I’m going to try to be very candid with you in this moment.
Parenting two toddlers is not easy work for a sinner like me. It occurred to me tonight that maybe there’s a reason they call it “the terrible twos”, and I realized that we are days away from diving into another year of two (which basically means we’re in it, since so far my kids don’t wait to act their age).
These lives are precious and beautiful and amazing. I have two little humans running around learning how to process a million new things every day. Today they might feel sad about something that they never noticed before in their lives, and have no idea why. Tomorrow they will discover that they can get what they want by force if their opponent is small enough, and have no remorse whatsoever if they leave the other child in tears.
There are days that I feel so on top of this. I connect with my kids. I explain things so well. I discipline lovingly and consistently. I parent like my Heavenly Father parents me.
Okay... actually no. I don’t think I’ve had a single set of 24 hours where that has been the case in my entire 3 years of parenting. I have maybe afternoons or mornings or (most rarely) evenings like that, but I’m not sure I can claim to have whole days like that.
And today, for absolute certain, was not like that.
Because he wouldn’t LISTEN, and he wouldn’t OBEY even once, and nothing I said or did no matter how sweet or angry seemed to make ANY impression on him whatsoever!!!! grrrr
There once were some sheep
Safe on the farm
But one little lamb got loose.
The shepherd went out
And carried him home.
And that little lamb... was you.
And I love you today.
I love you tomorrow.
I love you as deep as the sea.
I love you in joy.
And I love you in sorrow.
You can always come home to me.
Singing to the kids tonight, I was pummeled by some serious conviction. I started out thinking how sad I was that some days my kids just seem determined to do anything but be happy, safe, and respond to my love.
But when I got to this line, I realized that I did not go out into the wilderness to find the heart of my son today. I stood on my back porch screaming out his name and demanding that he come home to me. I did not parent him like my Heavenly Father has parented me. I did not forgive his small debt when I have been forgiven so much more.
Of course he needed training, correction, and discipline. But not from the heart that dealt it out.
I broke down crying as I finished the chorus, and in the dark William asked, “Mommy... get spanking?” And I told him that yes, God had given me a spanking on my heart because I had sinned. And I told my precious children that I had sinned by getting angry at them. That I had done just what I try to teach them not to do by reacting out of anger instead of calming myself down and communicating. I asked them to forgive me, and prayed with them.
And I was scared. Because even though I remember quite clearly that some of the strongest positive impressions growing up for me were when my parents apologized and I got to see first hand what that looked like, it’s hard asking a 2-year-old and a 3-year-old for forgiveness, and hoping that they will still understand that you’re in charge.
God was merciful, though. It was a beautiful moment. They’re so young, but tonight I think they understood more than I ever would have given them credit for.
As a shepherdess of little souls I have so much to learn from the Good Shepherd.
But the good news is that He is more patient with His sheep and more kind to His children than I have ever been. This is holy work, and my High Priest will not leave me unattended in it. Christ is the Lord! Oh praise His Name forever! His power and glory evermore proclaim.