Monday, October 20, 2008

Riding the Wave

Sometimes it comes on me like a tidal wave. Too many needs, simultaneously. Like a cork on a fine champagne bottle, I feel like I may pop. Lunch time and dinner time are the usual bubbling moments.

The twins with drooping eyes, are clinging to my legs and whining, "Uppy, uppy, I want cuddle. I want blankie." The table is set with seven empty plates that match equal numbers of empty tummies. The two oldest children are racing to the office to put away books, yelping and scuffling over who'll get theirs in first. I'm dictating the last of the spelling words and trying to place frozen bagels on a cookie sheet for unthawing. The phone rings. I'm about to say, "Let the answering machine get it." Instead, I hear pattering feet and silence before, "Mom, it's for you!"

As I scoop up one toddler and shuffle to the phone with the other clinging to one leg, the dryer buzzes, signaling nap-time blankets are done. I take a breath. About now I have to remind myself to breathe. I glance at Duplos, Fisher-Price farm animals, and Matchbox cars strewn about the family room floor. On the phone, a librarian informs me that books I have ordered are in. Wet training pants remind me of two piles of clean laundry waiting for me on the downstairs couches.

So I acknowledge my anger. I know it's telling me that I'm doing more than what I am comfortably able to accomplish at one time. Too often I have lashed out, wielding my words like thrusts of a sword or raising my voice as if to drown out demands. I have yelled somewhat inanely, "Stop it" to a two-year-old and have meted out excessive consequences to the older children.

Afterwards I have regrets. When the cherubs are snuggled in their beds and I look at their sweet innocent faces, when the day is done, I wished I had handled these tidal wave moments differently.

I am grateful to learn that peace comes from within. Love is not easily provoked or irritated. I chose to be peaceable, not turbulent. I desire that my responses give no offense. I can find contentment and quiet my spirit, even in the midst of a storm. My children will be difficult at times and sometimes there will be chaos around me. The Lord has begun to teach me the value of a meek and quiet spirit. When the gale-force winds blow, Jesus calls, "Be calm".  Instead of trying to get in the boat, seek the search and rescue helicopter, or drown, I can ride the wave.

For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.  Philippians 1:6 NASV

6 comments:

Night Owl said...

It would be so wonderful if everyone took a deep breath in angry moments. I know I don't always. My family is so overly stressed out right now for various (and way too many) reasons. I know this. But that doesn't make the lashing out less painful or easier to bear. I think it's okay though, as long as you say sorry afterwards. And not make silly excuses like "it wasn't my fault" because it isn't anyone's fault, especially not the person who is the victim of the "lashing out". When I'm angry, I usually just stop talking and I did that today. Especially because my dad made stupid excuses and totally didn't apologize and I'm still hurt and I KNOW that he does not even realize how hurt I am and how much I'm hating him right now.
And more than I hate him, I hate the stupid fourth commandment because it is totally unfair that I should have to honour someone who does not honour me back and who HURTS me.
And I'm also angry at God, because HOW COULD HE DO THIS TO ME?
*cry*
I'm sorry... I really liked your blog today... I just really needed someplace to vent and I hope you don't mind that it's here...
But I really love your parenting "style". I wish my parents were more like you, Joyful Fox.
Love,
N.O.

Joyful Fox said...

Night Owl,

It is so good to hear the voice of a "child". I know you are not a "child" by age only in position. When you "tell it like it is", it encourages me as a parent to not make those mistakes. The relationship with our children is so precious and fragile.

I too am a child and Night Owl my parents never, ever asked forgiveness or said they were wrong. They blamed, manipulated, or lied so no matter what, it was my fault. As an adult now, I realize their pride and insecurity lead them to make those mistakes. As much as they knew, they loved me with all they knew. Their love was imperfect and it hurt their children greatly. I still don't think they know how much.

When I was your age I was mad at them too and I didn't think it was fair. I rebelled and built up a wall so high between them and me. i had a ton of anger that I did not even identify at that time.

That has cost me so much, Night Owl. I never really forgave them. I never learned to honour them when they were wrong just simply for their position because God called me too. I have (and am still) paying for that.

It is O.K. to be angry Night Owl. Your parents are hurting you. They aren't honouring you. They are not making it easy for you to honour them. They are not doing a good job of building relationship with you. That is wrong. It was never what God intended. We, as parents, have to use our authority wisely and responsibly and we are accountable to God for that.

However, you can acknowledge your anger and go to God as the God of all comfort and agree with Him about how it feels. Learn to forgive them in His grace and strength, time after time after time. You may never have the relationship you want with them. You can't if they are not willing or are unable to change. But by forgiving them and learning to honour them you will free yourself from a lifetime of hurt. I wish so badly, Night Owl that I learned to honour my parents at your age and forgive them too. It would have saved me so much heart ache.

As a parent now myself, I won't make all the same mistakes my parents did. Through their mistakes I have learned. Sometimes it's easy to do or say things in habit. Godly sorrow brings about repentance so I have had Godly sorrow that has lead (and is leading me to) repentance. I ask my children's forgiveness regularly. I don't make all my parents' mistakes but I make other mistakes often. I choose to be real with my kids which is they know how many times I fail and when I don't know or have the answers. There are some things I do right too, that in God's grace and mercy, will reap a crop of righteousness and blessing for me them and generations to follow.

Night Owl, I'll give you my email address and if you want to respond about this or share in depth or not, we can do it off this comment board. You are so special and I want to address your comments because I know how deep these wounds can go. You are a sister in the Lord and that relationship is a privilege to me. I want to treat you with the value, respect, and kindness that being a sister involves.

I am praying for you. I care deeply.
Peace to you.

I guess we are all broken people who make mistakes. My children are sinners as am I.

Joyful Fox said...

Night Ow,

My email address:

foxden7@rogers.com

Meg said...

Hi Joyful - I so appreciate your honesty. It has borne fruit and you spoke well into that. I just wanted to share some words from the Streams in the Desert reading for today - about the "cushion of the sea". It is the deep part of the ocean that remains undisturbed when there are storms on the surface. The reading says - "The peace of God is that eternal calm which, like the cushion of the sea, lies far too deep down to be reached by any external trouble or circumstance; and he who enters into the presence of God becomes partaker of that undisturbed and undisturbable calm." May you be like the famous Christian mother of the past who entered her secret place with the Lord by sitting in her kitchen with her apron over her head.

Joyful Fox said...

Meg,

That's a beautiful place and analogy. In Christ, I must find that cushion in the sea because that is what character is made of -first of all mine and then the children have a foundation to build on.

Thanks for that. It blesses.

Belinda said...

Dear Faithful Joyful,
Thank you for your "extra blessing" this week. I am grateful that you stood in the gap and that God gave you the thoughts you shared. Blessings from England!
With love to you and Night Owl and all of my other friends too.