It’s July in Minnesota. We are not quite half-way through our summer break, and if I’m completely honest… I have been STRUGGLING! I’ve been struggling with my patience, struggling with my temper, and struggling with this whole parenting thing.
I have three kiddos and I love them to pieces. They are truly a blessing in my life. You know that saying, “children are a gift from above?” It’s true!
But let’s be real. My kids don’t always behave in a manner that conjures up warm, fuzzy, “I’m feeling so blessed right now” emotions.
You see, my sweet little “angels” can sprout horns and wield fiery pitchforks in the blink of an eye. Especially, when they don’t get what they want. And ladies and gentlemen, my kids often don’t get just what they want.
Are you picturing the mayhem?
The constant fighting and whining and bickering over EVERYTHING this summer has been exhausting. It has seriously worn me out! Did I mention we’re almost half-way through?
Sometimes the most effective and convenient release is to completely lose my cool. That’s right. I freak out, folks!
Of course, this method is only effective in the short-run. Pretty soon we are all repeating the process once again and I’m left wondering to myself, “why do my kids have absolutely no emotional control?!”
Yes… I see the irony. I understand that freaking out isn’t actually an effective method of coping with the stress of parenting. Please don’t judge me!
What is the definition of insanity? Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result?
Well, let me be the first to say it… sometimes I border on the edge of CRAZY!
Why am I sharing all this less than flattering information with you?
I’m sharing it because it is the truth. I’m sharing it because I know that I am not alone in this struggle. And I’m sharing it because there is HOPE!
There is always hope.
So here’s the deal, I know that parenting is never going to be easy. There will be good days and bad days. But there CAN be a lot more good days than bad.
The key? I’m coming to realize, more and more each day, that it starts with ME.
My children are constantly observing and often modeling what they see. Some of their influences come from outside our home, but much of it comes from within. For good or bad, they are watching and learning from ME. Yikes!
So if I want to see positive changes in my home, it has to start with ME.
It starts with MY attitude. It starts with MY self-control. It starts with MY ability to stay calm and collected even when every fiber of my being wants to throw my own giant, grown-up temper tantrum.
And because I often struggle at controlling my own attitude, emotions and temper… it REALLY starts when I get down on my knees in prayer.
It starts when I admit my struggles and ask a gracious and loving God to help me be the kind of parent that I was meant (and sincerely want) to be.
Because truly… I NEED HELP! I cannot do this on my own!
Sometimes I need help seeing my kids the way that God sees them. I need His eyes to see the unique gifts and treasures that are present inside each one of my children. I need His wisdom to find and foster the “incredible potential” that lies within the personalities and behaviors of the moment. Behaviors and personalities that can sometimes feel more like a curse than a blessing.
There are moments that I desperately need the fruit of the Holy Spirit – His love, His joy, His peace, His patience, His kindness, His goodness, His faithfulness and His self-control – to be at work in my life. I can be seriously lacking in these areas, especially when I’m over tired and extra hungry!
There are also days when I need help from like-minded friends and family. I need listening ears, encouraging and honest words, and most importantly, I need earnest prayers to hold me up when I feel like I can’t stand on my own two feet. What a blessing it is to have people in my life that know me through and through. They know the good, the bad, the ugly, and yet they still love me. It takes a village, right?!
Right now, my children are my world. They are the greatest gift and biggest challenge I’ve ever had the honor of receiving. I want to do this parenting thing right. I want more good days than bad days. “I want to thrive, not just survive.”
So here is my public confession! I am SO IMPERFECT. I am not always the mom that I want to be. I can be downright weak.
But here’s the good news. When I am weak – God is still strong. So I will openly acknowledge and confess my weakness and I will choose to find my help and my strength in the LORD. And I as I do, I pray and trust that my children will begin to see more of His goodness and His love and His grace in ME!
May they see Christ at work in me.
Broken. Imperfect. Forgiven. Redeemed.