You know the old adage "God won't give you more than you can handle?" Well, the truth is we can handle a lot. Every day I survive tantrums, screaming, whining, toy explosions, art in various unartistic places, unkind attitudes -- you get the point. No matter the day I have had, each evening I snuggle up with my kids, pray and sing with them and say goodnight. It's usually at that moment that I breathe for the first time in what can seem like hours. It is also usually at this time that I get my first reflective glimpse into my day. As I pray over my children and thank God for the amazing treasures He has given me, I have to face the reality of how I have treated those gifts that day. Some nights I smile in contentment and joy and some nights tears flow down my face in regret for things I have said and done. But every day I survive. Every day I "handle" it. That isn't enough.
Last week I was having a particularly rough day. Ron was away counseling missionaries in Greece, and I was "holding down the fort," though some days a breeze could have blown it over. As J has gotten older these trips have gotten easier for me. However, this week was crazy. I was trying to clean our way too big house with three kids running around. My mental image all week? That Facebook e-card that says "Trying to clean your house with kids around is like brushing your teeth while eating Oreos." I was preparing to host 2 exchange students for 2.5 weeks, and preparing to teach 2 weeks of English classes, as well as preparing for our homeschool year which starts directly after this teaching commitment. I was struggling. Spiritually I was being attacked and I knew it. I was allowing sin a foothold and it was obvious to me and my children. You know that awkward moment when you hear your child being nasty to another and your heart freezes and then sinks because . . . well, they sound just like you.
That is not who I want to be as a parent. Generational sin is tough,and way too many times last week I got on level with one of my kids and apologized for raising my voice. I am not proud of those moments, but I am ever so grateful for them. As I heard myself in my children, I was slapped in the face with my reality. They are the most effective mirrors in my house and sometimes what I see is not pretty. In the trenches last week as I was struggling and too often failing God spoke. You know the lighting bolt to your heart that stops you in your tracks. It's not about what you can handle. It's about what you can handle with grace. It's about what you are handling well. I stopped and prayed to be filled with God's grace. Grace that only He can give. Grace that forgives. Grace that causes peace in the midst of the storm.