Monday, December 21, 2015


Thin.  Like a faded and worn piece of fabric.  Washed and rewashed.  Threads stretched bare.  So thin that light seeps through and an ill placed finger might just go right through it.  That's been me the past few weeks.

If I were a dragon slayer, this week's dragons would include an eight year old who acts more like a sullen, sulky teenager and a two year old who acts exactly two.  Throw in a five year old who has also been less than easy and a nine year old who might also fall under that same heading.  We've had issues connected to food, issues connected to sass, issues connected to defiance, and issues connected to not obeying.  The two year old has refused to fall asleep on his own for more than 6 months and still does not sleep through the night.  Another one of the older kids has suddenly been waking up in the middle of the night and wanting to sleep in our room too.  My anxiety kiddo has been having tummy aches which have only confirmed my belief that something is not right with her gut, be it from anxiety, from a parasite, from an allergy, from something.

It's easy to feel like you're not the mom that your kids need you to be.  When their behaviors tank, you wonder if there is some other way to parent that would perhaps be better.  If only I yelled less, if only we teamed better as a husband and wife, if only I were more available, if only I were more organized-you can create quite a list of things you wish were different.

It's easy to wonder if you are enough because quite honestly, you don't feel like you are enough.  You feel pretty inadequate.  How can one person do right by four little people all of the time?   Putting out fires and playing whack-a-mole with problems leaves a mom feel that way.

I guess the adage "The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak." holds true.  My flesh is definitely weak.  And tired.  And frustrated.  And tired.

Yet God says "I picked you.  I picked you to be the mom to this child, these kids.  You.  I picked you."  It's the same message He said to Mary, as the angel announced the Divine birth.  He picked Mary, not because of her righteousness or her heritage or her mothering ability.  He picked her because of her willingness, because when she had just received the surprise to top all surprises, her response was a humble willingness to believe and accept what she had been told, a willingness to be the mother God believed she could be, to say "I am yours."

I'm not sure she could possibly have understood what being the mother of God would really involve.  I suppose in some ways, that's probably a good thing because if she had known Jesus would become a traveling preacher known for tangling with the local religious leaders, whose actions would cause her and her sons to question His sanity, I'm guessing she might have said she wasn't qualified.  I'm guessing if she had known how the story would end, with her son dying a criminal's death, crushing the hopes of so many who thought He would surely deliver them, I'm guessing she would have taken a pass.

The crazy preacher man for a son, the horrific death reserved for really evil men, those had to make her feel like she had perhaps somehow failed at what God had called her to do.  Maybe because in parenting, like so many other things, we measure success by performance.  We become so focused on the outcome we forget about the heart.  There is no doubt God wants us to love our kids in a way that is kind, compassionate, forgiving, and protective.  There is no doubt God desires for our kids to grow to know and love Him, for us to place such importance on those things that they are at our very doorposts and at the heart of our home.  But God chose Mary and He chooses you and me not because of our own behavior and our ability to orchestrate success but because of our willingness.

He knows our weaknesses.  He knows we are stretched thin, that we get cranky, that we our imperfect people trying our best to love imperfect kids.  He sees past all of that and instead says "I pick you, not because you are perfect but because you are willing."

If nothing else, make me willing to love my kids in endless ways.

1 comment:

stephanie garcia said...

Simply profound, and profoundly simple thoughts. Thank you and may God give you strength and grace in your willingness!