes a bunch of patience, too. And wisdom. And some more patience. And a willingness to breathe deeply and try to tune into God’s voice… so that you don’t lose your patience.
Ahh, summertime. The time of year where my kids are around me 24/7 and I am doing my darnedest to be present with them and also to have fun with them and also to seize the teachable moments as they arise… and also to not lose my mind in the constant in-your-face-ness of my little darlings being around me all. the. time. every. day.
I love them. I really do. Really truly. Adore.
But I also really appreciate my alone time.
And I also really love to read and to write and to learn and to just think… and it’s hard to find moments to do much of that with three energetic, intelligent, mama-loving kids around.
Did I mention that they’re around me all the time?
So… yeah. It’s one of those days.
One of those weeks, actually.
As you who have read my last few posts know, this last week and a half has been rough. The death of Sergeant Lunger has been a tough one to process. There are so many layers to how tragic his passing is. So many issues to process regarding justice on earth versus eternal justice versus grace versus “but that’s so messed up” versus “but I’m a sinner too” versus “but I haven’t done something as horrible as that” versus “but I’m just a sinner saved by the grace of God” versus “but that dude who shot him isn’t even sorry” versus “but I’m called to forgive anyway” versus “but this isn’t even my loved one that was hurt” versus “but it could happen to one of my loved ones at any time” versus… I’m freakin’ tired…
Anyway. That was a tangent.
Point is: there has been a lot on my mind and heart this week.
Patience is running thin. You might even say that it is “an issue” for me right now.
So when my kids start arguing over something ridiculous and then my prone-to-get-offended one takes off in an angry huff… all I really want to do is just ignore the drama and let her simmer down and figure out her crap on her own.
And sometimes that is what I do because that is what I ought to do— just back off and let the chips fall.
But today. I just felt in my gut like God was saying “Don’t let this one go. Talk about what just happened. She doesn’t know how to process what just occurred. Go help her get some perspective.”
Ugh. C’mon, God, really? Isn’t she just gonna grow out of this phase eventually like her sister did? I respond.
And, much to my dismay, I hear Him say “Not necessarily. She needs more verbal guidance than her sister. She is different. She is growing differently. Her soul needs her mother’s attention right now. Even if she doesn’t want it or resists it. Go, honey,” He urges my heart.
Ugh. Okay, fine, I say. And I put my book aside— my precious book that I’ve been eager to read all week and haven’t had a moment to spare and am super psyched I finally have some minutes to read while my toddler is napping today. Yeah, that book.
So I head down to her room and we have our talk and, like so many many many many other times in my life as a mom I get that feeling. That “what the heck am I doing?” feeling. That “I have no idea what to do or say here” feeling.
Do you ever feel that way? Like you’re the mom so you’re “supposed” to know the answer to the issue or you’re “supposed” to know what words to say to bring comfort and wisdom and refreshment to your child? Like you’re “supposed” to know how to help your kids navigate through the plethora of sibling rivalry that occurs every day? But you don’t…
Sometimes I do feel inspired and like I’m “in the groove” of motherhood. But many many other times I feel like a floundering fish, clumsily looking for what to do and how to find my way back to the places I’m comfortable in.
I seriously feel like I am just winging it most of the time. And just when I’ve figured out something— just when I’ve finally figured out what works and how to help my kid navigate their current set of drama-items… they change and a new set of issues present themselves.
So anyway. Back to my conversation with my daughter who ran off in a huff.
So there I am with her: having a mostly one-sided conversation with my sour-faced beauty who is mostly just staring out the window with disdainfully stiff shoulders and “Get away from me” emanating from every cell of her rigid being.
I want to help her. I really do. I want to help her navigate this crazy roller coaster called Life. I want to help her find her true self and I want to equip her to know how to be her true self— and to be kind and respectful and intelligent and generous and selfless and loving— in all her interactions with the world.
But the thing is: I can only do so much for her.
First of all, I don’t know everything. I’m just a messed up grown-up-girl myself, doing my best and taking each day as it comes to me. I’m trying to keep in tune with God and to surround myself with wise friends and mentors who can help me grow in my own immaturities and failings and flaws. But I’m just me. A flawed human with good intentions.
Second of all, I can’t live her life for her. All I can do is to share my journey with her, share with her what I’ve learned and what has and hasn’t worked for me, and give her ideas on things she might try that might work for her. And of course pray for her. But in the end, she is the one who has to take responsibility for her own actions. Although she’s certainly not a grown up yet, she’s also not a little girl anymore. She is capable of some self-reflection and wise decision-making.
And I’m trying to help her become a person who knows how to make good, integrity-soaked decisions even when I’m not around to coach her through it.
It’s rough going. Neither of us have “arrived” and we’ve got a long road ahead of us.
And many more awkward conversations, I’m sure.
I have no idea how this all will work out as time goes on.
That’s why I am so. very. grateful. that I have God near me, leading me, helping me… and attending to all the stuff I mess up along the way. I’m so thankful that He is bigger than me. That He is more capable and smarter and wiser than me. And I’m so thankful that He is not only looking out for me and for what is best for me… He is also looking out for my kids and for my husband and for my friends and for my extended family. And for you.
He’s got us all covered. We are in good hands. None of us are perfect. We are all in process, growing more each day into who we are designed to become.
I am in process.
So is my easily-ticked-off daughter.
And you are too.
None of us are complete yet. We are all “being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit” (Ephesians 2:22). We’re not already there. We have not arrived at perfection or full maturity or the completion of wisdom.
But don’t worry, y’all. We’re getting there. It’s a step by step, day by day journey into God’s heart and into becoming our truest and best selves.
So, no, we’re not there yet.
But we’re on the right track.
We’ve just got to have grace for ourselves and for one another along the way…
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What about you?
What are the challenging aspects of parenthood for you right now? In what areas of your life do you need to offer yourself grace? In what ways do you need to offer it to your loved ones?
Please feel free to share your comments or your own journey in the comment section below.