have you ever been guilty of making things appear like they are peachier than they really are? this was me yesterday. i posted this photo of my daughter and i watching the cowboys game on facebook with this caption:
"Come on Cowboys...let's finish this! To watch our first game we had to buy it for $10 after 6 sitters couldn't babysit last minute, but watching with this lil' fan is fun. K loves saying "TOUCHDOWN COWBOYS!"
fun? not so much. i had to wrangle Kennedy to get her to take the picture and bribe her with a dark chocolate peanut butter cup 10 minutes before dinner just to say cheese. all day it seemed the whining and fighting between morgan and kennedy WOULD. NOT. STOP. because of my killer workout 3 days ago, i was still incredibly sore. when i woke up, i felt like an 85-year-old woman stricken with arthritis. this was not a recipe for a good mood.
i lost my cool and yelled about the girls' behavior to ken and at them, multiple times. i seriously lost track of how many timeouts and wooden spoon spankings kennedy got. by far, the most challenging day we've had parenting her in a long, long time.
but don't we look happy and full of joy?
truth? what we put out there, isn't always a reflection of what is REALLY going on in our lives.
most of us probably start our day intentionally seeking joy... and sometimes, it simply does not work. some days just suck. all of the days the Lord has given us are meant for joy and if we wake up, He has promised yet another blessed day.
where it goes haywire is us...the human spirit. the rebellious, selfish, my-agenda mentality. taking our gaze off of Him, and onto us.
yesterday i had an agenda of watching the cowboys game ('cause y'all all know what a crazy fan i am!) and i wouldn't die to fulfilling that need. i figured i deserved it since i haven't watched a game yet. yeah, yeah, it's only preseason...but i am a CRAZY fan.
i texted 6 babysitters, 3 of which i have been meaning to interview/meet but who have never watched the girls. (i know your mouth is gaping wide open, thinking i just texted some random people off the street; but i assure you these 3 sitters are strong recs from my friends.) ken and i were kind of desperate to get the heck outta dodge for a couple hours. i think the longest stretch of no whining and crying we had all day was 1 min and 37 seconds.
we couldn't find a sitter so we ordered the game for $10. and my selfless husband let me watch most of it while he missed a good portion. active girls like ours can only be entertained with "touchdown cowboys!" for like 10 minutes max. and somebody had to bathe and feed them.
halfway through the game i found the bargain of the year on craigslist for $60. a fantastic outdoor patio set. ken and i finally sat down to eat at 8:30 after a challenging time of him putting down the girls, and i asked my weary husband to drive a half hour to pick it up. he said he would but admitted he was so very, very tired.
when i looked into his exhausted eyes, i realized, i am SMOKIN' CRACK!
"no honey, i'll go. you need to rest. you need some time alone." i can load it up, no problem (never mind that i can't hardly lift the girls today.)
i drove the 30 minute trip reflecting on how selfish i had been all day. tears filled my eyes and i was very disappointed in myself so i repented and prayed. on the way home, i opened the sun roof and blasted JT's 20/20 album.
this morning i woke up at 6:10am and got to experience my new-to-us patio set with 2 cups of coffee and a full dose of Jesus.
i was reading "mended" by angie smith, and came across this jewel:
"The consolation we have in considering our failures comes from knowing that He sees our hearts. It doesn't make what we have done right, no question. But it also doesn't separate us from Him if we have trusted in Christ."
Jesus. Grace. and today, a fresh start.
how many times do we get derailed by a bad day and not realize the new day has come, the sin is confessed and forgiven and we can start anew? many, many difficult parenting days and failures mount and we start to believe we can't get out of the valley of tantrums, messy diapers and children flopping around on the ground. we start to believe we are actually the worst parent ever. isn't that just the enemy whispering?
oh dear friend, do not listen. embrace grace and start fresh.
after i finished my quiet time, i sat down out on my patio to type this blog post when i heard pitter-patter steps behind me. i pushed my laptop aside and chose to put her first, to start the day out right, and read her the children's bible and pray.
in this moment, i am a great parent. how do i get to that mentality after yesterday's disaster? a moment-by-moment breath-by-breath prayer I pray for patience, guidance and discipline. a wise lady taught me this strategy...she happens to be my mother. :)
i snapped this pic where you can see i started out reading the 10 commandments which is where we are in her bible. however, after i read the first page, she grabbed the bible and INSISTED we start over, yet again. almost every day that we get out her bible (not implying we read every single day, but we surely try), she wants to start over with adam and eve and the snake and the apple.
she can't get enough of God's perfect world he created and how we screwed it up.
surely soon she'll be able to "read" the entire story herself. she has this incredible memory...and this incredible smile. i'm so blessed to be her mommy, even on the most challenging days.
Lord. please remind me of this in the midst of all the insane 3 1/2-year-old behavior. Amen.