In the heat of the afternoon and the excitement of childhood playground adventures my son claimed and pronounced a caterpillar more important than a friendship. His friend he left heart broken. And in the waning hours of evening, six-year-old energy running low, he cherished his legos above the brother who idols him, leaving the toddler in tears.
My irritation swelled and my disappointment grew as this behavior displayed on repeat. My level of patience dimmed and anger clouded above all else.
I lost perspective too. But I lost mine first… My son? Following in my footsteps.
The morning swirled in circles, and I could not accomplish one task without interruption. Focus was fuzzy, everyone with their own needs, agendas, desires and demands. “Just one minute?” I begged.
Can’t they see? Can’t they understand?
So much to accomplish, so much to do! So much to check off lists, so much to respond to. I am but one person, they are a few. “Patience!” I yelled.
But tables turn when they are tucked in bed and I am at my end. When they do not lay still and close their eyes, when they talk and giggle and keep the baby awake… and I loose my temper. When I am standing in their room demanding, “why can’t you just obey?” And the tears are streaming and the sobs are crashing.
Can’t you see? Can’t you understand? The gentle whisper filters through my head.
How do they choose what is important? How do they learn? They watch me. They imitate my steps, the path my emotions take across my face, the words that treck through my lips. Little honey bees learning my dance, steps to the fruit I have brought into our hive.
I am on my knees. Crushed with the weight of my choices, memories of my words. And it is my tears and my sobs as I beg their forgiveness and repent before them. Their arms close around me, reach close and tight. Our heads bent together, tears all dripping on knees. We sob out our apologies. We extend forgiveness, assure each other of our love. We accept each other again, things made right.
I do understand, at least a little better. So I begin a new.
I tuck them back in bed and let the words flow. Speaking all things true, the qualities I see revealing themselves bit by bit. My pride in my son, my admiration for his strength, his fearlessness, his compassion. My knowledge that God knew he has what it takes to be a good example for a little brother and a good protector of a big sister, that He placed him in this family with that purpose in mind, and that he is fulfilling his purpose more deeply each day. My gratefulness for my daughter, her tender heart and faithful countenance. Her willingness to be my help, my nurturing partner in this family. My wonder that God would gift me with her presence and her friendship, my awe at how she so perfectly fits His design for her life each day.
And tears are dry away, and sighs replace sobs and eye lids slip down over hope-filled eyes. They breath in deeply and evenly, lips parted, fingers resting limp.
If nothing else in their lives, in all my failings and in every flaw, in all my sinning and hurting and learning, I hope that one thing they take, if there is one thing they mimic me in, let it be the grace God has showered over me. The repenting and forgiving. The starting anew. That after forgetting what is important, the remembering is where it can begin again. A thankful heart for the undeserved gifts of second chances. This, I pray, is the part of me they take away.
“I have nothing unless I receive it from Jesus.
Absolute dependence on God is the secret for power in my work.”