This morning [ok, maybe not THIS morning...I've been sitting on this for a while, but reflecting more on this in light of some verses I have studied lately (spoiler alert: they are at the end)]...
SO this morning, was one of those parenting days I am glad there isn't a camera to rewind and watch myself. I am not proud. Now, maybe I should clarify that I didn't do anything extreme (slap, emotionally abuse, abandon a child)...but patience was something that came in small quantities.
Let me paint a picture: a 4-year old (gosh he is so cute)...but a very particular 4-year old, on the way to preschool, and his 2-year old sister had slept in and it's flu season so mamma bear says let her sleep and get her immune system at its peak...so we are running late to say the least. This 4-year old has a VERY specific request to play "The Gospel" (cue beaming heart) 3 times. The good news is that I know the car ride is usually right at 3 songs'-length so I will meet this request like the hero mom that I am (ha right)! Anyway, we are on the third time through the song and he starts to ask questions - as any 4-year old would do about everything and anything they can see, hear, touch, smell...
I turn down the music. WHAT WAS I THINKING? He starts crying because he missed a word. I pause it...ALWAYS pause it; never turn it down <-- how did I forget the most important lesson I have learned from parenting this child?
He cannot get over having missed a word.
As I continue to drive, I realize we are not going to finish the song before we park. Instead, I will have to sit there with an anxious feeling (remember I am running late) while we finish the song - even 90 seconds feels like an eternity when you aren't moving toward your goal of dropping the kids so you can avoid being the worst employee ever.
Finally, I assure him that they repeat this part of the song and I can push play again... My anticipation was correct. We pull up and we have just over 2 minutes left. I sit there patiently and we finish. Then, I unbuckle the kids and this unfolds:
My 4-year old realizes he is not wearing the exact same sweater as the day before - p.s. this was made clear to him that the other sweater was wet in the washing machine BEFORE we left.
He gets upset then proceeds to take OFF his jacket because it is the wrong way (another mom lesson for myself: buying him a reversible jacket does not go with his personality...he regularly changes his mind which side is the preferred style of the day).
Did I mention it is TWENTY SEVEN degrees??
And now I am standing and holding the toddler in the freezing cold while my 4-year old is getting UNDRESSED.
He proceeds to have problems, so I fumble around to get him help while still holding my toddler (who is holding like 6 accessories because that is how she rolls)
I snapped at him.
I was visibly and audibly impatient. Sure I was pushed, and tested. I failed. Let me rephrase that: I let internal anxiety about running late (how trivial, really) because of a choice I made to let my toddler sleep in, come out as impatience and sharpness in my voice and words toward my sweet 4-year old boy.
My heart called me to one action ... I prayed.
Not for supplementation; I didn't feel I needed more patience or easier kids or moments. I prayed to thank God. I had just listened to a song about how incredible our savior is in his forgiveness, grace and love for me even though I am a lost, broken person. God's unwavering patience and grace for us becomes blindingly bright as it is juxtaposed against what just transpired: the fact that I can't hold it together with a picky toddler for a trivial amount of time.
In my walk with the Lord, these moments are opportunities He is giving me to deepen my roots in Him and strengthen my foundation. In my weakness, He is my strength. I am not discouraged because of these moments of trial (and failure); rather, I turn to His word where I find how I can be more like Him:
Who our Lord is:
"But you, Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness." Psalm 86:15
What I am called to do in the likeness of Christ:
"My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry." James 1:19
Can you find opportunities in your life to find strength in the Lord instead of trying to do it all yourself?