Monday, June 2, 2014

Stand back (when everyone's crying)

It is not my job to make my children happy all the time.

Why is this lesson such a hard one for me?

I forgot this the other day, during our "fun" family outing to the park.  

It was fun, mostly, until the end when two were crying and one was injured and one was sulking because he wanted burgers instead of pizza, and the other two were sitting silently with huge eyes, afraid to say anything because mama was obviously about to lose it.

As we drove home, I lectured them about the way the enemy likes to trick us, by getting us to focus on the one tiny little thing that was bad about our day (our outing) and use that to help us completely forget the hundreds of good things. He tricks us into sulking, into ungratefulness.

And even as I spoke, I felt the "why-do-I-even-bother" pity party come over me. I could have just plopped them in front of a movie and had some time to myself. All this effort, and they're still not happy.

Really, self? Was that your goal today- to make them happy? Did you expect a trip to the park to make them happy, to keep them happy, to solve all of their personal conflicts, and to teach that one boy to stop wanting burgers all the time?

Well, maybe it was, but that sounds ridiculous when you put it that way. Fine then, what should my goal be, smarty-pants in my head?

And again, words from one of my favorite mothers returned to my memory:
"Just love 'em, and give 'em Jesus."

A simple, solid goal, indeed. Don't manage their feelings, and don't expect them to always like you! Love them- do what is best for them, what is good for them- and give them Jesus. Love them to the moon and back, and (what seems even farther right now) to the park and back, through the mud and back.

Give them an afternoon in the sunshine, feed their bodies, and apply the band-aids. Look at the flowers with them, and give thanks to God with them for all of it. Cheer for the big ones on the fast bikes, and lag behind to push the slower one, even if he's screaming in frustration because his little legs won't cooperate. Pray for him, and with him. Call upon the Lord for patience for the both of you.

Their field of vision is narrow. This is why they can have "the best day ever" playing in mud, and then, suddenly, the "worst day ever" being forced into a car seat. You cannot steady the ups and downs of childhood. Stand back- you with your adult perspective- stand back and smile when they are happy, feed them when they are hungry, comfort them when they are hurt. Learn to seek their good, not their good feelings, nor your own.

God's love for us is multi-colored, too. In accordance with our needs, He gives loving comfort, loving discipline, loving forgiveness. Lean on Him to give you the stillness to snuggle, or the strength to wrestle, as the moment requires. Receive both the sunny day and the pizza-in-the-dirt as blessings from His hand, for your good.

Remember, it's not God's job to make you happy all the time.


If we had just stayed home in front of the tv, I would have missed...

This little guy's brave balancing act.

And even better, watching him with my older duaghter while we joked, 
"what could go wrong? I can't possibly think of one thing..."

I would have missed this snake...

It was pretty little, but still... a snake. Ew.

The littlest one with the biggest determination:

His bike may be slow, but he will NOT give up.  Don't you dare even suggest a stroller. He is NOT a baby.

I would have missed the way my noticer notices every little wonderful thing, and the way my "future police officer" skips rocks like a boss, and the way the thoughtful one takes time to himself by a tree to think thoughts while the others play in the mud.

So here's to the summer,
the very short and very long summer,
where I will not be happy all the time, and neither will my children. 
But we will have each other, and sunshine, and Jesus.

Father, help me to stand back, to look up, and to receive each moment as a gift from your hand.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for this post. This is a constant frustration of mine: "All this effort and they still aren't happy". Thank you for letting me know I am not the only one who is tempted to be disheartened by this. And good perspective at the end as well. Once those hard moments have passed, it seems then that we see a little clearer. Jesus. There is no one else! Rebekah


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