We just returned from our yearly trip to Panama City where Duane helps to organize Gulf Coast Getaway, a weekend for college students to come together, worship, learn, and give. It was a great weekend, but as always, a bit hectic - especially with 3 kids. We left on Wednesday morning so that Duane could arrive early and prepare for the students to arrive on Friday night. Without reliving each painful memory, let me just say that by Friday at lunch I very seriously considered packing my kids up and bringing them home. They were just being awful. AWFUL. All of them. And I decided we could do awful at home, as we often do. No need to be at the beach! I was going for shock effect. But, Duane talked me down and reminded me that that our babysitters, 2 sweet girls from our youth group, would be arriving in just a few hours!
Backing up just a bit...
God has been doing some serious work on my mom heart lately. Over the past month or so, He has really been delivering me from much of the guilt and feelings of inadequacy I tend to heap on myself as a mom. He has given me peace in moments that would have previously brought me to tears. He has given me grace in moments that would have previously ended in shouting. He has given me joy in situations that would have previously left me with feelings of despair. And I am so thankful!
I tell you all of this so that you can understand the significance of the story I want to share. On our way home yesterday, the kids were once again being, well.....awful. At one point, Micah was being particularly cantankerous and chose to speak to Duane in a very disrespectful way. I was driving at the time and I had just heard enough! So, I quietly pulled the car over to a shopping center we happened to be passing. I pulled into the parking lot and told Micah to get out of the car. I ended up having to personally remove him from the car. I held his hand and led him to a grassy area surrounding the parking lot and told him to sit down. I explained to him that the car he was riding around in was not his car. I gently reminded him that it was my car, purchased with money that daddy worked hard for, and it's purpose was that it was to be used in a way that honored God. I explained that he would not speak to his daddy like that in my car. I reminded him that it did not honor God and it did not honor his daddy. I reminded him that riding in my car was a privilege he need not take lightly. And then I walked back to the car so that he could be alone and "think about it." Two seconds after I shut my car door, an older lady pulled up beside our car and rolled down her window. I was thinking, "This can't look good." I got out and she said, "Is he o.k.?" I replied with a calm smile, "Yes ma'am, he just needed some time alone to think about how he should use his mouth in our car." I really don't think I appeared to be rattled. She was so sweet and we had a very brief conversation about how she understood and that she was a grandmother and how I was doing the right thing. All of that was very encouraging coming from a stranger. But then, as she was already pulling away, she turned her head back and looked straight into my eyes and quietly said, "You'll be alright." And it stunned me for a second. And I can't help but feel that God used her to speak those 3 simple words into my life at that moment. He's been getting the message to me in many different ways over the last few weeks and I've been trying to communicate to others what He's been doing in my heart, but I can never seem to find the right words. In is goodness, I really feel like he wanted me to hear it spoken, simply. Because, I will fail. Often. And I will fight selfishness and frustration and impatience. And being a mom is stinkin' hard. It just is. But.... I'll be alright. He surrounds me on all sides and His strength is made perfect in my weakness... so I'll be alright.