I’m sitting here in a Starbucks on my 36th birthday. On the drive here I got to chat with my Dad on the phone. He had just come from getting his very first hearing aid. How did I get to this place in life? Speeding towards 40 at break neck speed, my parents now Grandparents and getting hearing aids?
Today has been a day of discouragement and near-tears multiple times. I’m feeling the tension of getting older, but also understanding I still have at least 36 MORE years ahead of me. (I had to get a calculator to figure out I will be 72 in 36 more years. Gah, I hate math.) What bothers me most about myself right now is Mothering.
Every single night I go to bed thinking about how I messed up a million times with my kids that day. I yelled. I threw a padded envelope down the stairs because the kids were screaming at each other over it. I lost my temper. I locked myself alone in my room while the kids watched Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. I huffed. I puffed. I rolled my eyes. I growled. I feel a lot like the Big Bad Wolf and I loathe it.
I get that’s not who I am. I get my identity. I know who I am in Jesus. I don’t get why I can’t get my junk together and be a kind mother all day, even for just one day? I spend time with Holy Spirit daily, asking Him to live out love in me. I ask Him to live out patience in me. I long to be changed, but it seems no change comes.
I got to thinking. What would my 72 year old self tell my 36 year old self?
72 Year Old Me: Babe, there is so much grace over you. Grace upon grace. Your children adore you. They want to be near you. Their love for you is like no other love for any other person on this planet.
36 Year Old Me: But I’m so mean. I’m scarring them for life. I lose my temper multiple times a day, every day. I’m sure all they think about is how mean I am to them.
72: Nah. They’re just as mean to you. They yell at you. They scream at you. They disobey you quite often. When you lose your temper, you always apologize to them and talk it through. They are learning how to respond when they mess up by watching you. They are learning to be sorry. They are learning to be humble. They are learning to be gracious by watching you.
36: I want to change. Why am I staying the same day after day?
72: Oh but you are. Look how far you’ve come. I know you don’t like looking back at the past, but you’ve drawn closer and closer to the Father and you are looking more and more like Him. His Spirit surrounds you, and your home daily. Step back and SEE His presence. Feel it. He is moving in you. His power is daily at work. I see it.
36: What about how I discipline? It just doesn’t seem to be working?
72: Remember, you discipline because you love them. You are teaching them about how to live life abundantly. They need to learn to respect, obey, and honor. They are precious kids. They are growing and changing, your discipline is working. It takes time.
36: Thanks Old Me.
72: I’m a fabulous Senior, by the way. And….the kids are exactly who God designed them to be. Stop stressing about your Mothering. You have a whole lot less control than you think you do.
Go. Be free.