I was less than excited about the idea because after a morning of early worship team rehearsal, 2 services, fellowship, and a giant bagel, I am ready to go home and start what you’re supposed to be doing on Sunday (which, as my children do not seem to comprehend, is rest).
But I did it anyway because I love my kids and love to bless them.
(And because my one word is Jesus and I thought it would be appropriate to once again die to myself and lay down my immediate desire to put on sweatpants and crawl into bed.)
After about 15 minutes, I gave the smart-parenting 5 minutes left announcement and even reminded the boys how they needed to leave the playground quickly and happily when it was time to go.
Fast forward 5 minutes and Happy Baby is hiding up at the top of the playground structure because he doesn’t want to go home and Happy Buddy is weeping hysterically because our leaving was going to interrupt his progress on mastering the monkey bars.
Did I mention that there were lots of other people on the playground?
Did I mention that the hubs is a pastor at our church and therefore I sometimes feel this unwritten expectation that I need to have my ‘stuff’ together? Stuff being that my children should listen and obey me?
Ahhhh, no. I had to climb up the playground equipment to pry off a tantrum-throwing toddler’s fingers from the death grip he had on the bars (only to discover after climbing back down that he had also taken his shoes off in protest and left them at the top). Then Happy Buddy, who is given to unrecoverable fits of emotion, was sobbing and ranting about how he never even made it to the swings.
And then he tripped and fell.
The innocent bystanders were probably wondering if my children needed therapy.
What’s funny is I was thinking that I needed therapy.
As I wrangled my emotionally turbulent crew into their carseats, I may have been a touch angry.
My pride had been hurt. I had been embarrassed by the circus act that was our departure. I was mad that my boys chose to throw fits instead of be grateful as I had CLEARLY sacrificed a lot so that they could have a good time.
Tight lipped and upset I jammed the keys into the ignition and started the 35 minute drive home.
The boys were now quiet in the backseat and I knew they could sense the tension.
After about 5 minutes, I could hear Happy Buddy sniffling. Then he quietly spoke into the silence, “Mommy, I’m so sorry for throwing a fit at the park.”
Then Happy Baby echoing softy, “Saw-wee, Mommy.”
The wounds I was nursing and the anger I was seething melted away and I thought what truer words than those written in Proverbs 15:1, “A soft answer turns away wrath.”
And as we verbally forgave one another and declared, “It is finished,” I was struck by something.
I was glad that my kids weren’t perfect.
Because if they were perfect then they wouldn’t learn to respond to the conviction of the Holy Spirit.
If they were perfect then they wouldn’t learn repentance.
If they were perfect then they wouldn’t have opportunities to experience love through forgiveness.
If they were perfect then I might be tempted to pridefully think that their obedience was because of something I was doing right as their mama.
If they were perfect then we all wouldn’t learn to depend so wholeheartedly on our blessed Savior.
So next time your child is kicking and screaming on the ground in Target or running around the sanctuary after church like a wild man, instead of saying, “He’s not mine,” thank God for another opportunity to point your little ones to the wonderfully redeeming work of Christ.
– Julie 🙂
“The sacrifice you desire is a broken spirit. You will not reject a broken and repentant heart, O God.” Psalm 51:17