Because sometimes I don’t like my children.
Sometimes it’s hard to like my kids.
It’s hard to be continually giving and continually serving a person, no matter how small they are and then be faced with an ungrateful attitude, an entitled attitude, a selfish attitude.
They are kids. Being ungrateful and selfish is part of their sinful nature and part of the culture we live in.
I love my children, but there are moments when I don’t like them. I know we probably aren’t supposed to say that. We probably shouldn’t say such things. But let’s be real for a minute.
Raising children is hard. Even when we are raising good ones.
The days and moments when they are constantly bickering and arguing with you. The days when they can’t find their shoes no matter how many baskets you have around the house that are specifically for shoes and they get into the car without shoes and you wonder…how does a person walk outside and into a car to go to church and not have shoes on? How is that possible?
The days when you are doing homework and they sullenly give up and just “don’t get it” and you know it’s not that they don’t get it, it’s that they don’t want to get it and it’s just plain annoying.
Because sometimes, kids are annoying.
And what you really want to do is roll your eyes, close the book and say, “whatever, be an ignoramus all your life…I don’t care.”
But the things is…I do care.
I want them to learn, to love, to be responsible and caring and thankful and gracious and giving…
I want them to be so much. I want them to be more than me. I want them to be so much more than me.
Sometimes, it hard to like myself.
Sometimes I am ungrateful and selfish and sometimes I really stink at being mom and wife.
Being ungrateful and selfish is part of my sinful nature.
And I hate that part.
So I cling to Jesus.
And I fall to my knees and I pray and wish it away.
But wishing sinfulness away isn’t what He desires.
He has cleansed me of all my unrighteousness and He has given me enough grace to fill my days with love. Love for myself and more importantly, love for my children.
Because though there are moments when I don’t like my children, I love them. I love them the way Jesus l loves me. I love them the way Jesus loved His disciples.
And that’s really all He asks of me. To love. Love Him and Love His.
I wonder if Jesus ever didn’t like his disciples. They were like little children at times and I am sure Jesus sometimes wanted to roll his eyes and say exasperatingly, “Stop whining and complaining?”
Did Jesus ever say, “James and John stop fighting?” Or “Peter if you don’t want to listen then I can’t help you”? Or, “Nathaniel I don’t know what you did with your sandals, why didn’t you put them in the basket Mary wove that is at the front of the door?!?”
Maybe, maybe not…
Maybe there were moments when He may have looked up to heaven and said, “Seriously?”
How many times did He say, “You of little faith?” In other words, “why aren’t you getting it yet?” And there was that time when James and John were arguing about who would sit next to Him in heaven and he said, “If you don’t both shut it, you are sitting in the back and if you make a face or touch your brother you are going to bed without your fish dinner.”
Ok maybe not to that extent, but you get the idea.
I think there may have been times when Jesus didn’t necessarily like his selfish, ungrateful and faithless disciples. There were times when he was exasperated and He wanted to go away for a bit to clear his head…in fact we know He did that often.
But He loved them.
Despite the moments when they were acting selfish and wanting to send the poor and hungry away, I bet there were many more times when Jesus would gather his disciples around Him and smile and laugh and they would share innocent dreams and have tender moments. When they would laugh at the antics of the day and when they would sit and listen to his stories and teachings and he would speak into them and say, Peter you are going to be a might warriory and “Peter, on this rock, I will build my church.”
He loved them.
Every part of them.
He saw past who they were in those moments and saw who they would become.
Like Jesus, I love my children. Every part. Not because I like them all the time, but because I want to love them like Jesus loves them and I pray to see them like Jesus sees them.
I pray that in those hard moments when selfishness abounds in my heart and theirs, that I will see past who they are and into who they are becoming.
As I gather my kids around me daily, and as we sit at the table, whether I am serving them a meal or helping them with school work, I smile and tenderly look at them and hug them and tell them how great they are and that one day they will be mighty warriors for Jesus. Though there may be moments when we clash, we are each simply clinging to Jesus and trying to be more like Him.
And we each mess up and fall and I know when I do, I have a father who reaches out his hand and gently smiles at me and says, keep going.
And when my children fall and mess up and push against me and when I don’t like them, I breathe in and I reach out to them and gently smile and say, “let’s keep going, because I love you where you are at, right here, right now and God has great plans for each of us.”