Thursday, October 3, 2013

Oh Brother!


The morning was off to a picture perfect start. I woke up earlier than usual, feeling refreshed and energetic. My husband made me delicious organic bacon and eggs for breakfast. I had my hot, fresh cup of steamy organic coffee in my hand. Rich and I had time to enjoy a relaxed conversation before he headed out the door to work and the kids were right on track with their morning breakfast and chore routine. And then it happened.

We meet in the living room for a morning connect time at 9:00 a.m. and we read a scripture, chat about what each person’s perception of it is, talk about any struggles or victories each of the kids might be grappling with or excited about and we talk about how to apply the scripture we just read and discussed. After that we pray, giving our day to God, lifting our concerns and prayer requests to Him and asking Him to direct and order our day. This is the way things are supposed to go and we are supposed to meet at 9:00, but it’s rare that everything actually does go according to plan. In fact this was the first day in the four weeks since we kicked off the school year, that we actually were meeting on time.

Before we could even settle in, one of my boys got up to go get something and his little brother decided to claim his older brother’s spot on the couch. Before I could even comprehend what was happening, they were in a physical altercation, yelling at each other, calling names and rolling around on the floor out of control. What does a mom do?  I had four girls before my three boys arrived on the scene and I am accustomed to breaking up verbal wars, but these physical altercations? They freak me out! I am twelve years into this whole new world of raising boys and I was raised with three brothers. You would think by now I would have a clue about how to deal with male “bonding” on this level, but I still sit there in confusion and shock, trying to wrap my head around what in the world is happening in front of me.


Proverbs 3:5,6 says

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
and do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make straight your paths

Honestly, that verse didn’t pop into my mind in that moment….at least not right away. Instead, I reacted in indignation and anger. I was so frustrated with them for ruining my perfect morning and I let them know it.  After giving them a piece of my mind I couldn’t afford to lose, it was their turn to sit there in shock, trying to wrap their mind around who this crazy red-faced raving lunatic is that they call “mom.”  And then then they laughed. The shocked looks, turned to amused smiles and then laughter. They were laughing at their mother and how ridiculous I must have looked in all my red faced, tight fisted, freaking out glory. At least they weren’t huddled in a corner shaking in terror. I must not have been too scary. After all two year olds aren’t all that scary and I’m pretty sure that’s what I looked like. What do you do when your kids laugh at you?

Angry woman, enough is enough!

What do you do when you know you have behaved badly in front of the kids you are supposed to be an example to?  Get even angrier?  It suddenly struck me funny…. The irony of it and pretty soon we were all just cracking up. Somehow that time laughing with my kids changed everything. It was cleansing somehow, to lighten up and find some humor in the moment. Once we pulled ourselves together we read James 4:1-2 which says:

 What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don't they come from your desires that battle within you? 2 You want something but don't get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask God.”

 And James 1:19-21 which says:

19” Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; 20 for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.  Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.”

We went back over what happened from the beginning and talked about each person’s response and how it could have been handled differently. Each of us was able to be honest about our own fault in the matter and I think the laughter really was good medicine because it freed us up to be humble and honest with each other.

I found myself asking them to forgive me because I had reacted to their sin with my own sin…..I rose up in anger at them because my desire for a perfect morning was ruined as a result of their impulsive choices. I was completely humbled by their tenderness and immediate forgiveness. I had a couple of little boys in my lap, both crying because they felt genuinely bad about what they had done. I didn’t have to tell them to apologize. They did that on their own and they were hugging and apologizing to each other.

God showed me grace through my kids and I think sometimes we take life too seriously and we need to slow down, embrace the moments, even the tough moments and look for the lesson in it. Those tough moments catch me by surprise every time and I don’t automatically feel thankful for the opportunity to grow at that point, but I’m glad I serve a God who is gracious and patient with me and I’m asking Him to help me see the value in the tough moments while I am in that moment and not give into my knee jerk reactions, but stop….breathe deeply and realize it’s not a life or death thing. It’s a human thing and a divine appointment intended for growth.

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