Still Feeling Burned Out After Your “Me Time”? Here’s Why.

“Self care”

“Me time”

“Fill your cup”

The world seems to practically scream at you these days: “Tired? Overwhelmed? Burnt out? You need to take time for yourself!” Self care is the catch all solution to practically all your ailments.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I love some good alone time (Hi, my name is Liz and I’m an introvert!). Even Jesus had alone time! However, here is the problem: Have you ever woken up from your nap or returned home from your “me time” at the coffee shop to find out something crazy?

Your life is still there! 

Seriously, I don’t know how many times I’ve been like, “okay, I just need a little down time and I’ll be good,” but then moments upon reentering normal life I am just as stressed out (or maybe more if the dishes magically piled up in my absence) as before!

What gives? I thought “filling my cup” was supposed to fix all these problems!

What is the answer?

A few weeks back I was listening to the sermon at church. I honestly don’t even remember what the general topic of the sermon was, because there was one illustration that totally rocked my world.

The pastor was talking about how we often view the power that comes from God like gas in a car. We “fill up our tanks” (through Bible reading, prayer, church attendance, etc) and then try to go about our days, using that “stored up” power. However, that’s not how it works. We don’t run on gasoline, we run on electricity. As long as our wires stay connected to the source, the power keeps flowing.

In John 15:5, Jesus says:

I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.

We can’t fill up at church on a Sunday morning, or even in our morning quiet time, and expect to run on that until we can “fill up” again. And we definitely can’t expect a monthly girls night, a nap on the weekend, or taking time to do our makeup in the morning to be able to give us the strength to face our days with love and patience.

It’s not that those things are bad (they can be very good!), they just don’t have that kind of power. Only one person does. 

Change your mindset

This simple revelation totally changed my mindset. Time with God is no longer another thing to do in my day, it is the lifeline that gets me through my day!

A good way to envision it is this…

Imagine you are swimming in the middle of a large body of water. The water is still, the skies are blue. You are enjoying yourself during your refreshing swim.

The wind starts to pick up a bit, but you are doing fine. However, time passes and the wind blows harder and clouds cover the blue sky. The waves start to roll, getting bigger and bigger.

It begins to rain.

The wind whips the rain into your eyes. The water below you is swirling all around. It is dark now and hard to see. The pleasant swimming you experienced before is only a memory. It is taking all your effort just to keep yourself afloat in this storm.

All of a sudden you look up. A boat has come near. Someone throws you a life preserver ring and it lands within your reach.

You turn to the source of the device and cry in despair: “Can’t you see I can barely stay afloat? How am I supposed to hold on to something while I am already so overwhelmed?!”

Ridiculous, isn’t it? Of course you wouldn’t say that. You would grab that thing for dear life and never let go. You would cling to it in the midst of the storm. 

I just can’t seem to make time

How many times have you said this in regards to spending time with Jesus? “I just can’t seem to make time.” How many times have I said it? We beat ourselves up for missing our quiet time, for skipping our Bible study because of the demands of life. Life swirls around us and we wonder, “when was the last time I prayed?”

Dear friends. God is not someone that we arrange a daily meeting with. To get our instruction and correction and then be sent out to face the world alone. No, God desires to be the life giving power throughout your day. Jesus is your vine. Your life preserver. Your rock.

In the words of the great hymn:

I need Thee, oh, I need Thee;
  Every hour I need Thee;
Oh, bless me now, my Savior!
    I come to Thee.

Stay connected to the vine

The truth is, when we are tired, weary, and overwhelmed, taking a nap, having some alone time, or even doing a Bible study is an easy answer. It is simple. It is a concrete action we can take. Clinging to Jesus is not. It takes practice to continually turn our minds to Him. It takes relying on the work of the Holy Spirit within us, instead of on something that we can do for ourselves. However, the power is in Jesus, not in our ability to make time for self care.

So cry out to Him..

…when the kids are going crazy.

…when the baby’s been up all night.

…when your marriage is going through a difficult time.

…when you are overwhelmed.

…when you aren’t sure what to do next.

Go to His Word. Not just to study like a textbook, but because it is the very life-breathing Words of God. 

Sing praises to him throughout the day.

Whisper a prayer or two or three during the moments that try you.

Come to Him again and again for forgiveness and a fresh start. He is not looking for someone who has perfect prayer and Bible study time, but someone who humbly goes to Him again and again for his mercy, grace, and strength.

So yes, take some time for yourself. Get that breather, enjoy your moment of peace. But when the trials of the day return, stay connected to the vine. Cling to the one who really has the power and the strength you so desperately need. 

That is something no amount of self care will ever give you.

 

The Hidden Blessing of a Full Life

The Hidden Blessing of a Full Life

As I flopped into bed, exhausted, I lay there thinking of all the things a left undone. Yet another day had passed, busting at the seams. Filled with highs and lows. Responsibilities, routines, and even some excitement.

I sighed, trying to figure out what I would need to prioritize tomorrow. “Life is crazy,” I thought. “Will it ever slow down?” My days felt like a never ending to-do list.

I was frustrated. I am someone who generally prefers the slow, simple life. However, this kind of life seemed to have disappeared lately. Replaced with early mornings, late nights, and a whole lot stuffed in between.

Frankly, in that moment, I had a little bit of a bad attitude.

But, then it hit me, life isn’t just this crazy mess I was portraying to myself. Yes, our days were full. Very full. However, they were bursting at the seams with good. And if I looked close enough, I just might see what’s really there…

The Hidden Blessing of a Full Life Days full of baby snuggles, interspersed with the delight of a child over a simple tower of blocks or a splash in a rain puddle.

Time that was sacrificed for friends. One helped to move across town. Another over for dinner last minute. Plus lots of spontaneous playdates among the kids.

Meals were cooked with little hands alongside. Walks around the block were taken, with stops every 20 feet to look at the scenery.

Small hearts were shaped through tantrums and chores, kisses and hugs, and silly giggles. And, of course, lots of pointing to Jesus.

Hidden Blessing of a full life

Sure, the bathroom (still) didn’t get cleaned. And routines were once again derailed, though my intentions were there. Lunch was mac-n-cheese from a box.

There may have been moments of anger, frustration, and exhaustion. There were moments I wish could have been skipped and time I wish I could reclaim.

But still, life is so rich. So good. So full of the sweet moments. Moments that will pass you by without a second glance if all you are doing is focusing on the crazy and wondering if you’ll ever get to take a nap again.

The Hidden Blessing of a Full Life

It is these moments I want to keep my focus on. Because, yes, times of peace and rest are so important, but how we view the other, not so peaceful times of life is what determines how we feel about our days. And even the hard moments can be bittersweet and full of good, if they cause us to lean more heavily on our Savior.

The Hidden Blessing of a Full Life

So, instead, as my head lays on the pillow, I choose to redirect my thoughts. I lay aside the mental to do list for the night and thank God for the good he has surrounded me with. Thankful for his grace, once again, carrying me through another day.

Dear Mom of a Newborn…

Dear Mom of a Newborn

Dear Mom of a Newborn,

It gets easier.

I promise.

You’re sitting there, feeling pain in places you didn’t know you even had, holding this tiny being that completely depends on you, and you’re wondering. Wondering what life will look like now. Wondering how you’re going to balance it all. Wondering if you’ll ever get to take a shower that lasts longer than 2 minutes again.

Mama. I get it.

And you know what?

You’ll figure it out.

As my second baby is now ending his newborn phase I experienced all these thoughts for the second time around.

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“How will I get anything done with two to care for?”

“Will my house always look like a tornado just came through?”

“Will I ever get to take a shower for more than 2 minutes again?!”

“And where is child #1?”

However, from the haze of the first few weeks, months, I have emerged. And you know what?

It got easier.

We have good days. We have bad days. But we’re figuring out our new rhythm.

Because that’s life. It gets hard. Then it gets easier. Then it’s hard and easy at the same time. It’s up and down and all over the place. But there is nothing that life can throw at you that you can’t take.

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So we adjust.

We finally figure out how to nurse the baby with only one hand.

We learn to get the basics done as soon as we lay the baby down for a nap. Because who knows if we have 2 minutes or 2 hours.

We corral the older sibling in a nearby area so we can keep an eye on him.

We celebrate the small things – getting through the grocery store in one piece, sleeping in ever increasing increments, finally getting to take that shower.

So, as you sit there and cradle that tiny little one, please know. You got this. You will have days when it doesn’t seem that way. And on those days you’ll need to lean hard into the strength of the Savior. Kiss those sweet baby toes and pray a prayer to just get through another day.

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Then. One day you’ll wake up and realize. You’ve found your new normal.

You’ve got this Mama.

Finding Balance in Your Life

Even though I knew it was coming, adding child number two to the mix threw my normal routines all out of wack. Before I knew it, life felt like a giant to-do list mountain that I would never scale. I knew that I was going to have to make some changes if I was going to survive – let alone thrive!

Enjoy Your Life eCourse

Then, just as I was beginning this process for myself, I learned about Kayse’s Enjoy Your Life e-course. Perfect timing!

As I read through the daily e-mails, it was like Kayse was speaking directly to me! With her gentle and encouraging style, she led me through the steps of ordering my days in order to thrive in the stage of life I am currently living.

Enjoy Your Life eCourse

One of the best parts about this course is that it is not just a list of steps on how to plan out your days. In between the practical advice, Kayse weaves Biblical wisdom, encouragement, and a heavy dose of grace. She teaches you how to add margin into your life so that you can not only tackle the to-do list, but also carve in some “me time” too! It’s like a breath of fresh air!

Does this sound like something you would be interested in? Then I know you will be blessed by this e-course!

Enjoy Your Life eCourse

Enrollment opens on Monday August 10! You can also sign up here to be notified as soon as registration opens.  If you sign up sooner, you’ll be able to get some AMAZING discounts.

Monday (launch day) looks like this:

  • 12:01am – 5am PST: Only $7!
  • 5:01am – 10am PST: Only $9!
  • 10:01am – 3pm PST: Only $11!
  • 3:01pm – 8pm PST: Only $13!
  • 8:01 pm – 11:59pm PST: Only $15!

Plus, everyone who buys the course on the first day will be entered to win a $200 gift card to Erin Condren!

On Tuesday, the course will return to the full price of $17.99. This is still a great deal because just look at what you get:

  • 10 days of brand new content, delivered right to your inbox each day.
  • An exclusive course pack of printable worksheets to help you get your thoughts and plans on paper.
  • Access to a private Facebook group where you can find others on the journey, share ideas, ask questions, and be encouraged.
  • A beautiful printable for you to frame as a daily inspiration.

Kayse will also be running giveaways on her blog all week!

I highly encourage you to go check it out! And if you take the course please let me know about your experience – I’d love to hear how it goes for you!

What I’m Into – June 2015

With the craziness that comes from welcoming a newborn into the world I didn’t get to writing a May edition of “What I’m Into.” I love reading and writing these silly little life updates so I’m glad to be back with an update for June!

What I’m Watching…

All the Spring finales have long passed and we are in the thick of boring summer programming. So, we have turned to Netflix and Amazon Prime for most of our evening entertainment and weekend binge watching while my hubby catches up on work.

suits-series

Although my hubby and I tend to primarily enjoy crime drama together, we couldn’t find anything else that looked great a while back so we decided to restart Suits (we had watched it for a while back when it first started). We are caught up now and currently recording the current season. It is kinda fun to watch something different – although the “lawyer speak” sometimes goes over my head! I think the one downfall of this show is that sometimes the drama goes a little bit overboard.

Chuck

When we finished Suits, we decided to resurrect an oldie but goodie – Chuck. We watched Chuck way back when it originally aired, but it’s been fun re-watching because we forgot most of the details of what happened. Plus, I absolutely love this genre – comedy + drama. The only other show like it that I’ve watched is one of my all-time favorites, Psych. Why aren’t there more shows out there like this? Am I missing some hidden gems?

 

anw

 

K was introduced to ANW a while back and immediately fell in love! He thinks it is awesome and is convinced that he is going to be a Ninja Warrior someday. We don’t watch a lot of “reality TV”, but we have been enjoying the current season of ANW together. That’s a major score because it is so hard to find something that the whole family enjoys watching!

What I’m Reading

 

bpsb

We’ve been keeping our Bible time low-key this Summer for simplicities sake. Every morning we’ve been reading from The Big Picture Story Bible (I picked it up at the library). I really want to love this storybook Bible. It is very similar to the Jesus Storybook Bible, but easier for littler kids to understand. However, as I’m reading it, one moment I’m thinking “this is great” and the next I’m thinking “this just doesn’t work for some reason.” I can’t quite put my finger on it, but I think it’s because in trying to give the “big picture” it leaves out too many details of the individual stories.

What I’m Loving

  • Kissing chubby baby cheeks
  • Baby coos and smiles
  • Hearing K read to me
  • Rearranging the living room furniture
  • Two words: AIR CONDITIONING

What I’m Instagramming

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Chubby baby.

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Brother love.

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Baby kisses.

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Math lessons.

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Goofy little boy.

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Going shopping with two little helpers.

Come join me on Instagram!

Well, that’s all I’ve got for this month! What are you into right now?

 This post is linked up with What I’m Into at Leigh Kramer

The Top Ten Things Getting Me Through My Last Trimester

last trimester

As I try to keep my focus on the to-do list and off the fact that this baby could make its appearance any day now, I thought it would be fun to share the things that have helped me through this last uncomfortable stage of pregnancy.

So, here they are. The top ten, in no particular order.

1. Watermelon

One word. YUM.

Okay, more than one word. What has been the deal with the last few weeks? Its like the appetite of my first trimester all over again! Nothing sounds good. Unhealthy things sound good. Weird things sound good. Then nothing sounds good again. I’m hungry after just eating. But have to choke down food when I’m starting to feel shaky from not eating. It’s crazy!

Enter, watermelon. It always sounds good. Sure, it doesn’t exactly satiate, but it is so stinking tasty.

2. Bedtime Snack

Speaking of food, for the last few months as soon as 9pm rolls around you better believe I’m grabbing a bedtime snack. And not just any bedtime snack. It’s gotta be cereal.

I know, cereal. Bedtime snack of champions.

And not just any cereal. Peanut Butter Captain Crunch. Hey, gotta shoot for 80/20 with the healthy diet, right?

3. Nightly Walks

We’ve been keeping up on our nightly walks for the most part, and for all the reasons I talked about here, I’m still loving them. Plus, they keep my ever growing body moving, which can only be a good thing.

It won’t be long now and I’ll be doing continuous laps around the neighborhood in an attempt to encourage this little one to make his or her entrance into the world. Will that work? I don’t know. (Hint: It didn’t with big brother!)

4. A Goofy Little Three Year Old

My child. How I love him.

He just keeps getting goofier and goofier. I love it. He makes me smile every day.

He has a newfound obsession with Star Wars and walks around humming Darth Vader’s theme. Although, he doesn’t really know it, so it just comes out as very intense humming.

He loves to dance and show me his “moves.”

He is completely convinced that he will be getting a baby brother.

He is my first miracle baby and every day I think I love him more.

5. Afternoon Quiet Time

Yes, yes, I really do love my child. But that 90 minutes of (mostly) peace and quiet in the afternoon is priceless as well. I’ve even managed to sneak in a few naps to combat the end of pregnancy exhaustion! Score!

6. Wild Kratts

Speaking of being exhausted, want to know my super secret trick for getting a few more minutes of shut eye in the morning? Wild Kratts.

You see, sometimes my lovely son likes to wake up with the sun (you know, “The sky’s awake, so I’m awake! Let’s play!”) and I do not. Solution? Invite said child into my cozy bed and turn on an episode of Wild Kratts (Amazon Prime, yes!).

First of all, the Kratt brothers are awesome. I used to watch them on their show “Kratt’s Creatures” when I was a young ‘un. Second of all, K gets to learn all about animals when he watches, which he loves. Third of all, Wild Kratts is like 100 times less annoying than our previous show of choice, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. Win-win-win.

7. My Pregnancy Uniform

Being just a hair shy of 6 foot, it has always been hard to find long enough shirts. Add to that a growing belly and slowly but surely I have grown out of almost every maternity shirt I own.

Combine that with our lovely southern heat and I’ve pretty much lived in a maternity tank top and stretchy athletic shorts. It’s like yoga pants version 2.0. Please don’t be jealous of my mad style.

8. My To-Do List

I keep at least four of them at all times. My planner, the one by my bed, two dry erase boards on the fridge, and the random assortment of loose papers scattered on my counter.

You see, if it doesn’t get written down it doesn’t get done. I think you’ll find my picture next to the entry for “pregnancy brain” in the dictionary (well at least wikipedia!). My husband finds this a continual source of teasing delight. Don’t worry, I still love him.

9. Super Easy Meals

Seeing as spending hours in the kitchen preparing food which I may or may not even want to eat (see #1) is not high on my priority list, easy meals have been a necessity. Enter, grilled chicken. I marinate it early in the day, make a few simple veggie or fruit sides, and hubby takes care of the grilling when he gets home. Beautiful!

10. My Awesome Hubby

Speaking of my hubby, he’s great. I’ve had a lot more sickness/pains this go around and he is always willing to step in and help out. Couldn’t do this without him!

 

Well, that’s my top ten! What helped get you through the end of your pregnancy?

What I’m Into (April 2015)

I’ve been reading these fun “What I’m Into” monthly recaps for a while now and I’ve decided to join in! I don’t do a lot of these types of posts, so I thought this would be a fun way to incorporate some.

So, without further ado, what I’m into….

What I’m Watching…

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Well, I should say what I’m not watching anymore! The season finale of Scorpion was last week – so sad! This was the first season of Scorpion and let me say, I was not expecting to get this hooked! I have a couple other shows I enjoy watching with my hubby (Castle, Forever), but this has by far been my favorite (at least since The Mentalist ended).

So many crime shows end up being the same ol’ same ol’ – but not Scorpion. Based off the real life of genius Walter O’Brien, the show follows him and his team of geniuses working for Homeland Security. Both the action/missions aspect and the interpersonal aspect of the show are top notch. I highly recommend starting from the beginning and watching the whole season. If they don’t bring this show back for season two I may cry.

What I’m Reading

Nothing really, isn’t that terrible!?

I’ve been studying Ephesians for my Instagram study and that has been going well.

Other than that, the two most consistent things I’ve been reading are…

wtp

Trying my first chapter book read aloud with my 3 year old son. We chose Winnie-the-Pooh and he is doing a great job with it! Silly ol’ bear!

tyctr

The only other book I routinely crack open is my son’s daily reading lesson. I never would have thought to teach my 3 year old to read – but he decided he was ready and so I’m just along for the ride! He’s on lesson 27 and doing great!

What I’m Listening To

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The majority of the time when I need something to listen to I want something upbeat that will get me moving and motivated. Therefore, I listen to my Toby Mac Pandora station. Capital Kings play regularly on that station and I LOVE them.

spotlight_PianoGuys

I recently introduced my son to The Piano Guys, so we’ve been enjoying a lot of their music. Namely Cello Wars played over and over.

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Did I mention we’ve become a little Star Wars obsessed already? (Shhhh.. I love it!)

 

the-fox

Speaking of songs playing over and over (and over and over). I (ill advisedly?) introduced my son to “What Does the Fox Say?” and now it’s possible I may never get the song out of my head. If we’re not listening to it, he’s running around signing “ding-ding-ding-ding-ding!!”

What I’m Loving

  • Watermelon. Lots of it. 37 weeks pregnant has brought with it a weird appetite, but watermelon always sounds good.
  • My precocious three year old. He has just gotten goofier and goofier and more fun to be around.
  • #naturepalexchange on Instagram. We just signed up for our first Nature Pal Exchange and we are soooo excited!
  • Being outside before it gets too hot down here in the south.

What I’m Instagramming

 fort

Skipping quiet time to build a fort.

garden

Lots of weekend landscape gardening (and way to many trips to Lowe’s!)

tball

The start of K’s first t-ball experience!

splash

Lots of outside fun!

birthday

Not-so-patiently waiting on this baby.

Well, that’s all I’ve got for this month! What are you into right now?

 This post is linked up with What I’m Into at Leigh Kramer

 

5 Tips for Including Young Children in the Kitchen {while still staying productive!}

Five Tips For Including Young Children In The Kitchen (and Still Staying Productive!)

It’s 5 o’clock and you know bellies are going to be rumbling soon. It’s time to make dinner. You start pulling food out of the fridge and pans out of the cupboard. It isn’t long before you hear the patter of little feet and a small but willing voice asking, “Can I help?”

The only problem is these little helpers aren’t always the most helpful.Oftentimes, by the end of a long day the last thing you want to do is take twice as long to cook dinner due to the “help” of your little ones….

What are you going to do? 

I’m over at Intentional By Grace today sharing five tips for including those little helpers in the kitchen, while still saying sane and productive! Read more here.

Using a Bad Day to Point Your Child to the Gospel

bad day point to the gospel

It was one of those nights. The ones where the clock ticking down to bedtime couldn’t possibly move any slower. It had been a rough day. K had been particularly… well.. three years old. We’d been struggling with disobedience, stubbornness, angry outbursts, mischievousness, and lack of self-control all. day. long. Typically on nights like this I’m ashamed to admit I normally speed through the bed time routine in record time and then crash on the couch. Teeth, potty, jammies, prayers, kiss, hug, lights out – done.

However, for some reason this night something stirred in my heart and I decided to slow down. I tucked K in and smiled at him.

“We had a rough day today didn’t we?” I said.

It took maybe all of five minutes, but the conversation that followed brought about more fruit than a quick kiss and “I love you” ever could.

We talked about how he had made a lot of bad choices that day. He didn’t do a very good job obeying and he wasn’t very nice. Then, I said something that surprised him a little. I told him that mommy and daddy make bad choices too. He wanted to know what kind, so we talked about that for a little while. Then I told him that everybody does bad things, that’s why we need Jesus. I told him that God is the only one who never does anything wrong. God only does good things.

He thought that was pretty cool.

I told him that we can only be with God if we do good things too. If we do bad things, we can’t be with God, because He is good. Then I told him the good news. Jesus came to be good for us, so we can be with God. Jesus saves us.

We ended our short discussion by deciding to try again tomorrow to make good choices and be nice, because that’s what Jesus would want us to do. Then finally the kisses and hugs and goodnights. I came downstairs feeling at peace, instead of drained from the day’s struggles.

The gospel was something both of us needed to hear.

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How much did my son, a little three year old, retain or even understand from that conversation? I don’t know. However, what I do know is that a seed has been planted. A seed that will continue to be cared for until it grows to fruition.

Later that night as I lay in bed I told my husband about our conversation. He said that earlier in the day he, too, had a similar talk. K had run out into the road to get a ball even after being told to stop. There was a car coming (slowly, thankfully) and my husband had to run and grab K. Somehow their discipline conversation moved to talking about how Jesus saves us, just like daddy saved K from the road. When I had my conversation with K, he mentioned how daddy saved him when I was talking about Jesus saving him. Even though I didn’t know what he was talking about he had remembered the earlier talk and connected the dots.

They remember more than we think sometimes.

In our goals of raising kind, obedient, and thoughtful children we must not forget the bigger picture. We are all sinners in need of a Savior. Even our kids. No amount of training is going to change that. Let us never cease in pointing them towards our Hope.

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What tips do you have for sharing the gospel with your children? Share them in the comments. 

When I Don’t Want My Child To Obey

obey

My blood was boiling. It felt like the tension inside was going to break me into a million pieces. The last string of patience I could muster snapped.

My thoughts whirled.

“Why does this always have to happen?”

“Can’t I just have a few minutes of peace?!”

“That is it!”

Words spewed out of my mouth like poison.

Anger. Frustration. Bitterness.
Hurtful words. Shaming words.
Little eyes wide open, taking it all in.

Finished with my lecture, I collapsed at the kitchen table. I regained control of my racing pulse and pushed back the tears. My heart felt like it was a million pounds.

What had I done?

I opened my Bible and tried to pray. But I was overcome with remorse. I gained obedience, but at what cost?

It was then I knew that I didn’t want obedience like that. I didn’t want to teach my child (or any child) that you obey the person who hurts you. I want my child to obey me because of my calm authority as his mother, not because I know which words will cut at his heart.

I love my child and I want it to show. Even when I am frustrated.

And I must admit, I am far from perfect. The life I lead is often a messy one. However, I’m trying my best to take my parenting lessons from the best Father of all. The One who is slow to anger and abounding in mercy. The One who never shames, but holds out abundant grace and invites me to sin no more. The One who is ever just and lets me reap the consequences of what I sow, but who never deserts me along the way.

This is the Father I want my child to know as well.
So, I swallow my pride and I ask for forgiveness from the little one that I hurt, pointing him to the One who will never fail him.

 

Have you had a messy moment this week? I hope you will join me in casting my burdens at the feet of a Father who cares.