Friday, January 18, 2013

Help Mommy Stop It Crying

Regret by Alfred Stevens

Today I had a homeschool mama meltdown. Oh it was a slobbery mess. It was one of those hide in the bathroom and cry into some toilet paper moments. What? You don't have those?!

Every parent of multiple children has that one kid that has to push the buttons. Some of you have an only child that likes to push your buttons. That one child that always knows just which trigger to click to send you careening over the edge of sanity. The kid that can simply look at you the wrong day when you haven't had your third cup of of coffee yet and it simply just ticks. you. off. For no reason. The child that says things that are rude. That acts inconsiderate. Stubborn. Willful. Ungrateful. This child will be bold in his discontent and make everyone know about it. Or perhaps he will cause discontent simply because he can. He will monitor the ebb and flow of your day and when the toddler has tried to clean the toilet (true story), the cat has escaped out the screen door (again), and you have burnt the second batch of cookies for the church potluck he will strike. Like a coiled garden snake. Just a nip. An off side comment about the lunch you prepared. Or a personal correction on how you could have done it better. This child never says I am sorry. He is the one that hurts you to the core and who you pray most earnestly for. He is the one you worry about.

Now for non-homeschool world this child is difficult. He is the one the school calls home about. The one who got sucked into a game of 'pick on the fat kid' or a child that wrote naughty notes because someone told him to. This child talks back to teachers and stares out windows instead at the board. He is a challenge. He gets several different teachers who will tiptoe around his ego and hold his hand through every problem. They will attempt to build his low self esteem because that must be why he acts out. As a parent at home, you can survive the time the tyrant is home and then breathe when he is shipped off to school to be in some else's hair for a bit.

The homeschool mom has no such luxury. She will be a target for his misguided actions. He will ignore her careful plans and strive to be busy being anything but productive at his work. He will need almost constant supervision. When you are cleaning up the toddler, writing out math problems for your first grader and cutting up a chicken for supper he will wander from his studies to get the really good color crayons buried somewhere in his room or take a 35 minute bathroom break. He will become engrossed in watching a spider crawl across his bedroom ceiling and forget about his copywork. When you homeschool it is difficult to balance this child that takes three times longer to do everything. When you want to be starting Bible Study he is looking for his Bible becasue he has misplaced it... again. He makes everyone wait. He is often spouting authority he doesn't have. He fails to take responsibility for his actions unless they are golden. Then he doesn't let anyone forget it. It is exhausting.

Now on the flip side this is that kid with the million dollar smile. He gives it out like a gift. Eyes lit up mischievously. You can't help but love him in his naughtiness. You know there is an amazing potential in this child. One that if directed and guided can be a powerful tool for the LORD. His boldness is celebrated by God. His fearlessness is suited for sharing the gospel in unkind places. His ability to read you can be used for discernment in places of unrest and upheaval. His whimsy will allow him to get lost in God without guilt of all the have-tos and must-dos all of the law abiding, responsible folks miss out on. 

But oh how painful it is to survive the here and now. How frustrating to feel that you may never see the day this child curbs his sin and instead uses his gifts for God's glory! It can bring a mother to tears. Sobbing tears. In the bathroom. With the Princess Petunia on her potty.

The Preacher Man peeks in and says : Honey, You are doing an amazing job.

I feel like I'm failing. ~snot running.

No, you're not failing.

He wraps me in his arms. 

If he ends up in jail, will it be my fault?

No, it will be his choice. We will love him just like we love all our children in their messes. And we will visit him. ~ He chuckles.

LORD God, Bless mommy and help her stop it crying. Amen. 

Out of Princess Petunia. I am blessed. I am doing something right.

In my concentrated prayer time this verse was jumping out at me. I had read it earlier in a distracted sort of way... 
And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. ~Philippians 4:7
In fact let's take the whole chunk... How do we get the peace?
Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. ~Philippians 4:4-7
Well, aren't I making my requests known to God? Doesn't He know how painful this parent -child relationship can be? Well, of course HE does! Are we not often just like this spoiled, naughty child?

Which is why we are commanded to let our requests {petitions} be made known BY our prayers and supplication. The World English Dictionary defines Supplication as a humble entreaty or petition. Catch that? Humble. Humble Prayer. And we are to do that humble prayer WITH Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is the act of giving thanks; grateful acknowledgment of benefits or favors, especially to God. 

I am often demanding that He fix this child. Or fix me. Or fix us. But I am not being humble in my request. I am expecting that I know better than my LORD. Oh how wrong! And I am forgetting to be thankful. I have much to be thankful for, even with this child that vexes me so very much. 

The Lord goes on to tell me He will give me peace beyond all understanding if I will follow this simple equation. The LORD will guard my heart and my understanding if I am humble before Him and go to Him with thanksgiving.

In conclusion, He gives me the way to calm down those feelings of inadequacy. Of frustration. Of I feel like I am failing again thoughts. He gives meditation tools! 

Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. ~Philippians 4:8
If my attitude is defeatist I should dwell on things commendable.
If I am at the end of the proverbial rope I should think about the Strength the LORD gives me.
If I have had a day of constant disruption and agonized over language arts just one last time I can take a few moments and  meditate on how blessed we are to pray through those lessons.

And the Peace will be with me.

Always Blessed,
Gretchen :)

This was post was featured at:
The WholeHearted Home

Possibly Linking With: Cornerstone Confessions

Wisdom Wednesdays and Link Up
No Ordinary Blog Hop
Frontline Moms Friday Fun
The Welcoming House
Domestic Randomness~ Friday Fascinations


  1. great post! and great reminder..thanks for sharing im following now..God bless you

    1. Oh thank you so much! I'm glad your following! I so very much appreciate that!

  2. I have cried many times in the bathroom and even right in front of our kids as I was reading them the Bible or when we sang a hymn. I had a couple of those children at least. It is a wonderful blessing when God get a hold of their heart...but sometimes they sink into such terrible sin because they are making the choices. I will pray for you Gretchen...but know that God will indwell you and help you to live before your children as an example. Too bad you can't drop over to my house for a hug and a visit :-) Thanks for sharing your heart over at WholeHearted Home this past week. Your heart is a blessing!!

    1. Judith, once again you have filled me with such a warm smile! I would take you up on the hug! We will continue to strive forward because God says so, because He already knows how this all pans out, and because The LORD is teaching me to rely on Him not myself with these children I have been entrusted with. I will do my part and God always fulfills His. :) {{Virtual Hug!}}

  3. *sigh* What about when they are ALL like that?

    1. Oh my. I have two. Seems God is working on us! ;)

  4. I have cried so many times! My oldest knows just how to push my buttons. Some days I am just at my wits end with him. I've thought that there is no way that I can homeschool this kid long term. But I've stuck it out so far :)

    Thank you for this post. Thank you so much. I thought it was just me. I thought that I had damaged him already (he's only 7). I also have been praying like you. Not humble at all. "Fix this family Lord" has been my mantra. You gave me lots to think about today.

    I am also following now :)

    1. You have nourished my soul by sharing with me. All I can say is: Thank the LORD we are not alone! Thank you for following! We will have together!

  5. I am pretty sure I was "that child". I wasn't a trouble maker, like getting into trouble at school, or causing messes, but I was the one that was always pushing her buttons. I feel bad about it now. But if it makes you feel better I have not spent any time in jail :)

  6. Gretchen,

    Oh, how I remember those tears in the bathroom! As a homeschooling veteran of 17 years, I've cried them all. And written a book about it. Would you allow me to send you a download for a free ebook? I'd love to encourage you with Joy in the Journey - Encouragement for Homeschooling Moms. Email me with your email address and I'll send it on its way. Blessings to you today :)Lori, from Hungry for God; Starving for Time

    1. I have read so much on your Blog! I would be so grateful to receive a copy of your book! I confess, I have looked at it! Thank you!

  7. You made me cry at the computer -- but a different kind of tears. Thank you for the lovely post. My children are grown, and the one who once hollered, "Yeah, we got her to the bedroom!" when I went in there to cool down is now a daddy of three and has at least one of "those" kind. :-)

    1. :) So I will survive and he will be a man that can support a family someday?! YES! Hope is here! Thank you so much reading. There is strength in knowing others have survived.

  8. Oh my goodness, this could have been my blog post about eight years ago. My son was exactly the same!

    I used to also worry about jail. I corrected and disciplined and prayed and wept and apologized and hugged and loved and cried and cried and cried.

    About a year ago, he said, "Mom, remember how I used to really push you and bug you?" Who could forget, right? "I don't know why I did that."

    But, at 16, he is a freshman in college, is a loving, godly young man and we are now able to laugh instead of cry over him.

    Press on, sister!

    1. This fed me more than you can imagine. Wait, no, you can imagine and that is why it has helped so much. Thank you! :)

  9. I am a crier in the closet:( I've had one of those sons - and I will tell you a life-changing secret - to see them as God sees them - even in the midst of an awful moment, reminding myself that God put everything in them so He is not surprised. It changed everything! You are not alone - the bible stories tell us how He favors these rebellious ones, how He pursues them and blesses them:)He knew we mothers needed help raising these children He gave us:) Be encouraged!

  10. As a mom of 10, been there. Done that. A few times. I too want to encourage you to press on with the promise that they do eventually grow up. In the meantime, you may find teaching by S.M. Davis to be quite beneficial (we are currently going through his Anger series together as a family).

    1. Oh my! I bet you have! I will look into S.M. Davis. Thank you for the tip!

  11. Hi, Gretchen,
    Found you on a blog hop and so grateful! Your son should marry my daughter. The fireworks could be spectacular! I substituted "she and her" throughout your post and felt I had written it myself. I think it's a little harder to accept maybe when it's a GIRL we're talking about. You even nailed the charming, grinning side as well. It was so refreshing to know that I'm not the only one who uses her powder room as a "prayer closet." :) I will be praying more humbly from now on. Blessings on us both cuz we need it!
    My latest post Whole-Wheat Buttermilk Pancakes with Chocolate Chips

    1. Oh Leslie! Yes! There is strength in numbers isn't there?! I absolutely agree that it is even more difficult with girls. Boys are given a certain freedom of excuse by the outside world. They are labeled naughty, unruly, and high-spirited. Girls though; girls are really allowed no leniency in the naughty behavior category in the outside world. The standard is higher. Prayers to you , Leslie. You are not alone. :)


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