Look what I just found as I was cleaning up my family room. It was ironic enough for me to take a picture and share it with you : )
I found this to be just slightly hilarious. The “artwork” continues all though the book – as if a little blonde boy sat and randomly selected pages to bless : )
While I am a little frustrated by the overt destruction, I actually ended up spending more time thinking about this as an analogy for my life as a mother. You see, I try to do the right things; give grace and love, follow the right advice, obey biblical truth, glorify God etc. And I try to do all these things in an orderly, appropriate way.
But the truth is, my children wreak havoc of my orderly plans for life. With the precision of rambunctious toddlers, they disrupt and mar my ideas about being a mother. They make cracks and chips in the image that I had of myself and my abilities. They up-end my priorities and muddle opinions that I used to hold dear, impervious to any change. They splatter my organized schedule with unforeseen emergencies and unappreciated delays. In short, they race through my life and unwittingly force me to re-examine practically every aspect of my goals and beliefs.
Sometimes this really annoys me. Especially on days like today. The nasty cold that is making the rounds has landed here at chez Snyders and today is one of those times when I deeply regret that mothers don’t get sick time off. Throughout the whole morning I was voiceless, headachy, and tired. At one point the boys began to bicker about something and in exasperation I slammed my mug down (second cup of coffee for the day), stood to my feet and tried to yell something appropriate for the situation (i.e.“WHAT IN THE WORLD ARE YOU DOING!”)
But when I tried to yell, nothing but a croak came out. Needless to say, the boys went right on fighting. And instead of walking up the stairs to mediate the situation, I just sat down, a little overwhelmed by the moment, this day and by motherhood in general. Later as I was reading “Give Them Grace” during a lull in the chaos (they were quiet and I just didn’t ask any questions : ) I came across a quote that was especially appropriate. Fitzpatrick writes (referring to the part of the bible when Paul speaks about his thorn in the flesh),
“Your continual struggles as a parent…are simply thorns in your Father’s employ to keep you close to him. …The weaknesses, failures, and sins of our family are the places where we learn that we need grace too. It is there, in those dark mercies, that God teaches us to be humbly dependent. It is there that he draws near to us and sweetly reveal his grace. Instead of seeing [the thorn] as a curse, we are to see it as the very thing that keeps us ‘pinned close to the Lord.”
Today, feeling physically sick and mentally overwhelmed, God graciously reminded me that when I barrel through each day and try to do good things in my own strength I will quickly become “unpinned” from His side. (Might even lose my temper and yell!) When the apostle Paul wrote about God’s sufficient grace, he was writing from a position of weakness and frustration (2 Cor 12:7-10). He reveled in this grace…because he understood his own limitations. I hate to think of my children as thorns in the flesh, but along with the joy that they bring to my life, they really do bring so much chaos and frustration. And when I am tempted to try and quell the mayhem by myself I need to stop and remember the promises of God. I need to have faith that his grace will meet me in that chaotic moment, that time of need (Heb 4:16), and that his spirit will guide me in the way of truth (John 16:13).
I know that I have learned this truth before, but it’s been a while since I truly considered it in the context of parenting. So when I lost my voice and couldn’t yell, when I found my things destroyed, when sickness and fatigue began to overtake me I re-learned the importance of listening for the voice of God in my moments of weakness.