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Mundane Monday

May
2015
19

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It is 6:00pm. I drag myself up our 15 steps, red basket overflowing with unfolded laundry in my arms. I drop it onto our semi made bed and begin folding, piling, sorting. My sinus headache is raging again, and my eyes are begging me to let them close. They’ve got that grainy, open way too long feeling. But I’ve got 30 minutes until our church’s family meeting, just enough time to fold this last load, maybe even get it all put away, before we leave.

Downstairs, Titus picks at his dinner and stares at his sisters, free and playing, with the longest, saddest face you’ve ever seen. It doesn’t move me. I am tired of this battle, tired of him taking 45 minutes to eat in hopes that we’ll just give up, only to beg for food 10 minutes later. So I tell him harshly, “You will eat this. All of it. And I don’t care how long it takes. Don’t get up.”

Charlie is playing games on my computer because at some point in this day I told her she could and now I am regretting that promise that I’m sure I made in an effort to smooth over some sort of Charlie drama. Reagan is trying to help Charlie and their mutual frustration is escalating.

I shout down that they should all put their shoes on and I’m pretty sure no one hears me. Whose Elsa pajamas are these? They all look the same. Eh, who cares, just fold it and get it in a drawer. It’s almost peaceful for a moment, when suddenly the calm is pierced by Eva’s shrieking laughter and Titus’ cries of distress and injustice. I shout down again.

“EVA STOP WHATEVER IT IS YOU’RE DOING AND GET UP HERE RIGHT NOW!”

(Look, I know the shouting is unattractive/likely sinful but I’m just keeping it real here. I do pray for a gentler tone. And I do still sin. This is reality.)

As she appears at the top of the stairs with Titus’ giant Olaf in hand and I hear the victim’s voice trailing off downstairs “…want my Olaf!…” I quickly assess the situation. Eva is tormenting her brother, stuck at the table, with his Olaf, and delighting in his unhappiness. I yank the Olaf out of her arms and throw it over the banister, calling down to Titus that he can come get it.

“Eva, why are you laughing at your brother when he’s crying?? Why are you being mean to him? You can’t treat him like this!” Again, I know this is unattractive. I’m aware that this is the least helpful thing in the world to say. But I’m so tired of this conversation. I’m feeling completely at a loss as to what on earth will break through this child’s tough exterior. I’m at my wit’s end with her, and I’m giving in completely to my own frustration and weariness.

I tell her to sit on the floor in my room while I’m folding laundry because she can’t be trusted to be downstairs with the other kids. She sits just out of sight behind my dresser.

“No, Eva, you can’t hide from me. Sit where I can see you.”

She moves to the floor right by the bed, so that I can only see about half of her.

If you think this move is accidental, it’s not. She knows what she’s doing. Eva is 7. But she has only been experiencing consistent parenting and discipline for 2 years. So we like to say we’re fighting the 2 year old battles with her. The problem is that because she is 7, and smart, her disobedience is significantly more clever than that of a 2 year old.

I make her sit in the chair. She doesn’t like it.

We remain in silence for a few minutes, me folding, her glowering. Then she bursts out with, “But it’s just so hard to be kind!”

I sigh. The Lord won’t let me miss this parenting opportunity by selfishly hoping she’ll just get over it and move on. He wants to teach her something. He wants to teach me something.

So I begin the conversation I’ve had with Eva over and over, the one I’m sure to have many, MANY more times before this journey is over.

“It is so hard to be kind. It’s too hard. We can’t do it on our own, Eva. We need help. Who helps us?”

Again, she glares. She doesn’t like the answer. “God.”

“That’s right, sweetheart. God gave us Jesus. He loves us. He can help us be kind. But we have to let Him be in charge. And you don’t want Him to be in charge. You want to be in charge.”

My tone gentles and softens as I talk to her. As always my own words convict me. A gentle answer turns away wrath. But I don’t respond gently to her. I give in to my sin and lash out in frustration. Why can’t I be gentle?? It’s so HARD. I know how Eva feels. I need help.

We talk a little more. We don’t really get anywhere, but I have faith that the conversation is just another tiny piece of kindling on the fire that I hope the Spirit will ignite in her someday.

Then, as is necessary with Eva, I help her move on by giving her a task. She loves to have a job. So she helps me get the laundry put away, and she’s skipping down the stairs, incident forgotten.

This is a mere 20 minutes of my day. And yet it’s a picture of the all day every day all consuming completely exhausting nature of motherhood. It is not easy, and it is not meant to be. By some mysterious miracle, God uses the mother to refine the child, but in a greater way uses the child to refine the mother. These children reveal my anger, my selfishness, my laziness, my anxiety, every second, every day. But it is because He does not intend to leave me in my sin. He intends to expose it and bring me from one degree of glory to the next.

Oh, for the faith to believe that these mundane moments are for my good and for His glory.