I sat in my bathroom, doors locked, ugly angry tears pouring out alongside my ugly angry heart.
It’s the only place in my house where the doors lock. It’s my sanctuary. I come here to eat oreos and to pray. And I guess sometimes I shower and brush my teeth. It’s central to my house, so I can hear the kids anywhere. No one is going to die because I lock myself in the bathroom for respite.
I haven’t done this in far too long. And that’s why I tore in here so desperately after sending my boys to their room. It was one of those days. My son is learning to read. That day, my son was refusing to learn to read. All the weight of the responsibility for his education felt so heavy, the fear that he would not be successful gripped me, and the belief that his failing at life would be all my fault. I lashed out. I yelled at my son in the middle of the reading lesson he was refusing to complete, and I left us both in tears.
Am I the only one who has done this? Am I alone in hearing generations of crazy misplaced anger come out of my mouth and land on the innocent people I am in charge of protecting and loving? Am I the only one who has seen the same pain in my kid’s eyes that I felt at their age? The confusion when adults lash out? I promised to tell you guys the truth, even if it makes me look bad. This time, it makes me look really bad.
I sucked at being a mom this week.
Not just “There are cheerios on my carpet and my hair smells funky,” sucked.
Like, “I maybe scarred my kid for life,” sucked.
And it’s true. Moms, we give ourselves and one another a lot of grace. And that’s a good thing. We’re supposed to do that. But what I learned in the bathroom this week is this:
The distance between a doomed-from-the-start-day and a redeemed one, is me owning my sin and giving it back to Jesus.
When I look back on confusing and scary times in my childhood, the times that I still remember and feel and think about 20 plus years later, the ones that land me in therapy and stuff? I don’t remember, even once, the adult responsible owning their sin, repenting to me, and asking for forgiveness. Not once.
And that would have made all the difference.
So yes, it may be (and IS) very true that we all have baggage. We all have moments of failure as moms. And there is absolutely grace for those moments. But I have fallen into the dangerous habit of cheapening the grace of God by downplaying my sin, telling myself that it happens to everyone. It does happen to everyone. But that does not make it okay.
Yelling at my kids is a sin. It damages them. It frightens them. And, speaking practically, it sure as heck didn’t make my son want to finish his reading lesson.
Guys, please don’t hear me coming at you from a spot on a high horse. I’m telling you about ugly crying in my bathroom for goodness sakes.
When I went to the Lord to repent of my sin, He showed me my heart. He showed me that the reason I lashed out was because I was scared. The reason I was scared was because I haven’t been giving my kids over to Him. I had forgotten so much of the wisdom I received from other moms when it comes to homeschooling: thinking I am somehow above needing to start the day with my kids in prayer and reading the Word, thinking my toddler doesn’t need a busy box because I can handle it. Thinking that Jesus’ place in our day to day lives can be condensed down to a lesson and a prayer and not that my love with Him needs to be walked out in Gospel living to my kids moment by moment – daily.
Oh. Did I have repenting to do. And I did it. I did the repenting. And I was met, not with condemnation, but with real bone-deep grace and super practical help. Cause God is a good Dad.
I did the repenting to my son. By the by, if you are struggling in your life with humility, I recommend repenting to a five year old. My son is so much better at forgiving than I am. It’s really beautiful. The Kingdom of Heaven looks like that.
Our day started out with that gross it’s-gonna-be-a-bad-day feeling that you can’t seem to shake. It ended up being one of the best days we have had in a long time.
Because doomed things become redeemed things when we own them, and then give them back to Jesus.