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Sunday, April 22, 2012

To Be Honest....

This morning God and I had a little pow-wow.  I woke up before the rest of my people as usual and I got my coffee and sat at my desk and I felt annoyed and tired.  I wanted to go back to bed.  I didn't want to make breakfast or fill out book orders or pack lunches and I was feeling guilt, but I shoved that out so that I could do the routine.  There I sat checking off the names on my prayer list:  this person and this person, God, this marriage and this family, God.  This person, again, God.  Please God, this person, don't let this person go.  If I say these names over and over and over, God, will You hear me?  I ticked off the list and when I got to the end, I was just about to get up to go unload the dishwasher, but I took a second and put my head in my hands - maybe a little rest right here real quick.  And then I sat quiet and I heard Him.  No, it wasn't a loud voice, a strike of lightening, it was just a little whisper: "And what of you? What do you need to confess?  Why do you need grace?  What do you need help with? Just you, stop listing and start talking."

I thought for a minute of what had been swirling in my head in the past week, not my worries for others which are many, but what had been swirling in there about me.  I had been feeling an odd sense that I had slightly misrepresented myself here.  My post on the tantrum got a huge number of views compared to other posts thanks to a link up from a friend's blog, a new friend who is crazy talented, infinitely faithful and I think, kinda very famous in the blog world*. We met because our boys play basketball together and then I found her blog and it's just ridiculously amazing.  I sort of can't believe she has my phone number sometimes.  I also got a number of very sweet and flattering comments.  I was honored and humbled.  But a few of the comments left me feeling a bit strange...a bit like a fraud.  They were complimentary of my writing.  I can accept that.  They said they laughed.  They said the cried.  Good, all good.  A few complimented me on how I handled the tantrum.  Hmmmm.....really?  I talked to a few friends about it who assured me that it felt honest to them, but I still feel the need to clarify a bit.  I guess, because friends are great and reassuring, but when God stops you from emptying the dishwasher, He usually has a point.

So, I just want to say this right quick:  Let's be honest.  I'm on kid #3.  And I do think that I have gotten much, much better at the handling of fun events like tantrums.  (Poor kid, #1...he of the experimental parenting.)   I can now, for the most part, laugh at the absurdity of a kid losing his mind over a milkshake, but I'm not at all an expert at the calm, strong, wise mother who with serenity and firmness diffuses the chaos in her home exactly as that parenting magazine says she should.  I did have some very proud moments during that two hour event.  Moments of calm, moments of perspective, moments of peace.  Key word:  moments.  Not half-hours, not hours.  I did in those other moments, shall we say, raise my voice?  Like, really, really raise my voice so that perhaps the neighbors down the street might have run inside and locked the doors.  Then I would be calm for a bit.  Then I would take myself to the laundry room and throw the laundry in the dryer and bang the door shut and probably stomp a bit too hard on my way there.  I also tripped over a certain older child's backpack, probably due to the stomping and not watching where I was walking and proceeded to snap my head around and bark at him to please for the 400th time get his backpack out of the hallway.  Pretty sure it wasn't a pleasant voice I used, just so you know.  Pretty sure that boy had just gotten home and didn't know what he had walked into.  Also, certain that that boy came up later, put his hand on my shoulder and said, "Sorry, you're having a bad day, Mom."  Guilt, anyone?  Forgiveness and grace are not only given in my house by the mommy.  Those things are sometimes given by the children as well, if I'm lucky. 

So this morning, when I heard God ask me to pray for me for a minute, I had quite a list.  I prayed for forgiveness, grace, patience, patience and more patience and for another chance to try again to be what He wants me to be for my family.  I thanked Him for showing me the way to this place where I have a chance to be wide open and honest about the times when I have a stellar day as a parent and the times when I absolutely do not.  And I have a good feeling, He'll grant me more chances because there will be another situation where I will want to stomp and yell and slam the washing machine door.  There will be more little boy tantrums and there will be more mommy tantrums.  And I'll keep asking for help to get it right this time and for forgiveness when I don't.  So, thanks for the comments and the affirmations.  They are wonderful and I appreciate them so much, but know this:  I am on a journey here that God gave me that is very much like yours, I imagine, and I am not an expert on anything. Sometimes Lots of times, I stumble and fall down flat on my face, so thanks for letting me share the stumble and the stories of my effort to get up and wash off the tears and the baseball dirt and try again.  I promise to try to be as honest as I can, both for this place and for me.

*I have been honest in telling you that I haven't figured out some things on this blog that I just know have got to be very simple.  Like for example, when I mentioned my new faithful, famous, blogging friend who writes some of the most eloquent and inspirational things I have ever read, I should be able to highlight something in that sentence that you can click on and then you'll go straight to her blog, but my head starts hurting when I start trying to figure that out, so here you go:  Seriously, go.


Jeannine said...

I think I was one of the ladies who thanked you for your honesty on that post, so I'll just thank you again for the additional honesty! Really, we all do it to some extent. There is a line in blogging between being transparent for the sake of encouraging others, and maintaining one's privacy for the sake of family life and propriety. I'm still trying, too.

Anyway, I enjoy your blog. I've put you in my reader. I did indeed find you through Elizabeth.

Jenn said...

Thank you so much for your encouragement, Jeannine! I'm so happy you found your way here :)