Sometimes God uses circumstances to speak. Sometimes He whispers. And sometimes He yells. Loudly. So this morning I had a conversation with God where he had to yell a little. Yell just enough to get my attention. And then discipline me with the same calm, reassuring, loving guidance that I hope to provide my own kids (but that’s a work in progress). He used a lesson about parenting my girls to teach me a lot about myself. My morning prayer started the same way that they all have for way too long. Me apologizing for the same things I have apologized for every morning for the last few weeks. Apologizing for saying I’m going to spend more time with Him and not doing it. Apologizing for saying I’m going to do things differently and then not doing them differently. Apologizing for not listening to things I know He has been trying to tell me. And this morning He got my attention. Loud and clear. “I’m tired of whispering so maybe if I yell you will listen this time. But I’m only going to yell long enough to get your attention. Now that you’re listening let’s talk.” So here’s what I learned from my conversation with my loving Father this morning. (If you haven’t read my post from yesterday you may want to read it first, as it has a lot to do with this one, and my journey towards being the best mom I can be.)
1. I get frustrated too. Just be patient. Your girls will learn eventually. And so will you. I’m still trying to teach you some of the same things I started teaching you 20 years ago.
So I’ve mentioned how frustrated I get with my two year old’s tantrums. But my five year old can be just as frustrating. Recently, we’ve been trying to teach her some of the same lessons. Over and over and over. We remind her about manners and attitude and compassion and empathy repeatedly. And she repeats the same mistakes over and over and over. And our conversation always goes something like this: “Abby, why did you do that? We have talked about how you should behave.” And her answer is always either “I just forgot” or “I can’t remember to do that”. And I always get exasperated with her and explain how I just reminded her a few minutes ago and you can’t possibly forget that fast. But this is what God said this morning: She’s just like you. How many times have you apologized to Me for the same thing? And how many times have I gently reminded you and forgiven you for the same things? Over and over and over. Think about everything your girls are trying to learn. Be patient. As I am patient with you.
2. You don’t like it when I yell, neither do they.
So I have a problem with yelling. My husband is the calm and controlled parent. So sometimes I let him handle more of the discipline than I do. I know I will end up yelling. A lot. And my daughter is just like me. So we will both be yelling. And crying. But this is something I have prayed about a lot recently. For patience with my girls. And calmness. And the ability to control my tongue. But here is what He said this morning: Sometimes I whisper. I use subtle gentle ways to get your attention. Sometimes I have to yell to get your attention. Don’t you feel bad when I have to yell? Remember that your girls feel the same way. And that I don’t keep yelling, even when you don’t listen. Talk to your girls. Really listen to them. And just as I sent my Son to be a living example for you, be a living example for them. And for everyone else in your life.
3. No matter how many times you make the same mistake, I love you unconditionally. Just as you love your girls. Remember that. All the time.
Sometimes I can’t even imagine why my God would love me as much as He does. I mess up. A lot. But then He blessed with me with two wonderful daughters. And now I know. The love you have for your child is unlike any other. It’s the kind of love that causes you to cry before Kindergarten graduations (not ready for that tomorrow). That causes you to be fiercely protective and overly affectionate. The kind of love that makes up for sleepless nights and frustrating tantrums. The kind of love that allows you to forgive them for making the same mistakes over and over again. That causes you to find their faults cute or charming. The kind of love that would lead you to lay down your life for them if they were in danger. It’s an overwhelming, sometimes gut-wrenching, always rewarding, amazing love that is like no other. And that love pales in comparison to the way God loves us. Remember that. All the time.