It’s been a rough week. Even the end of last week was rough. The weekend was rough, which is unusual because Tim and I are both home to keep the short people in line. And it hasn’t gotten easier as this week has progressed.
It’s been rainy, so finding tasks for the children to do inside when they want to run and play outside is not fun. Balancing school and chores and play is never easy. Play is very important for young children, but so is teaching them responsibility and taking ownership of thehouse and being a part of the family. We’ve been spoiled by having a very mild winter (a few years ago, Toledo was voted the #1 worst city to survive winter… right under the polar vortex that made the “Real Feel” temperature -40°) so outside play during winter was cold, but dry. We had a winter of +40s this year. (I have a short memory, it may have been colder/warmer, but nowhere near what it was a few years ago.)
This week, attitudes have been bad, backtalk has been spoken, fits have been thrown, and mama has lost her temper. It is all coming to a head, and I know tell only thing I can do is pray. It seems like it should seem strange that praying can produce such an immediate result. But even though God knows what we will ask before we have even thought to ask it, He has told us to come to Him. I can’t raise 6 children on my own, Tim and I can’t even do it together. Sure, our children will most likely survive to adulthood and be functioning members of society no matter what, we are past the era of children dying from diseases and other hazards, but I am reminded every day of how short I fall of any goal I set when I try to accomplish it in my own strength.
Days when we wake up and pray together over breakfast sets a tone for the day. If we rush through that (because we have appointments scheduled and need to move quickly), the effect is noticable. If I am spanking a child for getting out of her bed for the umpteenth time at nap and don’t take the time to restore our relationship with prayer and hugs, she’s so much more likely to keep disobeying. When I take the time to sing a short song and rub her back (or even a simple hug and prayer when I first lay her down), the results of nap time are drastically different. I am less stressed, and everyone is more relaxed. And guess what, relaxed children fall asleep easier than tightly-wound ones.
I love my children. God gave them to me (and my husband) with the instructions to raise them for His glory. I am commanded to train them up in the way they will go, so that they will not depart from it when they are older (*gasp* teeangers!); not to mention I love spending time with my kiddos. I am constantly torn between getting things checked off on my to-do list (be it homeschool work or general chores around the house) and going places and doing fun things with my family.
But this week, I could use a break. Praise the Lord, today was better… but we also had 3 friends over so maybe that’s why behavior was better. 9 children 7 and under for 5 hours had a positive effect!? Now, that’s crazy!
Scripture tells us children are a blessing from the Lord (Psalm 127:3) but do you ever notice how God’s blessings are inextricably tied to work? Work was around before the fall (Genesis 2:15 The Lord God took the man and put him into the garden of Eden to cultivate it and keep it). Blessings have come after the work since the beginning (Genesis 2:3 God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made).
I have been blessed with children. I did not “plan” any one of them, nor did I pray and ask for the blessing. I am thankful for them, to the One who made them and gave them to me, but some days I question if that was a good decision on His part… trusting me with 6 little ones who look to me for everything. (Of course it was, man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps…) Bearing children is not the blessing (although that’s part of it). Raising children is work, hard work, and I don’t get to rest from it on weekends, but the blessings come from the work. I would not trade this job for the world, I would not give up any of them to have “the perfect family” (the one boy/one girl combo people think is so perfect) although there are days I want to turn the TV on, set the kids in front of it, and go hide in my room. Times like those are when I may need to do that for a moment, so I can go pray and order my thoughts (that is to say: line them up with God’s thoughts), roll my sleeves up and get back to work.