Welcome to my second podcast episode. The first six episodes I have created a series about “Embracing Grace”. Last week I shared with you about times when I wasn’t able to keep my son from being hurt. This week I want to continue the series of embracing grace and talk to you about what happens when you explode. I hope that today you walk away from this podcast feeling encouraged, a little less lonely and filled with a little more grace for yourself. Read along or click the link (photo) below and listen in. I hope that you walk away feeling encouraged and a little less lonely and scared. I hope that you hear that you should give yourself some grace.
I have this terrible habit. It’s a habit because unfortunately I do it over and over and over. When my world is crumbling and falling apart, I want to control things. Now this helps when there are things that can be easily controlled like what we are having for supper, what shirt I am going to wear tomorrow, you know… the easy stuff. The stuff within my control.
When I can’t control things like what time my son actually goes to bed (look… side note, I set up a consistent bedtime, but he can still manage to control what time he actually falls asleep) or when the car decides to fall apart or when family drama takes over your life, I get angry.
There are two things that are happening here. First, I am not giving these problems over to God like I should because quite frankly sometimes His time is stupid slow, and I am pretty sure I need results now. Because I know better than Him. Sometimes it feels like He is a terrible communicator too. Ha ha… I know, that’s a whole different series. Second, I have spent a lot of time in my life hearing people tell me how over emotional I am and how I am too passionate. How unprofessional I am or how childish I can be when I express my emotions. Now, I have started to learn that sometimes people give great feedback, and I can take that. However, sometimes people give you their opinions because they are unfamiliar or unsure of how to respond to you. It has nothing to do with my passion or emotions. It all has to do with how they can process this themselves.
I say that to say this, in order to make people feel more comfortable and also to give off that appearance that I am in control I take the things that are making me angry and I stuff them down. When something new happens I stuff that as well right on top of the other thing and then some more and then some more.
This happened, most recently, this last December. Christmas time is always a hectic, emotional, and crazy season. The last two years I have even intentionally left our calendar sparse to slow down so we can enjoy the season without feeling stressed and angry. It was about a week before Christmas. We had a couple of unexpected expenses, Dan’s mom has Alzheimer’s and there always seems to be some type of drama going on surrounding that and then just the stress of making sure we had a scheduled visit in with everyone and we were ready for the “big day”. I had been stuffing my anger for a couple of weeks. One thing would happen, and I would stuff it down. As I said, then I just keep on with that same bad habit.
I was trying to get Joe dressed and ready for the day. We were going to run a couple of errands with my husband. I had told Joe a few times to get dressed. Each time he would say “I am, I am” and there he would sit in his underwear not getting dressed. Then the dog got into the mix. He picked up one of his toys and kept running in to Joe with it trying to get Joe to play with him. So finally, I sat down in the room with him. Grabbed the dog toy and kept the dog occupied while I said in a less than happy voice “Get Dressed”. Joe finally started getting dressed.
I was barely holding on at this point. I mean, seriously friends, I know that I am not the only one who has to tell their kid to do something multiple times, but it drives me absolutely banana’s. Cooper, our dog, is particularly fond of tug o war. He was pulling on the toy I was holding while I continued to encourage Joe with my “I’m trying to be kind, but your kind of pushing it” voice. Cooper gave a tug and the toy slipped out of his mouth. He quickly rebounded and grabbed for the toy. He missed. He grabbed my fisted hand instead. He clamped down. HARD. I. SAW. RED. I looked down at my hand. It was not bleeding, but it hurt so bad, and I was already mad. I screamed. I mean… I just screamed. Then I did something that still makes me cry when I think about it. I backed my son up against the chair he was in, I pointed my finger in his face and I just unleashed. I told him things like “I’m done. I apparently just can’t be a mom anymore. I was going to the school on Monday to enroll him. He would no longer be able to homeschool. I was going to pack my bags and leave for a few weeks so him and his dad could figure it all out. I just screamed and screamed and screamed and screamed in my six-year-olds face.
Then I stomped off to my room and cried my eyes out. The entire time I was screaming there was this rational part in my head sounding alarms and saying, “too much… too much”, but I hadn’t listened. Instead, I had screamed at my son until he cried and now all I could do was sit there and cry because I was nothing but a junk mom. It didn’t make me feel better to see him cry. It made me feel worse. After about 10 minutes of crying and gathering myself, I went downstairs, pulled him in to my arms and we both cried together. Then I apologized to him. He said he forgave me. We talked about what we could both do to avoid those circumstances in the future.
None of this made me feel better. I walked around for days beating myself up. I felt terrible. As I said earlier, it still lingers with me to this day, and it is months later. That Sunday morning, I shared with my friend what had happened and how I felt. She hugged me tight and prayed over me. She shared stories of her week to relate, and it made me feel less alone.
It hasn’t been easy to give myself grace over this situation. There are days when I feel like I have it under wraps. That I’ve forgiven myself and then Joe’s face that day will pop into my head. The face with tears streaming down his face. Mind you, Joe has never brought that day up again and he is a good one for reminding you of dumb things you’ve done. I will say this for him, that when he says he forgives you, he forgives and forgets it. I wish it was just as easy for myself. I repented to God, and I know that I am forgiven, but still that grace for myself… is hard to see sometimes.
I wish I could say that there is a super easy and quick fix. Something you could do or say that makes your mom guilt disappear and grace to flow abundantly for yourself, but there isn’t. I wish I could even say that I never have tough days or rough weeks. I did not magically learn a way to overcome my habit of stuffing my feelings until I explode. I just plug away everyday finding coping mechanisms that will help me grow as a person and learning more about being humble enough to ask for forgiveness even from my six-year-old.
Grace friends, for you and for me. If you would give someone else grace or offer them the suggestion to give themselves grace, then you should do the same. I know that is what I work on doing every day. Parenting is hard. I mean… life can be hard whether you’re a parent or not, but there seems to be that extra pressure when you have a little parrot in your house. So do yourself a favor. That thing that happened. The explosion. Ask for forgiveness and then give yourself some grace.
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