Strength For Today

A journey of keeping my heart, mind, and body in TODAY

All Fall Short

on February 2, 2014

I am the mother of 3 children.  Three beautiful children.  Three loving children.  Three CHILDREN.

Sometimes I forget that part.  They are CHILDREN.  I find myself having expectations of them that they can never fully meet.  I don’t know why, but somewhere in my mixed up brain, I have this expectation that they should always be well-behaved, even in the face of their peers misbehaving.  Somewhere along the line, I forgot that kids are kids and do kid-stuff.  I forget that peer pressure can bear far more weight in-the-moment than can mom’s lectures about doing the “right thing”.  I forget that this life is their journey.  That they have to learn life lessons by living life.  It’s like, somewhere in this messed up mind of mine, I think that I actually have control over what they do!  Like I can just say “behave” and they will always do what’s right.  And when they don’t, sometimes I am shocked…I actually find myself thinking (and even sometimes saying) “How could my child actually do that?”

I am wrestling with this tonight, because we had an incident this evening.  My 7 year old misbehaved.  He got in a small altercation with another child.  A girl.  Now, I didn’t even stop to hear what actually had happened.  I heard that he “pushed a girl”, and I started ranting and raving about how boys don’t hit girls and how he was so wrong and how I was so disappointed and upset at his choice, and how he was in “big trouble” and how he needed to apologize right now.  The poor kid’s eyes became as big as saucers and he just said “OK” and started to do as he was directed.  I continued my rant as he was cleaning up the room, about how I was just so disappointed in him and how I had not ever felt so upset by a behavior choice as I did about hearing that he pushed a girl.

Now, before you start extending me too much grace here, hear me out.  I didn’t once stop to listen to my son’s side of the story.  I didn’t give him a chance to speak.  I didn’t try to solve the problem with the kids.  I simply put on my “authoritative” pants and laid down the law.  Let me tell you, it backfired.  I allowed myself to get so worked up by this situation, that I said some very hurtful things to my son in the process.  I was not the face of Jesus for him in that moment.  I actually responded to his behavior in exactly the way I was punishing him for responding in his situation.  And it led to further problems.  When we got out to the car, he was trying to help his brother and accidentally knocked down and broke a ceramic bank his brother had just finished painting.  In my already frustrated-with-his-behavior-choices mind, I automatically assumed he had knocked it out of his brother’s hands, and the yelling started.  Then the tears, then more tears, then I realized how very wrong I was.

Oh, when the mom-guilt hits, it hits hard.  I realized what a complete fool I sounded like as I yelled at my son for an action that didn’t even happen.  My daughter confirmed that it was an accident, and suddenly I felt the size of an ant…perhaps even smaller.  I was wrong.  In my own anger, my sin of yelling and accusing now had both my boys in tears, and my stomach in knots.

Oh, we serve an AMAZING God.  I will say it again and again.  His Mercy overcomes justice.  My sin deserves death.  Every time.  All of our sins deserve death.  For scripture tells us that the wages of sin is death.  Yet that is not what I receive.  I don’t receive death for my sins.  I receive MERCY.  And who am I not to extend the same kind of Mercy to my own children???

Yes, I am a mother to three beautiful, wonderful, and loving children.  Children who see that they have a mom who is far from perfect.  Children who see that I need a Savior as much as anyone else.  What followed our “episode” tonight was a beautiful talk about the Grace of God, about God’s unconditional Love and Mercy, about owning up to our mistakes, and about asking for and offering the beautiful gift of forgiveness.  I owned up to my sin, and asked my son for forgiveness.  He, in turn, owned up to his part, and asked for forgiveness as well.  The end result?  A beautiful hands-on experience of God’s amazing Grace.

As I snuggled him in his bed tonight and he was drifting off to sleep, I asked him how he felt.  “Good” he responded.  “Do you feel peace inside?” I asked.  “Yes, I love you momma”.  And I responded with, “I love you too buddy”  I am so incredibly grateful that God continues to teach me, make me and mold me into the woman He has created me to be!!  Yes, we all fall short of the glory of God.  This is a lesson I am continuing to learn.

It doesn’t matter how many times I fall.  What matters is how many times I let Him lift me back up.

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