So, today Noah looks to me and says, "Mom, we're having a really good day today because no one has been angry!" It took me slightly off guard, but upon thinking about it, I told him he was right! On both accounts! HA!
It's been a couple weeks now that this has been an area of SPECIFIC work in my heart. There are still moments when I'm failing miserably, but there have been far more moments, as of late, where I have seen myself making better choices! Yeah for God, because it is only his power that is pulling this off. My flesh is still terribly selfish and distracted.
Being a parent is such hard work. It seems that I'm having to think twice or three times about things because I'm running the possible scenario's of every situation... just hoping I will be prepared and not taken off guard! I like to be prepared. I like to feel in control and I like to be on top of things. Most times things go wrong is because I'm under prepared and i'm OVERLY distracted by my unpreparedness.. did ya follow that?!
Sometimes though, in trying to over plan and over prepare we are left UNDER appreciating the moments of the day. The moments where our kids WANT to spend time with us, the moments we could have spent reading or playing or talking or just BEING.
True confession of my day today.
It was about 6 pm. We'd all eaten dinner by this point. Carissa asked me, "Mommy, what would you like to do with me?"
Answer (and I cringe and tear up even as I think about my words back to her).
"Nothing Carissa, I need to get these dishes unloaded and reloaded.. and I need to get the clam chowder going for our party tomorrow, and i need to get a few more things cleaned up... so nothing right now..mommy's just too busy.... "
Even after I said those words, inwardly I was smacking myself around. Lecturing myself as to how ridiculous the words out of my mouth were, how her little heart must have just been smarting with sadness. Here, her mommy was just telling her she was too busy to "be" with her in that moment.
Now of course, there are times when we have to be the grown up, and we have jobs and duties to do. It isn't healthy for us to cater to our kids last whim or desire either. We weren't meant to be their source of entertainment. However, at that moment... all of the things I listed to my daughter COULD have waited. Or at the very least, I could have spoken to her in a kinder way. There should have been compromise at the very least.
Instead, she went about cleaning up her room as she was told. She read books like she was told, and she was tucked in, prayed with, and smooched. And the night was over.
There wasn't any reading together tonight. There wasn't any girl talk on her bed. There wasn't any whispers of excitement about our day tomorrow when family comes over to celebrate Christmas. There weren't any secret words shared or tickle moments.... it was just me... in a hurry, rushing through the evening, my mind preoccupied with my "to-do's" and running through tomorrow's day, hour by hour.
Today I got my package I had ordered a few weeks ago. In it is a book called "Ordinary Mom, Extraordinary God" (by Mary E. Demuth). I read through the first short devotional tonight. Oddly enough (or rather PLANNED by God....) it was about listening... what we so often let our ears here... and how much we can miss...when our ears are tuned to the wrong voices.
Here's an excerpt:
"But to listen well we have to make a choice. To have a new ear, we have to blot out other distractions that pepper us all day long. The seemingly important things- the things that assail from left and right, from above and beneath - are like tiny insidious monsters, pulling us in directions we never intended to go. They have loud voices, disguised in ringing telephones, ding donging door bells, blaring televisions, static-loving radios................It's really not their fault. I have to learn to turn things off, to not clutter my life with so much noise. I can't hear the important things if the unimportant clamor minute by minute for my attention. 'This is what the Soveriegn Lord, the Holy One of Israel, says: In Repentence and rest is your salvation, and quietness and trust is your strength, but you would have none of it. Isaiah 30:15'
If I disdain repentace, rest, quietness, and trust, I will not hear what God wants me to hear. I will be tossed here and there by noise, neglecting the cries of my children or stifling the cry of my heart to be quiet before Jesus. Many times the noise I refuse to quiet is my own, coming from deep inside me. Its voice utters words like 'should,' 'you'd better,' or 'so you can cross that off your list.' When i listen to these voices, i am more apt ot snap at my children's innocent needs or miss a friend's nonverbal plea for a listening ear."
Oh Jesus, my choices today didn't reflect an ear that was listening to you; and as result i lost an opportunity to listen to my daughter. My heart was hardened and my mind was busy elsewhere. Forgive me, please... and open my ears to hear her. And to hear more than just her words, but to hear her heart too. soften my heart, fill me with just enuf of your love each day to share and give to my family and friends. Thank you for always leaning your ear my way... for always waiting for my whisper, my cry, my shout, my love. I love you... Amen.