Oct 8, 2009

The Deep End.

Let's say you have the chicken pox. They're a pain. They're uncomfortable. You try not to scratch but you do. But at least you know they only last for a moment; a short time, really. Soon your 7 to 10 days of itchies will be over and you'll be back to your old self.

Not so if you're raising a child.

Not only does raising a child come to a conclusion after 7 to 10 days, you are never ever back to your old self.

And so yesterday, as I sat on my couch and cried at the job known as parenting, I was reminded by my sweet Heavenly Father, "Quit crying, Melissa. You asked for this!"

I love how He talks to me.

Maybe He talks to you differently. Maybe He talks in a whisper because He knows you'll listen better. Maybe He talks in a parable because He knows you're creative. Or maybe He talks at the top of His lungs and with a small amount of frustration because He knows you're deaf and hard headed. Guess which category I fall under?

But that's okay...because whenever I need Him, He talks.

And yesterday He spoke to me. Reminded me that this job of motherhood, well, it's never over. Much like His job of fathering.

And this job of motherhood, well, it's difficult and frustrating because they don't listen and they yell and scream when you ask them to obey. Much like His job of fathering.

And this job of motherhood doesn't come with any guarantees that what you're doing is right, that what you're doing is effective, or that what you're doing is even within the bounds of law. But I suppose that's where my mothering and His fathering differ. He's got the answers. I don't.

And though I don't understand why she runs when I yell stop, why she screams when I say whisper, why she says she's tired when it's time to go but says she's not tired when I say it's time for bed...He does.

And today, I feel like a failure. I will not lie. I feel over my head and in too deep. I am confused half the time and fried the other half. I feel like someone has played some horrible joke on me and I'm on that Survivor show only it's down to the final two - me and her - and she's winning.

And although I read "count it all joy, my brothers" I just want to rip that page out and tape it to my spanking spoon. Then at least I'll see it half a dozen times a day.

(James 1:2-8) Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don't try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.

If you don't know what you're doing, pray to the Father. He loves to help. You'll get his help, and won't be condescended to when you ask for it. Ask boldly, believing, without a second thought. People who "worry their prayers" are like wind-whipped waves. Don't think you're going to get anything from the Master that way, adrift at sea, keeping all your options open.

That's the Book of James, here's the Book of Melissa.

Believe it or not this trial of motherhood is a gift - so look at it that way. Because when all is said and done you may not be the world's best mother, but you'll be better than you were. Because something in you will have grown and matured. So don't fear going to bed just to wake up and do it all over again, because this is what it takes for us to become all that He wants us to be.

So if you don't have a clue what you're doing - and let's be honest, you don't - pray. Beg. Plead. Cry. Moan. And then listen. Because He loves to hear us call on Him. And in an instant He is there, not making us feel like big fat losers, but making us feel just a little smidgen of peace. And who couldn't use that? So ask and then sit still and listen for Him to speak. He will. And just like that cheezy church sign that says "If you're worried - Pray. And if you pray - don't worry," well, it kinda makes sense.

So here's to all us mothers who are sitting on our couch today with Hershey's kisses in our lap and Kleenex in our hands: He's proud of us. Just ask Him. Amen.


Mandy said...

What a beautiful reminder of this gift we are given....we all need some perspective like this at some point!

Sissy said...

I used to be the kind of teacher that yelled a lot. I thought kids should get it the first time and I still think they should LISTEN the first time, but now I know they may not all understand the first time. Teaching at an elementary school has tried my patience to no end, with all the whining, crying, temper tantrum-ness that happens and I used to yell a lot. Now I have signals. When I clap, they clap and it means "listen up." When the timer goes off, they are done with it, whether they really are finished or not. It's time to move on. Often I ask "what are you doing? What are you supposed to be doing?" And those questions often move kids in the right direction.

Now, I say all this and it may mean NOTHING to a three year old. And I had to train my kids to understand the signals. Lots of training. Lots and lots of training. But if I put in the work to train them, I yell a lot less and that makes me feel better.

It's been quite a lesson for me, cause I never wanted to be that mean teacher that yells all the time and that's who I was becoming. I am hoping it will help me be a better parent, but that remains to be seen.

And remember, you always have a place to run away to and visit. North Carolina is waiting.

Kat said...

Wow. I needed to hear that today. In fact, it made me cry, because I am right there.

I'm only 12 weeks into motherhood, but it has been the most challenging, confusing, guilt-ridden, sleep-deprived (and yet rewarding) time of my life.

I needed the reminder to pray instead of worrying, to trust instead of doubting, and to cry if I need to (and I definitely do).

What a blessing you are. :)

Heather said...

Thank you so much Melissa! I have tears in my eyes. I have been feeling the same way for about 2 weeks. I have been searching and searching for a reason and assurance. And sure enough, here you are...God's way of letting me see what this is all about.
Gotta go-my 3 year old just hit his brother.
Enjoy the Hershey's Kisses!

Teri from Indiana said...

What can I say but AMEN!! The Father is especially fond of you Melissa Lee and the work you are doing. BTW, Remi will at some time hide your spanking spoon. Count on it. ;)

Tonya Lee said...

I read in a book, "Don't tell God how big your mountain is, tell you mountain how big your God is!" I say that a dozen times a day. It works any wehre from screaming kids to mountains of laundry :)

Lisa@BlessedwithGrace said...

Thanks you!!! I have been kicking myself lately, feeling horrible about my child rearin'. My sweet precious daughter has hit what I guess is the "Terrible Twos." Also, I realize the terrible twos don't stop at two.It is just the beginning......
I have ended each day this week feeling defeated and frustrated.
So, thank you. I needed to read this.

neeki said...

Learn these lessons well, because when little Remi turns 13 and develops "the mouth of the South" like mine has done, you'll really need those kleenex and hershey's kisses. Hopefully, they'll both thank us some day.

Bonnie said...

You show up, Melissa. Every day. Neither of them are going to like what you tell them, ask them or expect of them at different points in time but they'll never, ever remember what they didn't like. They'll remember you showed up, you loved and cared enough TO tell them what they didn't like. Mine is now 23 and I made so many mistakes it would take a bazillion years to count them all but he told me, sitting at my grandmother's gravesite, that looking at his friends who don't "get it" that my mistakes are nothing compared to other parents and he loves that I loved (and still love) him enough to show up every day and not give up on him - no matter what. That I cared more about making him a better him than anything else. Just keep showing up, Melissa. She may scream not so nice on the outside but she's loving you BIG on the inside. Maybe she'll even bless you enough to tell you that someday. I'll pray for it.

Rhonda said...

I have come to the conclusion that I truly sometimes hate my 15 year old daughter. And I'm okay with that. Because she's a hateful creature. But this, I hope, is only short term and she will one day be human again.

So, while my children are a little older and my troubles are different, I still feel your pain. Oh, do I ever!

Rebekah said...

Oh, how I needed this today, Melissa. I am right there, too. I have used nearly identical words to describe my daughter's behavior in recent days, and I reach the absolute end of my patience way more often than I care to admit. Sometimes I feel like I must be doing everything wrong. Sometimes the best I can do seems very, very far removed from what is "best." Thanks for those verses. These trials are making us both (my daughter and me) better. Thank the Lord. We both need bettering.

Inspired Comblogulations said...

You are a hoot! I enjoyed your fresh honest perspective... your profile on scrap books and crafts, I think your ears can hear and your eyes can see...what so many are blind and deaf to.

Mommy said...

Just what I needed to hear today. I loved Tonya's comment above as well...

Crazy Sister said...

Yeah. We were half an hour late to school this morning because today sucked on so many different levels.

Tomorrow will be better! And I cracked up at the idea of taping Bible verses to the spanking spoon!