The kids are fighting again. I instantly yell for them to come into the kitchen where I am washing the dishes. I am tired, annoyed and frustrated by this point in the day. I am not interested in listening to my kids for “Why,” they are fighting. All I want to do is to finish the dishes and take a break. So when they get into the kitchen, (both are screaming and still fighting,) I explode. “I am tired of all the fighting. Jenna, you are 9 years old, cut it out, grow-up and stop teasing your brother. How could you hit him? You are suppose to protect him!! I have had it with you!! GO TO YOUR ROOM!!” Then I look at my 6 year old son, who is still crying and say, “I can’t take you crying anymore. You need to toughen up and quite acting like a baby. You can GO TO YOUR ROOM TOO!!!”
As they walk away, I justify why I had every right to use those words with my kids. How dare they keep interrupting my day. I have so many things to get done. I do not have time to keep listening to them tell me how the other one is being mean, why they hit each other, why they are yelling. I need to get my checklist done, like yesterday!!
Sitting In a Pew of Reality
The following Sunday, I sat in the pew at church and listen to the pastor tell me we were going to be reading Matthew 7: 1-6 and talking about how, opinions can be a dangerous thing, I thought that sounded like a good topic. Little did I know that God was aiming right for my heart.
“Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. For God will judge you as you judge
others. The standard you use in judging is the standard by which you will be judged.
And why worry about a speck in your brother’s eye when you have a log in your own?
How can you think of saying to your brother, ‘Let me help you get rid of that speck in
your eye,’ when you can’t see past the log in your own eye? Hypocrite! First get rid of the
log in your own eye; then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your brother’s eye.”
My heart just sank. If you go back and replace the word brother with children you will see why. Here I was trying to get my kids to follow God. To have a right heart with God and I was being the worst role model ever. I was yelling at them and then telling them not to yell at each other. I was calling them names and putting them down, but, I expected them to be nice. I wasn’t taking the time to listen to them, but they better be listening to me. How could I raise Godly children, when I wasn’t taking time to right my heart in front of them first.
You Can Not Know the Intent of Their Heart
I have a child that likes to tease her brother all the time. So when a fight breaks out, more times than not, I automatically get on her case. I do not take the time to even ask her what is going on. I just punish her. I get so frustrated with her. Why does she have to get him going? Why does she have to be so mean? Why can’t she just stop all this nonsense?
After listening to my pastor’s sermon the other day, I started to take the time to watch my children more. To try to understand what was going on and why. I found out that my younger son would tease her just as much as she teased him. So they were both trying to get each other mad. They were being brother and sister in a fallen world.
I stopped to watch how much they loved each other also. They were spending so much time laughing with each other that it made me laugh. They were listening to each other (most of the time), and playing in a way that would make even God smile.
So why hadn’t I taken the time before to do this. Easy. I was too busy thinking about all the things that I needed to get done. Thinking about myself and my list. The list that if I didn’t keep up, would slowly swallow me. And to this day I still struggle with this mentality. But beginning breaking this cycle has shown me how much I am missing.
Be Still and Know That They are God’s Children
There are so many days that I go to bed and wake up with my list in my head of all the things that need to be done. I have the hardest time sitting still, because there is always more that can be done. In this process, I have forgotten how to enjoy my kids. I have lost my intrigue with getting to know my kids. To take the time to see all the beautiful gifts God has bestowed them with.
So I realize that I need to go to bed with peace. With knowing that God has got this. That my list needs to be more flexible. That no one is going to die if I don’t get my whole list done. Waking up with listening to God and asking Him what He wants from my family that day. That is harder said than done.
“See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that in heaven their angels
always see the face of my Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 18:10
If you dive into this verse it talks about not refusing to receive them or not refusing to give pastoral care when needed. Being pastoral to your kids means to give spiritual guidance at the appropriate time. How are we to do this if we are so busy in our own lives, with our own list? The problem is we can not do what God has called us to do, if we do not slow down to realize that parenting our kids is one of the most important jobs that we have.
I know that I am so guilty of this. I am constantly doing chores, working on the website, coaching, running sports programs, teaching at my homeschool co-op, teaching at my church, and more. I like to help, but at what cost. At the cost of listening to my kids’ hearts. At the cost of getting to know who they truly are. At the cost of helping them to realize their spiritual gift that God has given them and then helping them to develop their gift.
The cost of those gifts are way to high. So as I start to pray to God about what needs to come off my list, I pray for God to help me to live my life, each day the way that He wants me too.
Dear Lord, hear our prayer to slow down. To take the time to listen to our kids. To get to know their hearts and to see them through your eyes. Help us to wake up everyday and live our lives the way you would want us to. To be a spiritual guidance to our kids, at just the right time. Show us how to be the best parents that we can be. To love when it gets hard, to pray when we want to fall apart and to breathe in the midst of this crazy world. Give us the strength to do all of this in your name.