It was too much, too convicting.
Now, before I dive into where my heart was when I bought this book, let me tell you that I read a LOT of personal development. Most of what I read is someone else’s account of a struggle or a story that they have gone through that becomes a success. Something that shares the way they have overcome the hurdle so that I can *hopefully* navigate my struggles with a little more grace, with a little less grit, and that I would find myself successful, earlier.
I am constantly looking for this guidance so that I am not worn down by the struggles, exhausted, wishing that this season would just be over so I can “get on with my life.”
Lately, I yell a LOT. A lot more than I would like to admit, a lot more than I would have my friends or family believe.
I used to yell more … I used to yell so much that I would call my husband in tears. Asking for him to come home early, begging him to help me. Telling him that I wasn’t sure that I could control myself. That I was afraid that I would get so angry at my children that I might hurt them. Not hurt them in a way that I was going to pull a knife or that I was worried about postpartum depression, but worried that I would have spanked them for the wrong reasons, that I would want to spank them because I was angry. That the discipline wasn’t fitting of the infraction and that my anger would be driving my actions.
Not because their behaviors deserved physical punishment but because I was at my wits end.
I would call him crying, I had already yelled. I had already slammed doors. I had already gotten to the point where I just needed to release. And, ultimately, my poor babies would be my release.
And it scared me, scared me so much that I begged him to come home.
I tell you this, even though I am ashamed. Even though I still have those moments, that scare me.
Because we can’t pretend to be strong all the time. We can’t pretend that these moments don’t happen. And hope that everyone else doesn’t go through these moments as well, because they are terrifying.
Let me back track a second … my boys have never been great sleepers. They’ve never been the kid, who at 6 weeks old are sleeping through the night. You know the ones, the moms on social media who ask if they should wake their babies to feed them because darling David is already sleeping through the night at just over a month old. The ones we all silently hate. The Kathy’s of the mom world. That’s not MY child. Most of my boys have taken more than a year to learn to sleep through the night.
A year, before mommy gets a good night sleep. And, if you know my track record, by that time I am usually 7 months pregnant with the next little one and I am waking up three times a night to pee anyway so they might as well wake up too.
My boys would scream so much, SO MUCH, that I would chuckle and say to people, “I can see why people shake their babies. I get it! It’s a lot!” The screaming, the exhaustion. And, even when your husband is amazing – as mine is – and helps when it’s late, when you’re tired. I would find myself in tears in the middle of the night, screaming infant in hand, whispering to myself, “I have to put you down, before I shake you. I have to put you down.”
And I would put my crying baby down, and I would walk away. I would sob. I would be so afraid of what I was capable of. I would wait until I was no longer shaking myself, until the tears slowed and I could see through my swollen eyes, because, God had my back. And He knew, that this was a moment of weakness and He gave me the wisdom to just put my child down and walk away. But, it’s not as easy when they are toddlers and they are pushing your buttons, and they’re smiling at you as you yell at the top of your lungs. It’s not as easy to tell yourself to put them down and walk away because they follow you. And they stand outside the door, and they yell for you and they cry and they tantrum. And you just boil over.
And I did it, a lot.
And, like I said, there are days when I still do.
So I bought a book that my friend was reading, that she was sharing little quotes and pictures of because there was some small voice in me that said, “that’s me.”
Triggered, angry, lashing out at the people who trust me with their lives.
I bought the book and I almost couldn’t start reading it. I chocked up just perusing the table of contents, the “reasons” we have that set us off, the things our children do that can bring us from smiling to screaming in 2.4 seconds. Triggers.
I was convicted by my own transgressions as I read over the excuses we have that send us reeling and I wept. Those are my kids, those are the things that push me over the edge. That’s the reason I yell, those are the things that make me scream.
I’m not alone.
And, I knew that I wasn’t alone, I knew that there were countless mothers out there who were losing their cool too often, who’s houses weren’t filled with grace and laughter. I knew … I knew that this was an epidemic. And, even though I didn’t want to admit it … it was real. I wasn’t doing great, I wasn’t living up to the standard I had set for my own motherhood journey and I certainly wasn’t displaying God’s love and grace in the way I handled the simple childish behaviors that can be expected when you have four boys 5 and under.
Disobedience, Backtalk, Disrespect, Strong Willed Children …
My children are all these things and none of them. How do I navigate this time. How do I start on on this journey when I can’t even read the table of contents through my tears.
So I reached out on social media, I asked if there were any other mothers who struggled with anger, with kids that made their blood boil. And, the first set of responses broke my heart, they focused on my children, “your kids are fine, you don’t need to worry about this.” And I wanted to scream – at the top of my lungs – THIS IS NOT ABOUT MY KIDS.
This isn’t their burden, this isn’t them being bad, not fitting into some mold of perfection, this is about ME! My shortcomings, my temper, MY NEED FOR IMPROVEMENT.
And I decided that I would continue to push through the book, to read the chapters, to pray over them and to implement them. I’ll be honest with you, there is no earth shattering suggestion in the book aside from what we already know. The problem does not lie within our children’s hearts. Their tiny two year old bodies that can turn us into raging beast mode mommies, the transformation comes from understanding what sets us off and where it stems from. From our own hurt, from our own justification that we are not alone in yelling and therefore it is … ok.
It’s not enough to say that we struggle, it’s not enough – even – to say that we are not the only ones who struggle. To justify it because we struggle as a community, that it is somehow acceptable because everybody does it. And so, I picked up this book, and I’ve started reading it, and I have to admit, I have a lot of triggers.
But, I have faith that my God is bigger, that my God expects more and extends more to those who understand their desperate need for him. And, in those moments of weakness I am reminded that I do not need to do this in my own strength. That I am not expected to be the mom who has it all together. That I have to be the mom who understands her shortcomings and who has faith that our God is the waiting for those moments to pour out his abundant grace, filling our gaps, and loving us *and our children* through it all.
I am reminded that He does not give us these charges, the care of our children because He has perfectly equipped us with all that we need. He did not decide to send 5 babies into our home because I had what it took to raise them into God honoring people, He said that THIS challenge would REQUIRE His intervention, His equipping, His grace abounding. And that, through faith, His glory would be seen as He mended the broken anger, replaced the rage with grace, and saw the flourishing of His child through the generations.
And I’m reminded not to rest or rely on my strength alone but to find refuge in His love.
Keeping it real,
** if you are interested in reading the book, in reaching out or just adding to your collection of mom growth, consider picking up your copy HERE << the included is an associate link which means that it does not cost you any more BUT this momma makes a little something**
I am part way through “shepherding a child’s heart” it has given me lots to think about. My oldest is the one that can push my buttons and I yell at her a lot more than I care to admit. I’ve felt really convicted every time I do it and I feel horrible. The book is an easy read, I should be finished but I can never find time to read!
I have that on my reading list for this year, I have a LOT of parenting type books on that list LOL.
There is a lot of growth that will be happening in 2019 I am sure.
What is your biggest take away so far in the book?