She will be four in December and brings so much joy to my life.
And, so much... heartache. How is that possible?!
It seems we butt heads on a daily basis,
even though I honestly do feel like I'm choosing my battles VERY carefully.
I see so much of myself in this little face - and maybe that explains my previous sentence.
ME. Sinner. ME. I see it in my precious first born... and it literally wrings my heart out. And I see a picture of Christ's love for me every single day as I watch her struggle and fight against me. Only, PRAISE GOD, I'm forgiven and have NEW LIFE in Him! Dear Lord, please let Ava call on You as her savior someday!
This week we had one very bad day. And I don't think I'll be forgetting it any time soon. That bad.
It was lunch time and I called the girls out to the kitchen to eat, asked Ava to put her toys away so we could keep moving. Both girls were tired and I could feel the drama that would come about if we didn't keep this train going... Been there? We had played outside all morning and then some quiet inside play while I got lunch going. Ava had been so grumpy the whole morning despite my BEST efforts to keep the happy up.
So, this simple request turned into a mini-meltdown, ending with my 3 year old in tears telling me I was mean. Gasp! Talk about a sucker punch to the gut. It was all I could do to keep my face from showing the hurt - my baby just said that to me!? When all I was doing was working so very hard to be the BEST Momma to her that I could be. I wanted to slouch away and go have a pity party on the couch - then remembered I was the parent.
After the girls were settled and eating quietly... or, let's be honest, both whining while taking bites intermittently - I sat down with them to eat. I felt the wash of emotion and my heart just hurt. The defeat is so real sometimes, ya know? Like someone is actually whispering in your ear, "you are a failure, you ARE mean." I bowed my head and closed my eyes just for a minute to cry out to my God - because He cares and He reminds me of truth. Are you doing that, too, mom friends? I grabbed my little bible nearby and reminded myself of the character of God - "The Lord is gracious, slow to anger, rich in love". And the whole time Ava is watching me and I can see the question before she says it. "Mommy, what are you doing that for? Why are you closing your eyes and looking sad?" I wanted to be careful with my response. She is only 3, after all. We ended up having a good little chat about how her words had hurt me and how I needed to call on Jesus to give me strength to love and care for her. Then...she cried. Just all out burst into sobs. I'll admit I was not expecting that response. We hugged each other and asked forgiveness, and then dug back into lunch chatting happily again. Ah, children, so resilient sometimes. I tucked it into my brain...her tenderness. Her understanding.
That night after daddy got home - we had some play time outside again. The girls rode their bikes and just walked around our yard. Ava asked to take her bike to the front sidewalk so we allowed it for a few minutes. This is a special treat for her! When it was time to come back in I stuck my head out the door and told her it was time to be done. She looked up from her bike and said, "You shut up". THE "S" WORD! WHAT?! Who IS this child? WHERE did she hear that? Oh my very word! Needless to say - Daddy and Ava had a good conversation on that one, upstairs. Later she told me she heard that word at church. Lovely.
I'm so thankful for my Ava. She reminds me every day of my NEED for God's grace and strength in my life. I have so much to learn and so many lessons to cement in my mind. And I know so many more of these "Oh no she didn't" memories will come. I pray the Lord allows me wisdom each time they do. This parenting thing drives me to my knees and into the Word of God - and I'm so thankful we have this in our lives.
In November I'm planning to attend the "Hearts at Home" conference in Minnesota. Some ladies from church are going and I absolutely cannot wait to just soak in all I can from that time. My hubs said I could go and now... to raise the $ to get there :) One of my favorite people in the world is speaking... MICHELLE DUGGAR and I just need a good refresher on loving and caring for my children and my home.
So how about you? How's parenting going? Got any "Strong" kids in your house? :)