I have to admit defeat and confess my weaknesses.
Today I sucked at being a compassionate mom. The only boast I have in my parenting after today is that I kept my kids alive. (Joking, I’m joking… Well sort of…)
I had a prenatal appointment that was rescheduled from my last terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day… And this one wasn’t any better, save for the fact that there wasn’t a personal physical injury this time. My husband is usually off on Mondays, but not today. Had I known that upon rescheduling my appointment, I would have made different plans. He was able to meet me at the doctor’s office and corral at least one of the two kids which saved me some headache, and for that I’m really grateful.
I couldn’t handle today. My prayer time was fragmented and my Bible study virtually non-existent. Our son barged into our room at 5am… There wasn’t much sleep to be had after that, in spite of trying. I spent most of the day raising my voice at my son. So much for peaceful parenting. He’s been acting out on purpose lately just because my attention is not 100% on him- dumping out my makeup, eating/digging out my EOS lip balm, (the dog ate my spare yesterday…) rummaging and sabotaging my purse and undoing my household chores (I have laundry to refold now) Hurting his sister, breaking my things in general. And I don’t know what slight I’ve committed against him other than being distracted by pregnancy and his sister.
I spanked my son’s butt in our car in the Walmart parking lot… it may sound familiar to some, but I’m not proud of it and that isn’t my “normal”. He had screamed and kicked and thrown a tantrum and after multiple warnings and refusal to listen to rationale, I lost my cool. I hate disciplining out of anger. But that’s what I did. I was angry. And frustrated, and embarrassed, and generally upset. I have read Dare to Discipline, which talks about spankings in a biblical context, but I still don’t feel comfortable with spankings as a general disciplinary rule. In my mind, there’s no justification for discipline out of anger. How do you teach a child not to hit or be violent when you as a parent use spankings? My desire is not to punish out of anger but to correct out of love. And that makes me a big fat hypocrite.
I need help in every aspect of my life, and for whatever reason, I’m in the middle of a spiritual depression lately. The more I seek God, the more obstacles I face and the harder it is to maintain a solid witness. I’m tired. I’m discouraged. I’m worn out and I want to run away from my responsibility of being a parent.
But I can’t. And I won’t.
I love my children more than life itself. I would willingly sacrifice just about anything for them. But there are times like now where I honestly don’t know how to cope with the challenges they present.
In theory, I’m doing all the right things. I’ve surrendered it to God, and yet, we still have bad days. I’ve prayed and I’m still praying for all my family, and for myself that God will give me grace and strength for each day. And sometimes, like today, I still fail.
I’m not trying to throw myself a pity party (if I wanted to do that, I’d run a hot bath and turn on some smooth jazz and cry while eating a pint of ice cream) but I am trying to self-evaluate.
I know I can’t do it in my own strength. But God hasn’t abandoned me. And even when I do fail and I get angry with my children, I know God still loves me, even though I’m ashamed of my own behavior. I just have to repent and move on.
My kids are still so young, I know they don’t understand that Mommy has bad days too. I don’t ever want them to have to carry the burden of my spiritual depression. And that’s why I need to draw my strength from the Lord.
But to be honest, I’m struggling. It’s difficult and I anticipate it only becoming more so after the baby comes. If you’re reading this and you’re a God-fearing person, please pray for me and pray for my family. Pray that God would convict me of any unconfessed sins and that I would repent, so that I can be in right relationship with Him. Pray for my husband that God would equip and encourage him to lead us spiritually. Pray for my children, that they experience the love of Christ lived out through my husband and me. Pray for renewed strength for each day, and for grace and compassion in us.
And if you read this and you’re not a God-fearing person, know that even professing Christians struggle with the day to day, and the difference between a believer and an unbeliever is strength through Christ for today and hope for tomorrow.
It’s times like these where I find it the hardest to witness to Christ, because I feel so hypocritical in my own faith life. But as I think about it, isn’t this sort of season the time when I need to keep Christ at the forefront of my mind? When it’s hardest? And sometimes, the best I’ve got is just a heartcry to God.
Great is Thy faithfulness, great is Thy faithfulness.
Morning by morning new mercies I see.
All I have needed Thy hand has provided.
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me.