I sat at the dining room table mindlessly scrolling through Facebook while my daughter sat across from me eating her dinner. My husband was working late, again, and I wanted to decompress and “relax”.
“Mommy” my two year old called with a wide grin on her face.
I looked up to find her bowl flipped over and rice scattered all over the dining room table, seat, and floor.
“NATALIE, what are you doing!” . . . Anger instantly overcame me and my voice rose louder and louder as she sat there, proud of her actions, knowing full well she would get a response out of me.
I continued to chastise her about how she knew better than to be playing with her food. How could she make this tedious mess that I had to clean up? All the while I yelled, she sat there grinning.
I struggled to gain my composure, frustrated with her for making a mess. For playing with her food when her father and I correct her every single day. My irritation continued to grow until a thought quickly passed crossed my mind.
She just wants her mommy’s attention
Convicted; I looked at her little face and saw the baby girl who was happy she had mommy’s attention. Mommy was no longer on her phone, but right beside her.
That’s when the realization came that she wasn’t the problem, I was.
When God Intervenes
Yes, we correct our child every time she tries to eat with her hands rather than using her utensils, or when she decides to make a mess, but today, I was too busy glancing at a trivial post to correct her. Too busy to see my little girl trying to get my attention. Too busy wanting to relax, that my daughter had to make a mess in order for me to engage with her.
The crazy part of this story? Not even an hour before this incident, I was driving home from work praying for God to be present that night. Natalie was screaming in the back seat, and I knew I needed Him to help me look after my child while the hubby was working late. I knew that I was incapable of doing it without Him. Lo and behold, He showed up right as my frustration was going overboard.
He gently humbled me; showed me my faults and reminded me of my main ministry in my home. Surely, He could have made my child obedient making for a peaceful night but instead, He used this moment to show me my faults and cultivate grace and patience within me.
What would I have learned had Natalie behaved like an angel? Would I have been more present with her at the dinner table? Would I have engaged with her more? Or would I have been so focused on my own selfish desires to be a mother to her?
I know it would have been the latter.
As parents, we can be so consumed with our children's behavior that sometimes we forget to reflect on our own behavior. This very night, God intervened. He showed me my sinfulness. He showed me how I desired to be lazy and relax rather than be present for a brief period with my daughter.
How thankful am I that He took that time to convict me and remind me that my daughter needed me. That her disobedience was a call to spend more time with her and that despite my frustration, I was partially at fault. How thankful am I that God used my daughter to call out my sin.