By Abby McDonald
“I’m telling Mama!”
My six-year-old’s words flood the kitchen as I stand over the stove, preparing dinner. My face is hot, but it isn’t from the three burners. Tiny feet quickly enter the room and I leave the food, hoping not to blacken the meal.
When I re-enter the room, I glance at the clock. 5:15. Fifteen more minutes until Daddy will be home. I can survive fifteen minutes, right?
The peace I created in the next room quickly dissolves into a hitting match, then a race around the house.
As I stand with my blood boiling at a higher temperature than the pasta, one prayer repeats itself in my head over and over: Just let me survive until bedtime. My favorite show is on, and I want nothing more than to sit on the sofa with a bag of potato chips, thinking about absolutely nothing.
I am beyond frustrated. I’m eyes-popping-out-of-my-head exhausted. But I’m also keenly aware of a message God speaks into my heart. This “just get me through this” attitude is repeating itself, and simply hoping to survive through the difficult times doesn’t allow me to learn.
When our prayer is only to get through the tough moments of parenting, we miss what God is trying to teach us.
When we ask, he promises to give us the wisdom we lack.
“If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” James 1:5 NIV
Raising children, even our best intentions can quickly dissolve into things we wish we’d said or done. This job is on-your-knees hard, and we stumble. Here are a few lessons I learned that help me parent intentionally:
Recognize the season you are in. My youngest will not be potty-training forever, although sometimes it feels like he might. When I look at the bigger picture and realize this is only one phase, it helps me keep my sanity.
Play with your kids. Fred Rogers once said, “Play gives children a chance to practice what they are learning.” This will look different depending on their age. With little ones, it is like real life without consequences. And nothing makes them happier.
Pray for yourself and your kids often. Prayer has become an almost continual conversation for me. Without it, I cannot be the kind of mother I desire to be. I also know there is a continual battle waging for my kids, so I pray for my family’s protection, salvation and walk with God.
Ask for forgiveness. There have been many times when I’ve fallen short as a mom. I’ve lost my patience, yelled, or forgotten a promise made. When I do so, I ask for forgiveness. Our kids need to know that it’s okay to make mistakes. Trying again is always a better response than refusing to admit you’re wrong.
I don’t want to simply survive motherhood. I want to be present and intentional. Practicing each of these things helps me do that.
No matter where you are in this parenting journey, remember you are not alone. Give yourself grace along the way and remember His promises.
He is always there. Just a prayer away.
Used with permission from Abby McDonald
Word of the Day:
“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
About the Author:
Abby McDonald is a writer who can’t contain the lavish love of a God who relentlessly pursues her, even during her darkest times. When she’s not chasing her two little boys around, she loves hiking, photography, and consuming copious amounts of coffee with friends. Abby would love to connect with you on her blog, Twitter, and Facebook.