I blew it the other day. My youngest daughter was being a drama queen about something one of her friends had said to her. We had hashed and rehashed the issue. She had whined about the situation. I had offered sage advice. I thought it was over.
When I called her to dinner, I was reminded why we consider this child to be the dramatic one. She was still upset and felt the need to bring the situation up again.
I wish I could tell you that I calmly helped her work through the situation, that we once again went over the tools she could use to deal with her friend without hurting anyone's feelings or making the situation worse.
But I didn't.
In one of my finer mommy moments, I looked at her and I said, "Will you just get over it?!"
To make things worse, I didn't even really feel sorry about it at that moment. I felt justified. After all, we had just been over the same ground not half an hour earlier. She'd been given the tools to use to make the situation better and had chosen not to use them. She could solve the problem if she would just do what I told her to do.
And I was tired. She was sick on Monday and had spent the day at home with me, thereby throwing my week into chaos. My husband had gotten up early that morning (waking me in the process), I had worked all day, taken her to guitar lessons and still had a kitchen to clean and dinner to fix. I didn't feel like being patient.
So, I absolutely blew it. I missed an opportunity to encourage my child to deal with a situation in a manner that would make the situation better and please God. I turned that teaching opportunity into an example of how not to deal with people when you're frustrated with them. I could have used some of those relational tools that I was trying to give her.
It was only later as I got ready for bed that I felt the Holy Spirit prick my heart and point out to me that it wasn't one of my finer moments as a mom.
And I know I'm not alone. I know you have them, too. Those moments when you speak in anger or out of exhaustion or simply without thinking and you lose an opportunity to teach. Sometimes those moments contradict exactly the thing we were trying to teach our kids. When it happens, we feel defeated.
I'm not proud of those moments when I lose my temper, when I say the wrong thing, when I'm impatient with my kids, when I simply want to do anything other than deal with the current situation. But it's in those moments that I realize I can't do this myself.
This parenting thing is hard. I'm not smart enough. I'm not strong enough. I don't have enough patience. I don't have enough kindness. I definitely don't have enough self-control. I screw it up on a regular basis.
But even when I screw up, God is there. 2 Corinthians 12:9 says "But he said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.'" He's standing there waiting for me to turn to Him, so He can fill me up with His wisdom, His strength, His patience, His kindness and His self-control. It's when I go it alone, when I replace my time with Him with something that I deem more important, when I forget to ask Him for help, that I screw it up.
When I let Him fill me up with all the gifts He has for me, I have more than enough to share with my kids. When I get out of the way and let Him set aside my weakness for His strength, I'm a better mom. I'm a better person.
So, today, I say, "Fill me up, Lord. Make your power perfect in my weakness. Because I can't do this job alone."
Linking up today with Raising Mighty Arrows.