Monday, April 30, 2012

Learning as I go

I was a kid once. And I have a great mom. Bonus: I genuinely like my mother-in-law too. Still, nothing quite prepared me to be a mom. 

Sure, there were things from my childhood I want to make sure my kids experience, and, certainly, there are others I hope they don't. I have goals and dreams and desires. I learn about this season of mothering small kids from moms who have gone before me and those friends of mine here with me. I've even read some books.

But, really, I just have to do it to figure it out.

And sometimes that alone is challenging for me.

I want to be a good mom. But then I think, what's a good mom anyway? So I've been thinking about what I want to mean about by "good mom."

Love God, your God, with your whole heart: love him with all that's in you, love him with all you've got! Write these commandments that I've given you today on your hearts. Get them inside of you and then get them inside your children. Talk about them wherever you are, sitting at home or walking in the street; talk about them from the time you get up in the morning to when you fall into bed at night. ...

When God, your God, ushers you into the land he promised through your ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob to give you, you're going to walk into large, bustling cities you didn't build, well-furnished houses you didn't buy, come upon wells you didn't dig, vineyards and olive orchards you didn't plant. When you take it all in and settle down, pleased and content, make sure you don't forget how you got there—God brought you out of slavery in Egypt.

Deeply respect God, your God. Serve and worship him exclusively. Back up your promises with his name only. ... Do what is right; do what is good in God's sight so you'll live a good life and be able to march in and take this pleasant land that God so solemnly promised through your ancestors, throwing out your enemies left and right—exactly as God said.

The next time your child asks you, "What do these requirements and regulations and rules that God, our God, has commanded mean?" tell your child, "We were slaves to Pharaoh in Egypt and God powerfully intervened and got us out of that country. We stood there and watched as God delivered miracle-signs, great wonders, and evil-visitations on Egypt, on Pharaoh and his household. He pulled us out of there so he could bring us here and give us the land he so solemnly promised to our ancestors. That's why God commanded us to follow all these rules, so that we would live reverently before God, our God, as he gives us this good life, keeping us alive for a long time to come.

"It will be a set-right and put-together life for us if we make sure that we do this entire commandment in the Presence of God, our God, just as he commanded us to do."
--Deuteronomy 6:5-25 {The Message}
Don't miss it. I don't want my kids to keep God's rules because they're rules. I want them to love God with their whole hearts. And I want to serve them and show them Jesus so that they can know God brought me to where I am, really, where we are. I want to teach them with my words, and, more importantly, my actions. And I want them to have the put-together life only following God brings.

Sometimes getting there -- and staying there -- is easier said than done. My emotions cloud my perspective on the days that wear me down. That's what happened yesterday when I learned Ben bit and hit our friend who keeps the church nursery. Sadly, it's not an isolated incident. He's been hitting and biting people, sometimes out of frustration, sometimes out of excitement, and usually people we love. Although there was the random boy swinging at the park who wasn't paying attention to Ben like Ben wanted, so Ben got his attention with a stick.

I don't say this to talk ill of my boy, who is king of adventure yet can melt your heart. I say this because such behavior baffles me. Sure, I understand frustration. And I was the big sister who bit my brother once, probably twice. But I don't understand biting those you love.

Or maybe I do. I bit my husband with my words yesterday. He wasn't sympathizing with my broken momma-heart like I wanted him to. I ended up snapping later because of that frustration and others that were mounting as I lost perspective of the kind of mom, and person, really, I desire to be, the kind of mom/wife/person I can be because God made, and is making me, new.

Today is a new day, thankfully. Ben ended yesterday with the highest fever he's ever had. 102.7. After checking it every four hours overnight and into the morning and giving him Tylenol each time, I didn't get below 101. My boy was lethargic, hadn't eaten since lunch yesterday, and barely drank anything. I know my boy, and he wasn't himself. So I took him to the pediatrician this morning.

Strep throat.

That kind of sums up the adventure of motherhood. Yesterday I was struggling with not knowing how to discipline and train my son not to bite. I prayed about it. I cried about it. I texted some friends about it. Last night and today I've been caring for my sick, feverish boy.

Between thermometer readings, Tylenol and Motrin doses, and a second trip to the pediatrician to make sure my preschool daughter who has had a snotty nose for weeks, even months, didn't have strep throat too, I've been thinking about how God wants me to mother my son in the best ways I know. He wants to me to stand firm in His truth and teach Ben those truths. And my boy needs me. He doesn't need a mom who is better at mothering boys. He doesn't need a parenting professional. He needs me. God made me to be his mom. And Cate's mom. And Greg's wife.

I don't do everything right. But I'm where I am supposed to be with the people I'm supposed to serve. And I'll learn as we go because God got us here and he'll get us there.


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1 comment:

  1. Some people get that "gut feeling," other people just "know," but for me, when I read something powerful, two things happen: 1) I read from the first sentence to the last, and 2) I get goosebumps.

    Needless to say, I read this entire post and had goosebumps from the beginning to the end.