Our family is just recovering from the stomach bug this weekend. It has been a crazy flurry of staying up with two kids on the couch while they drift in and out of sleep, to being sick and having tons of loads of laundry. Before this weekend I have had a sinus infection I can’t seem to kick, and the girls had colds. AND, in the midst of it all, we have had some rough days trying to teach my 2½ year old to come under authority. So, amid the tissues, tears, tantrums, vomit and snot was one frazzled, impatient momma and some grumpy babes.
I have been here before, where everyone is sick and I feel spread thin (and this is no discredit to my husband because he has been sooo helpful). It isn’t the first time Savanna hasn’t obeyed, and it won’t be the last. However, these are the moments, although normal and reoccurring, that seem to catch me off guard in terms of how fast they can bring out the ugly in me and steal my joy.
I remember one day in particular last week where it seemed like my daughter threw a tantrum almost every time she didn’t get her way, which, as you can imagine, was a lot. I felt like the whole day I was a referee breaking up little fights over toys and doling out verbal warnings, time outs and spankings. Midway through the day we took a break for lunch. I was hoping food would improve all of our moods at that point. We ate in quiet except for worship music playing in the background. Savanna finished first and asked if she could get down and dance to the music. She LOVES music. I said yes, and then she asked if I could play her favorite song which right now is “What a Beautiful Name it is” by Hillsong. I turned it on for her and returned to the dining room table with Alathea. As I sat there, I looked and saw her twirling around with her arms up, belting out the words to the song. My heart melted.
In that moment, as I watched her and listened to the words of the song, it was as if a light bulb went on in my head. “Oh! Jesus.” I thought. I realized that although I pleaded for grace and mercy all day and all week long, I hadn’t made any time for my heart to be refreshed. I felt his invitation to come before Him. I may not get huge amounts of time for extended prayer and worship, but what is the posture of my heart toward Him during the day? Am I open to His leadership, perspective and voice?
Being a mom and being invested in the growth of my children feels like it is teaching me more than it is them sometimes. I learn so much from their little lives. For example, sometimes I act as if God showing up in my life or addressing certain things is because He is trying to rain on my parade rather than because He too is invested in how I grow. In comparison to God, I will always be as a child. I need to come under His authority as I train my girls to come under mine. I can trust that the way He leads is perfect, even when He opposes what I want, as I too am training Savanna to obey even when she doesn’t get what she wants 24/7. When I want her to hold my hand while crossing the street, I am not trying to ruin her life or limit her freedom but keep her safe. How often do I view my limits as a curse rather than a blessing? What are some areas that God is trying to lead me in that I may be acting like a tantruming toddler?
I am sure there are ways that I act like a “brute beast” (Psalm 73:22) before Him in my lack of understanding, yet He never ceases to delight over me. That moment after lunch while watching my daughter dance carefree, my heart was filled with love and joy. I thanked God for invading my day and week when I had forgotten to seek Him and for His gentle training of me. How kind He is. The rest of our day still had its moments, and the rest of the week we spent recovering only to get sick again, but I felt more joy in caring for my family and grace for their learning as I remembered that I am learning too.