Here we are again, all buckled in and driving down the road. I'm at the wheel. My two girls are behind me strapped in their car seats. The music playing on my Christian radio station is uplifting, but my heart—it's heavy. I'm weighed down by my own actions, not five minutes before.
Getting ready and out the door is a chore, as any mom of littles will tell you. No matter how much extra time you allot yourself, it's never enough. It seems those last 10 minutes before leaving are pure and utter chaos.
It never fails. Somebody poops right as I step out the door. Did I get the paci? Oops, I forgot to water the dog.
It's enough to drive someone mad—at least if that someone is me.
I like to think I am a good mother. But I know for a fact I have one motherly flaw that protrudes like a plank from my eye: I lack patience. At no time is this flaw more evident than when my girls and I are trying to get out the door to go somewhere.
The problem is, I'm an "arrive on time" kind of girl. Or at least I used to be. Now, with two kids, I rarely reach my destination on time. But the drive to do so still pushes me to run over any obstacles in my path.
Even if those obstacles are often my children.
Today my 4-year-old, finally strapped down behind her five-point-harness, crying in the back seat, asked me, "Why are you being so mean to us?" I was buzzing down the road, my eye on the prize of my destination, but in that moment my heart stopped, and I knew I was in the wrong.
At the next stop sign, I turned around, looked her straight in the eyes and asked her to please forgive me. She said she did, as she always does, and we kept on driving. But my heart couldn't move on because I knew the truth—this wasn't the first time this had happened. In my determination to get out the door and to wherever we're headed, I tend to plow over those I love. (I know my husband's been in the line of fire plenty of times too!) The fact is, my actions show that I place more value on the opinion of whoever is waiting for us than on that of my own family.
I decided right then and there that enough was enough. I don't want my children to remember their mother always in a hurry or always about to burst from frustration. I want them to remember examples of patience and love.
Lord, please help me remember the power of my words and attitudes on my children's hearts. And in those moments of frustration, help me reflect on Your Word and remember that my character is more important than them perfectly meeting my expectations.
"Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other's faults because of your love" (Ephesians 4:2, NLT).
"The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down" (Proverbs 14:1, NIV)
Copyright © 2016 by Kelsie Huffstickler. Used with permission.
1. Susan Yates says that one of the most helpful ways a mom can gain perspective on her current situation is by seeing life in terms of seasons. Read “The Seasons of Motherhood: Recognizing Challenges, Focusing on Blessings.”
2. Purchase Hoodwinked by Karen Ehman and Ruth Schwenk. You’ll enjoy their encouraging “we’ve been there” style that will enable you to identity 10 myths of motherhood and replace those lies with the truth of what God says in the Bible.
3. Moms often feel like failures if they have questions or apprehensions about raising their kids. Listen as Karen Ehman, a Proverbs 31 speaker, tells FamilyLife Today® listeners how to dispel myths such as “Mothering is natural, easy, and instinctive.”