Last summer, our family was going through a difficult time. My oldest daughter (then 16) just had a very extensive knee surgery, far more difficult than we expected. Our son (2) was going through a lot of behavior changes and having difficulty sleeping, obeying, responding when called, and the like. My other children were just fine, but the weeks were very long and hard. My frustration with my son was growing with each passing day. I would wake up more exhausted when I went to bed because he kept getting up at night. He woke several times each night screaming, crying, fussing, wandering the house, or whatever a two year old mind can think of to do when all the lights are out and everyone else is trying trying to sleep. I am very consistent with the discipline of my children and I was searching and praying or answers, solutions and quick fixes. The Lord had something else in mind for me.
One night at 1:30 AM when he was up crying, rather than just sending him back to his bed, I went to his room and just rocked him and held him. As I looked in his sweet little face, I realized that I was putting my desire for a full night of sleep ahead of my precious son. I looked him in the face and told that little baby, “I will stay here and rock you all night if it helps you feel better. I love you more than I love a full night of sleep.” I rocked him for over an hour. As I sat and prayed about this child and my own selfish behavior, I was reminded of another home school family who just lost their own precious son (18) to cancer. I know his mother would gladly give up her nights of sleep for every night if she had the chance to hold her son again. I had to repent to my son and to the Lord.
The next day, when I called his name he ran the other way. Instead of being frustrated, I did the right thing. I got up and went to him and reminded him that when I call his name, he was to come to mommy right away. As I did it, I said in my mind, “I love you more than I love sitting in my chair,” and I prayed for the Lord to make it so. He did.
That week I was visiting at another mom’s house, he ran from me in the opposite direction, and headed around the house. I had to stop my conversation to go fetch and correct him, but the whole way, I could hear the Lord saying: “You love him more than what these other mom’s think, more than you love standing here and chatting, and more than having your dream of a perfectly well behaved child. ”
Throughout my days I have been examining my own heart and all the little annoyances have faded as I look at each one and remind myself that I love these four children more than I love the dream of perfectly behaved children who never interrupt adults, make messes, argue with siblings, or embarrass me from time to time. Praise God, I really do love them more.
I also realized I love the LORD more than I love a perfect house, a perfect car, all the laundry folded, the perfect hot meal on glass dishes on a table set with starched white linens. I can put those things aside temporarily to pursue my Savior in prayer and Bible reading. While all the normal tasks of homemaking must be done, and done to the best of my ability, I was sometimes forgetting that my loving Savior was there to walk me through it all, if only I took the time to seek Him.
I know some of you struggle with some of the daily tasks of motherhood and home schooling. I know children can be frustrating and tiring, but I pray that my struggle will help you look at your precious children and husband, and instead of comparing them to your ideal vision, the Lord will give you a heart to say….”I love you more than this.”