Saturday, September 8, 2012

A Story of Failure and Confession

Can I tell you a story today, friend?  A story of my failure and how I really want to be a better mama and how God is so incredibly committed to my heart, and my son's and future children's hearts, in the midst of all of this crazy, messy HUMANNESS?  I hope you don't mind if I'm maybe a little more raw than usual today....

Here I go:

The other day, my son was waking up from his nap.  He had taken a long nap (sigh of contentment from mommy), and I had been doing some writing and getting some other things done on the computer.  When he woke up, he talked to himself for a while...sounded like he was in a good mood, so I let him hang out in his bed as he continued to wake up.

Then he started calling me.... "Mommmyyyy....  MOMMYYYYYY...."

Type.  Type type type type type type.  I was trying to finish what I was working on.  I was impatient.  Really wanted to get it done before I went to get him.

His voice began to sound not-so-happy:  "Moooommmmmmmyyyyyyy???"

His sweet voice tugged at my heart.  Still typing.  Stressed.

(Ugh... this is hard for me to confess.)

Sometimes I make "3-minute idols" out of my projects.  (Or 5-minute... or 20-minute...). Things I just want to hurry up and get done.  Sometimes I'm guilty of neglecting my primary callings and responsibilities (i.e. my son, my husband, the dishes.... I could go on....) because I just desperately want to finish whatever I'm working on...because I just want to.

There... I said it.  I was being selfish.  Oh, how HUMAN and prone to failure I am... still.  After nearly 28 years as a believer.  (Yup, I gave my heart to Jesus when I was 4. :) )

The thing that I fail to realize in those moments is this:  when I cling tightly to a project that I want to get done, at the expense of fulfilling my responsibilities to my family... that in those moments, in addition to being disobedient to the Lord (Really... let's call it what it is...), I am actually missing out on the invitation that God had for me in calling me away from whatever I was focused on.

I so easily take my projects into my own hands instead of trusting God that they'll get done in His timing.

Anyone else out there identify with this?  I'm fairly sure I'm not the only one who struggles with this stuff....

Anyway, there's lesson number one:  TRUST HIM.... Let it go.... And prioritize my family's needs.

Here's the second thing that happened, which was really amazing to me.  About 30 minutes later, Isaac and I were driving down the highway and the Lord convicted my heart of my disobedience... and I realized I needed to repent to my son as well.

It went something like this:

"Hey buddy?  Mommy's sorry that I made you wait so long after you woke up.  You were calling Mommy and I should have come and gotten you sooner.  Will you forgive me?"

I still don't know how much of what I was asking that my almost-2-year-old actually understood... but immediately his little voice piped up from the back seat: "Yes."

Shock.  Heart.... melting.... In my now puddle-like-state, I reply, "Thank you buddy... Mommy loves you...."

Still shaking my head in wonder at his response, I mused in my heart over how I need to remember more often to apologize to my son and ask his forgiveness.... And this realization hit me like a ton of bricks:

Something in my heart had been a little bit afraid to do that....even though I knew better.... Deep inside there was a core belief that if I admitted my failures to my children, they would lose respect for me.  

I think I've had a need to always be "right" in their little eyes.

Oh, how DAMAGING that could have been...and how sweet of the Father to reveal that to me now while my little guy is young instead of in 10 years when we have 5 more kids.  I so desperately want to have the humility and faith do well in this area.... It's all a part of the journey of stewarding my children's hearts well.

To my friends out there who are mamas... Can I ask you this question?  How do you do at asking your kids' forgiveness and reconnecting with their hearts after you fail (in whatever capacity) in your parenting?  What have some of those conversations with your kids been like for you?  I'd love to hear from some moms of older kiddos too.

Thanks friends, for letting me share my weakness here today.  If you've read this, I'd looooove to hear your feedback.

(PS - If you're interested, look in the left hand sidebar and click on the "Comment Policy" button for info on how comments are moderated on this blog.)

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  1. My first experience with this, in such a way that it got me right in the heart, was when Olivia was 3 1/2 and i was teaching her a bible verse for each letter of the alphabet. Her Q verse was "Quiet words of the wise are more to be headed than shouts of a ruler of fools." She memorized it fast and her little mind picked up on the meaning amazingly well. I could give you several excuses (pregnant/tired/working nights/moving/living with my inlaws/stress/etc), but the truth of the matter is that I let myself sin and would raise my voice at her when I was frustrated or tired and she wasn't behaving well. That progressed into times of actually yelling at her. I still struggle with this issue of anger. I confessed and repented to God. I talked to a friend/mentor for suggestions on how to deal with it and ask if Olivia was going to be okay. She encouraged me to seek Olivia's forgiveness. I did that. I also asked Olivia to help me if she saw me start to sin. Yes, I asked that of my 3 1/2 year old. She turned her Q memory verse right on me one day when I was beginning to raise my voice. Oh, how that got me right in the heart.
    I want my children to know what to do when they mess up. So when I ask for forgiveness for my mistakes, I am modeling that behavior to them. I believe the skill of asking forgiveness is essential. It keeps us humble. It keeps us from hiding. It causes of to rest in God's grace and not our own strengths. While, I would prefer not to mess up and pray/confess/strive to do better each day, the reality is that I am going to mess up. And so my ability to share how I failed and ask forgiveness helps me and helps my children.
    To get there hearts back, I will mostly slow down and be more deliberate in the way of time and touch with them. If I am finding myself easily frustrated, it is often because I am too busy or I am expecting too much of them. So I will slow down and spend the day just being with them. Often I will take one of my children in my arms and just hold them. I will speak softly and tell them the things that I love or appreciate about them. I will get down and play with them--cars with the boys or a game with my daughter. I make sure that I laugh with them.
    I believe my honesty when my expectations are too high or when I mess up and the genuiness of my apology repairs those heart strings that broke. Also, knowing my children's love language and trying to make sure their love bank is filled up (learned from the 5 Love Languages of Children) is very important to keeping their hearts.

    1. Rebecca, this is awesome. Thank you so much for sharing. I have also had to ask Isaac's forgiveness for raising my voice at him in anger.... and it's crazy - they can totally tell when we're just being firm and giving instructions or warning of consequences IN LOVE.... vs when we cross the line into frustration and anger. Their hearts are incredibly perceptive.... Anyway...I loved reading this and I will be calling you for advice I'm sure as my kiddo(s) get older!! :) Thanks so much for sharing your experience & your heart.... love you!


Hi there, friend! I'm honored and blessed when you share your heart, your thoughts, your feedback with me here. At the same time, I want my readers to feel free to read and process internally before the Lord... to not feel obligated to spit out immediate feedback.... so I am SO not upset or offended by non-commenting readers. Please be who you are - - internal AND external processors welcome here! :)

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