Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Can't Do It Alone

Guilt-trips and harsh words can do as much damage to a child as anything else. I am learning this the hard way.

Stress comes in many shapes and sizes. Ours of late has multiplied. In the past month, we have all been sick multiple times. We have had to travel often. We live in another country, and have been having issues with our paperwork, which creates a stress all its own, a stress felt on the inside and expressed subtly on the outside.

And I have been astonished at the ickiness oozing off my tongue. Mean, accusatory words hurled at my husband. Frustration with my children's childish behavior verbalized. 

I have hurt my little ones. In these times of stress, little man alternates between aggressive outbursts and  guilt-induced good behavior. The little lady clings ever tighter to her mama, unable to express her anxiety. Both children wonder, does mommy love me? Does mommy like who I am? Little children should never wonder this. The littlest ones, the least of these, ought to feel safe and secure, built up, and free to be who they are.

My confession tonight is a challenge. A challenge to all moms who, like me, sometimes vomit ugliness on their families. A challenge to face our wrongdoing, and to make it right.

We mommas have a high calling. Everything we say, every action we make, impacts our family. The old adage, "When mamma ain't happy, ain't nobody happy," is accurate. And the truth of the matter is, momma's words and actions come from her heart. What we as moms display on the outside oozes from who we are on the inside.

If this is the case, then no amount of do-good, try-harder, be-more-patient-tomorrow will help us, for it is our inner, not our outer, life that is off balance. 

We need to return to the One who died to restore us, the One who lives to be with us, to BE for us what we cannot be. The One who calls Himself the I AM. His Spirit in us, the Spirit that intercedes for us with groaning too deep for words, longs to produce His fruit in our lives. "But the fruit of the [Holy] Spirit [the work which His presence within accomplishes] is love, joy (gladness), peace, patience (an even temper, forbearance), kindness, goodness (benevolence), faithfulness, Gentleness (meekness, humility), self-control (self-restraint, continence). Against such things there is no law [that can bring a charge]." Galatians 5:22-23

I am a beloved daughter of the Most High. Yet I spend the majority of my day running away from Him. I idiotically believe that after He sacrificed His very life for me, He does not love me unconditionally, and therefore I must DO and BE to please Him. Yet He calls Himself the "I AM". Who am I to add to that? 

Jesus invites me to give Him my burdens: "Casting the whole of your care [all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns, once and for all] on Him, for He cares for you affectionately and cares about you watchfully." 1 Peter 5:7

Moms, if you, like me, struggle with your own imperfections, your own selfishness, your own stress, your own failures and weaknesses, join me in turning to the life-giver, the burden-carrier, Jesus. Let Him be through you what you cannot be on your own. Find rest for your soul. Your family needs you to.

photo credit: http://www.pattihanan.com/2011/08/bruised-reed.html