I had it all wrong. I always thought family was this ship you had to keep moving in the right direction. One that all crew members needed to approach in tandem, knowing their role and pushing through to the next destination. With this, I figured, it was my job as mom to run a tight ship.
Efficiency was key: Get those shoes on and be in the car by the time I get out of the bathroom.
Rules were paramount: I set the guidelines, you follow them.
My authority reigned: Don’t question, just obey or else!
My voice counted: Don’t express opinions, just express a head nod and move that dish to the dishwasher.
I don’t know when I turned into such a jerk. In the moment, there is always a way to justify it (how else are you going to get things done, the kids won’t respect you, the house will be a mess, perfection will sink into oblivion). Somehow family, for me, turned into a model-toy that I was carefully constructing according to instructions, schedules and guidelines. All parts were required to fit within my needs. I moved them according to my desires.
With this knowledge, my heart has been on a journey to change course; it is pursuing a redirect. Just the other day, my son looked at me to say, “Mom, that’s a mean voice.” My initial response was to say, “Son, that is not mean. If you want to hear mean, I could really show you mean.”
But, if I am going a new path that means I have to try new things. I looked at him and said, “You thought that was mean?” His head nodded.
What he thought was mean, I thought was on level 2 of my stern-voice scale, but still, I was trying and trying counts for something, so I tried some more.
“I am sorry. I will speak nicer, son.”
The day progressed and so did my heart. A heart just trying – trying to be calm, to be present, to be aware, to be humble, to be eager to love, and quick to let go of to-do’s. By days end, I felt shipwrecked, but what happened next brought buoyancy back.
At story time, this 4-year old outer-space pajama clad kid looked up at me to say, “Mommy, I am sorry too for all the mean things I have been speaking to you.”
And, there it was, what seemed like galaxy of distance, came together in a meteor crash of sense. He is just the same as me. He feels the same too. We are in this together.
Family united, rather than divided.
What I build in myself, I build in him.
What I forge around me, will be forged around him too.
What I lay down, he will have permission to lay down as well.
What is hard to do, we can try to do as one.
At days end, I don’t want to give him me as I am today. I want to give him full of grace, sailing with mercy, loaded with compassion, flying with patience. I want him to have all of that. I want more for that beauty. And, in a way, in this day, I gave him a small ride towards this. And, one day – counts. It counts for something; I will take that and own that and relish in that.
Small beginnings matter.
When I simply understand, when I take a minute, when I sit down, when I listen, when I confess, when I become humble, the family makes strides towards godliness. Together we move ahead, not to my pre-set plans, but to God’s pre-set sanctification. We move towards what is greatest, rather than what I deem as great.
Jesus relates to me when I am weak. He sympathizes with that kind of thing. He says, that testing you are going through, me too Kelly, me too.
We don’t have a priest who is out of touch with our reality.
He’s been through weakness and testing, experienced it all—all but the sin.
So let’s walk right up to him and get what he is so ready to give.
Take the mercy, accept the help.
Heb. 4:15 MSG
What will we choose in the rapid-fire moments of “family”?
Will we choose to to take a stand in our ways or
will we choose to stand in God’s mercy?
Will we accept his help or will we drive the helpers?
Will we chart a course or will we enjoy the ride?
The second we set down the burden of pride set upon our shoulders of despair is the second we rise up in the freedom of surrender that finds itself in the shadow of the eagles wing. Work falls to the wayside and we see things from new heights, with new vision and new hope. We soar. We let go. We glide. We ride.
“What a relief,” we say,
“We never knew it could be this easy!”
And we sail.
But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. Is. 40:31
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