I had such a discouraging day yesterday. It shouldn't have been, it was birthday party day for my oldest, and we had a successful cowgirl birthday for our little five year old. But there were moments throughout the day that stuck with me and left me feeling beat up by nighttime. (Lack of sleep probably didn't help either : )
In preparation for the party, my perfectionism set in and so did my nagging. "Hurry up! People are going to be here any minute! Would you please get that family room cleaned up." My kids responded with grumpy attitudes and no work ethic. During the party, my daughter lacked the gratitude I thought she should have, and my husband was hard on her (Which was probably what she needed, but the mommy in me didn't want her disciplined on her special day.) My other little one cried all the time because she didn't win the party games and played drama queen one too many times.
I felt like I was a failure. I had prayed earlier in the day that I would be able to get ready for the party peacefully and that I wouldn't nag and that we would all have good fellowship with our wonderful friends. I felt myself doing what I didn't want to do and kept doing it anyway. I have also been praying through spiritual virtues for my kids and yesterday's virtue that I prayed for was gratitude. Then when my precious kids didn't behave like perfect little robots, I began to question my parenting ability. And then of course the next thought after that was, "I'm not a good enough mom to the ones I already have....how can I have another one?"
Even when I know that one of Satan's most effective tools is discouragement, I still fall for it every time. This morning when I read "Our Daily Bread" these paragraphs from today's devotion jumped out at me:
Satan loves to distract us with criticism, and he tries to get us to use it on others as well as ourselves. We judge prematurely and try to correct others before we know what they’re saying. That’s what Eli the priest did when Hannah was crying out to God. He interrupted her prayer and accused her of being drunk (1 Sam. 1:12-14).
But God lets us pour out our hearts to Him in full honesty (Ps. 62:8). In fact, the Psalms indicate that it is when we are expressing our doubts and fears that God resolves them. Many Psalms that begin in despair end in praise (22; 42; 60; 69; 73).
I am slowly learning to trust God for the raising of my kids. I love them so much and just don't want to fail. God keeps reminding me that I will fail, it is inevitable, but that he can cover over my failures with His grace. My prayer for parenting lately has been, "Please, Lord, cover where I fail." I have lots of doubts and fears about this adoption, too, and I'm trying so hard to educate myself and be ready for what is coming, but God has been telling me that in that too, I need to avoid perfectionism, to know ahead of time that there will be times that I fail our son, and to let Him cover where I fail.
P.S. I was pretty proud of the cake I made for our cowgirl, so I thought I'd share a picture of it. It was a really fun party and our friends were so generous. The highlight of the party was when Karissa leaned in to blow out her candles and her hair STARTED ON FIRE!! I was able to get the fire out before it hurt her. Her hair still smells funny and has some charred ends. What a day!