The day before yesterday I was in a huff when I was trying to get his jacket on in order for us to leave for preschool. My three-year-old wanted to put his jacket on himself, but he hasn’t quite perfected that skill yet. I was in a hurry and losing my patience.
When I heard myself take a harsh tone with him, I apologized and said, I’m sorry my boy, “I … I’m just in a hurry and …” and I realized that my own series of decisions over the course of the morning were actually the reason that we were running behind. And were also really the reason I was short with him for wanting to try to do something himself. Which is totally normal behavior for a three-year-old and doesn’t deserve a harsh tone.
And I didn’t actually need to be in a hurry…I was just being impatient.
I constantly find that when I have my own time, my own space, when I’m able to do things at my own pace, I usually feel pretty good about myself. I feel like I’m doing okay. But throw down the challenge of balancing the things I’d like to get done with managing my children who also have needs, and I am acutely aware of my own depravity.
If there’s any aspect of my humanity that I find really discouraging, it’s that I am continually fluctuating…consistently inconsistent. In comparison with a God who always loves, always forgives, never changes, I feel very not-good, and very small.
I recently read these words and felt a sigh of relief I didn’t know I needed:
“Our fluctuating humanness is there on purpose, to remind us of our need and draw us to the One who can meet it.”
— Emily P. Freeman, Grace for the Good Girl
It consistently seems that, in God’s economy, the trials and challenges of life are of infinitely greater value than the days where everything seems to be going just right, when my day is going my way.
And though my children are a consistent source of joy, a continual reason for me to give thanks, they are also a part of God’s plan for refining me.
A day later, on our way out the door to preschool again, he looked up and pointed out the lines of clouds two jets had drawn across the sky that morning.
In a pool of clear blue, two beautiful white lines stretched out, just crossing each others’ path at the furthest end. My gaze lifted higher as I almost expected them to cross paths again to make a heart shape in the sky.
Crossing the driveway to load up the car, I marveled that I wouldn’t have stopped to take notice, to enjoy a simple moment of beauty, if my little one hadn’t pointed it out to me.
The challenges of parenthood are oftentimes also the gifts. My kids keep me looking up.