Last week I wrote about my family’s recent struggle with my husband being away from home and the difference a daddy makes in the lives of my girls.
As a result of this struggle, I’ve been thinking and praying about what I’m to do, as a mommy, to stand in the gap while my husband is away. How do I handle the tough mommy moments in a way that will leave both my heart and the hearts of my girls intact?
Because, so often, in the heat of the moment, I feel like I’m doing just the opposite. I lose my patience, my perspective. I lose my determination to show my girls grace. I yell and accuse, and before I know it, I’m failing to win not just the battle of the moment, but the battle for their hearts.
The good news is, as always, God is faithful, and there are three things He is teaching me as a result of this recent struggle.
No. 1: Cover the Day in Prayer
I admit that I tend to struggle with covering my days in prayer. I know that ideally, it is important and helpful to start each day in prayer, especially when I know that my day is likely to be challenging. Despite this knowledge, I am all too often guilty of plowing right into my day.
As the day wears on, stress mounts and tension chips away at my resolve, until I find myself calling to God in surrender (Lord, I can’t do this alone!), or pleading for His help (Please give me patience!).
I am learning that when I stop and take the time to invite Him into my day, or into the heat of the moment, the day or the moment may not become any less challenging, but I, myself, am stronger, wiser, and better equipped to take it on. For me, prayer makes way for peace in my heart, which more times than not, leads to peace in my home.
No. 2: Seek Wisdom
Whenever I find myself struggling with my daughter, I always feel tempted to believe that I am alone. That I am assuredly the only mom, in the history of motherhood, that has managed to screw up this badly. If I allow it, this way of thinking can keep me from missing the blessing of fellowship with other mothers who can offer help and wisdom.
Seeking the wisdom of other moms, forces me to realize that I am far from alone, and that, quite the opposite, I am surrounded by loving and Godly mothers who have been where I am now, and who are willing to help me as I go through times of trial and testing.
I am blessed to be surrounded by an arsenal of wisdom. In my mom, in my sister, and in friends tried and true, I have a wealth of parenting knowledge ready and waiting to help and encourage me in times of trouble. I am learning that when I choose to go to these women and tap into their wisdom, my ability to parent my children in a loving and Godly way increases exponentially.
No. 3: Avoid Getting Caught in the Trap of Perfection
All mothers, at one time or another, feel the pressure of being a perfect mom. Likewise, all mothers, at one time or another, fail miserably at this unrealistic expectation.
As my friend, Amanda and I like to remind each other, our children don’t need us to be perfect, what they do need is for us to be their mommies. They need us to speak to their hearts. They need us to nurture their spirits. They need us to show them Christ.
When I blow it with Aletheia, it is not so much about the fact that I made a mistake, that I let my anger, impatience, or frustration get the best of me. What matters most is how I handle the aftermath, how I make things right with her and with God.
While these moments are never easy and it’s tempting to focus on all that she’s doing wrong, it is vitally important that, as her mommy, I take these opportunities to not just discipline her, but also to show her that I need to be humbled too. To show her what humility, forgiveness, and grace are all about.
As I shared last week, the recent struggle my family has gone through has taught each of us about the difference a daddy makes. This week, God is teaching me, to understand and take to heart, three important differences that help to make a mommy.