I had a bad parenting day a couple of days ago. My baby hadn’t slept the previous night, and my toddler woke up early and was in rare (or I should say not so rare) form. I woke up irritable, and I couldn’t shake the sensation all day.
I was mean to Shook. I was tired, he was whiny, all I wanted to do was get the house somewhat clean, and all he wanted to do was throw toys everywhere. I yelled at him, I put him in his room, I took toys from him, I refused to laugh at his antics. It was a bad day, and I was a bad mom.
Last week I talked about the “various trials” I face daily as a mother. This day definitely held trials of various kinds. And let me tell you, there was no joy involved in my response to it.
As I lay in bed that night, finally able to sleep but not capable of actually sleeping, I asked God for forgiveness. For being impatient, for being mean, for being a bad mom. I asked Him, as I do often these days, for grace. I asked that He would give me grace, and that I would be able to give my child grace. I prayed for patience for the following day. I prayed for sleep for all of us.
And you know what happened? We didn’t all sleep a solid twelve hours, but we slept pretty well. I woke up less than exhausted, and the kiddos slept until 7:30. There was nothing categorically different about the day, aside from fewer meltdowns and a decent nap. But I felt different. I was patient, the toys all over the place didn’t make my heart race, and I actually sat on the floor and played with my son.
I forget sometimes that prayer works. God’s not Santa or my Fairy Godmother, just sitting there waiting to grant me my every wish, but He’s listening. And He’s faithful. He’s capable of changing circumstances, but more importantly, He’s capable of changing hearts. And while He might have changed the circumstances the other day, He definitely changed my heart.
I wish my first instinct, before anything went wrong, were to pray. I wish I could start and end each day with prayer, and not just the kind where I ask for forgiveness and for my toddler to stop being a toddler. I wish I were more inclined to turn my heart toward Jesus, to spend time in His presence, no matter how my day went. I wish it didn’t take a wreck of a day to bring me to my knees in front of his throne. But maybe, after enough days like this one, I’ll be a little bit better at remembering how much I need prayer, and how much I need Jesus.