I am about to turn 34. Â But I still feel like I am 13 and often act like it. Â I have three beautiful kids who look to me to be the adult and be responsible. Â And it is suffocating sometimes. Â I kind of wonder when I am actually going to be a big girl and stop acting immature. Â I keep hoping that one day I'll just wake up with all the answers, tons of patience and KNOW that I have finally arrived at adulthood.Â
Last week was a sad example of how lacking I am in the areas of wisdom, self control and maturity. Â The scary thing is is that I teach my kids at home. Â I am the sole distributer of knowledge for them. Â Yikes. Â This year my oldest is in fifth grade and I had to buy the answer book just to be able to correct his english assignments. Â I speak English fluently, or so I thought. Â But nonetheless I suck at remember what the heck a prepositional phrase is or how to diagram a sentence. Â My daughter is in third grade and for once she seems to be the easy one. Â But then there is sweet little Benjamin who is six and in first grade. Â He had never experienced an day of school in America with other kids. Â He was in a Ugandan school for a few months when he was three. Â Benjamin looks at me with his green eyes and his deep dimples and waits for me to impart some wisdom to him. Â Boy, what a let down for him.Â
So last week I had a break down as I tried to teach Ben how to count American money. Â We obviously don't use it here but he needs to learn it for sometime in the future. Â We have been diligently counting quarters, nickels, dimes and pennies for the last year and a half. Â But Friday Ben's brain shut down and pretended like it couldn't do it anymore. Â AND I LOST IT. Â Like the immature wretch that I am, I got really pissy with him and then put my head down on the table and cried. Â Like a baby. Â And then Ben panicked at seeing his mom crying and he started crying too. Â And then after much yelling and frustration he crept over to me and asked for a hug. Â AND I HESITATED. Gross right? Â Why would I hesitate to hug my precious child after I destroyed what little confidence he had in counting with my own expectations? Â I grudgingly hugged him and then finally my cold mean heart softened and we just wept together. Â So ridiculous. Â A 34 year old woman weeping with a six year old over counting 35 cents. Â I was horrified at my immaturity.
After apologizing profusely to my kids and explaining again about sin I prayed for a bit. Â I am reading a great book (thanks Amy Lathrop!) called Instruments in the Redeemer's Hands by Paul Trip. Â There are many parts in it I'd love to share but you should just buy it and read it so I don't have to type them out. Â But one of them said this: "Imagine how mini-kings (what we think of ourselves) approach parenting. Â What they really long for is pre-sanctified, self-parenting children. Â They find the daily service and sacrifice of godly parenting to be a huge imposition." Uh...yeah, that sums it up for me. Â He says in another part of the book, "Wouldn't it be nice to come home just once to a house that wasn't full of problems I needed to solve? As I voiced that frustration to myself, it hit me. Â I wanted children who had never suffered the effects of the Fall and who possessed the innate ability to make all the right choices. Â I wanted family devotion and a few lectures to produce children who would do quite well on their own. Â I, too, lacked the self-sacrificing love essential in a family full of sinners. Â I saw my children as being in the way of the plan, rather than the focus of it."Â
Because I am so immature and self centered I often freak out on my kids and exhibit the very behavior I am chastising them for. Â I want them to be perfect without me actually doing the work to teach, guide and serve them. Â I think of them as little bundles of distraction from my desires of what I'd like to accomplish in a day. Â And when they don't understand something I teach or respond in a less-than-polite way I lose it. Â Man, that is painful to realize.Â
I am so very thankful that God doesn't treat me that way. Â His love is consistent and unconditional, His discipline is swift but restorative and His plan graciously includes me. Â Lord how I want to be like that for my own kids. Â
Dan is preaching through 1 Corinthians. Â There is a lot in there about spiritual maturity. Â And it's like God is showing me over and over how I need to be mature. Â I need to respond to the gospel, practice righteousness and repentence and then model the behavior for these three "mini-me's" He has put in my bumbling care. Â His amazing grace covers my poor parenting, my lack of wisdom, my impatience and my conditional love. Â More than that it transforms these things into humility, patience, repentence and grace towards others. Â I don't know if I'll wake up feeling mature and wise tomorrow, and I don't know if Ben will be able to count out 35 cents but I know that God will be cheering me on to spiritual adulthood. Â