Recently I had an eye opening moment. About myself, and it wasn't a good thing.
I'm being honest and truthful because I want people to understand that I am not perfect at all. I am human and do not know it all. But, to put it bluntly, I've been a bad mother. On the outside it may not seem that way, but on the inside of my heart, it was.
What has been the problem? Well, selfishness I guess. Allowing myself to fall into the trap of being the 'martyr' and not wanting to die to myself. When I was just out of highschool I had high goals. To take up my cross and follow Jesus into a foreign land and live in reduced conditions, well, that was noble. To work my heart out to be a doctor or teacher for the Lord and His purposes, that was worthy to sacrifice myself.
But to just get married and have some babies? What is so special about that? Yet, the Lord specifically told me that was what I was meant to do. So, I fell completely in love and the rest is history. But, all my years in school taught me nothing of how to be a wife or homemaker or raise Godly children. I had lots and lots of head knowledge; I had lots of experience in missions and intercession and diving into 'ministry' work.
But all I could cook was scrambled eggs and spaghetti. I didn't even know how to properly hand wash dishes. How sad is that? My mom just didn't feel led to teach me- she probably forgot that I didn't know those things or that if I wanted to know I would ask. Oh, I could bake cookies from scratch, but that's it. My story is probably that of most women who now find themselves with several small children and want to be a homemaker.
Anyways, as time went on in our marriage, I learned, but I still didn't know what my role was. I didn't know about wifely submission. So, and I hope my mother-in-law will not take offense to what I am going to say here, I have forgiven her, but this is how things got messed up. One day I received an email rebuking me for not keeping our home clean, for not taking good care of my husband etc. At the time I had my oldest two girls, ages 20 months and 9 months. I was caring for them, doing laundry and cooking good meals. I was doing my best, or so I thought. I was very hurt by this and was even more so when my husband agreed with her. So, many months later I was doing some searching and came across Ladies Against Feminism. I suddenly began to understand where I went wrong. I began making things right, slowly, over time. I was a much better wife and home keeper. I was able to accomplish so much more and took good care of dh. But, what happened to the children?
Over time, as I focused on those areas, my little girls were pushed out of the way. Leiah is special needs and Alexa is strong willed and loves attention. They got into all kinds of mischief while I was busy scrubbing every nook and cranny of the house! Then I got pregnant again and was tired and nauseous etc. and then we moved...I hardly ever just played with them. I went about my own business, while they ran wild. Don't get me wrong, I took care of them, I just didn't teach them much.
When Sarah was a newborn I got another email, this one much more hurtful than the first. Somehow my in-laws got me all wrong and thought I was the one leading in our marriage and telling my husband what to do, my house was filthy etc. This time my husband did defend me, but I was still so scarred. I began to think that if my house wasn't spotless then my husband would be disappointed and not love me. It was all about perfection- perfect house and wife, but what about the children?
They were far from perfect. Had I taken a few weeks to crack down on Alexa, we might be in a much better place now. But, no, had to keep everything spotless and perfect meals.
Soooo, this is long I know, I realized our family dynamic is not what I want for it to be. My girls don't listen very well, disobey me a lot, I yell, they fight a lot, one of them has sticky fingers and threw a bad temper tantrum at the store last week. I whine and cry to dh, which in turn has made him less than happy to see me...,big mess.
A sweet lady has been teaching me about what it really means to be a mother and wife. As I have seen my children's behavior reflect my behavior, I realize how truly sinful we can be, and how awful it is to God. They are a reflection of my heart. I keep holding onto me and my desires. I don't want to be hidden away; I don't want to fade in the background. To die daily and give completely of myself always is more than I can bear. To be humble and longsuffering; always loving even if I'm hurt- this I CANNOT DO !!!! But, that is where He comes in.
My heart was broken when I finally realized it was my own selfishness that made things the way they were. It was my own heart that was wrong. Though I thought I was giving and selfless, I was lying to myself. I so resisted having to give up everything of myself to this point. But I finally let go. Lord mold me into Your image- I am the clay, You are the potter. Though it may hurt, let me do only what You desire.
That's what I was prepared to do in any other vocation, so why not this? Because there is an evil one who knows that strong Christian families are the Lord's army. He must tear us apart because the time is short- he is angry because he is hellbound soon.
Last night my husband and I had a discussion- a very tearful and painful one, each rebuking the other. Yes it was arguing, but we did it quietly and calmly even with the children present so it didn't appear we were mad :) So my heart was broken again, realizing that I have the power to make or break my family, kids and marriage. If I am selfish, then it affects everyone and everything. If I give until I'm give out, there are rewards. Hard work...not glamorous and not easy. But, it's necessary to have fruit that will last.
I am having to completely retrain myself. If I need to cook, then I have to figure out a way to involved the girls or somehow keep them busy and next to me. I have to spend time with them in order to teach and pass on my values. If they need correction then I have to drop everything and deal with it. It may take an hour, but my focus has to be on eternal things. My husband and children are more important than a clean house and beautiful meals. And, if I would take time to train my girls how to do things that will help me, then I won't have so much work to do- I will have helpers! This will take time and not be instantaneous- must get it through my head.
I am doing better now. Yesterday was 100 times better than the days before it. Today I'm doing better, not perfect, we're all tired and a bit irritable. Right now I am focusing on my tone of voice and attitude, making sure each child is loved on adequately, playing with them and reading with them more, and including them in what I am doing as best I can. I know I will fail at times. But, at least I'm back on the right path.