Wednesday, March 02, 2011


Exposed. Ever heard of that word? Let me help you with the definition, it involves things like "depriving of shelter", "making known" and "causing to be visible". Okay, we've got a working definition, now you can delve into my life.
I'll warn you, most of my posts have a neat little bow on the end when I'm finished. A happy ending to leave us all feeling a little closure. This one is hurting a little too much to have such closure....but I'm getting ahead of myself.

Three weeks ago we get a report from one of our children's teachers in Sunday school about how he had a hard time listening, had to be taken out of the room etc. (this is all coming through my sweet husband filter, who remembers few if any details about such things). So we write it off, talk to little man about obeying and go on with it, when a week later another teacher says the same thing. Mid-week I take him to BSF and find out the same thing happened and finally, today after dropping him off and one of the overseeing teachers came up to me to "talk" about how he's doing I began to crumble. She asks if anything is going on at home, like a move, or a death (really?....or a terrorist plot, or a hostage situation?) and I kindly ask her for suggestions and get some great feedback (which she had great ideas for both.) I then (after responding quite diplomatically I must say) walk outside, call my man and begin to u n r a v e l.

There was a lot of talking, and a lot of crying (both done by me) about how hard I'm trying, how much of myself I'm giving, how I don't know what else I could sacrifice, or pray about, or work through or who else I could possibly get advice from or what other tool I could implement (ultimate run on sentence.) And I say something to the effect of "I keep sowing all that I have, and I feel like I should be reaping something different with this little boy, I just don't know what I'm doing wrong," to which my husband replies something to the effect of "it's not necessarily you." Of course I didn't believe him (though desperately wanted to) and go inside.

We start talking in the lesson about God, and how he won't share his glory and how he won't tolerate us believing in idols, and yet again I start being able to see how kind he is to me. Here's a verse:

"See, I have refined you, though not as silver;
I have tested you in the furnace of affliction.
For my own sake, for my own sake, I do this.
How can I let myself be defamed?
I will not yield my glory to another." Isaiah 48:10-11

Okay, I have this nasty little habit. It's pride. My problem is I want to build a tiny little kingdom for myself. I set myself up, to make my name great with all sorts of great attributes like being funny, pretty, skinny, and (duh) having perfectly behaved little pawns to show the world what a great mom I am. (brutally honest here folks). When this little man starts getting in the way of me building said kingdom, I start to panic. I start to pray harder "God. Please help him to start obeying" (and those are good prayers, and I might even use good spiritual words like "win his heart")...but what I'm really wanting is for God to make him obey so I can check my box, have my little ego boost and move on. Not so God is glorified.

It is in this place, of feeling exposed, of feeling completely incapable of doing anything other than humbly seeking God, asking his teachers for advice and prayers, and consistently being a mom the only way I know how that I write. God is growing me in my motives. He is growing (as a friend called it) a really thick layer of gospel skin on my outside. Reminding me that I don't find my identity in how my son behaves (or doesn't for that matter) but in Christ alone. He is showing me that I cannot punch in the proper sequence of mothering activities (which would look something like: Bible, prayer, scripture, discipline, love, self control and chocolate in my head) and pop out a nice little marketable product of a child. He is showing me that I can rest in a place of complete uncertainty in how my kids behave and how I appear to others, because I'm not resting in those things at all, but in a sure foundation on the rock eternal. He is showing me that I cannot have the goal of producing good well-behaved children who always say "please" and "thank you" and never have dirty fingernails, because it's not only impossible, but also just serves to boost my ego and flesh, and doesn't really point them to a Savior.

So in the thick of all of this, I wait. Feeling completely naked and ridiculous, but also learning to be okay with being so because I trust in the robes of righteousness that are provided for me. I guess a great deal of mothering is being Fathered, and remembering that He is the one in control and leading. I'm sure this will serve me well when our son is 18 and comes home with a motorcycle and a girlfriend named Candy, and I know learning how to fall after I've built myself up is a great deal of life. I just hope in the future I don't let myself get so high that it hurts too bad.


ShortyRobs said...

"I guess a great deal of mothering is being Fathered, and remembering that He is the one in control and leading,"- AMEN- SO true yet such a hard lesson to learn!

I love you so much and so appreciate you sharing your vulnerability. I struggle with all the same things. It's so hard when our children don't fit the "mold". Luke is so "different" in so many ways. Mothering him is such an act of faith and trust in God (mothering any child is, but especially when he doesn't add up to society's "normal"). I really didn't realize how much I shrunk the cross with my pride until I had children. I mean I have a degree in early childhood, shouldn't I have ALL the answers?

One thing that has really helped me is the video/book "How am I Smart?" if there is any way you can beg, borrow or steal to get a copy of this publication (especially the video), do it! It's about understanding the different ways children learn and how God has created them to be programmed/ wired in different ways. I think you would really enjoy it!

I really respect you as a mommy! Thanks for sharing your wisdom.

Mom said...

Don't ever think you are the only Mom who has ever questioned herself. In fact, I don't know of one who hasn't (myself included). All you can do is lay the groundwork and let God do the rest. I think we both know of a family where the Mom constantly tried to present her children as "perfect" in every way to show what a great, educated, knowledgeable Mom she truly was (at least in her mind). And I think we both know how it turned out.

Trust me when I say you are a GREAT Mom. In fact, you're one of the best ones that I know and I know a lot of Moms! You do a great job of spending quality time with your kids. You are patient to a tee. You are constantly educating yourself about children through reading, discussions with others, and prayer. You don't have to prove anything to anyone. You're simply one of the best. Trust yourself and enjoy the ride. I know God will take care of the rest.

I love you very much and I'm very proud of you as a Mom. I believe that your only fault is that you are too hard on yourself. You are your own worst critic.

I seem to remember a certain little lady who I got many of the same reports about from teachers and other school officials. And she turned out to be an amazing young woman. So, take a deep breath, keep up the good work, and don't sweat it. It will be okay. I love you, Mom

Megan Boucher said...

love your heart :) God is sovereign and you ARE a good mother.

Courtney Walsh said...

Wow, Jenn, I could've written this myself. Only I didn't because I think while I've recently had a similar revelation, I passed right on by nicely, not wanting to dwell on the imperfections that are ME.

I've found that when my kids act up (mostly my youngest) in public, I am more concerned with what people around us will think that what my child needs in that moment. It's something i'm not proud of, but there it is... and I'm working on it.

I think we, as women, put such pressure on ourselves...and every time we feel like we're falling behind in the race, we get all balled up in knots on the inside. I hate that about myself.

So much to discuss over coffee! I'm already counting the days. :)