I felt like the woman I saw at the grocery store yesterday; freaking out at her young child because he was touching everything. I self righteously looked at her with disdain and thought to myself that I would never treat my kids like that; especially not in public. I know I get mad at them and often lose it, but she was just plain nasty and I thought from what I saw; she must be like that all the time. I really felt bad for her child, and yet here I was freaking out at my son because of a pencil. Yes, a pencil. I really hate pencils. They are somehow always missing, never sharpened and always eraserless.
I wasn't feeling well, emotionally and physically. I was having a hard week experiencing some difficult personal situations. I had just started to get a head cold, my nose was dripping, I had a headache and everything that everyone did aggravated me. I had given my son a few math pages to do. I called him several times to come do them. He had to go the bathroom. He had to get a drink of water. By the time he finally sat down; I was fuming. Now he was complaining he couldn't find a pencil. I knew for sure that there were plenty of pencils in his supply box. I told him to look for them. No, he couldn't find any. I started screaming. "JUST FIND A PENCIL!! If I have to come in there and find you a pencil, you are in big trouble." We continued back and forth. He crying and I losing my patience and my voice.
In the meantime my younger son was asking me to pour him some gatorade. I had told him no. A few minutes later he came out proudly proclaiming that he had poured his own. I was still dealing with my older son, so I let it go. I found my son a pencil and though this said pencil wasn't the right one I ignored him and told him to get to work. Soon after I heard a big ker-thud and a splash. I knew that sound all too well. My little guy had spilled his cup of gatorade all over my newly swept and mopped floors. I tried not to yell at him but I think I said his name very loudly which brought tears streaming from his eyes.
I tried to ward off the tears that were now welling up in my eyes, and cleaned up the floor. I proceeded to get dinner ready and told them they needed to eat before they went to church with Daddy( I was not going because of being sick) I did not feel at all like making them dinner. All I wanted to do was lay on the couch, watch other people make food on Chopped and veg out. I knew that they needed to eat so I told them I was going to make them sandwiches to which they replied, "We don't want sandwiches!" Come on! What kid doesn't like sandwiches? Mine, I guess. I was on the verge of losing it again and told them that if they wouldn't eat what I made they would have to make something themselves. No matter how mad I get, I don't want my kids to go hungry.
They finally left and I was able to be left alone...with the 3 younger children and... my thoughts.
After the pencil diabocle, I felt really bad. I brought my son close to me and told him that I was sorry and asked him to forgive me. I didn't make any excuses for myself. I told him that he needs to listen and use whatever pencil there is even if it doesn't meet his standards but that I should not have yelled at him. He hugged me and even offered an I love you.
Here is the heart of the matter in me sharing this with you. Whether we are in the store or in the safety of our homes; God sees our hearts, our words, our thoughts, our actions. Unfortunately we tend to be different people in different places.
At the store when I am with all my children; I want to look like I have it all together and treat the situations that arise in the store with gentleness and wisdom(though I don't always.) I want to do the same at home; in front of my family, but I find it is much easier to let myself go with just my children as the audience. I easily give into my flesh and make excuses for myself, but when I come before the throne of God; it is to him that I am held accountable for my actions whether at home or in public. The awesome thing is that I can approach his throne with confidence and find grace in my weakness and in my need.
"God's grace to us is greater than any frustration that is threatens to unravel us."- Gloria Furman (Treasuring Christ When Your Hands Are Full)
How great a thought that God's grace is there for me when I feel like I can't control my reactions. It is there for me when I am out in public. It is there for me before my husband and children and it is there for me as my inward thoughts and motives are revealed before God.
I know that I am flesh and blood and that I will most likely freak out at my children again, but I desire to say no to my flesh wherever I am...because God is there also.
On those days when everything seems to weigh my spirit down and gives flight to my flesh; I pray that I will choose by his grace and strength to not only do what is right, but what is pleasing before God. He has entrusted me with these precious souls that are looking to me to model the likeness of Christ not only when we are out and about but also when we are in the confines of our home.
Do you find yourself lashing out more easily when you are home?
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