I have struggled with giving up control for the past month. It’s not because anything crazy has happened in my house. It’s the normal things: dishes piled up, stuff ALL OVER my floors, counters piled with who knows what, clothes still in laundry baskets, bed sheets thrown in my laundry room waiting for their turn to bathe…all things that await most of us every. single. day. I’m the type of person that shuts down when my house becomes this bad. It overwhelms me so much that I just don’t even have a clue to start. One day I took 30 minutes to clean one section of my counter. One section! Seriously, you guys. How hard is it for family members to put their dishes in the sink or throw away their trash?! It takes about 5 steps! Alas, I tackled that small project and then spent the next afternoon and evening finishing up. This led to me deciding to go ahead and clean the floors. Then I decided to do 4 loads of laundry AND fold. (I hate putting up clothes, so I didn’t go to that extreme…at least not yet.)
I actually love when I get into this mode. Except, I become an all or nothing person. So when three little ones go behind me and drop Cheerios, or put paper in the floor, I about lose it. I struggled with my attitude towards them for about 2 days. Add to that a baby that didn’t sleep the previous night and a husband out of town, and I was an exhausted mess.
As the day progressed, I struggled to even smile at these kiddos of mine. I loved them. I truly did. But I didn’t express that to them. I just glared at them or threw my hands up in frustration. I was unloving towards them.
So as the night came to a close, I lay in bed with them while they were falling asleep and I decided that I needed to praise them for things I had seen them do during the day. I told my son how I loved that he helped me pick up toys without complaining. I told my daughter how I loved that she watched her baby sister for me. I went on for about 5 minutes. The kids had a smile that grew bigger and bigger as I listed more and more things. As I watched their little faces, my heart grew and grew with more love for them. I realized that just as I praise God for who He is and thank Him, my love for Him grows. In a similar way, the same was happening for my kids. I was taking my eyes off the frustrating things and putting them on those good moments. When I finished, it was quiet for a minute. Then my son looked at me and said, “Can I tell you what I love about you?” My heart melted. I listened quietly as he told me all the things he had observed in me all day. I humbly listened, because I knew that he was overlooking all the bad he saw in me, too. Thank you Lord for grace and helping me give to my kiddos something that I so desperately needed.
Since then I have continued to do this every night with them. And they continue to return it back to me and now they have started to do it to each other. I’ve even noticed less fighting during the day. Now that is truly a miracle! Lord, may I keep my eyes on You, who You are, and Your character. Thank you for Your grace and mercy that is never every single day, even when we completely screw up.