a prayer and confession over a rough morning with kids
This morning I needed a do-over with my big kid. We are so different and where she is go-go-go, I am wait-wait-wait. I'm learning how to meet her where she is so that I can (hopefully) train and equip her for her own journey with God and with others. As I finished blow drying my hair this morning (a rare occurrence) and she danced and pranced and made "plans" for everything we would do next, I found irritation itching up my neck. I'd made a request and she'd attempted a creative disobedience tactic -- which I MISSED initially, because my "slight, momentary affliction" from her eagerness distracted me. When I realized she was actually cleverly disobeying, I shouted at her. Not just the volume of my instruction was hurtful, but my tone was designed to shame her. And I instantly knew it. She left for her room crying, I got the baby out of the cupboards and put him in the playpen, and I stood in the kitchen. I took a deep breath and whispered a prayer before knocking on her door. I sat on the floor and said, "I think we need a do-over." "YEAH we do, Mama. I'm sorry I disobeyed you." [do I imagine her enjoyment of repentance, a la Anne Shirley?!] "I'm sorry I shouted at you so meanly - I should have handled that differently." "I forgive you." she said cheerily. "Thank you. I forgive you, too. Do you think we can find ways to help each other in the mornings?"
And so we talked for a few minutes about obedience and about our differences and how we can show love and respect. We came up with a list of ideas together for ways to do mornings differently. I don't know if they'll stick, but I know we're working on it.
So today's prayer is from the mom who was reading 'Liturgy for a Moment of Frustration with a Child' before 8:30am.
You have made me, oh Lord Christ, to know you and to parent my kids from a place of knowing you as Father. Rarely do I see my own need so clearly as when my children put to the test my pride and theories and follow-through. Rarely am I so aware of my own impatience, self-defensiveness, and lack of compassion as I am when one my kids "tries me". Your Word makes plain the parent/child relational metaphor in such a way that I cannot wonder at Your intent to reveal and repair things in my heart as I mother the two You've given me.
I repent of my irritation, my distraction, my mindlessness when the needs of my kids seem an inconvenience to me. I repent of my frustrated sighs and eye rolls and though I'm not entirely convinced my body won't act that way again, I know I need the patience of Christ. I confess my exhaustion and weariness of answering the same questions, issuing the same instructions, performing the repetitious tasks of parenting.
When I stand before the mirror and sigh with frustration and defeat, help me call to mind the enduring lovingkindness of Your life.
When I turn to find every single pot and pan on the kitchen floor, help me remember that I am not powerless to place boundaries (door locks!) around my children.
When I wonder if the snarky responses are a direct impersonation of what they see in me and their dad, help me to remember that I can set a guard over my mouth and teach them to as well.
When I am faced with a question or conversation for which I feel unprepared, allow me to see my need for Your sufficiency and to rely on You for the words and grace required to face the moment.
Your new morning mercies are mine, that I may shepherd the hearts of the littles in my house in a way that nurtures confidence and a love of God. I confess I don't access those mercies with the frequency and verbal assent that I could.
But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope:
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
When the noise is significantly louder than my whispered prayers, when the needs arise before my coffee brews, when I think that ANYthing other than You is going to be enough to parent well, give me eyes to truly see. Let me see in my morning the enough-ness of God the Father, experience the compassionate encouragement of God the Son, and know the strength in my bones supplied by God the Spirit.
Help me to say what You say about the mundane-joyful task of parenting. Help me to see what You see in the repetition and monotony, that I would look for the precious and tender moments. Help me to embrace the opportunities to listen for Your voice in my times of need. Help me to speak LIFE to my children, to empower them to walk fearlessly into who they are going to be. Teach me to teach them with lovingkindness and consistency, that they would know the never-stopping, never-giving up, forever kind of love of God the Father in some small part because of the love and care they receive from me and their daddy.
May the work to be done in the growing and caring for these kids make me a kinder, more attentive, more compassionate, and more loving person.
May I humbly embrace this season of life, knowing that You are present and believing You will make Yourself known.