It is Friday. It has been a busy couple of weeks and I am looking forward to Brian coming home from work, having company in the evening, and enjoying having the whole family together for the weekend.
What I think is going to be a normal morning routine is interrupted by an outburst of anger from my four-year-old. This was not just any outburst, though. This was a dig in your heels and completely lose control outburst. What started out as a simple disagreement with his sister over a toy, which is usually resolved with a nice little talk about loving our neighbor as ourselves, suddenly is a kicking, screaming, hitting display of raw, undignified anger.
It was not pretty.
Has he learned anything we have taught him about God, sin, love? Anything at all?
In that moment, there was nothing I could do except pray. I could not change him. Even he could not stop himself. I could see him trying at times and then he would lash right back out.
And then I heard crying. Not angry screaming, but soft crying. I went to him and he said, “Mommy, I need to ask God to stop me.” I nearly burst into tears. Yes, my sweet boy, we do. He prayed. It was a simple somewhat confusing prayer as a four-year old’s prayers are wont to be, but it was from his heart.
My wise husband said to me later, “we should be grateful for that outburst.” Initially, my response was, “that is easy for you to say, you did not endure the forty-five minutes of angry outbursts.” But he was right. It was a reminder of my little boy’s heart. It was a reminder of my heart were it not for God’s grace in my life.
Sometimes parenting feels like one step forward and two steps back. Maybe to some, a day like this would have been the two steps back. But instead for me it felt like a giant leap forward. Yes, it was difficult. But my son learned more about himself and his sin in those moments than he has on a myriad of other ‘good’ days. And how is he to know that he needs a gracious, righteous, perfect Savior, if he does not first know that he is a sinner? I do not want a perfectly good child. Because it is possible that he might confuse his goodness with righteousness before God.
I went to bed that night with tears in my eyes. They were not tears of frustration or despair. They were tears of hope. Hope because my son’s destiny is not in my hands, but in the hands of an everlasting, loving Father. I simply need to trust.
So take heart, my fellow-mom. When you have ‘one of those days’, do not despair. Remember that it is cause for you to rejoice in your own salvation. It is a reminder that only God can save your child, and that no perfect parenting can bring that about. God alone is able. And that is a safe place to place our children.
That gives us hope.