Tuesday, November 29, 2011

a lesson in hope.

Yesterday morning Sparky needed some space. He tried the kitchen and came crying when his brothers wouldn't leave him alone. I sent him to their room. They never want to play in their room. Except for right then when their big brother was playing in their room. He came down the stairs, more discouraged than ever, with an entourage trailing behind him. "Mom" he said, "I just want to be alone for a little while." The look he gave me then finished his sentence with an unsaid, "is that too much to ask!!!"

My heart went out to him. Any mother can relate. Plagued with sympathy irritation I made it my personal mission to get him that alone time he so craved. We tried locking him in the bathroom. That worked for a while until Iggy remembered that the claim of needing to go poop opens doors all over the world. Finally we awoke baby sister to set him playing in my room with the top lock latched. Whew for Sparky. Uh-oh for mom. Once the younger boys gave up scratching at the door like hungry cats they protested the situation with an all-out battle against order and cleanliness.

Over the next hour our ordinary day fell apart into a hellish scene from my worst nightmares. I lost my temper like I lost my wallet a few years ago- it was never coming back. I coveted my eldest son's freedom. I resented my husbands escape (as if work is an island in the Bahamas). I despised my baby's cry. I found myself fighting a three-year-old on his level. I sentenced a toddler to life-in-prison for climbing into the fridge to procure a glass of juice. I cried. I let a tiny attitude problem turn into the mean reds of mother frustration.

Writing this now, I can't believe I was that hopeless. I see the faces of my children and I wonder, did I really wish them away only a day ago? How could life seem so bleak then when it's to good to be true today? That's the kind of power I have over my own self. My attitude is everything.

Once I'm that low only a miracle or a good night's sleep (which is nothing less than a miracle) can pull me out. I didn't want to pray because I felt like such a monster shouldn't be allowed to approach God (in my right mind I see that's ridiculous, but when I need help most I'm never in my right mind). Instead I dreamed of jumping into my car and driving toward sunshine until I left the clouds of Oregon behind. I seriously wondered if the car had enough gas.

Just then I caught Iggy trying to cram a 2nd DVD into the computer. I ran to prevent the catastrophe, grabbed it out of his hands, and only then noticed which disc he was trying to play. You see, several months back I had borrowed a copy of motivational speaking tour called "Time Out for Women" but had not yet taken the time to watch. I thought, "I need a time out this very moment." I felt as if this might be a little help from on high. I fed each of the children, it being time for lunch and naps, and tearfully tucked each child into their bed, couch, bassinet, and floor (because a different kid naps in every room of the house).

In went the DVD. My hands folded laundry while my heart was comforted by words of "Infinite Hope" which was the topic of the tour and exactly what I needed that very moment. Hope.

"Here's another thing about Heavenly Father's love. It comes in unforeseen ways. Sometimes in ways that you never could have predicted. And yet is always exactly suited to our needs." Exactly as I heard these words, the sun broke through the clouds and into our window, warm and real. Just for me.

If you ever lose hope like me, in the way that I've just explained, you'll appreciate the advice by Emily Watts that became an answer to an unsaid prayer of deep sorrow. The peace her instruction gave me was a miracle if ever I've experienced one...

1. Never let go of the hope that children can improve, can progress, can grow. And not just children, but that you can improve and progress and grow.
2. Never lose hope that the work of motherhood is worth it.
3. Never lose sight of the hope that Heavenly Father knows who you are, knows what you do and stands ready to help you do it in ways that are so unforeseen that you might just have to blink to even recognize that that's what's happening.

I know He's there. I know it.


Johnsons said...

Beautiful and inspiring! Thank you for sharing your talents and life stories! Love you!

Lisa said...

I love this! I've been any that place more times than I care to admit. Thank you for sharing your inspiration.

Teresa said...

Another inspiring post. I love that you were compassionate towards Sparky needing time to himself. It touched my heart reading about all of the different ways you tried to make that happen for him. You are such a great mom.

Laura said...

I think we all have those monster-mom moments (especially when we are sleep-deprived). Thank you for sharing some ways to snap out of it. This post is very timely since my husband is gone all day today, but those words are a reminder I could use on almost a daily basis. Maybe I will hang them up on my fridge. Thanks again.

By the way, beautiful pictures as always --your baby girl is absolutely precious.

robin said...

beautiful. you are honestly such an inspiration.

janandtheboys said...

I totally get you.