Thursday, May 31, 2007

The Conflict Within

Romans 7:15-25

15I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. 16And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. 17As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. 18I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature.[c] For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. 19For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. 20Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.

21So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. 22For in my inner being I delight in God's law; 23but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. 24What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? 25Thanks be to God—through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God's law, but in the sinful nature a slave to the law of sin.

Can I get an Amen!? Oh, how this passage sums it up for me!

The morning is upon me. After nursing Chloe at 4:30am, her occasional morning drink, I go into the bathroom for a drink myself. I hear the first birds of the morning start their song outside my bathroom window. For a moment I delight in their sound, but the moment passes and I fumble back to my warm, soft covers, hoping for another couple hours of slumber. It was a difficult night. Chloe had some crying bouts up until 12:30am, then Emma came in at 2:00am for comfort after a nightmare. Needless to say, this mama was tired at 6:15am when Emma was up and in chipper form for the day. She crawls in the covers between us. I know it's coming, but perhaps this once, this one blissful once, she won't say it..."Mommy, get me some juice please!" "Just a minute," I grumble. Five seconds later, "Mommy, can you get me some juice please, I'm thirsty?!" With a little more volume I answer, "Just a minute! Mommy is very tired, I need to rest a little longer, please be patient." This banter goes back and forth several times, complete with rolling the other way in a huff. Travis finally succumbs and gets her the juice, what a guy! It's about 50/50, but we never know on a given morning who will make the self sacrificing choice to jump out of bed. Shamefully, when I decide to answer the plea, it's usually in a big huff of covers thrown, storming down the hall to the kitchen. By the time I make it back to the bedroom, I'm already feeling guilty for my little tantrum, and then we ease into the day as usual. By post shower, I'm in a better mood, but invariably, the next irritating whine or tantrum from Emma will evoke in me the teeth clenching, complete with steam out the ears, and of course an occasional (as Travis calls them) toothpaste tube yelling episodes when I must resemble the Wicked Witch of the West. James 3:10 says:
"Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be."
I long to be the patient, gracious mother, always calm in response to chaos, always seeing the greater character goal in all my discipline, only administering consequences for behaviors that truely need correcting, not simply out of selfish annoyance when Emma is just being a normal child of her age. I long to be Christ to my children, ever patient, always seeing the best in them when they are giving me their worst, responding in love when it seems they must surely exist to reveal all my shortcomings. My days are full of choices, continue doing the dishes, or grant the request to "play with me mommy", sweep the floor, or get down on it with my sweet little Chloe, clammering for my attention? To make a house or make a home, how does one do both? Some days I am lonely, isolated in my car-less existance, longing for an adult conversation and an end to the incessant whining from my two year old. Sometimes it's hard for me to see the emmence value of the position I've chosen as a stay-at-home mom when I feel that I fail at being the mom I want to be at least once a day. Some days, I just want to be selfish, I just want to do something that I enjoy, without interruption, but then feel sorry for myself when I can't.

"Oh Father, my Savior and Friend! Help me! I want so much to be all that You've called me to be. I want to drink up your presence and your promises every day, be my fuel to do what I cannot do without you. Be my joy when I am in the pits of despair, be my patience when I have none left, be everything in me that I cannot be. You have entrusted tender, precious lives in my care, they need me to need you with an insatiable hunger. Reveal your purposes for me when I am feeling hopeless, remind me of your forgiveness when I refuse to forgive myself. Little eyes are watching, little ears are listening. Help me to lay down my life each day for my family, filled to overflowing with YOU! Help me to resist the tempation to think as the world thinks, that I am somehow entitled to selfishness, that I am in some way in need of more than the portion you have given me, the job you have asked me to do."


13 comments:

Munchkin Land said...

Oh, Sarah, thank you for sharing your heart! Being a mother seems to have so many contradictions, doesn't it? Right now, I'm doing my best to stop and play with Devyn whenever she asks because I know one day, she'll no longer want to play with Mommy. Bless you, my friend! You are doing a wonderful job with Emma and Chloe!

Elise said...

I kind of giggled a little when I read what you were thinking before Emma asked for juice... because I do the same thing! "Please don't ask, please..."

This is a wonderful piece, expressing desire, failure, hope and love. I loved your prayer at the end, especially drinking in His presence. So sweet, Sarah. I join you in that prayer.

Christine said...

I could have written this post! I have to believe that God honors the intentions behind our "oopses" as we parent our children. Thanks for your comment (I just got around to checking!) and I'll pray for you on this journey of motherhood.

Deidre said...

Sarah, I just found your blog and love it. This post spoke VOLUMES to me this morning because it is my heart exactly. I could have written the same exact words. I'm going to link to it if that's okay. Thanks so much for sharing.

Embracing my cup said...

Great post!!! Thanks for posting this! As I read it, I thought about how we all bring these same requests to our Lord. All of us who desire to represent Christ to our children, we all struggle alike. Because we are human. . . but we long to be like Him. . . I feel just the way you described everyday!! Huffing and all!! Thanks for being honest and sharing your heart.

Alycia said...

This post reflects my heart lately as well. It's been a struggle for me to be selfless and I just want to stop and leave a note to encourage you. You reflect such love for your daugther and honesty that helps to encourage all of us. Your prayer is just beautiful as well. I'll be back to read more again. Blessings to you!

Andrea said...

Oh, Sarah, I know your feelings and desires exactly. I am glad we can share these experiences together. Thank you for being so honest.

Perhaps you could make the juice the night before, put it in the fridge and she could get it herself? Then maybe that would help?
Blessings, mama.

Paula said...

I read your blog through Jenn at Munchkin Land. I really like it.
I had to comment because I soooo relate. In fact I tend to wake up about 30 minutes before my son does pleading to myself that he will sleep one more hour or so. I start to feel the anxiety of getting up. The poor guy has slept 9 hours and I want more. SELFISH!!

So don't feel alone. I think it is a struggle we all have as mothers.

Katherine@Raising Five said...

Hi Sarah,

Here´s my AMEN! That section of Romans has also been on my heart lately, too! Could anyone have told us about the crazy emotions a TWO YEAR OLD could evoke? I was totally not prepared.

But I´m joining you in your prayer. It´s beautiful. So comforting to know He listens and answers.

Sun said...

Can TOTALLY relate - I needed this - I just read a post at "Embracing My Cup" a day or two ago and was convicted and blown away by that...I found your blog - WOW - I needed this. You gave voice to my struggle and reminded me to come to God in prayer over it! Thank you. Sunshine

Amy said...

Sarah, what an accurate description of what it feels like to be a mama sometimes! I can relate and I can also feel your love for your children in your writing. Your honesty is refreshing...

Karen said...

Sarah, I'm here from Deidre's blog--she recommended this post to us. I can't even begin to tell you how I can relate to everything you are writing about! I have an almost-four-year-old son and a two-year-old daughter, and I don't think a day goes by that I don't have the same struggles you are writing about. Thank you so much for sharing your heart in such a transparent way. Your prayer at the end was just beautiful--I can tell you have a precious heart! I'm glad Deidre sent us to you! Blessings, Karen

Mindy said...

That morning scene is from my house too!! Thank you for showing me that I am not the only one who does this and feels this way. Loved your thoughts. Found you from Elise...