At my last MOPS meeting, we discussed our worst fears as moms.
Most of the moms in my circle have the same fear I do – that something we’re doing now will scar our children for life. That the mistakes we’re making today, as young moms, will make some sort of lasting impression that will stick with these babies and toddlers as they grow. That they will remember when we lost our temper, forgot to go back upstairs for one last bedtime kiss, or flipped on the TV too much because entertaining hyper-active three year old boys is just too darn exhausting.
Someday, these infractions will come back to haunt us.
That’s the fear.
Someday, they’ll scream in anger. My fault. I led by example on that one.
Someday, they’ll have relationship issues. My fault. I gave them trust issues because I forgot that kiss.
Someday, they won’t be able to pay attention in school because of all the damage Care Bears, Jake and the Never Land Pirates and Sesame Street caused.
Don’t laugh. Many of us really do fear these things. And worse.
If you’re a mom, you know what I mean. Our minds can take us down some scary bunny trails.
Someone at my table laughed about wishing kids could give us progress reports. Wouldn’t that be great? They could let us know how we’re doing, what we should stop doing and what we could do better. Too bad they’re not able to do that, they said.
Like a ton of bricks, it hit me.
Kenton gave me a progress report just the day before this discussion.
I didn’t realize it until that moment – but that’s exactly what it was. And it was shocking.
The day before this MOPS meeting was a rough one. I was tired. The kids were demanding. Time was short. So was I.
Camille did something – I can’t even remember what – but something toddlers do to test boundaries. She found the boundary real quick when I screamed at her to stop. SCREAMED.
Immediately, she recoiled in fear and sadness. Immediately, I felt a sting of guilt.
She began crying and yelling for me – for me! The one who had just wronged her.
Of course, I scooped her up and apologized over and over and over. By the time I stopped hugging and kissing her sweet red head, she had calmed down, but I was sobbing uncontrollably. How could I scream at this sweet little girl? I’m not fit to be her mom – or Kenton’s mom. Why would God entrust these precious children to me? ME?! Is He crazy? I’m breaking them, not raising them. All of those thoughts flooded my mind in a torrent I could not control. The tears flowed. Ugly tears. The kind where you’re face is red and your chest is heaving and you can’t control the faucet.
Camille was on my lap – just staring at my mess of a face.
Kenton – who had smartly high-tailed it out of the room when I screamed – was suddenly at my side.
“Mom, we need to pray.”
“What?” I asked through sobs.
“We need to pray!”
“Okay, well, you pray. I can’t right now.”
(Confession: I said that to get him to go away. He never prays. Every mealtime, we ask him to pray and he says, “No. Daddy, you pray.” I knew by asking him to do it, he would go away and let me melt down in peace.)
“Dear God,” he began emphatically.
“Dear God, listen!” he demanded.
“Dear God, listen to us! Mommy is upset. She’s crying. Please come down and help her.”
I glanced over. He was still bowed in prayer. Eyes closed. Then, suddenly, he looked up, right into my eyes…
“God says He’s coming.”
WHAT?! I knew that moment was special. I cried more tears, but not as messy. I hugged my kids tightly and thanked God for speaking through Kenton in that moment. I immediately wrote down what he said so I would never forget it. What an incredible moment from above!
It wasn’t until the next day, in that sweet circle of moms struggling with the exact same issues as me I realized what it really was.
Despite me – with all of my inadequacies, failures, short comings and sins – God is using me to guide these children to Him. I don’t pray in front my kids often. Kenton was not mimicking behavior. He was reaching out to the One he knew could help us in that moment.
Despite everything – these two gems are going to turn out just fine. And I may actually survive to see it. Maybe.