Monday, July 23, 2012

Parenting in the trenches

"Ugh!! You're so annoying!"
The words slipped from my mouth and I instantly hated myself.
What kind of mother says something like that to a two-year old?!?!

Allow me to make a disclaimer here; I struggle with putting my life and struggles out there for all the world to read about, but I've never learned from others by reading about someone going around faking like they have it all together all the time. I don't, if ever, have it all together. In fact I probably struggle more than I do succeed, but that just verifies my need for the holy spirit every moment of everyday.

Raising children is hard. It's like being stationed in a trench. Satan likes to camp out in our parenting trenches. I believe God uses parenting to make us more holy.  And I've come to see that the two combined make for some rough days.

I had a rough day the other day......
Riley is one of the smartest, most inquisitive children I know and that means I get to answer a lot of "why" questions. He's also a high energy child and that means I get to wrestle a lot when getting him dressed or when he goes potty and it means we spend 97% of the day running. He also doesn't require much sleep, which means we are awake and asleep at virtually the same times which in turn means I rarely get a break from him. I love him. But I'm fallen and I allow myself to come first sometimes. It was just like any other day, but this day for some reason Riley's constant chatter, questions, movement and energy was just getting to me. He just wouldn't stand still as I was trying to get his "Cars" undies back on and a rogue elbow of his knocked me in the face and I said what came to mind. {"You're so annoying rightnow!"}
I knew it would become a regret as it slithered out of my mouth, but I couldn't stop it. Though he didn't understand, I don't think, what that really means, he heard the tone and saw my annoyed expression. I hate that I said that. Even though the moment is long gone, I feel like there's a lot of learning I can gain from this ugly trench moment.

Since I've had Grace, my quiet time has suffered. Try as I might, I read one verse and its time to nurse again, or Riley has to pee as he does a little tell tell dance, or you name it...but I don't want to fall into the trap that if I don't have a 45 minute quiet time in the morning that I can't glorify God in my work as a mama. It's true that I can't do it right without Him. Which is a good thing cause succeeding on my own would be vain. However my reliance on the Lord while in this trench doesn't need to always come in a pretty little quiet time package. I just need to rely on Him, read when I can, pray always and speak truth about my children all day long. That last part is where I've gone wrong recently. See I've been praying lots throughout my day. A mumble here and there when it was quiet enough for me to think, but what I didn't realize is I was letting Satan sneak lies in my thoughts and letting myself believe them. Namely that Riley's constant questions and energy is annoying and bothersome to me. Poor me that I have to listen to him all day. I deserve some quiet time, I deserve adult conversations, I deserve to sing more than rhyming songs....etc.

We have to be so careful what we tell ourselves and what we begin to believe and in turn replace these nasty and divisive lies with truths of the Lord. The bible says my children are blessings. Always. There is no addendum that says only when they make me happy or only when they obey. Riley is all in all a blessing. The bible also says that our children are first children of God's and made in His image. How dare I treat an image of God with anything but love and grace.

There's not a whole lot of convenience in raising young children. You are needed every moment of everyday. Its exhausting. Its a battle. But its eternal work. We do this for Jesus.

In my icky outburst with Ri, I realized how much I need to keep up my armor against my fallen self. I need truth, in every moment. So today, I'm choosing to repeat to my self truths about my children. When I have to repeat "why thunder happens" 56 times, when I have to wrestle my two year old, when I have to pick up toys all day, clean crayon off my table, or when I have to nurse my baby 6 times in one night, instead of seeing myself, my focus will be truth that children are gifts. With the Lord's strength and Holy Spirits conviction, I'll be able to react to the tough times in a more holy way. I'll be able to point my children to Jesus. I'll be able to glorify Him in my parenting.

Truth is, Riley isn't annoying. What's truly annoying is this constant, exhausting battle we fight. All in all the battle has been won, I just need to depend more on the One who's won it for me as I eagerly await His return.

{this post was written for "Mindful Mothering Mondays" head on over to read more posts and encouragement from other mamas. If you have posts you'd like to include, all are welcome!}


  1. I think we can all relate to this post, we are human and sometimes those words come out in one moment and a moment later we wish we hadn't said them...been there. I remind myself that I am human, the my journey as a parent is not about perfection but about learning, growing and changing. Each and every day I learn something from the little man in my life and for me that is the important part, seeing the lessons and learning from them.

  2. Oh yes, I can relate to this. Today has been especially trying with my 3 year old. It's hard to keep up when it is just all so overwhelming!! I completely believe that being a mother sanctifies us even as it shows us just how flawed we are. When we see, we can keep reaching toward becoming better. Thank you so much for linking up!