It was a bad, awful, really lousy day.
There was absolutely nothing going wrong. That is, except inside my heart.
The kids were kinda bouncy. What's new.
The questions were aplenty. As always.
We were rushing to get out the door. As usual.
The kids were kinda bouncy. And I was saying, "SIT STILL!"
The questions were aplenty. And I was saying "NOT NOW!"
We were rushing to get out the door. And I was saying "COME ON!"
All was going fine. I had a vice-grip of control on my children. Until I realized the girls needed to put different shoes on (because it was MUD day at VBS, and mean ol' mom decided that the fancy shoes they had chosen for the day were not appropriate for getting caked in MUD - ahem).
Well, let's just say that my girls, at age 3 and 5, have a definite shoe fetish. The elder one because of comfort, the younger one because of style. Though different in root, they are equally intense.
Changing shoes was NOT in the plan. Some serious whining ensued.
I felt something snap in my head. Or maybe it was in my heart. I felt it throughout my body, though. I started yelling. "I DON'T CARE THAT THOSE ARE YOUR FAVORITE FANCY PINK SPARKLE SHOES, YOU NEED TO GO PUT CROCS OR FLIP FLOPS ON. RIGHT NOW, PLEASE!!" (Like how I added the please? That was just because I always set a good example for my kids in how I talk. Uh-huh.)
Then there was some sobbing, crying, gnashing of teeth. More whining, more frustration. It was ugly. U-G-L-Y.
Eventually, alternate mud shoes were found, and the whining ceased. But I was still in a funk. I was stomping around and barking orders.
Corene was trying valiantly to tie her shoes, but one was knotted. With fear in her voice, she squeaked out an "I can't".
I stomped over, ripped the shoe out of her hand (I'm sorry to say it did feel good), and started to "help".
At this point, Corene started bawling. I had crushed her.
A moment later, Ava started bawling.
I felt bad, knew it was all me. All my temper. All my anger. Nothing about them. But I didn't really care. It felt good. I didn't feel bad enough to change.
Proverbs 29:11 "A fool gives full vent to his anger, but a wise man keeps himself under control."
At this point, I'm not falling into the category I'd like to. Anger is a funny thing. The verse doesn't say, "A wise man never feels anger", does it? It simply says he keeps himself under control. I was most definitely giving full vent to my anger. It feels GOOD, at that moment.
Then. Ava's voice. "Mommy. You make me SAD."
"YOU make ME sad!" I huffed.
Then. Whooooosh. Conviction.
I'm thankful it wasn't a lightning bolt.
So, let's see here. Corene is bawling. Ava is bawling. Oh yes, now... Mommy is bawling.
There were hugs, kisses, apologies, "I forgive you"'s, and even some giggles. Wow, kids forgive easily. If my husband treated me like that, I can tell you right now that I wouldn't get over it for days. Days.
Lesson #1 learned from my kids: Forgive. Right now.
We were late to VBS.
But I didn't care anymore. My attitude had done a complete 180. Why had it improved so suddenly? Let's see... I'd confessed, both to my kids and to God. I had been quiet with Him for 30 seconds before we walked out the door and begged him to change my heart (note: 30 seconds of said alone time occurred while going potty. Of course. Typical-mom-fashion). As I sat there to pray, I realized that was the first time I'd even said "hello" to God that day, let alone asked Him to mold me or make me reflect Him to my kids.
Lesson #2 learned: Say hello to God. Right when you wake up.
Remembering our sermon from the previous week, on the way out the door, I said to Corene, "I'm so thankful that Jesus died on the cross. He forgives my sins, like when I'm angry and mean. He takes them away and doesn't even remember them! Isn't that amazing?"
Corene said, "YOUR sins, Mommy?"
Yep. All of that yucky heart you saw in me this morning? That'd be sin. And, Praise be to God, He took it away!
Lesson #3: Praise the Lord for the forgiveness of your sins. Because maybe even when you are really awful to your children, they might not know that you SINNED and needed to be forgiven. Both by them AND by God.
And the punch line of the whole morning. (Every hard morning deserves a punch line!) In the car on the way to VBS:
Me: (to Ava) Who forgives your sin?
Me: Who forgives Mommy's sin?
Ava: (without missing a beat) ...Daddy...
--pause, while I look at her quizzically--
Ava: I mean... God?
Lesson #4: Walk humbly before God. Who is looking at you and equating you with God?
4 little lessons. One bad, awful, really lousy humble, beautiful day.