I sat on the couch reflecting on what a disaster the last hour of the night had been. My husband was out and I’d struggled through bedtime routine with our three kids. Again and again they got distracted from brushing teeth or putting on pajamas. Blankets were, as usual, no where to be found. Bible reading was interrupted multiple times as I paused to take away toy cars, to quiet my three-year-old, to tell my daughter to put the stickers away and pay attention.
I just want them to go to bed so I can have some peace and quiet.
But they kept delaying what I wanted. My anger rose and the yelling soon followed.
“I said get in bed now!”
“Do not say another single word and brush your teeth!”
“If you can’t find your blanket by the count of 10, then you will sleep without it!”
Finally, I was tucking them into their beds. As I did, I saw the hurt and sadness in their eyes and the tears of my youngest. But, at the moment, I didn’t care. I was free. I marched downstairs and sat myself on the couch, relieved to finally be done with bedtime. To be done with a day of mothering. To do whatever I wanted.
But as I sat there, the conviction slowly crept in and the weight of shame began to fill my chest. I examined my behavior – my outburst of anger, the shouting, the threats – and saw the root of it all: I want this freedom because I honestly think it will satisfy me . . . and they are getting in the way.
I was willing to hurt my children with my words and actions to gain my desired freedom. I sinned against them because they stood as obstacles to my ease and comfort and I would make them suffer to gain what I wanted.
Father, forgive me. I am only thinking about myself. I want everything to be easy and right now I want to feel free of responsibility and when they got in the way, I let them have it. I thought that this freedom would bring me more satisfaction than obeying You. I need You, Jesus. Please . . . help me.
I rose from the couch and began the ascent up the stairs. I opened the door to the boys’ room first and walked inside.
“I’m so sorry, buddies. I shouldn’t have yelled at you. I was angry when I shouldn’t have been. I need Jesus to rescue my heart, just like you, because my heart is sinful, too. Will you forgive me?” My sweet boys responded in unison in a sing-song way, “We forgive you, Mama!” We reconciled and hugged and I went into my daughter’s room to repeat this confession and repentance and reconciliation.
And we are going to do this same routine again and again. I am going to fail my children in so many ways. I am going to sin against them every day. But – doesn’t that mean every day is full of opportunity? I get the chance to show them, through confessing my sin and asking for forgiveness, that I am in need of a great Rescuer. And Jesus has come – and He has saved me! God has carved out this place in my parenting for the gospel to be displayed so clearly to me and my kids.
I am going to sin against my kids every day. But that means every day is an opportunity to point to Jesus. @suhangela
My kids don’t need a perfect mother. They need, instead, to know that there is a perfect Savior. And this imperfect mother can use all my failings to point them to a perfect Savior every single day.
My kids don’t need a perfect mother. They need to know there is a perfect Savior. @suhangela
This article was originally posted on To Persevere on June 4, 2014. Reposted with permission.