Imperfection and Parenthood

Three minutes.

That’s all it took.  Three little minutes…. just one hundred-eighty seconds… to break my children’s hearts and crush their spirits.

Today started like every other day: Wake up, get my coffee infusion, read the Bible, wake up the younger kids, make breakfast and shower while they eat.

It was that last part, the “leaving the kids to their own devices while I set out to enjoy a few minutes in a steaming hot shower” part that was the beginning of the morning’s demise.

A few minutes in, I heard a deafening scream followed by cries for help that were intense enough to make me dash out of the bathroom, donning just a towel, down the hall to my girls’ room.  Thinking I’d see one of them trapped underneath her dresser, I forced my way through the door with the strength of Wonder Woman, ready to free my child from whatever thing was causing her such pain.

Except she wasn’t in pain.

She was sitting on her bed crying about her brother who knocked over her 1/2 empty garbage can.

My heart was racing and adrenaline poured through every vein in my body and I. just. lost. it.

I yelled at my kids.  Not just a “You guys! That’s not okay!” kind of yell, but the kind of yell that made me wonder “Why on earth did God allow me to be a mother?” kind of yell.  The kind of tantrum you’d expect to see from a 2-year-old, not a 37-year-old who is relatively self-controlled.  It was ugly.  My kids cried.  I cried.  There were doors slammed and spirits crushed. By me. It was awful.

You guys, I was reminded today of something I talk about a lot but sometimes forget to delve into and deal with: I am a sinner.  I am broken.  And I need fixing.

After staring into the mirror as I attempted to get ready for a few minutes (with zero success) I had a revelation of sorts. I think I wear make-up not to enhance my natural features, but because I am truly afraid of people seeing the ugliness that is deep, deep inside… out on my face. I want people to see me as I want to see me: happy, joy-filled, Jesus-loving, cute, fun…. Because if everyone really knew that this ugliness was inside, they’d want to run away and hide, just as I subconsciously try to hide by putting on my “game face”… my makeup.

Or maybe it’s not the makeup.  Maybe I’m hiding my heart’s true condition with laughter.  Laughing off demeaning comments I might make to friends about my kids.  Or my husband.  Or myself.  Because it’s okay to say mean things if it’s disguised as a joke, right?

No.  It’s not okay.  It’s never okay.  It’s ugly.

I am ashamed of my choice to freak out today… and it was a choice.  Yes, I was frustrated, hyped up on adrenaline and mostly naked, and it was the 100th such fight in less than a week, but I still had a choice to make in a split second: 1) Stop and evaluate the situation, breathe and inquire patiently or 2) Lose all self-control and act like a madwoman.

I am grieved over my decision to go with choice #2.  My apologies to my kids, no matter how heartfelt and hug-filled will never undo what was said. They’ve said they’ve forgiven me, and perhaps they have, but I know from experience that words do stick around in the memory bank.

As I sat in my room, crying over yet another failure as a mom, I asked, “Why, Lord?  Why did you give me, who is so unnatural at this mothering thing, five beautiful, children?  Five wonderful creatures to teach and direct and guide?  I can’t do it!  I don’t deserve them!”

“When you are weak, then I am strong.”

“My power is made perfect in your weakness.  My grace is enough for you.  It is enough for them.”

You guys, I am weak.  I don’t have it in me to raise these kids on my own, even in partnership with my husband.  Today I was reminded of that.  But I don’t have to.  I was never asked to do this parenting thing by myself.  My husband and I weren’t asked to do this as a team of two.  When God designed parenthood, He wanted to be included.  So much so that made Himself “Father”.  He totally understands what it’s like, after all, he’s got us for children. Today He saw His daughter throw a tantrum that made Him sad and disappointed.  Yet when she went to Him and begged forgiveness, He gave it to her.  She doesn’t deserve it, but He gave it anyway because He loves her very much.

I am so thankful.

Friends, I truly hope none of you have failed like this.  But if you have, please know and hear this into your soul: Jesus didn’t come to this earth, as God in flesh, to condemn us for our sins, but to rescue us from them; from ourselves.  We NEED Him.  It is never too late to ask Him for help, for forgiveness and for healing.  He is faithful and He will do it.  He promises that.

 

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5 thoughts on “Imperfection and Parenthood

  1. Erika Mitchell says:

    I hear you, sister. I had a freak-out like this myself earlier today and asked myself the same question: Why am I even a mother? I am clearly unqualified. How am I supposed to teach my kids how to control their temper when I don’t even have the whole concept mastered?

    Parenthood is the great humbler, I think. What looks so intuitive from the outside is really the most complicated maze ever, designed to be unsolvable without Christ’s help.

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    • Summer Wilson says:

      This motherhood thing is tough, isn’t it? When they hand over those sweet little babies after they’re born (or for those who’ve adopted, as those papers are signed), we’re signing on for the most challenging jobs of our lives. I have never been tested in life as much as I have as a mom. I’m definitely better for it… and much less confident in my skills.

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  2. Kelly Wilson says:

    Thank you for posting and being honest. It happens to me more times than i would like to admit. I appreciate the insights you offered and the reminder of God’s forgiveness in it all.

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  3. Robyn says:

    I had a moment like that over a writing assignment last week with my youngest. I cried on and off for the rest of the day. I was so ashamed of myself. Even after I asked for forgiveness, I couldn’t stop hugging my girl. Being a mom is so tough. I’m right there with you. Love your blog!!

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  4. Summer Wilson says:

    Robyn, it is so hard sometimes, isn’t it? I am so thankful that God’s mercies are new every morning. I love knowing His forgiveness is always bigger than my mistakes and that His love is more powerful than any screw-up I might make. While I hate having days filled with them, I’m comforted that even our failures can bring out God’s beauty. And you know what? Our children would never learn about humility and their own need for repentance and forgiveness if their own parents didn’t screw up and have to humble themselves and acknowledge our mistakes, right? It’s just up to us to make sure we DO repent, apologize and ask forgiveness!

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