But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions–it is by grace you have been saved. Ephesians 2:4,5
Today, on the Cross Moms facebook page I shared a quote from a friend that said, “It is easier to build up a child than it is to repair an adult…choose your words wisely.” This quote spoke to me so strongly this morning, but more as a conviction rather than an inspiration. You see, last night was one those *”terrible, horrible, no good, very bad… wish you could move to Australia” kind of nights.
One of the long-standing battles in my house is laundry. When I worked full time, I paid someone to do our laundry. That was definitely a “luxury” I gave myself and my family because I knew how horrible I was at it–not to mention, I hated doing it. Since we moved and I am now staying at home, I have embraced the idea of doing my family’s laundry…and I will say that God has been working on adjusting my attitude.
However, yesterday, while the boys were at school, I came to the realization that lately I have been washing and folding more than ten loads of laundry per week! We have five people in our family. If we all dirty the clothes we wear for the week and then include our towels and sheets in another load, that comes to only six loads of laundry! Where are all of these extra loads coming from?
Okay–stay with me here….Another long-standing battle in our house is the boys’ bedrooms. They are notorious for making huge messes playing in their rooms and not picking up after themselves. When I worked full time, I never cleaned their rooms for them. I helped them by showing them how to break the cleaning up into chunks, i.e.–pick up all books first; throw away all papers next; find all dirty clothes, etc…but I rarely cleaned it for them. Since I am staying home now, though, I have found myself cleaning their rooms for them; and unfortunately, they have just come to expect me to pick up all their messes.
And this is where the two long-standing battles collided yesterday in an all out war…
The boys came home. I asked them to pick up their rooms. They did. Friends showed up at the door, and they quickly dashed off to play. Later on, as my youngest son was getting ready for bed, I was on my way to grab another load of laundry to fold, and I took a peek in their rooms to see how well they cleaned. The rooms looked nice! Cool! Then I passed their laundry closet—an entire load of laundry, which I had folded earlier and lay on their beds to be put away, was stuffed in the dirty clothes. THE CLOTHES WERE STILL FOLDED!
This is where I kind of lost my temper–okay–no “kind of”–I definitely lost my temper. I failed to do what I always tell my children to do–count to ten and breathe before speaking–and I poured out my frustrations on all three of my boys with a loud booming voice. My heart aches right now as I think of my youngest one pleading, “Okay Mommy. Please just don’t yell anymore.” Needless to say, when he spoke those words, I stopped yelling. In fact, my voice softened to almost a whisper because I wanted to cry.
In that moment, I asked God to please forgive me, help me calm down, and say the words HE wanted my children to hear. And HE did! As the tension began to wane and the mood settled, the words new mercies came to my mind. Because of Jesus, we are given new mercies every day! Praise the Lord, because I needed them right then and there. Tucking them in and scratching their backs, I asked my children for forgiveness for yelling so much, but also expressed that there are many things we all need to work on as a family, so we can be better stewards with what God has given us–including our voices.
If your heart is burdened with anger, frustrations, failed attempts at communicating or parenting, know that Jesus died on the cross so our “terrible, horrible, no good, very bad…wish we could move to Australia” moments can be forgiven; so we can experience true mercy; so we can have an example of how to show mercy to others.
I praise you and thank you for your loving forgiveness. Thank you that there is so much more you want us to learn.
* Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, by Judith Viorst
By Christy M.