Confession: My kids fight. They bicker and call names and tattle and sometimes drive me straight to the edge of sanity. A few nights ago, my husband and I left home for ninety minutes. We then made the decision to come back early because we were fearful of what kind of emotional damage could be inflicted on siblings in that short amount of time. What I’m saying is, the arguing is out of control. After fielding one phone call from home before we even reached the highway, I turned to M and I said, “Really? They can’t even behave for five minutes? Why can’t these people hold it together and just obey? What am I doing wrong here? How much more sanctified does God think I need to be?”
A lot, judging by the number of behavioral issues I have to deal with on a daily basis.
There is nothing like a crying seven-year old, a surly eleven-year old, and a cranky teen to sanctify the hell right out of you. Literally. There’s marriage too, and the daily matters of loving them all, while tending to hearth and home. I tell you, I meet God at the ironing board and the kitchen table and in the bedtime routine more than anywhere else. I meet the devil there too, and my flesh–every weak thing I despise. These weaknesses, they are the places I want to be made strong, but how much discipline must a mama endure in order to bend but not break?
Yesterday, my kids asked about eye color and how one sibling inherits one color and the other sibling another. Being a former science major, I had all sorts of interesting commentary on dominant and recessive genes. I rattled off a lot of information and after what I believed to be an enlightening lecture, they both said, “I’m still confused.” So I summed it up like this: you inherit it, kids.
You inherit the things you see and sometimes the recessive things that you don’t. It’s why two brown-eyed parents can end up with a blue-eyed child. It’s why the anger I conceal really well under a polite veneer, shows up in my child who hasn’t mastered the art of concealment. Sometimes they inherit the fear, the easy frustrations, and the way they use their words to flay each other open.
Sometimes the sanctification comes when God holds up your children like a mirror to both of you and He says, “You see what I’m working with here?”
Lord have mercy. Sometimes I wonder who among us has any business parenting little people. But we do, and we will, and when we wrangle and pray the hell out of ourselves, we’ll pray it out of them too.