Friday, October 22, 2010

Contemplating Change

Tonight during family prayer time, my sweet Hannah prayed this prayer:

And God, please help Mommy love us better.

Honestly, I don't know if those were her exact words, but that is what I heard.  Talk about dagger to the heart and a terribly sinking feeling in my stomach.  Immediately, I held her close.

Do I not do a good job of loving you, Hannah?  My eyes plead and my heart hinges on the "yes" that escapes her lips.  She smiles, gives me a kiss, and crawls into her bed.  I slink out of the room, no taller than the Barbie leaning up again the toy chest.  Is it so obvious that I need help showing love to my children?

I throw this question up to God.  I don't expect the answer that immediately imprints on my brain, one similar to a neon OPEN sign in a storefront window. OPEN! OPEN! OPEN!  These words simply say, Did you not just pray these words yesterday?

I try to explain to God that it doesn't matter if I prayed it.  The fact that she prayed it is what is important here.  It's much like me realizing I should lose weight and someone else telling me I'm getting a bit chunky in the rear.  Perhaps it's that I'm okay knowing my flaws, but I detest other people recognizing them, too.

I think of other possible promptings for this prayer.  Maybe she recognizes that some days, it's hard being a mom.  Maybe the Holy Spirit is speaking through her and she is lifting me up in prayer.  Maybe she likes how so-and-so's mom dishes out the lovin' and she's hoping I'll follow suit.  I don't know.  The whole thing hurt my heart, but I'm determined to not drown in guilt and to, instead, let these words provoke some thoughts about changes.

  • I will recognize that during this season in my life, I am easily distracted from my parenting.  I will ask forgiveness and I will continue to pray that God shows me when and how to be more intentional.  I will put the iPhone down.  I will not rush to the phone every time the email *dings* to see if it is another comment on my blog.  I will not wait with anticipation until it is my turn again on Words with Friends.
  •  I will give up the things that God has asked me to lay down.  Even if it means forfeiting extra money and a title of which I might be a bit too proud.
  • I will lay down my fear of things not getting done.  Perhaps in my quest to tidy up every last loose end, I have left my own children dangling in the lurch.  Oh my.
  • I will not idolize my time in a quiet house.  In fact, I will not call it "my time."  Really, it's God's time and He knows how it would best be spent.  He knows when I need to work.  He knows when I need to rest.  He knows when it is time to clean the house.  When my house is noisy and full of boisterous children, I will rejoice and see God's love and grace in the moment, no matter what is within the present situation.
  • I will give myself grace. I am a parent.  I am not a perfect parent. I am not perfect. Period.
Oh, the power of the words that come from the mouths of babes.  They have the power to make a mommy's heart swoon or bring her crashing down, guilt burying her in seconds.  But, we can allow Jesus to temper them.  To show us the truth in their words, while pulling us up, out of the ashes.

I'm linking up with Home Sanctuary and Caffeinated Randomness today.  Check out the fun!


  1. Oh Jen, I've felt the sting of one of my childrens' words a few times. It's down right uncomfortable and eye-opening. My faults are brought to the fore front and my soul is exposed.

    I honestly think that every mom experiences these moments. We can choose how to respond and you did wonderfully.

    Maybe her boldness is a great testimony to you and your family that she knows that she CAN voice her heart without harsh punishment?.

  2. Yes; what Kela said. Thanks for sharing.

  3. How true...I recognize most of my flaws but definitely do not want someone else pointing them out to me! Especially not one of my children!

    I love your thoughts, though on becoming a better parent. None of us is perfect and we can all work on a few being a distracted parent (get off my toes, please!)

    Thanks for the thoughts, blessings!

  4. i am leaving you a comment, and i hope you just didn't now rush to the dinging phone. i am really glad my phone doesn't do email, or i may be in trouble too!

    being a better mommy is something we all try to do. we can pray to be shown what we need to do, and pray for the ability to do it. God speaks through children to mothers a lot. i think they are a good tool, and haven't been in the world long enough to be scared to say what God tells them to, as us adults sometimes are. such little miracles those babies are. i am really starting to learn how much of a miracle mine really are too! xoxo

  5. wow...powerful words! This post is convicting to me (yet again!), especially things like laying things down, and worrying about getting every little thing done. I do this, and it's terrible to admit! You've given me much to pray about, and I thank you for this post.

  6. Having kids is sure humbling. And you know what? I'm right there with you. Perseverence! Keep on keeping on. We can't change what has happened, but we can change what will happen. And no, we're not perfect, but we can do our best with what He has given us. He doesn't ask for perfection, and neither do our kids.

  7. Oh, Jen, never forget that God knows right where you are and hears your every plea and He will help you to find that perfect balance in your life. Just as you said, you are not perfect and no one else is either. Parenting is one of the hardest job on planet earth and I know that you have done an overall excellent job and God's grace will see you through.

    What an awesome post! Hugs to you!

  8. How wonderful that God doesn't expect perfection... He loves us. Grace and mercy are wonderful gifts, new every morning... Blessings on your day!

  9. What a beautiful post! I am in a time of laying things down as well, waiting to see what amazing things God wants to do with 'His time' in our family. Isn't it amazing the depth with which little ones can pray?! I'm always floored by this. Visiting from Bloggy Moms, but I'll be back! you have a wonderful 'place'!

  10. I love your post! It is amazing how differently words affect us depending on who says them or when. I'm willing to bet your daughter didn't mean it in a mean way. But I can only imagine the sting, like you said. You sound pretty in tune though!!!!!

  11. I cannot tell you how much this post speaks to me. I too have a hard time balancing things like Facebook and my blog, and realizing my family always should come way way way first. Why is it that we find it easier to love on our bloggy friends, seeking thier approval rather than that of the ones under our own roof. I don't know, but I know that I am guilty of it. Thank you for speaking the truth that I so needed to hear.

  12. This made me hurt for you. I feel like mothering is SO difficult. And often I am overwhelmed and do all the wrong things. ALL of the wrong things.

    I think the fact that you cared so much that she said it shows how deeply you love her.

  13. My little guy isn't speaking much yet, but I imagine that if he could speak his mind, he would have a few stinging words as well. And he would be telling the truth! I cringe when he walks into the room and sees that I'm on my laptop checking my blog or chat. I just deleted my facebook for this exact reason-it's so easy to become wrapped up in the virtual world and forget about IRL. I'm inspired by this post and am working to manage my time more efficiently and prioritize my activities. Thanks for sharing!

  14. Linked from Seven Matters. Hope you don't mind visitors :)

    Moving story. The prayers of our children can make us laugh until we cry, or they can stab at our hearts. And they don't even realize they are doing it to us!

    Your last sentence is powerful: "I will give myself grace. I am a parent. I am not a perfect parent. I am not perfect. Period."

    Cheryl and I have said similar things. We try hard, do the best we can, teach, model, and pray, but we are still human. The neat thing: kids are pretty resilient and can handle imperfect parents pretty well! Thank the Lord, ours have!

    Good post. Good blog.



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