Warning: This post may contain yucky, hard, and very raw feelings. This post may not “feel all the feels,” and it may not leave you with a desire to ride a unicorn or paint rainbows. This post isn’t intended for an audience who isn’t okay with facing the realities that parenting children is both a grueling blessing and a painful journey.
Okay, now that that’s out of the way, I think I’ve decided that I want to share my messy thoughts from yesterday. I don’t plan on organizing them in packaged paragraphs under neat headings; I don’t plan on trying to create a theme or “lesson” from them; and I don’t plan on spell-checking.
Today, I simply want to share my thoughts and feelings from yesterday…in all their messiness…because if there’s one thing I’m starting to realize, it’s this:
Parenting isn’t always filled with clean and packaged thoughts that are wrapped in cathartic, happy bows.
Sometimes parenting is a confusing mess of emotions that leave you reeling and trembling one minute and then gratefully hopeful the next. Parenting is one of God’s greatest blessings to me and yet one of the most sanctifying-hair pulling experiences I have ever had. In short, parenting is truly a roller coaster of ups and downs and yesterday…well…yesterday was just filled with a bunch of plummeting downs.
And since magazines and TV shows and books and social media and every other marketed venue is not in the business of advertising the “plummeting downs,” I wanted to share mine.
Not for the purpose of you feeling bad for me, and not for the purpose of trying to complain, and not for the purpose of trying to make sense of the “hard,”but simply for one purpose…
To remind you (just in case you, too, have “plummeting downs”) that you are not alone in the chaotic blessing of parenting.
I won’t give a big back story or explain all the drama that went down yesterday, but I will say the following: Yesterday,
my son drove me I let my son drive me to the brink of emotionally-spent and terribly-angry.
So, today, I am going to write (in a stream of conscious kind of way) my thoughts from yesterday in an attempt to not only process the things I was feeling, but also in an attempt to remember the whispers of grace I received during one of the most intense “plummeting downs” I have faced (to-date) in my parenting journey. Because something in me tells me that this won’t be the last or the worst of the “plummeting downs,” and I want to be able to re-visit this post and those moments.
So, here goes…
Yesterday, I had moments where I struggled to like my child.
Yesterday, I had moments where I questioned my love for my child and doubted his love for me.
Yesterday, I felt as if I was standing at the bottom of an uphill mountain that seemed endless and daunting.
Yesterday, as I faced that mountain, I wanted to run.
Yesterday, as I faced that mountain, I wanted to hide.
Yesterday, as I faced that mountain, I wanted to quit (being a parent).
Yesterday, I wanted to make my son “pay” for his sin. I wanted him to feel the weight of his actions and my hurt. I wanted him to feel “bad” for what he’d done, and I wasn’t interested in grace or forgiveness.
Yesterday, I doubted my parenting abilities and questioned my motives. I second-guessed all that I had ever believed was “good” and “right.”
Yesterday, I was afraid I was a failure, a mess, and a seriously huge screw-up.
Yesterday, I was letting my son steal my joy.
Yesterday, I realized that my son is often my joy.
Yesterday, I wanted to tell my friends that I was struggling, but I hesitated, but then I did.
Yesterday, I’m so glad I didn’t choose to struggle alone.
Yesterday, I was afraid that I would cry forever.
Yesterday, I was afraid of my feelings. I was afraid that I preferred one child more than the other in that moment. I was afraid that I had lost love for my other one, and I was terrified that we would never recover.
Yesterday, I felt like my son’s disobedience was personal.
Yesterday, I felt like my son’s disobedience was a result of my inadequacies.
Yesterday, I was wanting my son to love me like I love him.
Yesterday, I was angry, and I didn’t want to be anything else.
Yesterday, I imagined telling someone about my pain and then imagined punching them in the face when they responded with, “Yeah, but you’ll miss this someday.”
Yesterday, I called my husband and hysterically sobbed for 15 minutes and 15 seconds.
Yesterday, I wondered why I had ever wanted kids and then felt awful for thinking that.
Yesterday, I wanted to start doing my part-time job…full-time.
Yesterday, I realized that I don’t pray enough for my kids.
Yesterday, I realized that I don’t pray enough for me as I parent these kids.
Yesterday, I realized that God’s love is BIG and HUGE and REALLY HARD TO COMPREHEND.
Yesterday, I struggled to understand how God can forgive our sins “as far as the east is from the west.”
Yesterday, I understood why God was angered with His children (to the point of wrathful condemnation) and why He sent them into exile and why he wiped them off the face of the earth.
Yesterday, I understood why He desperately hurts when His children refuse to love Him back.
Yesterday, I understood how God feels love from our obedience.
Yesterday, I felt overwhelmed by the lost state of my children and their deep need for salvation.
Yesterday, I realized that when I struggle with the painful and mourn the hard, that He is faithful.
Yesterday, I realized that when I call out to Him in the midst of my storms, He may not end the storm, but He is gracious to bring peace to my boat.
Yesterday, when I felt at the end of me, I felt in desperate need of God.
Yesterday, I realized that I, too often, try to do this “parenting thing” on my own and in my own strength.
Yesterday, I realized that I don’t want to do that.
Yesterday, I struggled to understand how His “mercies are new every morning,” and then I woke up today…and realized that “His new mercies [his choice to not punish me for what I DO deserve]” can be “my new mercies”…can be my son’s “new mercies.”
Yesterday, I realized that I can’t love apart from His love.
Today, I realized that yesterday was yesterday, and today is today. And if today looks like yesterday…well, then I know that the One who was faithful yesterday will be the One who is faithful today.