In the twilight, we are walking home; a screaming, raging preschooler furiously peddling his bike follows closely at our heels.
Sometimes, like tonight, when our walk is walk cut short by an over-tired almost four year old who is screaming at the top of his lungs about the atrocity of having to ride his bike back to his house earlier than he would have liked, I'm convinced that somehow I have somehow created this mess.
As we journey down a long stretch of sidewalk, and he screams and screeches and growls ever so loudly, putting on a roaringly loud show for our neighbors, I suck in thick summer air and calmly acknowledge his feelings and his wants, all the while my face is glowing deep shades of sunset red.
Though he continues screaming and crying and pulling my arm in the opposite direction, I urge myself to stay calm. I know he is lashing out partly because he's exhausted and partly because he feels so very helpless in directing the course of his own life at the moment -- a life where continuing the very walk he's been begging for all day is paramount in importance.
Fleetingly, my mind blames these outbursts on him being weaned and coerced into finishing potty learning before he was ready for either. As quickly as the thoughts enter my mind, they are replaced ... but not erased.
One of my mentor's favorite things to remind me about when we're talking parenting fails and the like is that kids are resilient.
They grow and they learn and they mend from both minor and major disturbances alike. They are moldable and pliable and shapeable and not so much breakable.
In those moments, while we're sharing life over a few cups of tea and coffee, her words remind me that this raising kids things isn't actually all about me.
It's not all dependent on me, hinging on my daily mothering successes of failures.
And I'm giving myself a little too much power, control and importance when I enter into the whole I've created this disaster streams of though.
And though I can recall these words, I don't fall into total rest or peace because as we round our final corner, I feel defeated, broken hearted as he rages on about how he is NOT tired and how mommy has NO clue what she's talking about and how I might possibly be the worst mommy ever.
Because there's always this little nagging voice in the my mind that says somehow I've got to get better at this mom thing or else ....
Or else ... I don't even know.
What I do know is that I've got to silence these thoughts, permanantly defuse them and strip them of their power over me.
And the only way I know how to do that is by turning my palms up and giving my heart, my thoughts away to the One who knows it best.
Tomorrow, I begin 21 days of Prayer for my sons with a group of other boy moms.
Not because I want to morph their actions into obedience or personalities into perfection or alter their behavoir, but because I know this raising kids thing doesn't just hinge on my mothering successes and failures alone.
It hinges on their hearts.
And little that I say or do can change a heart that doesn't want to change.
So yes, I'm praying for them, for their hearts to be moldable and pliable at the shaping of a Mighty Hand.
I'm praying they will become men of integrity and strength and love and truth and conviction and passion.
But, also, I'm praying for my heart to be moldable and pliable at the shaping of a Mighty Hand, that we may all be changed from the inside out.
I'm praying along with other moms in Kristi's group; we start tomorrow, so if you want in, get signed up today!