Looking Inward

by 6:02 PM 0 comments
I apologize in advance, but this is going to be a long one.  I don't know if you are a parent or not.  New parents are always told, you children are a reflection of you.  Yes, they often look similar but children are reflections of not only your DNA, but you're everyday life.  Your attitudes, mannerisms, likes, dislikes, prejudices, kindnesses, triumphs, and failings.  I've been a parent for 9 1/2 years - a drop in the bucket to some and a lifetime to others.  I see the sobering reality to "children are a reflection of you" and it grieves, no condemns, my sinful heart.  However, God chose me to be a Mother to my children, my earthly and angel babies.  God will use my shortcomings as a person to help mold my boys into the men God will need them to be.  I need only trust Him to do it and stay out of His way.

In the last couple of hours, I have been a terrible mother. I was tired and had convinced myself that I deserved a little nap.  Rather than having a cup of coffee or taking the kids out in the sunshine to wake myself up until bedtime, I decided that it would be perfectly reasonable to stretch out in the arm chair.  I would have #1 keep an eye on his brother.  They would be in the same room with me, and I asked #1 to put the gates up.  I figured they'd keep #2 in the areas of the house where he had less opportunities to get himself into trouble. I stretched out and dozed off, in and out of sleep for a while, before finally starting off into dreamland for a spell.  

I woke up because I had to pee, not because anything was amiss.  I wasn't totally awake so it wasn't until I I returned from the bathroom, that I realized #2 had gotten into the sack of peanut butter cups #1 had been nibbling on.  #2 had managed to pull the foil wrapping off of about a dozen of the candies and even got the paper wrapper off five or six.  I immediately got furious with #1 - why hadn't you been watching him?  If you had been watching him, how did he get into the candy?  What was so important that it took priority over doing what I asked you to do?  As I unleashed my anger on #1, I realized something was not right with #2.  He had shoved as many peanut butter cups into his mouth as he could fit.  They began to melt and as peanut butter often does they were sticking to the roof of his mouth.  He was beginning to panic because he couldn't get the candy out of his mouth.  I told him to calm down and just chew up his "bites".  Next thing I know, he was making the subtle movements, ones completely devoid of sound, that panicked me.  I realized he was choking.  I leaned him forward and began patting his back trying to dislodge the offending peanut butter cup(s).  He finally gagged and got the lodged candy out of his throat.  I was relieved for about 30 seconds before the projectile vomit started.  See God hardwired into our bodies this great physiological response to choking.  If we can't dislodge whatever is in our airway, our bodies will quickly (and violently) expel our entire stomach contents.  Often the force of the gagging and vomit is enough to send the lodged item (and everything else) well out of harms way.  

As I watched the "mess" (I'll spare you the description) unload onto my carpet rather than the blankets just centimeters away, I remember feeling the wrath welling up inside me toward #1.  Why hadn't you been watching him?  If you had been watching him, how did he get into the candy?  What was so important that it took priority over doing what I asked you to do?  Do you see the mess I now have to clean up?  When #2 was finished, I was in a blinding rage.  I cussed, a lot.  I cussed a lot at #1.  I called him names and said things no Mother should ever say to her child.  When he talked back I smacked him.  Yes, I'm admitting this in an open forum where I'm sure the judgments will ensue.  That's okay, accountability means being open to ridicule.  

At this point, there was not an ounce of control left in me and I was practically screaming at #1.  Get towels, get this, do that... Then I started the guilt trip and 3rd degree questioning.  Why hadn't you been watching him?  If you had been watching him, how did he get into the candy?  What was so important that it took priority over doing what I asked you to do?  He had been watching cartoons on TV, laying on the floor, inches from #2.  I knew I was too furious so I reached out to a friend, someone I knew would be objective.  I sent her a few rapid fire text messages as I feverishly scrubbed my floor.  Just as I suspected she texted me back completely rational questions about the situation.  I realized I couldn't be objective, or think straight, or do anything worthwhile in a blinding rage.  So I handed #1 the phone as it was ringing my friend and told him to talk to her.  I knew I couldn't be a Mother right then and #1 needed Mothering, support, comfort... rationality.  While #1 talked with my friend I finished cleaning up the carpet.  My phone was dying so I told #1 to tell my friend I would charge it and call her back.  The rage has subsided, but I was still angry.  

My human side didn't reach out to God in that moment, I was captivated in my wrath.  Thankfully, Romans 8:26 says "Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words."  While I was loosing my mind, the Holy Spirit that Jesus sent to me the day I committed myself to him began praying for me.  The Holy Spirit was speaking to the Father in Heaven, inhibiting me, and protecting my sons from what I could have done.  When things were finally quiet again, the Holy Spirit spoke to my heart.

I began thinking about something God allowed me to realize once: when we get angry and wrathful it is a reflection of our own hearts and the work God is doing in us.  Anger and wrath may be a reaction to outside influences, but they are not Godly reactions.  It is a reflection that I still have a very long way to go in turning from sin.  James 1 says "22 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. 23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. 24 For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. 25 But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing."  If I say I want Jesus to do a work in me, than I need to realize when He is saying to me Jodi, you still have a long way to go with this.  Allow me to do this work in you...  I claim to be Christian, a follower of Christ, a student of the bible; but when I succumb to anger, wrath, and the countless other battles I lose with my sin

I began to see the difference between blaming my son and a sin I'm all too familiar with - anger and wrath.  What God is showing me was I am the guilty one, not #1.  Why hadn't Jodi been watching #2?  If Jodi had been watching #2, he wouldn't have gotten into the candy.  Why was napping so important that it took priority over doing what God asked Jodi to do?  Do you see the mess you've now made for God to clean up?  #1 is only a child who loves his cartoons and was focused on watching them.  #2 was only a child fascinated by candy and exploring it fully. God didn't ask #1 to be the parent to #2.  God asked Jodi to do that.

C O N V I C T E D.

Now what?  The bible tells us to turn away from sin (Isaiah 44:22, Acts 3:19).  Once we've repented, it's time to make amends to the ones we've wronged (2 Timothy 2:24-26).  Because the person I wronged here was my son, it's even more important for me to use this moment to bring Glory to God (Proverbs 13:24, Deuteronomy 6:6-7).  You see, it is my job as a Mother to teach my children about God.  They need to understand that sin is a life long struggle, but through Christ it will eventually be overcome.  My children need to know that I will admit when I am wrong and turn from sin. I need to allow Christ to work through me, so my children are able to allow Christ to work through them.  

And now, that's what I'm about to do....

Jodi @ God Still Speaks

Head Writer

Boy mom of three. Married to the same man since 2002. Former working mom turned stay-at-home mom. I love my faith, family, and coffee.

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Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests to made known to God. — Philippians 4:6