March 22, 2017

The Difference 24 Hours Can Make

Time heals all wounds. Just give it time. Testimonies take time. Time. Time. Time. It's the one thing we all need, but the one thing we all seem to be short on these days. Well, that and patience.

I've learned today just how much can change in a short time span of 24 hours. And I honestly think it was mostly me that changed. Or, at least I hope I changed.

Yesterday was one of those days that started well and ended, well, just about as ugly as it could be. I was able to get a run in yesterday morning and also let the kids sleep in a little bit. I had our backpack all ready to go so we could spend the morning doing school with friends at Java Jive. I should have known we were in for a long day when my two started fighting after we'd barely walked in the door. E sat in the chair S wanted. He refused to get up and she refused to stop fussing at him. I offered a compromise and they both looked at me like I had two heads. After some negotiating and threatening spankings, they worked it out, for the most part. But E just wasn't happy. All I heard about all day (or at least that's what it felt like to me) was how much he hates school. He hates math. He hates spelling. He hates handwriting. He hates writing anything. And oh, did he mention in the last 2 minutes that he hates math?!?!

We got our friends dropped off and I decided that we'd just have lunch out today, which is pretty unusual for us. They did pretty well during lunch. They even did well as we did our history and science once we got home. Then we went to the movies. You'd think this would make both kids pretty excited, right? Well, E was mad because it wasn't the movie he wanted, even though his two friends were joining us. He wasn't happy that he couldn't sit by his friends and be able to reach the bottomless bag of popcorn we'd gotten. He was a grump through almost the whole movie.

When we got home, it all just fell apart. I asked them to work on their chores while I fixed dinner. He went into a diatribe about how he doesn't like what's for dinner, actually doesn't really like much of what I make. So, I sent him off to do chores. I think he got one chore done, then disappeared for about 30 minutes. Turns out that, rather than working on his chores, he was playing with Legos. And lost a few pieces. And was very angry with me when I told him we weren't looking for missing pieces until he was finished with his chores. And that's when we both lost it. He went into another fit about hating chores and school and the food I make and math (not sure why he always lists that separately from school. He must really hate math.) That was the last straw for me.

Here's where it gets bad. Here's where I become a horrible person. You know what I really wanted to do at that point? Send my seven year-old son out to the porch for the night. To charge him rent for living in the house. To make him pay me for doing all his chores. To make him cook all of his own food. Then we'll see if he's still complaining about his chores. I should make him make the budget and pay the bills and buy the food. Pretty sure he'll see quickly how important math is. Take a deep breath, I didn't do any of those things. But, I didn't take a deep breath either. I sent him to bed without dinner. Then I threw his school/chores binder across the room purely from anger. And shame. And fear. And feeling not enough. Then I walked back into the kitchen, finished making dinner, and ate dinner and finished school with S. By the time I was calmed down enough to go back and talk to E, he was asleep.

So, I got Sophie to bed and I went to my room and just sat there and cried. I felt like such a failure. Such an idiot. I felt like such a terrible mom. And then the fear came because I am all they've got. There's no dad to even out my emotions or temper. No dad to talk me off the ledge and make me see reason and logic. No husband there to look me in the eyes and speak all the joy and good and grace of our day and this sweet boy. So I cried some more. Then I sent off a crazy text to a friend a world away because I knew she would understand the grief and the hurt and the not wanting to be this person I feel grief has turned me into these days. And she talked me down from the ledge. She spoke truth to me. And she told me to go ahead and eat those Thin Mints without guilt! 😀

I had a lot of apologizing to do with that little man today. I didn't even come close to getting it right, but he gave me sweet hugs and kisses anyway. His attitude toward school was 120% better today. Who knows what tomorrow will bring. BUT GOD has spoken to my heart and reminded me that when I forget to start my day by handing the whole day over to Him, I've left room for the enemy to squeeze in, speak lies, and take over the day. This week I've been out of that habit; that beautiful habit of taking time to give each little part of the day over to Him. I've felt like our school year has been a waste, that I'm too tired to love my kids or anyone else well, that anxiety creeps in too easily and too often to make me of any use. But I can look back and see the days that those things have taken over my thoughts are the days I haven't started out by handing the day over to the Lord from the very beginning.

Oh, Father, enable me to rest well so I can rise and start the day by handing it over to You. Give me the eyes to see You moving and working in our home. In our hearts. In our school. Oh, Father, renew my energy each morning so I can lead my children well, in all things. Give all three of us a love for learning; learning Your word and learning each subject. Enable each of us to see how each subject teaches us more about You and equips us to share You in a better and more loving and accurate way. Oh, Father, help me to control my temper, especially on days when I am tired or depression and grief are grabbing a foothold. Remind me that, though it's true I cannot do this parenting thing alone, that I don't have to because You are right beside me. You and Your angel army. Give me the eyes to see those You have fighting for us, especially on the hard and lonely days. Father, steal E's heart. Make him a new creation in You. Lord, draw all three of us ever closer to You, day by day. Give me the spiritual eyes to see the changes You are making and the fruit You are producing in each one of us. Thank You for being patient and kind and loving and good and our provider and hope and peace. You are the only reason the three of us are still standing. The only reason I can ever get myself up and moving each day. Oh, Father, thank You that You are God and I am not.

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