(a little bit louder and a little bit worse . . . )
I have to confess, I have been finding parenting to be very frustrating lately. It seems like we deal with the same problems over and over again, every day, with no results except to see the same behavior the next day.
Ryan is by turns grouchy, bossy, all-knowing. He’s a wonderful kid, bright, funny, affectionate– but it seems like over and over we find ourselves telling him to quit bossing around his brother, to quit acting like he knows it all, to quit being such a grump after school.
Sam has his own little world and hates to be taken out of it by anything as minor as cleaning up, eating anything other than sugar, whatever. At least once a week we have a huge crisis about his hatred about whatever we are having for dinner. At least once a day we have to remind him to stay in his chair and eat his meal, because he is so easily distracted by whatever shiny thing happens to be blinking at him at the moment. And every time we tell him to clean up it turns into a battle. He, too is funny, affectionate, sweet, and endearing. And extremely infuriating.
And I admit that there are days that I just want to SCREAM as I try to break up another fight that resulted from Ryan’s attempts to control every aspect of his brother’s life, as I endure another meal where Sam doesn’t want to eat his spaghetti.
Why does it have to be so hard? How many times do we have to fight this battle?
In my Sunday School class we’ve been studying the prophets of the Old Testament, and I can’t tell you how many times I have been reminded of my attempts to teach my children. How many times did God have to remind His people to obey Him? And how many times did He have to bring judgment on His children to teach them and bring them back to Him? And how many times did He repeat this cycle, over and over, out of a desire to have fellowship with His chosen people?
How many times has He patiently brought me back to Him?
It seems that every time I reach a breaking point with my kids– where I feel like I just can’t do this one more time, my Father lovingly reminds me of the times I have failed, of the sins I have committed over and over, of the poor choices that I make nearly every day. And in love He draws me back to Him.
If the holy God of the universe can offer such love and forgiveness to me, how can I not offer the same to my own children?
They are my daily reminder of the compassion and understanding of a perfect Heavenly Father, and of the failings of my own sin-scarred self.
I guess if God hasn’t given up on me in the twenty-five years since I came to Him, I have no right to give up on my children when we fight the same battle every day for a week.
What a great, loving Lord I serve.