If I had a penny for every time I could say that to my kids…
Let’s be honest. My children are not angels. Most of the time they do have something to do with the situation, but by and large, it’s my attitude problem just as much as theirs.
“It’s not you (that dropped food all over my freshly mopped floor), it’s me (being so caught up in my irritation over wasted time that I don’t see your eyes welling up with tears).”
“It’s not you (who asked me the same question 10 times while I was trying to get a cranky baby calmed down) it’s me (who was worn out and frustrated with something that had nothing to do with you, and finally exploded with, “What is it?!…“I just wanted to tell you that I love you.”).”
Yeah. I’ve had some up and down parenting moments recently. And one thing that I really believe God has been convicting me with lately, is: what am I teaching my kids about life, family… God… by my reactions to them? Reactions to their failures or successes.
Yesterday was a rough night for me on the parenting front. Michael wasn’t feeling well, so he went to bed early, after I insisted, and I tackled bed-time. I felt really good about myself before we began… I’d been working on being more thoughtful in my reactions lately, so I was sure I could knock this one out of the park.
You know where this is going… strike after strike after strike. I was not loving, or patient, and ended up spending most of “bed-time” handing out apologies and hugs. (On a side note, my kids blow me away with their ability to forgive my screw-ups!)
So tonight, Michael was gone and bed-time was approaching. I ushered four wild and wiggly children upstairs with fear and trembling. As I was kissing the girls goodnight and getting ready to pray with them Kelsey looked at me and said, “Mommy, I’m just not good… it’s so hard to be good!”
My heart broke for her, because I knew exactly how she felt!! So we talked for a while about how Jesus loves us even when we aren’t good, and how daddy and I believe He is the only one who can help us to do good – not so that God will love us more, but for our sake, and the sake of the people around us. We talked about how that doesn’t just come by trying really hard to do the right things, but by spending time with God and learning how He looks at things.
And while I was trying to encourage my sweet girl with the fact that I’m walking right with her, and working through some of those same things, it was like God was reminding me, “It’s not you, it’s Me. Trust me. Follow me. Walk with me. Know me.”