Sunday, August 11, 2019

When my kids are driving me crazy...

On the days when I think the kids are “driving me crazy”, I need to stop, and think.

And every time, the root is not the kids. 

Yes, they might push me over on the edge, but why was I sitting by the edge in the first place? Why does 2 tantrums, an emptied bookshelf, permanent marker on the carpet, or a poop explosion, suddenly feel like the last slender thread of my sanity snapping? 

Usually I can find why I was sitting on the edge---I find I'm worrying someone I love will wreck their life, or I'm in the middle of a drawn out text-fight with a sister, or mentally rehearsing bitter litanies of grievances from people I have not forgiven, or brooding over some awful thing that has happened in the world, or stressed out about some financial need, or fearing for a beloved one's marriage, or worrying about a friend or siblings relationship choices----all these things push me to that edge, then one kid-tantrum or mess later, I'm yelling, crying, and melting down.

But its not really the kids, its the turmoil in my own soul. And the answer to every one of those problems is to take it to God, to TRUST His heart, to TRUST His strength. Then I can face the daily stresses of life with small children with joy, with deep reserves instead of inner turmoil. The inner turmoil is what has me living on the edge, running on narrow margins.

My noisy kids are not the problem---the turmoil in my soul is. And when the Holy Spirit comes, and I give Him the burdens of my heart, then suddenly, a mess is just a mess, a diaper explosion is just a needed bath (with bubble soap! And foodcoloring in the water!), a tantrumming kid is just a needed long hug (good for us both), a permanently-markered carpet is just money (God will provide).
Because what I really needed wasn't peace and quiet so I could cope with my inner turmoil without blowing my top.

What I really needed wasn't me-time so I could distract myself with hobbies or reading, and hold in all the pain and fear, and pretend it wasn't there.

What I really need is inner peace.

I need to invite the Holy Spirit into the dark places of fear in my soul, to give him my burden, and then rise up and live. So my kids are really God's scalpel, cutting apart my camouflaging bandages to show me the hidden infection that was there all along, in my heart.

My kids overload my coping mechanisms, so that they fail. With my coping mechanisms broken, I am forced to go to the Healer, to offer to Him the turmoil in my heart, and TRUST....and learn to live.