My children don't have to change. I do.

Our pastor has a terrific quote about Jesus to explain the fatigue He felt as a man, even though He was God.
"Jesus was weary IN the work, but not OF the work."

This simple phrase defines the current struggle of my heart.

I have been weary IN the work of motherhood many times. It is an exhausting and demanding role. Totally worth it, with countless joys, wonders, and blessings, but exhausting nonetheless.
And to be quite honest, sometimes I am weary OF the work.

After a restless night of sleep and choppy prayers like - "Help me!" "Show me what I am missing, Lord!" "What do I need to change as a mother?" "What is the root of the problem?" - He answered.
It wasn't pretty.

He made it abundantly clear that the frustration, insecurity, and failure I feel as a mother is a direct result of my own choices.
I keep waiting for my children to 'pull it together' and do everything they are supposed to do so I can then proceed with my plans/ideas/desires/dreams for our family, our schooling, and our home.
Do you see the flaw(s) here?

Instead of waking up each morning with an attitude of, "How can I serve my children today?" I wake up hoping they will behave, be kind, show respect, do chores/school without complaining, and so on. When they don't? I get mad. "How many times have I told you this?!?" "You KNOW better! Why are we having this conversation?!?" "Seriously? THAT is your choice? You have GOT to be kidding me!"

My thoughts look like this:
If Micah would just ...
If Luke would only ...
If Caleb would stop ...
If Josiah wouldn't ...
If Isaiah would ...
If Ellie just stopped ...
THEN my days would be peaceful and our family life would be harmonious.
If they change.

Um, Michelle?
What about YOU?
Have you read Scripture?
Do you know God's commands?
Let's start with this one:
Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. On the contrary: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. Romans 12:16-21

If I were to read no other verses in the Bible, this one passage would be enough to convict me every day in my role as a mother. (and all relationships for that matter)
Because the Lord says that I am fully responsible for my actions. My attitude. My words. My behavior. As far it depends on me - I am to live at peace with everyone. And that includes my children.
If they never obey me, respect me, appreciate me, or thank me - it doesn't matter.
God commands me to love them with patience, kindness, and without keeping a record of wrongs.

I cannot keep living in an "if-->then" world.
IF my children do xyz THEN I can do lmnop.

I have to live in an "I WILL" world, in full obedience and surrender to the Father, and trust Him to work in the hearts and minds of my children so, like an unsaved husband, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives (mothers), when they see the purity and reverence of your lives. I Peter 3 (paraphrase mine)

The past months have left me feeling as if I am drowning as a mother. Powerless and out of control.
And it is ridiculous.
The Lord has a life ring of help continually bobbing in the waters of motherhood - and I have refused to grab hold.
Well, that is about to change!
From now on, you will find me with the life ring permanently attached to my waist, and will probably witness some awkward moments when I am yanked toward The Rock that holds the rope because I am starting to drift back into selfishness, and need to be set back on the course of righteousness.

Lord, Thank You! Thank You for resolving the inner turmoil that has held me captive far too long. I love my children and I want to give them my best. I have made mistakes, but You can restore the years the locusts have eaten, and provide a fresh start for each day that lies ahead. Forgive me for waiting for my children to be 'perfect' before I obey You. If I obey first - You will take care of the rest.
Thank You for opening my eyes to the truth, Lord, and I pray You will KEEP them open so I am always seeing life through Your perspective, instead of my own.

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