It was the last few minutes before the girls' bedtime. Micaela had crossed over into the persona of an exhausted two-year old and adamantly refused to put pajamas on. Adela whined tiredly about not getting to finish setting up a Lego dinosaur zoo she was building. Anger and frustration blossomed into lies about my abilities as a mom and the personalities of my children.
I've been through this scene a hundred times. Usually I just plow through it and grit my teeth. I skip reading a book, rush through prayers and lullabies, and shut their door firmly behind me. However, the other night I tried something new. I'm going through a series right now about self-talk by Karen Stubbs and so I took a deep breath as Adela went to brush her teeth and Micaela went to retrieve a baby doll. "Lora," I asked myself, "how are you doing?" As if a trusted friend had asked me the question, I answered sincerely, "I'm really tired tonight." Just like that, my eyes opened to truth. I was so very tired. My head was full of fog and my body was weary. I did not have the energy to pretend cheerfulness but I wanted to be kind. The truth turned into prayer and I asked God to help me.
Feelings of peace and compassion rushed through my soul. The frustration and anger melted away as I acknowledged my true condition and my inability to achieve perfection.
The miracle followed. I returned to my wrestling match with Micaela and the pajamas, but now, calm and kind, I got her ready for bed without yelling and ended with many hugs. I got through three pages in our chapter book, said prayers with sincerity, and sang their lullabies with love. I closed their door, still weary, but intensely moved by how powerful it had been to give myself compassion and ask God to come along side me.
I think we all know what our red-flag moments are: those attitudes, thoughts, actions, and words that warn us that we have come to the end of ourselves. Dear Lord, I wish I would invite you in before I become too empty, but I am thankful You are always willing to come to me in my weakness.
Have you ever stopped and taken stock of your own red-flag moments?
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"...and God was already there with me."