Monday, May 16, 2011

You're doing it ALL WRONG!

With my first child, that is exactly what I heard every time she cried.  Surely, if I were a better mother, I could figure out the problem and fix it. But my little angel is crying!  I must be doing something wrong!


Eventually I got over that.  I learned that babies just cry.  They cry to express their needs, they cry because they want to be changed or they DON’T want to be changed, they cry because they hate getting dressed, or because they can’t tell you why they’re crying. But that does not mean I am doing it wrong.

Now in this wild house of six young children, there are many other things that shout this accusation at me daily:

The children are fighting, again.  I must be doing it wrong.
I am frustrated to the point of tears.  I must be doing it wrong.
Someone STILL has a rebellious attitude.  I must be doing it wrong.
I am feeling overwhelmed.  I must be doing it wrong.
At the end of the day, I am WORN OUT.  I must be doing it wrong.

Trouble comes into my vocation, strife without and within, and I cry out NO!  This is not how life should be!  I must be doing something wrong!  Tell me, isn’t there a way to eliminate all this conflict, stress, and plain old hard work from the vocation of motherhood?

Maybe someone should ask that family.  You know, THAT family, the one with the kids who never fight and the mom who never yells and at the end of the day they hug goodnight cheerfully and mom sits down to mend socks while she discusses current events with her husband?

I don’t actually know that family.  I just know that we are certainly not that family.

Surely, empowered by Christ, we ought to have that perfect life here and now, right?  Shouldn’t we be able to handle all things with calm, loving, selfless objectivity?  Shouldn’t we be immune to the effects of sin in ourselves and other people?

So, if my life is not perfect, if I find it has trouble, I need to work really hard to figure out exactly what it is I am doing wrong, so that I can fix it! Right?

The perfect life is a hard illusion to let go of.  And I will not let it go as long as I think the imperfections are caused by something I can actually fix.  I will chase after that dream, I will look under every rock for that magical solution that will rid my life of trouble and stress forever. I will find that magic potion that will make little boys BEHAVE!

But the imperfect life is not a problem I can fix.  Sin is at its root.  Mine.  Theirs. And the side-effects of it in this fallen world.  Christ has won the victory, so in us, it is dying, but it is not yet dead. And we must still live in this place, for a little while longer, anyway.

So I have this vocation, just like you, and in it I can expect trouble.  Trouble when I AM doing it wrong, and trouble when I am not. But just for a little bit longer, as He has promised to finish the work He has started.  So even as I whine along with the kids, I can take comfort in His unfailing grace.

Soon, very soon, the babies and the big people will be comforted together. 

And the mommas will lie down with the little boys, and there will be peace.

Easter triumph, Easter joy!
This alone can sin destroy;
From sin's pow'r, Lord, set us free
Newborn souls in You to be.
(At the Lamb's High Feast We Sing LSB 633 Public Domain)

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