Jan 28, 2009

Today's Lesson

1/28/2009 — cori
Let's just say that today was not one of our better days.

In fact, it was a recipe for disaster:

1. Chuck out of town (meaning: the voice of reason for the entire family has disappeared)
2. All children are in a funk, yet I insist on 'following the list' and getting school done come hell or high water - doggoneit, we WILL check every item off our lists today!
3. Patience is not one of my virtues and I lost any and all I might have had in reserves yesterday morning after the puking episode.
4. We had an ice storm the night before and that seemed to be infinitely more intriguing than school.
5. We have all been cooped up in the same house with out a break from each other since Monday morning.

But hey, wait a minute...aren't I the one in charge of this school? If we're having an off day, don't I hold all the veto power? How cool a mom would I have been to say, "Hey kids, free day today! Let's scrap school since we're all in a funk and go outside in the frigid below freezing temperatures and enjoy 3 minutes of sliding on the ice on our perfectly flat driveway!"

Do you think that even crossed my mind once? Nope. I was nazi school mom today. Instead of ease up a bit...I pushed. Instead of show mercy for poor attitudes...I told them to try harder. Instead of talk in a kind, loving voice...I talked as loud as I could inbetween coughing spells with a frog in my throat. Who the heck took over here?

That would be the real me. The side that feels justified for whatever manner of ills seem to be plaguing her. That's me living in the flesh and not by the Spirit. The kids knew it, felt it, and even tried to avoid it. But no...that wasn't enough...I would hunt them down and find something else that was bothering me and let them know about it. Enough already!

Had Chuck been here, I'm sure he would have gently pointed out the error of my ways. But he wasn't. And I have a thick skull. So things take a while longer to hit me than if they were pointed out to me. I pretty much gave the kids the silent treatment for several hours this afternoon. They readily agreed and listened to anything I said for fear of retribution.

Why am I confessing all this? Because this is me. I'm not good in my own power. I unintentionally hurt my children. I didn't choose grace. I didn't choose patience. I didn't choose love. But don't worry...the day was not a failure...love won out.

Right before bedtime, Gavin came and apologized to me for his attitude during school today (something I felt completely justified in, but handled utterly wrong - just one of those daily battles of being teacher vs. mom). But I noticed he was still distraught, so I asked him if he would share his feelings with me. He doesn't normally do that. He's very even keeled and it takes a lot to upset him. He broke down telling me how sad he gets when I'm sad. He said he doesn't know what to do or how to act; he feels like anything he does will upset me. He asked me, "Mom, next time you're upset at me, can you please get the punishment over with fast. Not like today where the punishment lasted all day." Today, the punishment (to him) was my silence.

Then suddenly my eyes opened. I saw the day through his eyes and not my own 'justified' ones. I saw him hurting for me and sad that he had disappointed me. He saw my silence as anger at him. I saw my silence as confusion on how to handle the situation, so I chose to do nothing and mull it over and over and over in my head (leading only to a headache). I know exactly how he felt. I felt that way often as a child but don't think I had the clairty of mind to put it in those words. My heart melted, and along with it, so did all the frustration, anger, fear and anxiety that seemed to be my constant companions today.

God truly does work all this out for good. Today's lesson wasn't about what we checked off our list, it was about changing our hearts. Turning our eyes toward Him and off ourselves. It was in my child seeing, feeling and hearing my heart felt apologies and thanking God that "His mercies are new every morning". I can't wait to see what we're going to learn tomorrow, I just pray my heart is more teachable than it was today.

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