There are always two sides, a duality in every situation if you will. Take preparing for guests as an example. On one hand there is the cleaning and decluttering that needs to be done, on the other you’ve got kids who are vying for attention or who just want to “help”. In my house, this “help” usually means a much bigger mess to clean up that takes 4 times as long.
Perhaps I’m just not good at balancing housework and playing with & teaching kids, or doing more than one thing at a time. I don’t have 4 times the amount of time to do a chore so I find myself getting frustrated at the kids, who are simply trying to “help” while spending time with me – they think it’s fun to do chores with mommy, they are so eager and it brings them a lot of laughter. I tend to get so frustrated that I yell at them to leave the room and just let me finish the job so it can be done. Ever been there?
My reaction leaves me grieving for them because I know they were just having fun doing something new with Mommy, and here I come yelling at them to leave things alone for adults to do. That’s not loving my kids, and it’s not helping them learn the value & sometimes fun of doing chores. I am usually quick to apologize to them, ask for their forgiveness and snuggle up or read with them so we can all spend time together but it doesn’t erase my initial reaction.
We’ll just call it what it is – it’s sin. It’s my sinful nature coming to surface – my expectations to get things done quickly and correctly so I don’t have to re-do it (too soon); my heart of control that comes overflowing to the surface in order to get in my kids’ faces when they just want to see me.
I’m tired of this being my reaction, my heart hurts when my kids walk away with their heads down, saddened. I want my kids to help me, I want to teach them that things need to be done & they need to start somewhere even if it means dragging dirt and food from a newly swept kitchen all over the kitchen again because they want to hold the dustpan. I want to have more patience and grace with them, to show & speak love into their tiny little formative hearts, and break this cycle of sin in me.
The good news is that I don’t have to live in my sinful nature anymore. I have been set free from sin, made alive in Christ – which also means that I have been forgiven for all these sinful tendencies (Romans 6).
The good news is that by sharing my failings with my kids, through asking them for forgiveness, they are learning that they, too, sin and need forgiveness (Romans 3:10-12; Eccles. 7:20). They are seeing that their mom struggles with temptation and gets renewed by the Word through the practice of humility. I am certainly not perfect in this, I sin every single day, but I’m growing in seeing myself truly as I ought to (Romans 12:3), and in turn seeing God as He truly is through His character (Psalm 7:17). It causes me to praise Him, to share Him, and that’s how my kids get good glimpses of His grace day to day.
Praise God for my weaknesses, because He truly is glorified when I admit them even to my toddler kids. God is changing me, even in my gut reaction to yell – it’s getting less and less. Praise be to God, the Holy One!
2 Corinthians 12:9 — “But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.”
A site that has been helpful as I work through not yelling at my kids is The Orange Rhino, as well as some accountability from people who aren’t afraid to use Scripture on me. 🙂