sweets, water and exhaustion
There are 4 things that I can 99.99% guarantee will happen when I put the kids to bed at night.
1. They will all (except Mae) ask for water in their cups. Not just any water…COLD water. No joke. We’ve tried to get away with just walking out of the room and walking back in as if we have filled it up, but we’ve only gotten away with it 2 or 3 times in as many years. They probably shouldn’t have water in their beds or be allowed to ask for any, but we pick our battles wisely around here.
2. Keely will pray and thank God for lollipops, chocolate, marshmallows, ice cream and donuts. Sometimes it will be one of those, sometimes it will be all of those. Most of the time she hasn’t had any of those that day, but she likes to cover all the bases. Tonight she asked me if we could have fruit smoothies for breakfast on Thursday…..which is in two days.
3. Ezra will ask me what we’re doing tomorrow. It’s also the first thing he utters in the morning. No slackers aloud.
4. I will be tempted and, at times, give into impatience and anger at the never-ending questions or comments or needs or extra potty breaks or whatever it may be that night.
So why is #4 on the list a constant struggle? Is it because my kids are intent on bugging me just to bug me? Doubt it. Are they trying to milk it? Sure. Should I respond in anger or frustration because they are being kids and just want some extra time awake with mom and dad? No, of course not. I SHOULD be showing them more love and affection to leave them knowing that they are cared for and loved. Instead of doing what I should do, I become selfish and angry because now they are cutting into ME time. You all know what I’m talking about, right? My thoughts swirl around all that I’ve done today for them, from cleaning spills to having heart to hearts….from teaching phonics to tickle games….from making meals to bathing. So of course I DESERVE for them to go to bed quickly and quietly! Here’s the kicker…who said I deserve any ME time? Who said my time is to be used for whatever I want? Uhmmm….yeah. So now I’m faced with a decision to make…..give into my impatience, or have self-control?
We all obviously know the answer, but it’s easier said than done and also very easy to do that for the wrong reasons. If my reason for having self-control is just so that the kids won’t bear the brunt of my impatience and so hurt their feelings, that’s not going to 1. last very long and 2. honor the Lord. Here’s where my motivation must come from:
15 The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. 16 But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life. (1 Timothy 1:15-16)
Knowing that Christ died for this sin that continually creeps up, is my first motivation. Praise the Lord I don’t have to atone for my sins, they’ve been paid for, forgiven, and forgotten! Secondly, I must remember how patient He is with ME….how can I be impatient with my kids at bedtime when Christ has been ever more patient with me?
The Lord is gracious and merciful,
slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. (Ps 145:8)