There are so many, many days when I think God must be crazy to entrust a third child to me. Swimming around in my womb is the third life He has entrusted me to bring into this world. Just as words leave my fingertips, this tiny one lets me know life is growing. And again, I think surely God is a little bit crazy… After all, I can barely keep my house in order, I have done the unthinkable and let my children see a television before they were two, and I’ve lost my temper more times than I can count.It’s that last one. That last thing I mentioned that sticks with me. It’s that last one about my temper that makes me wonder how such a perfect Father could give such an imperfect mother another precious life to shape? And yet I know He is purposeful in His giving. I guess you’d say I have some guilt, and also fear which grabs me and shakes my nerves. Fear that I will mess up with one more innocent little person. It is inevitable. I am going to make mistakes with my third born. And He knows it.

Not thirty seconds ago I lay my first babe down in her bed. But not before rocking her to sleep. Not before she begged me to make up a song and sing to her. And most certainly not before I lost my temper on her defenseless heart because she was not obeying Mommy and having her rest time. (Which is actually my fault because I haven’t been consistent with her!) More importantly, not before the gentle breath of my daughter lulled me into the submission of my Heavenly Father as He chose to remind me I was choosing to be angry. As I held her close, I kissed her face and whispered, “Mommy is so sorry.” When she wakes, I will tell her again while looking deeply into her searching eyes.

I suppose what God knows is that His perfect love has the power to cast out fear. (1 John 4:18) He knows this daughter is falling a million times over. He knows faith as tiny as a mustard seed can move a mountain. (Matt 17:20) He knows me. And He has chosen me to be a mother three times. My falling reminds me of where I am – a fallen world. My falling reminds me why a crown of thorns not only pierced my Savior’s head, it beckons my heart. My Father sent His Son because He knew I would fail and in my failing and falling I would find rest at the foot of the Cross. My falling serves to strengthen my faith and move my own little planted seeds toward the only Source of Life.

In the midst of questioning myself, I am not lonely. My plight is not solitary. At this moment, I don’t have any friends who have never let their tongue wag too loosely at a toddler. And I certainly know of more than a few who are very thankful for Veggie Tales and the Backyardigans. These are the friends with whom I share my confidence and soak tissues with shameful tears and tails of a parenting story gone wrong. When I trip over my mouth, they don’t push my face in the dirt. They know making mistakes is part of motherhood. It is encouraging to have the assurance that other moms out there are struggling, isn’t it? To know that some days you are not the only Mom who is one cream center shy of a Ding Dong.

I am furious that I lose my temper. (Sounds like an oxymoron, or something, huh?!) I don’t want to be one of those moms. Gasp! Awhh, nuts. I am one of those crazy Mothers who is tired and lacking perfection. One of those Mothers who would gladly jump in front of a moving bus to save my child. One of those Mothers who will let my child embarrass the daylights out of me in the store because I refuse to allow them to have their way. I am one of those. The few, the proud, the somewhat insane – Mothers of Toddlers. We cry. We sometimes throw our own fits. And we repent to the children we’ve wronged.

A wise woman wears a reminder on her wrist every day to show whether or not she has kept her tongue in check. I learned from this example and tried to wear a bracelet on my wrist first thing in the morning. (Of course, I just started this little habit and I keep forgetting!) It served as a prompt for me to be careful what I was about to say to my kids. Honestly, I wore three bracelets because I wasn’t sure how long it would be before I complained, or said anything that wasn’t a great example to my little disciples. It has been a great help in showing me just how often I am willing to choose a destructive way (such as yelling) rather than using gentle, patient instruction. It proved to me that many times I am not believing my Father’s direction, but buying into someone else’s plan for – not direction – destruction. The bottom line is this. When I choose to give in to my anger and discipline my children through the power of “me,” I am not disciplining my children or instructing them with the only unchangeable, indestructible power – the power of a loving God. . “…He gently leads those that have young.” (Isaiah 40:11) His strength is tender.

I want to have tender strength with my children. God has used my husband to teach me those words. And as hard as it is for me to admit… my strength is rarely tender. Oh, but I am learning. One mistake at a time. One apology at a time. I am learning.

Do you show your children tenderness and strength in the same breath? Are you falling forward in faith at this crazy job of parenting? I am falling. I am getting up. And I am falling further into faith and closer to His feet.

-Shelby Rawson

1 Comment

  1. Heather Bomar said,

    September 21, 2009 at 7:15 am

    Love your openess and can totally relate! Thanks for the inspirational message! I took it to heart! You have a beautiful gift for writting!

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