I’d had it “UP TO HERE”! I was tired. The girls were tired. I could hear the voices being raised in the other room as my frustration rose in the kitchen. My ten-year-old and eight-year-old, who usually are best friends and favorite playmates, had been going at each other for three days and I was weary of playing referee. My ten-year-old burst through the door in tears, but I stopped her before she could present her case.
“I don’t want to hear it.”
“I said I don’t want to hear it. Get back in there and get ready for VBS.”
Yep. Vacation Bible School. You know, the week-long event where our children get to learn more about Jesus and how to be a greater witness for Him (Big Sigh).
She hung her head and walked out. Seconds later I heard the shouting resume. Reason seemed to evade my pre-coffee brain and I stormed onto the scene:
“What is going ON in here!… I’m not putting up with this ANY longer!… Don’t talk back to me!…
And my words were hurled like daggers into my children’s spirits. I never took a breath to ask what had caused the uproar. All I knew was that my quiet had been pierced and now they somehow deserved the blasting they got. After all, hadn’t I heard enough of the whining and arguing lately? Hadn’t I been patient long enough? Hadn’t I taught them better? Hadn’t I…?
At that moment, it almost occurred to me that I was looking into the eyes of two little girls who were more confused by my outburst than convicted of their error. It almost occurred to me that I’d missed a teachable moment and instead created an overwhelming one. But I pushed it to the corners of my conscious. After all, it was time to go. The girls gathered their things and plodded to the truck with shoulders slumped and tears brimming.
And then I got it:
How dare I! How dare I pour frustration out on tender hearts? How dare I start their day with my disdain?
I got behind the wheel and I saw their crushed spirits in the rear-view mirror. I tried to salvage what I could of our morning. I told them how much I love them and that I was sorry I didn’t listen, sorry I got angry, so sorry. It sounded hollow. But they smiled and said it was okay.
But it was not okay to me. I can’t make it okay on my own, but I’ve learned through the years who can.
So we prayed.
We bowed our heads and asked God to forgive Mommy for not being more like Him and asked Him to help my sweet girls do the same. He did. And they did.
Today I blew it. Today and everyday, I’m grateful for a God who never runs out of patience with me. Who listens to all my whining and arguing and responds with gentleness. And I’m grateful that He hears my repentant heart every time and redeems what I can not. When placed before Him, he mends what is broken and restores what is lost.
I write this because I want you to know that we are all flawed, but God’s “mercies are new every morning” (Lamentation 3:23) and you need not carry the guilt of this day into the next. He saw it from the cross and carried it for you. I pray you have the courage to believe that His grace not only covers your weakness, but empowers you to better tomorrows.