Lately, the kids and I have been having lots of conversations about what they will be when they grow up. Maybe they’re talking about it in preschool. I don’t know. But here are some snippets from a couple of those conversations. For your amusement.
Vivi: When I grow up, I’m going to be a chef.
Jonah: When I grow up, I’m going to be a waiter.
(Great. One wants to be in charge and the other will just take orders…)
Here’s another one for you:
Vivi: Mom, when you grow up, you will drive a mail truck.
Me: Well, actually I’m already grown up and I’m a mom. Yay!
Vivi: No! You supposed to BE something when you grow up.
(And that about sums up my life these days…)
Kids always give me something to think about. You know what I mean? For instance, do you, as a woman, sometimes feel pressure to be something? To be a good wife? To be the best employee and climb the corporate ladder? To be a great mom? To be the best parent volunteer? To be the CEO of your company?
To be perfect?
I think there are moments when we all want perfect hair and a perfect husband, perfect children and a perfect life. But we oftentimes put so much pressure on ourselves that we can’t live up to our own expectations.
I had always dreamed about the perfection that my life would be. I knew I would have a perfect, conflict-free marriage and beautiful, well-behaved, intelligent children. I would be the envy of all those around me. But as you know by now, my life is almost nothing like this. I mean, Peter and I love each other, but of course, we have our share of disagreements. And my kids are beautiful and smart but they certainly aren’t the most well-behaved. Let’s just say I’m pretty sure I’m not the envy of everyone around me.
Before Vivienne started preschool this year, Peter and I wondered about her intelligence. (Doesn’t that sound awful? But seriously, we did.) By the age of 2, both Jonah and Brienne could name several letters, they could count to 10, and they knew their colors. Jonah could even spell his name by the time he was two. But Vivienne…
At the age of three, her counting went something like this: 1, 2, 5, 8, 4
And she never got any of her colors right.
“Vivi, what color is this apple?” Blue
I couldn’t decide if she was color blind or what.
But you know what she really turned out to be? Sneaky. The little stinker had apparently been holding out on us. The first day home from preschool, she could count to 10, name all her colors and name a few letters. It was a miracle. (Can you hear my sarcasm?)
With Vivienne, everything has to be on her own terms. I wonder if this is how our lives are going to be from now on. Sigh.
And just when I get a little cocky and begin thinking that my kids are well-behaved and I’ve got this parenting thing down pat, Jonah decides to push a sweet little girl down at soccer practice. For no reason at all. What the heck?
Reality check. I’m not a perfect parent, and in case you haven’t noticed, my children aren’t perfect either.
And that’s okay.
Because I want to tell you something. All of these things – these little conversations, my kids’ sneakiness, discipline issues – they are all a stark reminder of my total dependence on God. I cannot do anything without Him.
Last week was a rough one for Jonah. He goes through phases where he has difficulty with transitions. Maybe he’s in the midst of center-time at school and he isn’t ready to clean up and move to the next activity. So he has a mini-meltdown. Or maybe he isn’t finished with his coloring sheet at church so he has a little fit when it’s time to go home. Or last Sunday night was the biggie – he didn’t want to leave a friend’s house because he was having such fun playing, so he kicked the furniture (Sorry, Laura!) and tried to hit me. Now listen. This boy is precious and loving and sweet. He has a heart of gold. But transitions are just hard for him sometimes. And he is getting big, so pretty soon I won’t be able to haul him out over my shoulder. I’m not sure what I will do then.
That Sunday night was hard, and I was exhausted after dealing with Jonah’s emotions on top of the normal chaos that ensues at our house on a nightly basis. I fell into bed that night, but Monday morning I woke up, read my Bible and then pleaded with the Lord.
“Father, I can’t do this on my own. I don’t know what Jonah needs. What any of my kids need. I just know that they need You so You’re going to have to handle all this. I’m giving it to You because I don’t know what to do.”
God is faithful. He is a good Father. He wants what’s best for His children. He has a purpose and a plan but we have to be willing to submit to Him.
To be honest, I would’ve liked for the Lord to take away all of Jonah’s anger and to miraculously heal him from his issues with transitioning. But that’s not always how God works.
Instead, the Holy Spirit is giving me more patience and an understanding heart to help Jonah. He is giving me wisdom as I help Jonah learn to deal with his own emotions. And He is giving me a willing spirit that He can mold into a heart like His.
Psalm 51: 16-17 says, “You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it; you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite spirit, O God, you will not despise.”
You know, God doesn’t need anything from us. We don’t have to bring anything to Him or do anything for Him.
We don’t have to be perfect.
All we have to do is offer up our brokenness to Him and He can redeem it. When we humbly come before Him, he takes delight in us.
I may be all grown up, but I can still learn how to live my life in a way that is pleasing to God. And I don’t have to be anything. I just need to love Him and entrust my children to His care.