“Mom, can I tell you something?”
I shifted my eyes to the rear-view mirror and looked at the pink polka-dotted glasses staring back at me. With an intro like that, I knew she wasn’t about to sing me a show tune.
“Yes, lovey,” I responded. “Talk to me.”
She lowered her eyes and whispered. “Sometimes I want to go to school because I don’t want to be with you.”
And there it is. The knife in my heart.
I nodded, and the corners of my mouth started to quiver.
“Because you’re always getting mad at me.”
Yes, yes that is true. I do harp on you when you refuse to get dressed, dawdle in front of the mirror, bounce on the purple exercise ball in our tiny bathroom when you’re supposed to be brushing your teeth, and for the love of Aunt Jemima I cannot handle it when you chew your pancakes at sloth speed when we have three minutes to get out the door on time. It happened AGAIN this morning. You have no concept of time, my precious daughter! No desire to cooperate with your stressed out mother’s morning schedule! School does not WAIT FOR US!!! Why can’t you understand that???
Here she was, my sweet girl, this tender heart. The child I vowed to love and guide, nurture and protect, my unbelievably beautiful gift from God himself.
And I was tearing her to shreds with my mouth.
Why can’t you listen? PUT AWAY YOUR DOLLS AND FOCUS!!! What is WRONG with you today???
I know the triggers. I know the tricks. I wrote an entire book on how NOT to be this woman. Even so, on bad days, I still let the villains bind and gag me. And that’s when I remember.
I’m making God too small in my house.
My busy schedule, my stress, my distractions, my exhaustion—it all makes me less patient, less compassionate, less willing to forgive my children’s antics and laugh at myself.
My, my, my, me, me, me.
Where is God in all of that?
“He must become greater; I must become less” (John 3:30).
This verse comes from a scene in the gospels when one of John the Baptist’s disciples basically asks John if he is jealous of Jesus. John had been building his ministry, baptizing people in the river, and now along comes this Jesus guy and suddenly everybody wants to follow him instead of John.
John corrects his disciple by explaining that, hello, Jesus is the Messiah—the one he’s been waiting for. The reason he built his ministry in the first place. And now that the true Savior has arrived, John isn’t irritated or envious. He’s thrilled.
He knows it’s time to make himself less important, so that Jesus can do the work only Jesus can do.
I need to do the same thing. You, too?
I get so wrapped up in my family routine, my to-do list, my standards for ministry and living the non-negligent momma life, that I assume my world revolves around me.
But it doesn’t.
It revolves around Jesus.
Only is his strength do I catch air for my next breath.
Only when I focus less on me and more on HIM can I stand a chance of becoming the woman God really designed me to be. So when I find myself harping and behaving as though my family is an interruption rather than a gift, I know it’s time to recalibrate.
It’s time to get on my knees and remember that prayer is action.
“You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you” (Isaiah 26:3, ESV).
Of course I apologized to my daughter and took the hit like a big girl. My girls and I talked about how Mom makes mistakes just like they do, and we all need God to help us love well. By the time we reached the school parking lot, we were all chanting, “No devil, no devil!” With smiles on every face, praise God.
Of course, I don’t believe the devil made me do it. No such thing, really. Not for a believer. I have the living Christ inside of me, and he has already given me all the protection I need to resist my ugly urges. The trouble comes when I let go of his hand.
It’s a choice I make.
And I want to make the right one.
So he must become greater; we must become less.
Together you and I can remember who we are—children of God. And our Father does not bark us out the door to school in the morning. Therefore, our kids deserve no less.
If you want some help in this area, I’d love to welcome you aboard my mom-to-mom coaching program, The Cranky Mom Fix. Let’s support one another and equip one another with the wisdom that comes only from God, amen? Click here for details.
I’m so glad we have each other.
What to Read Next: It’s Not Too Late to Be a Good Mom