To be honest, it’s really hard to write about spiritual formation on a day like today.
I woke up happy, but quickly found myself entirely out of patience for a particular behavior in one specific child and I totally lost it. At 7:15a. This behavior is an issue that has been building and building and we’ve struggled through it again and again and again. We’ve talked. We’ve taken away beloved things, We’ve reasoned. We’ve taken away more beloved things. NOTHING HAS WORKED. And today I came to the end of my proverbial rope.
I yelled at this particular child like a mad woman not once, but TWICE. In between these two “incidents”, I was feeling a bit of conviction and a need for an attitude adjustment, so I apologized to the girls for being cranky (the first incident had nothing to do with those two, but I had still been snappy ever since the morning before-school-blowup). I started out the apology confessing the out of hand crank (did you know that’s a word? It’s the noun version of cranky), and admitting that I should really try to be more patient with them. So sorry, sweeties. My 2 year old immediately says, “Yes. You cranky. You make me sad. You SO RUDE TO ME!” So there’s that.
Today on the blog I was supposed to talk about how laughter is so good for spiritual formation. But I can’t. The only laughter in my house today was me hiding my snorts of laughter when my 4 year old lost her mind from the upstairs bathroom while brushing her teeth before bed and yelled down to me that I JUST NEED TO CLEAN THE BATHROOM, OKAY?? WHY CAN”T I JUST KEEP THINGS CLEAN??!!!”
What I can say is that these hard days form our souls too. Sometimes we probably wish that they wouldn’t (I’d love to erase this day from everyone’s soul memory, myself included). But life doesn’t work like that, so we accept apologies and we offer forgiveness. We pray for new mercies in the morning and thank God for grace on days when we screw up royally.
While I’m so thankful for God’s grace (seriously thankful), it doesn’t mean that I get to pretend it all never happened. I still have some work to do. I’m doing heartwork tonight. What brought me to the end of my rope? What is it about this particular behavior that makes me so upset? What am I scared of? How is my little person’s soul being formed through these encounters? What healing needs to happen in little person’s soul? How can I prevent my reaction from happening again? WHEN LITTLE PERSON DOES THIS AGAIN, WHAT IS MY NEXT MOVE?
I read today about how sometimes we need to do all we can to wrestle our frustration, our anger, our disappointment to the ground and not let it be victorious in our parenting. I need a game plan because I know this behavior is going to appear again. While I can’t control little person’s behavior, I can certainly be better prepared with mine. This kind of spiritual practice is hard and not fun. The looking in, the digging deep, the questions I’d rather not be thinking about at 10:00p at night. The revealing of things in me that I don’t like to see.