Free not to cry over spilled milk

image1 IMG_7044Why do we say things like “boys will be boys”, or “oh, man, little boys are trouble!”? We say them because its 100% true. I have 2 of them in my home who prove it, again, and again and again. Sometimes we think their disobedience is cute, especially when it’s followed with a sly smile, or giggle, or big doll eyes and we try to discipline, but our heart isn’t in it. Other times their disobedience is so blatant and repetitive that it gets under our skin and we react emotionally, yelling a little louder and angrier than we should. There are those few times that their disobedience is swiftly followed by carefully thought out, emotionally stable, helpful discipline that comes from a pure heart of wanting to shepherd and that even sometimes gets results!  I wish I could say the later is the most frequent but truthfully it is not.

Today I woke up feeling tired and a little irritated. They know this, because it’s their 10th sense, (9th is pizza or icecream radar, 6 and 7 I haven’t figured out yet but I see it in their eyes). Taking advantage of my disheveled state they were pretty disobedient in small things all morning. I have the brilliant idea to take them to home depot to pick out paint colors, and then proceed to grant pascal’s request to sit in the double “car” seat shopping cart complete with steering wheels and very close brother to scrappy baby brother proximity. A mere 5 minutes into the shopping trip pascal has scratches down his face and there are goldfish smashed to bits scattered all over the floor. I’m trying to talk to the woman in the paint department and I keep getting squawked at by my older one, for some legitimate reasons because his baby brother is mauling his face with great accuracy and is out for blood. As soon as pascal’s feet hit the ground out of the cart he is running away to hang out with “some kids”. My extroverted child is a moth to a flame if there are other kids, and forgets that he kind of has to stay by me. Much to my surprise it happens to be another family from church. The mom giggles at me and has her kids help me pick up the goldfish from all over the store floor. We wander a bit more and run into them again and she is very helpfully giving me some advise about where to get the chalk paint I want, all the while pascal keeps pushing me to let him run around the store. I’m not good at multitasking ever, especially in conversation and it is very much getting on my nerves that he keeps disobeying and running away. He kept wanting his water (as always) but I make sure it’s back in the bag and not smooshed in the cart because I know I will forget it. The interaction  with the family from church, and their graciousness should have been a prompting from the holy spirit to change my attitude, but I straight up ignored him. I get the kids in the car and pull out and lo and behold, pascal left his waterbottle in cart like I told him not to. I was not about to turn around to get it. Now i’m hangry, and they are crabby too. I get lunch ready and lewis keeps throwing his food on the ground. This has been a struggle of struggles lately and it’s getting me pretty disheartened. I’m bad enough at housekeeping as it is, so when my child is quite literally constantly making the floor disgusting and I have to keep cleaning it 3, 4, 5 times a day at the expense of other house hold tasks I get pretty frustrated. I felt my hormones flaring, I felt like I wanted to take my salad and go the living room and ignore them but I stayed at the table and ate lunch with my children. Pascal, sit on your butt stop standing in your chair, lewis stop squishing the carrot in your hand throwing it, pascal stop telling me that lewis is throwing his food because I can see it, lewis stop pushing yourself away from the table, stop throwing your milk. Lunch is anything  but relaxing, and as soon as it’s done I have to get up and clean up the whole table and floor smeared with food. My children run into the breeze way as I’m doing this, so I put them back inside when i’m done so I can switch the laundry without lewis trying to climb in. No sooner than I finish putting the wash into the dryer than I hear pascal yell “lewis dumped out my chocolate milk!”. The chocolate milk I left on the table for pascal to finish was now all over my hall way flowing into pascal’s room, and I was done. I was just done. I picked up lewis with a scowl on my face put him in his crib and shut his door harder than I should have. As i’m cleaning up the milk with a towel I sit and I cry. As soon as the tears came out with a few deep breathes I felt the holy spirit stir up the words in my soul “It’s just milk you’re crying over right now, not even the only cup of milk you could afford for your children this week, not even something precious, you’re crying over being inconvenienced with raising imperfect boys for my glory, and you forgot that you’re not doing it alone.”

Straight to the heart, like an arrow. I’m crying because i’m selfish and i’m hormonal. I’m crying because having kids who bicker and fight and disobey and make thankless messes is hard and frequently ungratifying. I’m crying because I just wanted 30 seconds to switch the laundry. I’m crying because wouldn’t it be more glamorous to be doing ANYTHING else right now. I’m crying because after bearing two children my body and hormones are pretty broken. Ultimately, though, I’m crying because i’m trying to do hard things by my own power. I’m as broken and sinful as the two precious little minions I call mine, and there is no way I could shepherd them with perfect love on my own. God is love, God is the perfect father, and when he sent Jesus to die in our place and rise again to defeat death, he sent the same Holy Spirit that raised Christ from the dead to live in those that put their faith in Him. The power of the Holy Spirit is inside of me, and it took spilled milk to remind me today that my hormones and reactions to annoying situations do not have a hold on me. I am free from the chains of reacting how I would biologically to the difficulties of raising children, I am free to let the peace and love of the Holy Spirit flow out of me and enable me to love my children as Christ loves them. I’m dead to crying over spilled milk. Fortunately the Holy Spirit doesn’t tire of reminding me, because i’m sure that will have to happen again, and again, and again…….

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