Think About Such Things

Today, where I live, it is a rainy, stay in your house, contemplative type of day. With that in mind, in case it is the same at your home, I wanted to give you something to think about.

It seems like daily I question or doubt my parenting skills and/or decisions. Sometimes I know I have hit the mark, responding in grace, moving in love. Other days, I know for sure I missed, even at times by a long shot.

Although many days I have answered patiently, cultivated uniqueness, built character, delivered affection, or fostered learning, I have also been short tempered, reacted harshly, displayed exhaustion, and miscommunicated.

As with all realms of life, some days of parenting are better than others. And as you add additional children to the mix, the stakes seem to get higher, for now you have to have a double portion of the goodness, which can even bring about an additional dose of the bad.

A few weeks ago, I was trying to get the kids in the car to go somewhere. Reflecting back, I can’t remember where we were going, if we were late, if it was important, or what the circumstances were at all really. I just remember the kids, me, and the car were involved, and somewhere along the line, I lost it. I yelled at Daniel. Don’t ask me what I said or why I said it, for I can’t recall. All I know is that it wasn’t said in love. And it was most likely loud.

I do remember though driving off toward our destination, and before I could even get off our street, mommy guilt was ripping me to shreds. I was giving myself mental kicks in the rear for messing up and yelling. Although I had already admitted error to Daniel and apologized, I felt a huge weight on my chest, preventing me from breathing fully. I felt shame and failure, and I certainly knew that this moment would be later recanted by Daniel to some sort of educated figure in order to help him ameliorate all his adult issues, since they all stem from a mother’s mistakes anyway.

As I continued to drive, a scripture came into my mind, like a soft and gentle breeze:

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.-Philippians 4:8

True.

Noble.

Right.

Pure.

Lovely.

Admirable.

Excellent.

Praiseworthy.

Think about such things.

It was time to stop beating myself up for a mistake, for generally I would ponder some sort of mishap in perfect parenting for at least one full week. Instead, I am commanded to think about the good, avoid focusing on the bad. I messed up, no doubt, but what good is there in devouring my own spirit in the process? How will replaying the moment over in my head change the fact that is happened? It won’t.

In a Thriving Family article that interviewed Mary Beth Chapman, wife of  singer Steven Curtis Chapman, she was discussing life, their family failures, and their family loss, and was quoted as saying:

Our whole goal has not been to live [life] out perfectly, but to live it out struggling, live it out battling, and in the end, to just succeed in not letting the Enemy tear this family apart.

I’m going to fail, sufferings will come, mistakes will be made. I can’t think about those things though. Instead, I have to recount the joyful aspects in my parenting, the times I did what was right in the midst of a difficult or stressful moment, not cataloging the memory of a less than ideal moment front and center, available for constant reflection and haunting. I must think about the positives in my life rather than the negatives, the truths of Christ rather than the lies of Satan. If I don’t, I risk letting the enemy win.

And you know what, I’ve been trying to do that daily since. I encourage you to do the same for yourself.

Think about such things. It is quite liberating, really.

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7 thoughts on “Think About Such Things

  1. Thank you for sharing. Sometimes I feel as if I’m the only mother who gets frustrated, mad and sometimes loses it. Everyone else seems so perfect.

  2. So, so true. Thanks for sharing. That verse is in a frame at eye level above my kitchen sink – it’s a reminder I need frequently!

  3. As others have said, Summer, thanks for sharing. This verse was a good reminder to me today, and I need to review the verse more often. Like a soft and gentle breeze, you wrote–that’s how I felt reading this! May the Lord fill your heart with His peace!

  4. I feel like I loose it so much with Liam. I apologize after getting so mad, and this boy amazes me. He welcomes me with smiles and a warm hug. Us both apologizing. I hope that I can model the grace that allows my son to love me no matter how harsh my words come out. I struggle in the moment to remember that he is a little boy, that wants to show me things and make me laugh. Sometimes, I get so busy with my self-imposed tasks that I don’t sit and enjoy all of him. The loud parts, the silly parts, the mean face parts and the lovable parts. Thanks for the reminder to enjoy my boys.

  5. There are so many days I miss it, but I get back up and try all over again. I repent to the boys, too – and, I think that is important – to know that even we fail, even we miss it and we repent and keep trying – so that when they grow up – and they miss it, they won’t just give up on God because they are good enough – they will get up, brush themselves off and try again. God knew we were going to be like that. I love your quote from Chapman’s wife – it is so true. The quest is not for perfection – but it really is to love the best we can and love sometimes misses it – ’cause we are NOT perfect! Only perfect through HIm:)

    • Thanks for the Mommy perspective a few years out from the little bitty stage. I appreciate your thoughts–seriously!

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