Thursday, November 24, 2016

For All the Failing Parents: Thankful for Mercy

by Danetta Kellar

I was rushing around, eyes seeing only disorder and mess. 

I hobbled clumsily on a broken foot, wishing I could just sit down and prop it up. The household tasks around me seemed insurmountable. To make it all worse, it was dinner time and people were starving. Looking to me to fill their need. I sighed loudly in frustration.

Suddenly, a sweet small voice said behind me, “You hate being a mommy, don't you.” I froze.

It was said with compassion. With love. By my little daughter, the delight of my heart. The one who watches and listens, the one who has what she calls a Mommy Radar that tells her when I need a hug. She was looking at me with sympathy for how hard it must be to be a Mommy. How much I must hate it.

The tears rushed forth with prickly pain as my eyes filled. Swinging around and dropping to her level, I looked at her square. 

“I am so sorry. No, I do not hate being a mommy. It is the best thing in my life. I am so sorry I made it seem like anything else.” 

My heart felt sick, defeated.

Words can change everything in a second. Turn the world on a spin. Bring clarity like the crisp air on the first fall morning. 

I tried to breathe past the heaviness sitting on my heart. I had some work to do. The work of letting go of the work and seeing what really matters most.

How often do we struggle with the very things that make us most satisfied, most delighted, most happy? 

How is it that we could, in our toil to serve and love, communicate exactly the opposite?

It does not matter, really, all the tidying, the organizing, the driving, the cooking, the laundry. What matters is the heart my children see in me. And that heart would die for them. But is such love crowded out by my sighing, my need for order, my overwhelmed emotions?

I am learning this Thanksgiving to slow down and see my children. I have been asking forgiveness. I have been listening, watching, paying attention more. Hugging sleepyheads, kissing freckled teenage faces, tickling my big boy in his ear and watching him giggle like the toddler he once was. Because I certainly do not hate being a mom. 

No matter what else I am, I am a Mother first. 

My words on these pages may not last, our work at the office may not be remembered in the years to come, our busy running to and fro to make everything just right may fade away, but our love will remain for eternity in the hearts of our children and the generations to come. This is where I will change the world today. 

Thank God we can be part of such an honorable task.

In this honorable task, our own hearts are changed and we learn to extend the lessons learned in parenting to the rest of the world. See others. Listen well. Love, serve, give thanks for the good you find.

Thank you, God, for grace in parenting. Where I have failed, help me get up again. Where I have communicated the opposite of love, please apply Your mercy and help me change. Slow me down and help me see my children, hold them, showing them without doubt they are the most important thing in the world to me. If our hearts have grown hard, soften them and work forgiveness in all of us, restoring and renewing our relationships. Amen.


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