Today was one of those days that you just feel like you're plugging away at but it's never going to end. Hunter is in the extreme 2-year old stage. Sometimes he literally just clings to my leg and screams until he starts coughing. I realize some of you (grandmothers) are saying, "Just pick him up!" but I know you were all once mothers and you know you can't always just pick them up right when they would like for that to happen.
I recently read this book called A Sudden Glory, and the author suggests you try to find one moment in each day that is a sudden glory from God. Sometimes for me, it's something random that happens with one of the kids, or someone at church who really touches me, or a huge random blessing that comes out of the blue. But I'm reaaaally really glad I've started looking for these little miracles, because it makes the leg-holding tantrums so much more bearable!
And it's not just that. Over the last few weeks I have really been struck by the thought that I don't always reflect Christ to my children. I get impatient very easily with them (*ahem* Hunter) and I tell everyone I never even considered yelling at a child until I was blessed with Hunter. I feel more stressed and tense and I tend to take it out sometimes on Stephen or Brianna, or even Hunter when he's just simply being a 2-year old. So even though I have had this particular thought several times over the past 10 months or so, for some reason, when I had it again about 2 1/2 weeks ago, I just really thought to myself, "I can change this. I truly believe if I start praying about this, that I don't have the strength to do it, but I know this is what God wants for my life and my family, and he will give me every tool I need to be a better wife and mother."
Not even lying when I tell you that the very next morning I woke up and I felt like a totally different person. It was almost like I knew that no matter what happened, I could handle it. I remember it was a Sunday morning, and Stephen was working, so it's never the EASIEST thing in the world to get both kids ready to leave for church by 9:20 - making it in time for Sunday school, getting them to leave by 12:30 so we can eat lunch, put Hunter down for a nap, and refresh ourselves before leaving around 6pm for church again in the evening. It's not that difficult, but you never know when one kid can put a kink in your plans! So I don't remember anything in particular that happened, but something did. Either something was spilled or we were running late or one of my children threw a tantrum... I don't remember, but I remember that every time something like that happened that day, I handled it. It was like it wasn't me doing it. I was amazed with my patience and how SWEET I was being! I was so excited to wake up the next morning and really look forward to the day together, rather than being soooo weary at the end of the day, and not knowing what tomorrow would bring.
And today was the first day that I could see a glimpse of how I used to act. Hunter's had this cold for a few days now and he basically just screams all. day. long. He cries when I won't give him candy for breakfast, he wails when I tell him we don't have any juice ("Hunter, go look in the fridge. Go look in the pantry. There's NO JUICE. I promise!" Hunter: "Whhhhyyyyyyyyyyy!?!?!?!?" - he screams as he tears his clothes and rubs ashes on his face), he cries when I try to put clothes on him, I mean this kid is crying over every little thing!
So thank you God, for the sudden glory moments. Like today, when we were on our way to a Fed By Faith delivery. The traffic in front of us came to a sudden stop and fortunately, although the kids were being noisy, they weren't distracting me as they usually do. I stopped with ease. Not so for the three cars behind me. I heard the brakes, looked in the rear view mirror, and saw the accident as it happened. Within seconds, traffic ahead of me was moving on and people behind me were getting out to make sure everyone was okay. As we started driving again, I just started saying out loud, "Thank you so much, God. Thank you for keeping us safe." Brianna said, "What are you saying thank you for?" I turned off the music in the car and explained to her that there was a car accident right behind us. I told her it easily could have been us in the accident, but that God kept us from being in it and kept us from being hurt. She immediately starting whooping and hollering and she shouted, "Thank you God, for saving the day! We love you soooo much, God! Woo hoooo!"
It made me laugh out loud so hard, but I just said, "Keep going, girl! That's right!"
Definitely a glory moment.
Making it to the delivery and passing on all this stuff for a baby to the mother's friend... the mother had to get out of a bad situation and has nothing for her baby who is due next month. As she loaded up her truck she just gave me the biggest hug.
Two strangers coming together over a horrible situation, but knowing that God has His hand in it. Definitely a glory moment.
Having Stephen walk in the door from work, take one look at my face and saying, "Do you need to go for a drive by yourself?"
Haha - NOT a glory moment! But thank you Lord, that my husband is starting to recognize some signs of me being overwhelmed, and he steps in to take care of me!
I want to reflect Christ in all that I do, but particularly to my children and my husband, because I want them to long for that relationship with God that I have. I know my husband does, but our children are our responsibility to not only teach them but to show them through our actions what it's like to be a Christian. I still mess up, but over the last couple of weeks I'm able to think before I speak, I turn my anger into tickle wars (this works GREAT when a child has done something wrong but not necessarily punishable, like squeezing lotion onto the bathroom floor or pulling all the books off the bookcase... sometimes I get aggravated but that changes quickly when I tackle the offending child and tickle them to death!), I am much more patient and soft-spoken... more like I feel like I used to be.
And it helps to know that the 2-year old phase doesn't last forever. I don't remember this phase with Brianna, but I believe it's because I was sleep-deprived from having a 6-month old baby at the time!
So I am really thankful to God, because now I feel like my children see all the love I have for them through my actions. Yes, I still get stern with them, but without screaming. I discipline them, but never out of anger. When I do feel like I'm well on my way to having a heart attack, I can slip away and be by myself for a few minutes rather than jump on them for whatever just took place.
One thing Brianna loves to say is, "Wow, God is really growing me!" I think that goes for me, too. God is really growing me, and as long as we are open to the growing pains I believe He can really do some awesome work in us.