Today I sat on my toddler’s bed, ready to rush through “Jesus Loves Me” while my 2 year old cried (nap time is never popular around here) and my 3 month old screamed in my ear because she was hungry.
It had been a day. We had spent a morning in an unstoppable cycle of angry actions, repentance, confession, prayer, and then more angry actions.
Little did I know when I started the morning excited and peppy, after a beautiful night previously spent decorating for Christmas with a cozy fire crackling in the fireplace and our two besties here to help, that by 9:30 I’d already be on my knees confessing to my 2 year old the sin in my heart towards her and asking forgiveness for yelling and being unkind.
The morning started with such warm anticipation and unraveled so quickly it was like a slap in the face. I won’t spell out the little things that all built up to push me over the edge into a selfish indulgence satisfied by a raised voice and a harsh expression, because you all who have been parents, you get it. You can fill in the blank many times over I have no doubt.
Even now as I am writing I’m fighting rising anger in me as I hear my 2 year old throwing the temper tantrum of the year in her bed, shrieking because I turned on her “bear song” not her “birdie song”. (Her special music boxes from a great grandparent have been playing at sleep time since she was 8 months old). I nearly threw down my phone and (gently laid down) my hungry nursing baby to storm into Aurora’s room and discipline her for screaming in anger.
Ha. Haha. Hahaha.
(I hope I don’t need to explain the humor of that, but if I do, just look up the definition of the word “hypocrisy.”) But in thanksgiving to the Holy Spirit for His ever present help, I was convicted of the reality that my dysfunctional discipline born and carried out in the heat of anger and irritation will never be healthy or productive. When we discipline it should be in a desire to teach the safety of obedience to our loving God- not out of a desire to satisfy our selfish wishes, over-stimulated ears, and prideful egos. So when that urge to take matters into your own hands and “give them something to really cry about” hits… there’s never been a better time to sit on your hands and ask Jesus for help.
This day has held a disturbing sense of clarity for me, who can be so easily deceived and puffed up by the days that go “well” and it’s forced me to re-evaluate what a day that goes “well” really looks like. And here’s what I think:
I think a day that goes WELL is a day just like today- a day spent in self examination, confession, repentance, and complete dependence on the Cross.
I think a day that goes WELL is a day when I see myself for WHAT I really am- full of anger and pride and selfishness- and then see myself for WHO I really am- LOVED BY JESUS.
So there I sat, singing Jesus Loves Me in the midst of cries and screams and my own heart rising and falling with angst, and while my day had not gotten any “better” and the struggle was to continue, and my heart was not suddenly transformed into one of patience and flowers and butterflies, I could still sit there and be struck to the core by the words I was singing to my daughter, and how deeply I needed to hear them too.
Jesus loves you, this I know, for the Bible tells you so. Little ones to Him belong, they are WEAK but He is STRONG.
(…Okay but I’ve lost my temper 5 times today and been a total jerk to my kids…)
YES JESUS LOVES YOU.
(…Okay but I’m literally actively still mad in the midst of my confession…)
YES JESUS LOVES YOU.
(…Okay, but I’m a terrible mom and I’m scarring my kids forever and I can’t seem to get it right…)
YES JESUS LOVES YOU.
(…Okay but I feel so afraid that I’m not worthy of His love, that He doesn’t really mean it, at least not for me. How do I know He really. Really. Really loves even me?…)
THE BIBLE TELLS YOU SO.
Friends, without the words of Jesus filling our hearts, we will be stuck in the really bad days without the really good hope of the gospel. So get yourself in the word whenever, wherever you can. Don’t fall prey to impossible expectations of a perfect quiet time with your cup of coffee and color coded pens. Those are all well and good when they’re possible- but don’t let them be a stumbling block to letting Scripture be easily accessible to an overwhelmed Momma.
Having moments (or hours) in the Word isn’t going to suddenly make you a great mom; it’s going to make you a great confessor.
Having a habit of prayer isn’t going to suddenly make you a fount of spiritual wisdom; but it is going to lead you to the cross in your moments of boiling over frustration with yourself and your kids.
Having a lifestyle of discipline in your personal life, home, and daily ritual isn’t going to somehow give your kids the best youth; but it is going to teach you the self control to walk away from the precipice of abusive words and be a safe parent for your little people.
Knowing the story of the Bible isn’t going to make you always know just what to do; but it is going to drive into your heart the reality of God’s everlasting, patient, persistent love and forgiveness.
So in the “good” days and the “bad” days, don’t just rush through in a whirlwind of stress – be willing to sit and relish the precious words of the gospel – that yes, Jesus loves you. And then guess what? That assurance will give you the fuel you need to get to…. the end of the day? No… to the next moment of anger, confession, repentance, and forgiveness.
It only takes a moment of honesty during arms full of screaming babies- it only takes a moment for the Spirit’s loving arms to lead you one step closer to Himself.