Sunday, May 25, 2008

Modeling

I awakened too late.

I leapt from the bed and called to my husband on my way to the bathroom - "It's almost eight!"

It just went downhill from there. I couldn't find anything small enough to wear that fit nicely over my little belly, but my old clothes were too snug. Children moved too slowly to get out of my way, and many shoulders were pushed to the side as I moved from one end of the house to the other, packing a diaper bag, rounding up Bibles, scarfing a bowl of cereal. Eliana's hair would not cooperate, and I redid it three times, the last being right before we rushed out the door at ten 'til nine.

During the entire car trip, I groused at everyone for something or other. Even as I spoke and was met with silence, I knew I was crushing spirits, and not helping my family enter into a worshipful spirit; but I did not stop.

And when we sat down to sing and pray and listen, my sons began to (finally) react to my attitude. I repeatedly reminded them to sit up, face forward, follow the words and sing; all things they already know to do in that environment. I hissed and grabbed, and my exasperation only mounted as the lesson began but my husband stayed in his seat at the front of the room, for he was leading worship this day. Leading.

I looked to my left at Corban's teary eyes, and to my right at Micah's slumped shoulders. I remembered Eliana's deliberate disobedience moments earlier when I asked her to sit and she stood instead, eyeing me warily.

I was not leading.

I was demanding.

I was reacting.

I was unloving.

My spirit in the fifty minutes before we left for worship had shown my children how one behaves when things are not going her way. I did not show them self-control, nor did I listen to that Voice, the one that tried to whisper in my ear...Beloved, feed...love...lead. I shook it off and charged recklessly ahead, and now I saw the fruits of my actions.

Who feels like obeying a Mama who asks you to use self-control and sit still, when she doesn't use it to calm herself? Who feels like obeying a Mama when she asks you to worship with a smile while she sits, straight-mouthed, ready to pounce on a mistake? Who can follow the leading of someone who does not follow the leading of her own Master?

My anger is rarely, if ever, righteous. It can always be traced back to me; to a failing on my part, a lacking. It is difficult to swallow, yet it is true.

I pulled boys to my side, Eliana safely penned in at our feet, and soothed their hurt with pats and gentle squeezes. I turned to Galatians and read again of fruit, and breathed prayers for forgiveness, seeing clearly the fruit of *me* this morning.

I will remember. Though I desire to awaken early every day and move things forward in a good way for my family, I suspect this may happen again; that I might sleep too long and be in a rush. But instead of taking it out on my children, or even myself, I will try to model His behaviour, so that in modeling after me, my children are modeling Him as well.

28 fellow travelers shared:

Sandy said...

Oh, Elise. This has happened to all of us at one time or another. I hope tomorrow goes better for you. Don't be too hard on yourself. There is much grace for those with little ones.

Liberty said...

Thank you for being so honest in this entry. We have all had those days. I love what you said, "feed...love...lead." I think we all need to hear that. Tomorrow is a new day. Wake up and know that it is the day that the Lord has made! God bless you my friend.

Quinne said...

Hi Elise :) I am so sorry the morning was tough! I have those times, too, and they break my heart.

I am so grateful for His mercies that are new every morning and for my sweeties, who willingly forgive their mommy. Love you, Q

jen said...

Thank you for this.

Jessica said...

OH sweetie! *Hugs* I've btdt way more than I'd care to admit. His grace is new every morning, praise God (and every five minutes if we need it!)

Unrelated: I LOVE Ida Early & forgot all about her until right this very minute.

Also, if perchance, I am ever wanting to comment, but no one else has yet, I can't find the Post Comment button...any suggestions?

Love your blog!

Hope you find some cute long non-maternity/maternity shirts that fit & you love!

Stacy said...

"Who can obey a Mama when she asks you to use self-control... when she doesn't use it herself?"

Indeed.

I so struggle with this. Anger. A lack of self-control. And yet demanding kindness and self-control from my children.

Just yesterday I hollered at one of my boys in the kitchen. I totally blew it in the anger/lack-of-self-control categories.

Afterwards, I went from child to child, apologizing for the anger in me they overheard. I was sorry they'd heard it but not necessarily sorry I'd been angry. Yet. Then I asked my Ella, "Did you just hear mama in the kitchen?" She nodded solemnly. "What did you think as you were hearing me?" She said: "I thought you were disobeying God."

And then I felt the weight of it.

It is one of my fervent prayers that God would help me to model His love, and that my love for my children would cover the multitude of sins I am so apt to commit.

Thank you for sharing, here, (((Elise))).

~Stacy

Jennspiration said...

I needed that, Elise, thank you!

Joy said...

oh. boy. I struggle mightily with this too- thank you for your honesty. This was a 2x4 right between the eyes: "My anger is rarely, if ever, righteous. It can always be traced back to me; a failing on my part, a lacking. It is difficult to swallow, yet it is true." I really needed to hear that this morning!

Ann Voskamp @Holy Experience said...

Elise?
Yes.
Thank you.

Carrie at dumptrucksandteacups said...

This is a beautiful post that is so full of truth. Thank you for sharing so openly and honestly.

:..Rebekah..: said...

What a lovely and honest post that I can completely relate to. What amazes me is that I too will continue even when I know what I am doing, and even as I realize that I myself am not using self-control. Thank you for sharing; you are a blessing.

henryteachers said...

Elise,
Oh yes. I have walked in your same shoes. It seems Sunday mornings stress us mommys out. A prayer in the car for reverence before we leave works wonders. Unfortunately, like you said, our mornings won't always go perfectly. What great insight you have on trying to be like our Savior. Thank you for your example!

Russ said...

sweet Elise- yes. yes. even at the same time you were dealing with similar struggles, in texas, another mama was struggling with the same. His mercies are new- and the forgiving spirit of my own five year old (who spills kool-aid on her dress right before we have to leave)-is a wonderful reminder that we are to love and forgive with equal frequency.

Staci said...

I have had too many Sunday mornings just as you described..

Wonderful and inspirational post Elise!

Many Blessings,

Staci

Jaime said...

I am so guilty of this myself sometimes! It's a relief, though, to know that I'm not the only one who struggles with it! May God help us all to be a better Model :)

Miriam said...

Hi, Elise. Thanks for this post. I too can so relate. I was touched especially by the part where you descibed soothing the hurts. When we bruise, through Him we can heal and set things right, even if our anger isn't righteous like His. Such grace.

I was wondering, do you know the name of the album that the Sara Groves song that is playing is on? It's beautiful and I haven't heard it before!

Miriam said...

I found the info. on the album online! Thanks!

Cindi said...

Big Hugs! I totally know what you mean. I hate to see myself in the mirror of my children.

Stacey said...

I too struggled mightily with this same sin this past Sunday morning. It is a little odd to think that at the very moment when I was at my worst on Sunday morning, there were other Mamas in minivans and vestibules across the country fighting the same battle with the Evil One.
Take heed, for we are in this battle together and we can pray for one another!

Beverly said...

Why is it so often that I succumb to these same things on Sunday mornings? I have been in this position so many times - sitting in service and reflecting on my attitudes of the morning and feeling ashamed. Thanks for this.

Christine said...

I love you for writing this! We have had many Sunday mornings like this, being in ministry as your family is. Little eyes are always watching. Luckily, little hearts are also always willing to forgive...

:)

Kate said...

This is a daily battle for me!! If it makes you feel any better, I angrily chased my 3 kids up our stairs and yelled at the top of my lungs the other day because they weren't going to bed like I asked them to. I was like a scary monster! That's how it feels to lose control. Our sinful pride so easily makes us feel like we deserve to have perfectly obedient children and in the mean time, we are constantly disobedient! Of course, God quickly showed me my ugly sin and I repented, but it's a constant struggle. Thanks so much for being honest about it! It helps the rest of us in our daily battles to know that someone else out there knows how we feel! God bless you, Elise!

Sarah said...

Life is full of those convicting moments isn't it! And to be able to apologize to our children, with a genuine spirit of repentence, that's the modeling they also need to see amen. I'm so thankful and praising the Lord for this new little life making movement in you my friend! Hope to talk to you soon.
Love, Sarah

Tammie said...

I like your blog! :-) I can't wait to read more!

Mrs Wibbs said...

Dear lovely lady

It's been a while since I last left a little 'mark' here, and I'm ashamed to say I've been lurking, more due to lack of time than to lack of anything to contribute!
First let me say I visit here daily, secretly hoping to one day see a little side view of a swelling belly...? (no pressure, but a 'bump' update would be incredibly exciting!!)
Second, here is my brief response to THIS post - for all it's worth.
I find that the enemy is very good at trying to prevent us from reaching church on Sundays and at getting us down so that if/when we DO reach church, it'll be the last thing on our minds to want to get close to God and worship Him unreservedly. Don't you think??
I have lost count of the number of times I've woken up on a Sunday morning feeling cranky and angry - for no valid reason - and making life a misery for everone around me. Worse than that though, is that, unlike you, I don't tend to realise the impact my ungodly, selfish behaviour is having on them until way, way later! If ever!
Please don't be too hard on yourself, and be aware of the enemy's sly tactics. And also praise God for His loving, gracious conviction, and the way that He encourages us to keep 'short accounts' with Him and those who care about us.
Third, THANK YOU for introducing me to the Newsboys!! 'In Wonder' is currently one of my very favourite songs, and it brings a lump to my throat every time I hear it, which is many times a day... Wow!
Finally, I have ordered that book you have in your sidebar (Ida Early comes over the Mountain) and am looking forward to reading to Sam, my nearly-8 year old :o)

So. I think I've said everything - for now...!!
Sorry for rambling on here, and taking up so much space on your comments page. But I'm making up for months of quietness - or so it feels!

All my love to you, my friend
Rachel

Laura said...

I'm ashamed to say this is me on so many occasions-often demanding, rarely leading. Thank you for the reminder that I must model the correct behavior if I want it to be followed.

Sandy said...

I love your honesty. With or without kids, married couples walk into church all the time with unresolved differences - but we still put a smile on our face, as if nothing is wrong. PRIDE. I've been convicted of the same thing w/my kids.
Great post! Great visiting you.
Sandy

Marissa said...

Thank you for this.....

Related Posts with Thumbnails