Thursday, May 27, 2010

big lessons from little people

today has been one of those days when i looked around me and decided that josh and i must have no idea what we're doing as parents.  in the first four hours of the day, we dealt with disrespectfulness, disobedience, unkindness, selfishness, screaming, and several other types of un-pleasantries that seemed to explode from our kids all at once.  and i'm embarrassed to say that i hit a point where i was no longer interested in training them in kindness, gentleness, and self-control.

i was done.

we were trying to get out the door to meet bethany's crew, and as i was upstairs gathering the diaper bag and keys, i heard a virtual volcano of nastiness erupt between abby and jack.  i could feel my blood pressure rising, but rather than stop and pray for patience and wisdom in training their hearts away from that behavior, i flew down the stairs and went a bit "volcano" myself.  i raised my voice and barked out something to the effect of, "HOW MANY TIMES DO I NEED TO TELL YOU TO USE A GENTLE VOICE?!?"

(the irony in that is definitely not lost on me.)

the next few minutes were just yucky.  i immediately felt the weight of how i had spoken to them, but i was still wrestling with the frustration of the morning so i just took them to the car and got everybody strapped in and ready to leave.  once we were driving, i began talking them through how none of us had treated each other with love and kindness.  i explained how they could have each handled the situation with one another differently but before i could go much further, a quiet voice from the very back of the van said, "mommy?"

"yes, abby?" i said.

abby replied, "i'm sorry that i didn't act kindly.  and mommy?"

"what pumpkin?"

she meekly said, "i read your necklace.  you didn't really act the way it says."

i reached up to touch the necklace around my neck and realized what she was talking about.  last year when we were preparing financially to adopt our little guy, i did a fundraiser in which i sold custom-designed notecards with the words "faith, hope, love" on them.  so several months ago when josh and abby were out on a daddy-date at lifeway christian stores and they saw a necklace with the same phrase, they bought it for me to remind me that god is intimately involved in this process and that i would someday hold that precious child.

i don't think abigail has a full grasp of the depth of those words, but she knows this: they are good, they are of god, and they're not the ingredients of harsh impatience.

as i drove down highway 119, i managed to simultaneously pry the dagger from my heart, apologize, ask for their forgiveness, and pray.

our thursday didn't have such a great start but the painful exchanges of the morning led to repentance, reconciliation, and joy for the rest of the day.

but the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.  galatians 5:22-23

1 comment:

The Taylors said...

Wonderful post my friend. Thank you so much for being transparent and sharing the beautiful lessons you've learned through your little ones. This is so rich and heart wrenching.