Thursday, May 20, 2010

Forced Selflessness

I once heard a great quote that I have been thinking of often lately. It went something to the effect of "Parenthood makes selfish people unselfish. You can't be a good parent and be selfish." Man have I found this to be true lately.

In a rare moment when I was actually alone returning some books at the library the other day, I saw a girl sitting in a chair reading a magazine. This simple picture had some deep effect on me. What did that feel like? To have no ties to anything? To be able to randomly go to a library, sit down and read a magazine without worrying about how the kids are, or what I'm making for dinner. I felt slightly guilty for my hidden envy of that girl in the chair, so I have been asking God to help me embrace these hard and busy days as we continue to adjust to our new life. But as many of us know, God in His loving mercy, often shows us more than we ask. Lately, He has shown me the need for a major cleansing my soul needs, and some definite attitude adjustments. And He is using my children to do it.

I'm lazy, I'll admit it. Sloth is one of those things I am constantly confessing over and over again. The Lord has given me two children who constantly pull me out of my love for sleep and relaxation. He has given me a son who wants to play right as his sister falls asleep, and a newborn baby who insists on waking up every time I put her down. I'm selfish and greedy. But these are often cleansed when I am forced to wake up at night to feed my child and money must be spent on diapers and clothing instead of things I really want. And biggest of all, I'm very prideful. Humility is granted to me when I look in the mirror at my post pregnancy body and by the insult to my family in the numerous comments my husband and I have already received regarding having more children in the future (negative comments, I assure you). I always told God that I wanted to be a saint, and He knew in His infinite wisdom that only the love I have for my children would force me to come out of myself and start serving others; to clean out the places in my heart where He should reside.

And secondly, my attitude. My above mentioned laziness mixed with fatigue has not been the best combination. I have lost my temper easily and been lazy in my discipline with my son. I am frustrated with him when he doesn't listen and I am having to remind myself often that he is only 19 months old. Something about having a newborn in the house makes him seem like an adult, and I think I often expect him to act like one. The other day as he was running around being a rambunctious boy,  I was particularly annoyed with his abundant energy and unwillingness to listen (and here again, God is cleansing me of impatience). I prayed for God to give me patience and I was struck with a thought that changed my whole attitude towards him. If my son was the only person ever born on the face of the earth, Jesus Christ would have come and suffered and died for him. How much must Christ love him in his one year old innocence? And how displeasing it must be to God when I treat him like an annoyance in my life instead of the greatest gift He has ever given me? I'm not saying I'm perfect and have not lost my patience with him numerous times since this event, but every time I think of this little thought I am filled with a sense of total peace and love towards my son. A desire to discipline out of love and not anger, and a desire to shower him with love and affection, the way I'm sure Christ would show His love for my son.

I am so thankful during these days of change and transition to have my faith. It's a gift I think none of us can take for granted these days. And I am mostly thankful for a loving Father who shows patience with me every day and knows exactly how to cleanse my soul through such an awesome gift as my children. A Father who reveals and gives much more than I ask and a Father who loves so perfectly. May I learn to love as He loves.

1 comment:

  1. So I have been busy and not reading your blog as often as I was before, sorry you're getting lots of comments today, but I sure am glad you wrote about this, brought tears to my eyes. I can totally understand exactly where you're coming from. Why can't we bottle our boys energy (girls too) and use it ourselves? Thanks for reminding me that our children are the greatest gift and they're very humbling and Jesus would have come to dye for just them, at their tender young age. Thanks Andrea!