My morning started before the sun rose. “Mama! Mama!”, said the tired baby into the monitor. I lifted my body out of bed in a trance, got the baby before she woke up her sister, and brought her into our bed, where I proceeded to nurse her for hours on end. I was having a stressful dream about moving when our toddler’s scream pierced through the monitor and cut through all thoughts, “I HAVE TO GO POTTY!!!” She continued to scream this sentence, so there was no chance of getting out without waking up the baby–she woke up too. We made it to the potty just in time, and I soon realized that it was much too early to be awake for the day (for us anyways). By a good hour and a half. I’m sure that any parent can sympathize with me on this, because we as parents never get enough sleep. So when that already small window of blissful sleep is cut even shorter, I feel cheated. Really, God? Really? You couldn’t give me just one more hour? I needed that hour! Even though both of the girls were obviously still tired, there was zero chance of them going back to sleep. Once they’re up, they’re up.I stumbled through breakfast, snapping at our 3 year old left and right because she was talking 50 mph when my brain was going 1 mph.
I hate when I lose my temper. Yet it happens almost every day. The Lord is slowly teaching me patience–that seemingly unattainable spiritual gift (because, let’s be honest, none of us have any hope of achieving patience without Divine intervention)–through my children. Every day I lose my temper with my kids, and every day God gives me the humility to ask their forgiveness. Every day I witness the miracle of our 3 and 1 year olds cupping me in their perfect, tiny hands and granting grace on their imperfect mother. And every time this miracle happens, I learn to take a deep breath before responding the next time I feel like I’m going to lose my cool. And so, each day, I continue the fight against the nasty green mean guy lurking inside of me; the ticking time bomb that is my temper.
I used to let mornings like this ruin entire days. By the time I would have my coffee and become a human being again, I would feel so bad about how awful I was at the very start of it, that I would let it sour my mood for the rest of the day. My initial battle strategy to fight this problem was to wake up before the kids so that I had time to wake up and have my Jesus time, and not ruin our day before it even began.
There are 2 reasons this was a bad plan from the beginning:
- The baby’s schedule is still too unpredictable. It’s hard to try to wake up before someone who never wakes up at the same time. More often than not, whenever I tried waking up before them, my “me” time was interrupted, which is frustrating, and therefore completely undoing what I was trying to do.
- I am simply not a morning person. On the days that I was successful in having some time to myself before ‘clocking in’, so to speak, I wouldn’t have as deep of a devotional time because I was too tired. Most of the time, I would be struggling through the passages, trying not to fall asleep.
Basically, I was trying to force fit myself into someone else’s routine. I will never be one of those morning people that radiate sunshine and beauty when the sun first peeks it’s rays into their bedrooms. I will always be the person who curses the bedroom curtains that don’t block out every bit of shine that streaks through her dreams as she rolls over. I will always be the one with dark circles and in a bad mood until she gets coffee and food. I will always hear God’s voice clearest in the still and silent nights when the babies are asleep and I can hear myself think. The answer is not trying in vain to force myself to be something that I am never going to be, but rather to be still and allow God to order my days and teach me my routine.
So on this bad morning, which we had experienced too many times before, God brought to the forefront of my mind the devotional from the previous day:
“It is easy to make an idol of routine, finding security within the boundaries you build around your life. Although each day contains 24 hours, every single one presents a unique set of circumstances. Don’t try to force-fit today into yesterday’s mold. Instead, ask Me to open your eyes, so you can find all I have prepared for you in the precious day of Life.” (Jesus Calling, by: Sarah Young)
When you’re in the midst of being horribly grumpy and of the mind frame that today be cancelled so you can try again tomorrow, it’s really hard to see today as a “precious day of Life”. But I want to break the cycle of allowing my temper ruin entire days, precious days, with my children (days that have a number, as is evidenced every time I blink and they get bigger). I need to break the cycle, before my kids are all grown up and I’m left with regrets of all the wasted days that I could have been cherishing them. So I prayed the humbling prayer: “Lord, please help me. I don’t like the way I feel, and I can’t change without Your help. I want to be the mother that my kids need me to be. Please shift my focus to You, so that I don’t miss this precious day of Life that You have planned for us.”
So even though this day began badly, it turned into a good day. We ran errands together all day, but we found ways to have fun while doing it. We sang Frozen songs for the billionth time, ate hot dogs for lunch, and shined our Lights into the world by being ‘that happy family’. My oldest insisted on wearing her Snow White dress despite the 40 degree temperature, and I decided to be the cool mom and said ‘yes’ (on the terms that she wear thick tights, leggings, and a long sleeve shirt underneath). A lady behind us at the Dollar Store thought she looked so adorable, that she bought her a princess balloon in the shape of a crown to go with her dress.
A day that started with a bad morning, ended up making my daughter’s face do this:
Instead of giving myself a hard time every time I snap, I’m going to extend grace to myself, because I’m only human. I will continue to ask for forgiveness from my tiny humans. I will never give up on a day just because it got a little dicey. I will keep my focus on God, and let Him lead the way through each day. Every time I fall back down, I will always get back up, because these tiny humans are worth it. Oh, are they worth it.