May 15, 2013

when parenting feels a lot like football (and I need Jesus)

Hello again.

Hello from a season where I simply felt like I didn't have words to share.  Sometimes things are best kept to myself.  Pondered and wondered upon, before just opening my mouth.

I've been pondering how to share life, my heart, and spur and encourage and speak truth without making a big deal of me.  How do I write a blog with my words that makes very little of me and of who I am?  And makes much of Jesus in my life?  I started to believe that it was better to just not say anything at all.

But then I realized, that was more likely insecurity speaking than confidence in the Spirit.  Would Jesus want me to shut up about his goodness in my life?  No!  But Satan would.

So, I'm here.  I'm writing.  I'm continuing to seek Him in my words and what I bring to this space and have asked many for the accountability to let me know if this starts to make too much of me and not enough of Christ.

And also - if you haven't soaked in the Word of God yet today, shut your computer or your phone and read Jesus' words before mine.

So, that's been behind a lot of my writing break.  There's also the fact that I never ever want to write in a way that makes it seem like I'm complaining or I'm ungrateful.  But, let me just say it.  Two years old and 10 months old has shaken my parenting confidence.  And I've decided to write about it because I need camaraderie and encouragement.  And if I feel that way, chances are that you also need to know that you are not alone.

In all honesty, up until the past month or two, I thought I was handling this Mom-of-two deal fairly well.  I knew how to keep Isaac safe from a rampaging toddler.  Methods of choices and distraction worked about 90 percent of the time.  And I kept my cool.

I don't know what changed.  But two years old brings with it a whole new attitude.

Parenting feels a lot like a football field.

At least I imagine so. (don't hold me to it, I failed my football test in gym in 8th grade).  But surely, there are guys whose primary job is to protect the quarterback, right?  And the other team's goal, play by play, over and over, is to take the ball (his toy) and knock him to the ground.  In this game, Isaac is the quarterback.  Jude is the other team.  And I'm the defense - protecting Isaac, keeping him from getting knocked to the ground and his toys constantly stolen.

Only I don't knock Jude to the ground in the process.  Only via time-outs.

If it's not clear by now, I'm not a fan of this game much.

Grace came yesterday in the form of friends stating that they feel the exact. same. way. with their 2.5 year old and 8 month old.  Oh, so it's not just my toddler boy who thinks that tackling, kicking, hair-pulling, and head-butting is the best form of affection (or something).

In all honesty, I've never been one quick to anger until now.  I've been patient, responding in the way I've chosen most of the time.  But when one child is endangering the other?  It's made me snap my tongue more often than I care to admit.

I've never felt more inadequate as a parent than parenting a two-year-old.

And I don't blame him.  He's a boy and he's two.  He's still developing and learning boundaries and the whole bit.  But it is still my job to guide him and love him and teach him about love and grace.  The fact that this is normal and expected doesn't mean that this behavior should be overlooked.  And that job is exhausting.  I fail daily.

And when it comes down to it?  What better way to show him his need for a Savior than a mom who admits that she's so incredibly imperfect too?  If my imperfections mean that he sees his need for Jesus, I'll shout it from the rooftops.

Growing today feels a lot like my the dirty rags that my attempts at goodness are in comparison to God's glory.  Knowing God more means I become less.  It means I see more and more of my own sinfulness and how far I am from holy on my own.

It's tempting to dwell there.  It's tempting to dwell in inadequacy and insecurity and insignificance.  Instead, I know that I am made holy.  I am made clean and perfect.  And I am given God's word and his spirit to guide me.  To convict me and affirm me.  To speak of my value as a daughter of a King.  To bring forth grace when I am so clearly fallen.

Simply put, every day, I'm more stricken by my need for Jesus.  For forever life and for the day to day life.

May I stop trying to find confidence and identity in myself.  Me as a good mom.  Me with well-behaved kids.  Me with a perfect marriage.  Me with a clean house.  Me with early morning quiet times.  This identity will always fail.  My identity in grace, the daughter of the Most High King, will reign always.  So, once again, today I keep walking and seeking my creator for my daily bread.