Last night I went to my 7 yr. old daughter's first softball game of the season. Considering we are only a couple of days shy of May it would seem the appropriate time to begin this warm weather sport.
"'If Mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy!'" We smile as we read the wall plaque in the novelty store. But our smile quickly turns to a frown if truly "Mama ain't happy." This is because the wife and mother in a family often "sets the tone" in the home. The "tone" God wants her to set is one of joy, optimism, and a delight in the Lord and in her family. If your family were called upon to describe you, what would they say?"
~Martha Peace, "The Excellent Wife"
Yeah, right! The high here yesterday was in the low 50's but the wind chill made it feel much colder than that!
Fortunately I wore my heavy winter coat and gloves and as I snuggled under blankets with the other parents on the bleachers I had a revelation: "this is not at all what I pictured being a Mom would look like." So that got me to thinking about some of the other things that have "surprised" me about motherhood.......
Don't listen when I say "no"!
They often whine and try to manipulate me.
They have been known to lie to me!
They leave the house in grungy clothes and wear mismatched socks!
They are not stellar students!
They fight with one another!
They have been known to utter bad words!
They are messy!
Some days they just have bad attitudes!
They are embarrassed for their mom to hug or kiss them in public!
Two of my girls have tatoos!
They have made some poor choices and been caught! (And I am sure they made many others where they haven't been caught).
I don't blame you if you are thinking my family is the definition of dysfunction. I know that is exactly what I would have thought, at least before I had kids. Now, I find myself constantly revising my ideas of what parenting looks like. As soon as I think I have it figured out, I am thrown a new bone to chew on....
The thing it comes down to though, is this......how am I going to manage myself? I cannot alter the behaviors of another person, including my own children. I can be a guide and an influence but I cannot be God. I cannot change who they are and who they are destined to be!
So what will my response to their undesirable behavior look like..Anger?Disapproval?Criticism?
And what kind of reaction might I expect from these responses... Fear? Rebellion? Self doubt?
What if, instead I choose to respond with love, grace and forgiveness?
It's likely I would see love, humility and repentance in return....
I might not see it now. I might never see it in my lifetime but by planting the seeds of unconditional love I am making it possible for God to water and grow them.
These are not natural reactions to many parenting situations in which I find myself. But I am not supposed to live in my natural flesh. Too many times, when I have responded harshly, it has created an atmosphere of negativity throughout the entire household. However through God's patience and love, and with the power of the Holy Spirit, I am seeing my role as a parent through new eyes.
Last night the eyes I was seeing through were hidden between earmuffs and a neck wrap.
When I pictured being a Mom I might have seen a fairytale but my hope is that my daughter (as well as all of my children) sees a "real Mom" who is always ready to smile and cheer for her, no matter what the "weather"!
For more on the importance of a mom's attitude please visit Christin here.