Evenings. They’re hard with kids.
Even if we’re closing up a good day, with cooperative children, sweet kid kisses, and relative sibling harmony, evenings can really suck.
But today wasn’t a particularly blissful day in parenting. And it was definitely hard by supper time.
Gideon goes overly emotional with buttons sticking a mile out. Noah notices said buttons and plays them to his advantage and amusement. Aria even decides to go haywire, suddenly deciding that she hates broccoli (her favorite).
Gideon and Noah bickered about EVERYTHING. I reigned in borderline aggressive behaviors from Gideon. I tried to objectively judge Noah’s attempts to manipulate everyone and everything.
I repeated myself.
I answered questions repeatedly and consistently, even when they were not well-received.
I repeated myself some more.
I answered honestly, “I don’t know,” several times in response to the always fun “where are we going tomorrow?”
We have scheduled our kids to a fault. They apparently do not do well with open schedules.
Which is what my brain and my mommy self really crave right now. Unstructured, relaxation time. You know, like summer is supposed to be?
Ha. Have 3 children, throw in some ADHD, then tell me how relaxing an unstructured summer is.
“Noah, sit down. Come back to the table. Come eat. You’re not done.”
“Aria, you love broccoli. Eat some broccoli and I’ll give you more rice.”
I closed my eyes and prayed. I wish I knew what alters my mood and tolerance for these annoying parenting moments from day to day. I’m pretty sure I can tell how patient and grace-filled I will be at 7 pm before my first cup of coffee.
I can’t do this. How am I supposed to do this every single day? And we’re growing a fourth?!
Why do we even bother? Just give them a cup of yogurt. Why is food such a battle? Don’t these tiny humans have a biological need to eat? Why is everything such a battle?
I acknowledge these thoughts. I recognize them. I am rational enough (today) to know that they’re wrong. These are lies. These are weapons of the enemy that are especially effective in my weak moments.
Like 7 pm and I’m forcing these tiny tired people to eat grilled chicken, rice, and broccoli.
I recognize the lies. Today, right now, I know to fight back. And I do.
I do not feel like I can do this. But God promises to give me the strength to do this. God, You promise to give me strength to do this. I am not promised a blissful, enjoyable parenting experience 100% of the time. I am called to do a job that is both rewarding and difficult, and to trust You through this journey.
Faith is believing God and acting on that belief.
I am raising godly adults, not perfect children. I canNOT expect perfection. So I canNOT expect ease and convenience throughout this journey. As parent, my God-given task is to make decisions for them, albeit unpopular ones.
“Eat your broccoli. It’s good for you.”
“No, we cannot watch that. It’s not good for your heart and mind.”
“I don’t know where we’re going tomorrow.”
“No, it is unacceptable to act that way toward your brother.”
Of course, they don’t get it tonight. They can’t possibly understand how we’re trying to shape their little selves and protect them from the bad things and encourage the good things and that these things don’t always FEEL good.
*Tap tap* God stops me. Yes, that’s right, things don’t always FEEL comfortable, Morgan.
And I realize again, how often have I battled about the things God is doing for me? His path for me has hard places, uncomfortable spots, periods of unknown and unanswered questions.
And how have I responded? Certainly with whining. Certainly with complaining. Certainly with numerous “but WHYYYs????” I have definitely asked “Where are we going tomorrow, God?”
“Consider it all joy, my brethren when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” James 1:2-4
I am parenting for the end result. Not for the right now.
God has given me this life, placed me specifically in these circumstances, chosen me for these very headaches, disappointments, anxieties, and heartbreaks, why? For the right now?
No. For the end result — His glory. And because I’m so absolutely and completely wrapped up in His love and grace for me, His glory is also to my benefit.
“Blessed is a man (or mama!) who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.” James 1:12
Even if my children think I’m doing them wrong, I’m not. I have the best intentions for them. And, I’ll never, ever leave them. (Even if they don’t eat their broccoli.)
God has the best intentions for me in His great, great, grace-filled heart. And, He’ll never, ever leave my side. His Spirit will live in me, empowering me, comforting me, always.
Tonight, He empowered me to not completely lose it at the dinner table.
He placed patience in me through night-time showers.
He drew my attention to the smell of Aria’s clean hair, the way her little body curls up in my lap during prayer and song.
His heart swelled and burst with love and joy right alongside mine when she sang with me “Oh God, You are my God.”
He reminded me to be thankful that even though these brothers drive each other crazy, they still refuse to sleep in separate beds.
He guided me through the remainder of the evening so that I didn’t have to yell.
He didn’t leave me.
I spoke truth against the lies. I reminded myself of my faith in an almighty, loving Father, and acted on that belief. I can be a loving and patient mother, with Your help, God. Even when it feels hard.