Many of us have heard the expression of “mountain top” and “valley” experiences. The past month or two, or three, have been mountain top ones, alright. Like volcanoes, with many eruptions! Eruptions between siblings, eruptions in training pants, eruptions from Momma because of eruptions between siblings and eruptions in training pants; eruptions of rebellion, eruptions of wrath because of eruptions of rebellion; eruptions at nap-time, eruptions from Momma the rest of the day because of the eruptions at nap time spanning all of nap-time, meaning no nap-time, meaning tired, eruptive Momma.
There have been lots of apologies, lots of repenting, lots of hugs, and lots of prayer about it. In spite it kept going on and on, day after day. It has been awful. Then by the marvellous grace of God it’s like I was placed from one mount to another, where from its heights His promise is seen and a valuable lesson has been learned. It has since occurred to me that the biggest reason for being on that mount was not that the children were being impossible, not because of their rebellion, fights, and insomnia, it was that I was being a Mount Saint Helens myself! minus the saint part.
The wife and mother has a great power for good or evil in the home. There isn’t just less stress now because I’m not causing as much in reaction to the children, the children are not causing as much, either.
Joy is so important! Joy in our calling. Joy is our calling. My husband deserves better than to come home to fighting, disobedient children and a thin-strung wife. My children deserve, they need the example of kindness and grace shown to them throughout the day. Any member of the family can cause a raucous, can alter the general peace of the home, but as the keeper of the home it is my job to manage it. I can’t expect my children to be perfect when I’m not either or that discipline will work it all out when I’m not disciplining myself. Grace. So thankful for God’s grace!
Knowing the answer is ultimately that alone, here are some things I’ve learned in the past week that have helped manage the stress in our home (after I stopped being the biggest contributor):
- A soft answer really does turn away wrath!
- Lots of hugs, lots of I love you’s throughout the day
- Silliness goes a long way with a silly child!
- Discipline with love
- Dance with your toddler (and your preschooler too, if he wants)
- Listen to them
- Read to them
- Gaze upon their precious faces
- Listen to their endearing exchanges
- Let your children work with you
- Express your thankfulness for each child to each child
As I’ve been a Mount Saint Helens to my family I desire to be a Mount Pisgah to them. I’ve used my influence for stress here, and I want for ever to be done with that. When my children look to me I don’t want them to see a volcano that just needs a little provoking to boil over, I want them to see the promise and goodness of our God, to be encouraged to obedience through grace.