My kids are really good at showing me all the ways I need to grow as a person. It’s like their very own little spiritual gift. “Here Mommy, let us help you see how much you need Jesus.”
The newest revelation: I am selfish and self-centered. Pretty deep, huh? I know this is not brand new information for any of us…but being a parent just highlights it in a whole new way. Here’s just the latest example of how this plays out:
I like things to be calm and orderly. I get overwhelmed by a lot of noise and prefer quiet over chaos. Even going to Walmart can make me feel twitchy…why are there so many people? Why are they moving so slowly? Why is this stranger talking to me? Where is the nearest exit?
I also don’t like clutter. I have found that I am a much more peaceful person when my surroundings aren’t cluttered with stuff. Even before kids, while my house was far from perfectly clean, I’ve always tried to keep clutter to a minimum. I have learned that outer chaos gets in the way of inner calm for me.
I just don’t like chaos and mess. So you can see why naturally, I was the PERFECT candidate for twins.
These girls came crashing into my neat and orderly life and busted all of that up. And thank God for that. But even though I said the BIG yes to them in becoming a parent, this “yes” doesn’t always play out very easily in the day-to-day.
Since I don’t deal well with chaos and mess, when my kids disrupt my day with THEIR chaos and mess, I don’t tend to deal very well with them either. I view it as an interruption, a distraction, a derailing of the day I COULD be having if they would just get it together.
I apparently have VERY high expectations of a couple two-year-olds.
As any other parent knows, chaos and mess comes with the territory of kids.
But this is what it means to be a parent, isn’t it? We are given the incredible task of helping our children navigate through their emotions as they learn right from wrong and how to exist in this world. It’s our job to form them. Well, it’s actually God’s job, thankfully…but we are invited to be a huge part of that, and He has entrusted us with these little lives for only a short time.
It’s not about having perfectly well-behaved kids. When they don’t listen or they’re fighting or whining, I’m trying to remind myself: They are TWO. And they are human. Why am I so surprised and annoyed when they act like this?
I’m doing my best to pursue this perspective, that these challenging moments are not an interruption to my life, but part of my very calling as a parent. Sometimes I see it that way, other times I join right in with their meltdowns.
This is not about stuffing down our feelings or putting on a happy face and pretending we’re ok. We also need to acknowledge our frustrations and weariness as valid. And there is always grace.
This is why we must constantly go to Jesus for help.
And this is the gift my kids give me as they show me how weak and selfish I am…it keeps me clinging to Jesus, holding on to him for dear life.
Their needs and chaos and mess are not interruptions to my day. They are the most important part of my day, because these are the moments I am called to lovingly guide them and help them become more like Jesus.
This is HARD. It doesn’t come naturally, and I’ll fall short more often than I’ll get it right. Good thing it’s not up to me. I am simply called to surrender and cling to Jesus…everything else follows after that.