Thursday, August 21, 2008

the mother I want to be

I recently signed up to receive daily email devotions from Proverbs 31 Ministries. I have enjoyed each one, but I had to share this one. I recently shared in a young mothers' prayer group about struggling with selfish impatience and annoyance with my children. It was a little over a month ago and I told them how that very day while I was trying to get some work done I had snapped "WHAT?" at Elijah several times. Through my tears I told them how I knew I'd miss his constant talking, questions and need for my help when he started school. Of course I found I am not alone in this struggle. And one thing I've found since Elijah is in school all day every day - I make sure our time together is sweeter. Today when he got home my Mom was here, so he has been playing with her, but most days when he arrives I drop what I'm doing to ask him about his day, which mostly he says is "all secrets" and we play together or have a snack together. Yesterday he showed me how the bird in the science lab dances when sung to. I love this precious time we have when he comes home and Miles and Ella are napping. God is definitely teaching me to have more patience and sweeter responses to my children through Elijah's being away so much of the time...and as always, I'm a work in progress...

By Glynnis Whitwer

“Do not be quickly provoked in your spirit, for anger resides in the lap of fools.” Ecclesiastes 7:9 (NIV)

I should have responded better. Patience and kindness would have been a more appropriate response than the unjustified annoyance that laced my tone of voice. In a regrettable moment of anger, I spoke words that left my son sad, and me wishing I could press the rewind button and keep my mouth zipped.

Unfortunately, I often respond better to the bigger challenges of parenting than the everyday frustrations. If you were a fly on my kitchen wall for a one day, you would wonder why a minor event sparked an annoyed response on my part. If your house is like mine, the answer is because that minor event actually happens frequently. Hence, I fall into the “If-I’ve-told-you-once-I’ve-told-you-a-thousand-times” trap of thinking, which doesn’t lend itself to much mercy.
When my patience wears thin, I find myself strikingly similar to the person spoken about in Ecclesiastes 7:9: a fool with a lap of anger. Unfortunately, when that lap is full, it only takes the slightest spark for frustration and anger to spill over onto some unsuspecting victims.

I know God is calling me to deal with this anger in a healthy and godly way. When my spirit is provoked, my first response should be to hold my tongue. While that doesn’t deal with the heart issue, it does keep me from speaking hurtful words that can never be withdrawn. But I can’t leave it there. I must address ongoing parental frustration as a spiritual issue and bring my concerns to God in prayer. I find that as I honestly confess my sin, the door is opened for God to bring His healing peace into my heart.

Anger over injustice is good. Anger over childish behavior isn’t. When I don’t confess my inappropriate anger to God, it just starts building up, making me a fool with a full lap. I’m so glad God offers me forgiveness when I mess up, and puts me back on the path of developing a sweet spirit of patience and gentleness within me. That’s the kind of mother I want to be.

Heavenly Father, thank You for loving me in spite of my weaknesses. Thank You for providing a way for me to deal with anger, and to become the kind and gentle woman we both want me to be. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

6 comments:

Heidi said...

Thank you so much for sharing that devotional.

carrie said...

I think this is something we all have to work on. I have found myself snapping when I should have been much more patient. The hard thing is when Todd looks at me and says, "You hurt my feelings". Granted sometimes this is said to try to get out of trouble, but there have been a few times where I probably really did hurt his feelings. Thanks for a great reminder.

tamara said...

I think we are all guilty of impatience with our kids. I know I spend most of my time shewing Madalyn away in annoyance instead of being grateful she is healthy and able to aggravate me!! Thanks for sharing this with us.

Rebecca said...

Thanks so much for sharing this! Like others have said, we are all guilty of this. I remember often thinking, "Only 30 more minutes until their bedtime, and then I'll have some peace! Thanks for the reminder that there will be days in the future when I will be missing their little cries for attention.

Erika said...

Larry and I have been talking about this a lot lately as well. I find myself saying over and over again to both of us, "They are only kids." It;s hard to remember when sometimes Peyton acts to big.

KC said...

what a wonderful post, and just at the right time..
Just thought i would stop by and say hello today since I now have my computer back.. So Hello :)