Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Not-so-Glamorous Call of Motherhood

Why am I doing this? To be perfectly blunt, I have asked myself that question numerous times this week. It has not been a week of warm-fuzzy mommy feelings. Instead it has been day after day of me reliving how I treated my mom and wishing I could go back and redo those years on the chance that my behavior in the past is somehow affecting my children's behavior now. From my own childhood experience, I expected eye-rolling and sassy attitudes in junior high, but in elementary school? Sure I wasn't the perfect kid, but I don't remember feeling utter disdain and "my mom doesn't know anything" until at least 13. I'm not sure how I got so lucky as to enjoy these experiences prematurely.

I really have been questioning just why God gave me these three charges and what I'm supposed to do with them! I feel like I'm saying the same things repeatedly and seeing little progress in training the monsters. Obviously it's human nature to want to be liked and when those closest to you appear to have little respect for your authority or opinion, it wears thin. After they marched off to school yesterday, chips firmly planted on their shoulders, I spent some time crying out to God. I was ready to throw in the towel. If I step back and look at the situation, I really didn't want to give up. I truly want a deep and mutually respectful relationship with my kids, but I feel like I've exhausted my resources. The verse that He gave me was "Do not grow weary of doing good" Gal. 6:9. I clung to that the rest of the day; it got me through but I still felt almost a physical burden weighing me down. Then today as I was working on "Ruth" (see my reading list), I knew the closing verses were for me. Kelly Minter referenced Isaiah 43:18-19:

Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up, do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland. (NIV)

I realized that I have a tendency to allow my kids' attitudes to linger in the back of my mind and affect my behavior/attitude. They fling their little arrows, throw their tantrums, and move on. Meanwhile, even if it's not conscious, somewhere deep in the recesses of my mind I'm thinking "how can they treat me like that? Don't they know that I labored for 20 hours so they could make their appearance into the world? That I've gone years without a full night's sleep? That I cook and clean and do laundry and do laundry and do laundry because of their existence and they have the nerve to say that to me?" When they have forgotten the conflict and are ready to be lovey dovey I still have pretty thick walls built around me.

As I read those verses in Isaiah, I knew God had been telling me all week to let go of all that. I have visions of assuming some sort of slippery shell that prevents the disobedience, bad attitudes, and sassiness from penetrating, thus allowing me to correct and train my children as I am called to do without taking personal offense to their attitudes. If I can let go, God will do a new thing. I am ready!

Recently I had the opportunity to visit Focus on the Family headquarters and meet H.B. London. As we toured the Focus campus, my mom commented that Dr. Dobson and H.B. London's grandfather (they're cousins) was committed to faithfully praying for his descendants and look how God has blessed the work of these two men. Their influence has spanned millions of people worldwide. One man faithfully prayed. One man. And God used two of his grandsons to touch millions. Wow.

A couple weeks later we embarked on a family vacation to Disneyland and a similar thought struck me. One man had a dream of a place that parents and kids could have fun together. One man. A dream. And a determination to overcome the speedbumps associated with seeing his dream come to fruition. The far-reaching influence is staggering.

Now I'm not going to pretend that I'm like Dobson, London, or Disney. I'm not even going to compare myself to Dobson's grandfather. But the idea that God can use one individual for His purposes, whether they appear small or grand in our perspective, is encouraging. That no matter the struggles, He put me in this not so glamorous position to faithfully point my children toward Him. Beyond glorifying Him, I have no idea of His desires for their lives. They may be renowned or they may never be known beyond their small circles. What matters is that I am committed to my call, recognizing that how faithfully I do my job as a mom will not only have an affect on today but future generations. And God has promised that if "I [do] not become weary in doing good, at the proper time [I] will reap a harvest if [I] do not give up."

No comments:

Post a Comment