Sometimes, albeit rarely, sometimes I want to give up. I just want to run to my room, lock my door, climb into bed, cover my head up with a pillow, and pretend that no one else exists in the world... especially people shorter that four foot nine. I want to cry myself a river about how exhausting it is to parent. I want to make mac n' cheese everyday for three weeks and then begin a regime of ramen noodles for two months. I want to refuse to clean the bathroom. I would like to never under any circumstances set one toe inside my laundry room again. I'd rather burn my refrigerator in the neighbor's front yard while wildly dancing circles around the flames than clean it out one more time. Most of all I'd just like to stop hearing myself saying 'no'.
You wanna' pick your nose and wipe it somewhere that was once clean? Go right ahead.
You wanna' refuse to wash after going to the bathroom? Here's a snack.
You wanna' kick your brother for no reason? Be my guest.
You wanna' wear bright red lipstick and eyeliner at age ten? Here, take my mascara.
Oh, you're gonna throw a tantrum because he ate the last cracker? Ok. Pardon me, my bubble bath is getting cold.
We started daily summer bible studies last year, and it proved to be a big blessing. For the most part, this summer has also been great studying the bible with my kids. They are learning God's word, which is paramount to me. This morning started out like all the others except no one was focused. It came to a head when right in the middle of a song (Get Away Devil, don't bother me!) my youngest began screaming because his older brother stomped on his foot. Then, of course, we heard the always present justification of (I bet you can guess) "he stepped on me first!"
On any other day this would be a normal occurrence, and I just would address the stomping of feet, redirect everyone's attention and move on. Except today, of all days, the lesson was on the temptation of Christ. We had JUST talked about temptation and making good decisions even when everyone else around us is being naughty. I just sat there stunned with the realization setting in that perhaps none of this time, none of this effort will ever pay off in the end.
Maybe my children will never accept Christ as Savior. Maybe my children will walk away from their parent's faith. Maybe the world will triumph over them and will win in this tug of war for their hearts. It makes me sick to my stomach thinking about it, but maybe all my prayers and love will be in vain. In the end, my children make the decision to follow or not follow Christ. I can't make that decision for them.
In that moment, I wanted to run my room and hide behind my locked door and give up. I wanted to just not try, rather than try and watch them take a different road. I wanted to drown out all whining and squealing with my pillow and somehow justify never mentioning God to them again and never making them sit and listen to another story of Christ. I mean, after all, bible knowledge won't get them into heaven, right!?! Just because you can recite verse after verse of scripture it doesn't make you holy or righteous. What a waste of time! They could be out playing and soaking up that summer sun! I need to log some hours of work anyway. They'll learn all this stuff in Sunday school. They don't need me.
Then the words of the silly song we were singing began to sink in...
'Get away devil, don't bother me.
Jesus has set me free.
Get away devil, don't bother me.
For I belong to God's family.
I will, I will, I will do what God says!
I will, I will, I will do what God says!'
and I realized my temptation was to give up and walk away from my responsibility as a parent.
It is easier to not parent.
It is easier to let children raise themselves.
It is easier to never discipline your child.
It is easier to never make them eat peas.
It is easier to take all the responsibility and hand it to them and hope they end up OK.
It is easier to never expect them to memorize scripture.
It is easier to never expect anything from them.
It is easy to give up.
As of now, I don't want to take the easier road. They are worth me trying. Even though, they will indeed make their own decisions about life and Christ, I never want to look back and regret not taking the time to teach them and prepare them just a little for what the world will dish out. Either I will fill their hearts with the knowledge of God, or the world will fill their hearts with something very different. I want to be first to fill their little minds.
I'm not giving up. True love always perseveres. I want to love them, truly.
These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. ~ Deuteronomy 6:6-7