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Can I be real with you?

Today I decided that I would rather not write.   I am in too bad of a mood to write anything that would inspire, encourage or uplift anyone else…and if I did write, my bad mood might just be contagious, and I’d feel terrible to pass along a bad mood to someone else.  Seriously.  So, I decided I would not write.

Then, a little whisper deep in my heart reminded me of my goal to write everyday, or at least to try.  It is nap time at my house, and I am not napping, because my baby girl has decided not to nap.  The other two are in their rooms with their new “OK To Wake” clocks, and this mom desperately hopes that their new clocks can retrain their sleepless bodies to STAY IN THE BED until they are fully rested.  Because this mom is not fully rested, and she is in a bad mood.

This morning, after staying up late to finish my final exam for grad school, and a shallow nights sleep with wee-hour feedings and random visits from my preschooler, (who decided he needed to get re-tucked into bed at 11pm, 2am, and 5am – ugh!!) I started the day groggy to say the least.  The morning progressed with what seemed to be waves of endless whining, countless demands for “more juice!!”, and overall selfishness that kept bouncing from kid to kid like a game of paddle-ball leaving bruises, tears and lots of time-outs in its wake.  Both kids left a trail of tornado-grade disasters in every room that they stepped their precious little feet.  That’s normal though, so I pressed on, putting on my best “fun mommy hat” and attempted to create the biggest and most layered rainy day living room tent yet…only to have it torn down as soon as it was set up.

So the day went.

We recently got new sidewalk chalk and the colors were so bright and inviting that kids could not wait for a sunny day to open it.  So, we opened the chalk and I provided sheets of cardboard for them to decorate.  I turned around to do some sort of mom duty and before I knew it, not only was their kid-sized table covered in chalk, but so was the coffee table in the living room.  As I assessed the situation, the kids disappeared.  They had moved on to the next thing on their agenda.  I reminded myself to BREATHE. …Deeply.

I took a few deep breaths and followed their trail only to find that a renegade marker (washable, thankfully) had been used all over the bathroom vanity, with great artistic flare, I must say.

As I monitored my daughter cleaning up her mess on the bathroom counter, I noticed that the other child was missing and there was not a sound coming from his activity.

MIA preschooler + silence = HUGE M.E.S.S.

I called for him to come back into the playroom, and he came running.  Fast.  This is another indicator of trouble (the faster they come, the more trouble they have found).  Here is the most disturbing part.  I asked him where he had been.  Donned in white powder head to toe, he told me that he had been sitting in the kitchen playing with a toy.  He didn’t realize that he had given himself away by the remaining powder smudged on his head, face, shirt, pants and feet.  One glance into my bathroom shows it was COVERED in my expensive body powder; a gift that I had been savoring and using slowly was now spread all over my bathroom.

It was his first bold-faced lie.  What do you do when your precious angel not-so-baby-boy tells his first real in-your-face lie?  Wow.  I wasn’t expecting it.  After we had a heart to heart talk and he was put in a lengthy time-out, he was repentant and very tender.  Thank you God for your graces.

As I sit here and sulk about my disaster-area house, and the ways that I feel overworked, underappreciated and overrun by preschoolers, and how I struggle with guilt for feeling impatient and angry at my kids for doing kid-like-things, I am reminded of my great need for God’s grace.  All of us have this need.  Preschoolers, moms, dads, employees, employers, friends, sisters, neighbors, strangers.  We make messes, stir up conflict, tell lies, get angry, and occasionally suffer from really bad moods.  All of us do.

When my kids wake up from their nap, I am going to take a deep breath, thank God for the second chances of grace that He freely gives me daily, minute to minute.

Freely I have received, freely I will give.

I am going ask Him for the ability to extend that same grace to my kids- in their chaos, their messes, the tornado-trails they leave throughout every room in my house, and even in the face of their deceitfulness.  I am going to lift up my eyes to the heavens and by His grace, extend to them kindness, love, patience, gentleness, self-control, and pray for Peace to take control of me- of my home, of my kids, of my world.