I yelled at my children a few days ago. It doesn’t happen daily, but it surely happened that day. They got into an argument during what I like to call quiet down time. We don’t call it “rest time,” because that caused my children to assume I would make them take a nap. So quiet down time it is.
While my boys drew and colored elaborate pictures of police cars and police boats and police helicopters, I sat upstairs in my bedroom reading my Bible and praying. I mention that only to highlight the contrast between what I was doing before I heard the boys fighting and what I was doing after I heard it. Which is to say, yelling.
All that police-vehicle coloring means lots of use of the blue crayons, and apparently, there was a special coveted blue crayon at the center of the argument. There was crying and screaming and hitting–and quiet down time was interrupted. I pulled one child off the other, shouting that he was showing such stupid behavior. And it was, of course, but that didn’t help the situation. In fact, it elicited nervous giggles from said child because I spoke the word “stupid.”
Later I apologized for being quick to get angry. And we spent a long time working through their apologies and forgiveness for each other. In the end, we were all at peace and moved on with our day. But the whole experience put me in mind of how I might have felt several years ago after blowing it in my parenting: guilty, full of remorse, stymied by regret.
I have grown heaps in experiencing God’s grace in the face of my mistakes, but mothering mistakes are hard to put to rest. I have often found it difficult to get past how my sins can wound my children–not just for now but for the future, too. I remember spending tearful time on our couch late at night years ago, crying out to God to redeem my mistakes in the lives of my children.
Thankfully, God has set my feet more firmly on the path of walking in His forgiveness, but recognizing that my sins impact my children–and their future relationships–is still part of a parent’s reality. Last night, this realization hit me anew, and I began to pray again about God’s work of redemption in my parenting mistakes.
And so I prayed; I agonized. I asked for His redemption, fully knowing that my kids will grow up wounded–as we all do. In the midst of my praying, God’s Spirit reminded me of some real good truth: The hurt that my sin brings into the life of my children is NOT beyond God’s healing. Here’s the proof: “Heal me, O Lord, and I will be healed; save me, and I will be saved, for You are the one I praise.” Jeremiah 17:14.
If God does the healing, the healing will be complete–not necessarily quick and certainly not all at once. And not without a measure of pain that the healing itself brings. But I can rest in this truth for myself–and for my children.