Touching, reconnecting

Remember too as she grows
Be a woman
She's a reflection of yourself
A reflection of the joy, kindness,
And dignity
A reflection of a woman set free
To pass down her teachings
From no other than thee.
~Judith Drew~

I didn't have a temper before I had children. Seriously. But then, about the time my second child was born, and I was suddenly plunged deep into the frustration that is having more needs thrust upon one than one can meet, temper flared. With God's grace, and authentic, tested advice from several dear friends, I have mostly conquered my insatiable urge to shout and run away when the stress reaches a certain level. With Caleb working on his molar eruption, and various other nighttime distractions, I entered a mother's version of the Bermuda triangle last week: a fussy baby, 1 hour of sleep, and two nighttime accidents from the girls. I spent a lot of time praying, and yet raised my voice on several occasions throughout the day once last week.

We weathered it pretty well, probably because I did experience a high degree of emancipation from my struggle throughout the day. (those prayers really do work!) Most of my frustration was vented on Caleb and Amelia, who get themselves into the most inconceivable messes! Yet it was Katrina who showed the strain by the end of the day. Suppertime came and she couldn't eat dinner because her stomach hurt; she was nearly in tears when asked to straighten up toys in the living room. All this is quite uncharacteristic for my easy-going, obedient and happy spirited firstborn. So I sent her off to my room, and joined her there.

She thought she was going to be punished for disobedience. I have been grateful, time and again, for Tedd Tripp's wonderful how-to parenting book, Shepherding a Child's Heart. Instead of piling on more harsh words, I sat on the bed, took her in my arms, and reconnected with touch. After some small talk and cuddling, we got to the heart of the issue, which was, of course, my angry words earlier that afternoon. As she sobbed, my heart wept with her. How deep - and sudden - the wounds we create in our dearest loved ones! How quickly sin ravages! I begged forgiveness, of course. More than that, I can show her, in real life, why we need Jesus. To avoid ubiquitous universalist speech, why Mama needs Jesus. Katrina understands deeply what Grace is, because grace is what she bestows on me when she forgives me the shortcomings that we both can name. Getting on our knees to humbly beg forgiveness of our children when we sin against them is such a necessary, and valuable, exercise. If we never do so, how to teach our children true compassion, love, forgiveness, and humility? I am forever grateful that my own parents used this approach in dealing with their own failures. Hearing my father beg forgiveness made his faith deeply genuine and accessible to me as a child - and even more so as an adult.

I pray my weaknesses will be supernaturally transformed to highlight God's strength. I pray they raise my dear daughter's eyes to the Cross, where transforming Grace is ever ready.

...give his people the knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins, because of the tender mercy of our God, by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven to shine on those living in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the path of peace. (Zechariah's song to his son, John the Baptist, in Luke 1:77-79)