When I was a new mom, I promised myself that I would not use the term, “shut-up” when disciplining my children. And then, one day, I took Justin and Sarah to ROSS; they were probably around six and four years old at the time. As I turned for a quick second, Justin and Sarah decided that it would be fun to hide in the middle of the racks of clothing. When I turned back around, they were gone. My heart dropped as I called their names until I heard a familiar giggle. In the blink of an eye, my fear turned to anger. I grabbed my purse, took their little hands, and marched them directly out of the store and to the car. As I worked to buckle them in their seats, they began to protest and whine. I slammed their door, got in the driver’s seat, and shocked all of us when I yelled, “SHUT-UP!”
I was devastated. I did exactly what I didn’t want to do; I lost my temper and used the very phrase that I had worked so hard to avoid. Once we were almost home, I apologized to Justin and Sarah and asked them to forgive me, to which they readily offered me grace.
When our daughter was nine, the Lord added to our number, and our third child was born. After Sammy, we had two more boys, Luke and Josh. Let me just say, having three boys back to back is much different than having one boy and one girl. My boys’ energy is off the charts; they wrestle, they’re loud, and I’m not even shocked when another something gets mysteriously broken. Although I have been a mother for twenty-three years, I still face some of the same challenges that I did as a young mom.
My husband and I often say that this parenting gig is not for the faint of heart; it’s the hardest and most rewarding job you could ever have. At this time, two of my sons are struggling with anger rooted in the loss of their big brother. It’s quite a challenge to deal simultaneously with discipline and grief. The best thing I can do is pray and ask God for wisdom beyond my years and for eyes to see how to best minister to their little hearts.
Sadly, I lose my patience more times than I care to admit, and “shut-up” still erupts from my lips before I can stop it. In such times, the apostle Paul’s words deeply minister to my weary soul,
“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9 ESV
Isn’t that a beautiful truth? We boast in our weakness, for there, His strength is made perfect. Now that’s a good word.
p.s. Dear Mama, if you are feeling discouraged and worn out, here’s one of my favorite songs by Andrew Peterson, “Be Kind to Yourself.” I hope you love it as much as I do.