As I drove through the church parking lot tonight, tears streaming down my face, the lyrics of “Even If” by MercyMe ran through my mind.
“They say sometimes you win some
Sometimes you lose some
And right now, right now I’m losing bad”
Tonight was a ‘losing bad’ kind of night. Tim had met me at the church with the kids this evening on my way home from work. I had promised them last week that they could go to Awanas this week because of how well they had behaved. Since it was still early, we ate dinner at the church after Tim dropped them off. I should rephrase that, I ate dinner while they pushed the food around their plates. When it was time to go, C decided she didn’t want to, mainly because she didn’t want Big E hanging on her all night. Big E, however, was begging to go, saying he was going to be brave and that he couldn’t wait to be there with his friends and play games. Baby E started screaming because I threw away the plastic cup that he had crushed. He continued to scream for the next 30 minutes. (I’m not exaggerating, though I wish I was.) When I finally got Big E to his class and checked in, he sat with his cousins, while the other two were melting down. But when I looked back at Big E, I noticed he was crying as well. I pulled him aside and he said he was just too scared to be there without C, and she wouldn’t budge. So, I toyed with the idea of dropping Baby E in his class and sitting in Big E’s class so that he would be ok. I should have known this was a foolish plan based on how much Baby E was screaming, but I tried anyway… and failed. He threw an even bigger fit. So I made the decision to bring us all home and send everyone to bed.
This sent all three children into hysterics, and as I led them back to the car we vacillated between them screaming at me, refusing to move, and sulkily walking behind. When we got to the car, one of them refused to get in the car, screaming and screaming, so I grabbed them, and in my best mommy growl informed them in no uncertain terms that they needed to get in the car. This method worked, only for me to look up to see that the van next to me had their windows open and someone was sitting inside. Great, someone got to witness that whole exchange. Thankfully, yes thankfully, it was a friend of mine, and as I vented for a moment, my children continued to scream from inside the car. By the time we pulled away, I couldn’t hold it together any longer, I turned up the music, and I cried. I cried all the way home. I cried as the kids went inside. And I cried as Tim put them to bed.
When it was time for me to go into their room to say goodnight, C handed me the piece of paper she keeps taped to her wall. It’s the paper I drew for her long ago that says three things that I love about C. “C gives really good hugs,” “C loves Jesus,” and “C’s my best girl.” She handed it to me, and between tears she said that she couldn’t have it because it wasn’t made for her. I took her aside and asked her what she meant and she cried, “I’m not the best girl!!!!” My heart broke for her. I held her as she cried and explained that there was nothing in the world that she could do that would change the fact that she is MY best girl. That I love her so much, and she is so important to me. I held her for a little while as she cried, and when she was done I offered to put her drawing back on the wall. She wiped away her tears and we went back to her room.
That’s when Big E piped up that he felt very sad for me and he was afraid that I would move away from them and never see them again. Heart break number 2. I explained that could never happen, and that I loved him way too much to ever do anything like that.
Then Baby E got up and said, “Mommy, I have secret for you.” He then leaned toward me like he would whisper in my ear, but instead planted a small kiss on me.
Sin is messy guys. It’s messy when you are five and it’s mess when you are older too. It has no limitations. Not a day goes by that our thoughts and our actions do not damage someone, and usually it is the people closest to us that take the brunt. Sometimes I think about my own sin, my temper tantrums at God, and I secretly wonder if he’ll leave me and not return, or maybe I’m not as special as I thought I was, but ever so gently he holds me and he reminds me that there is nothing that I could do to make him run away, and that in his eyes, I am his best girl.
So while tonight was, ahem, a disaster and an embarrassment, I’m grateful my children went to bed reminded of how much they are loved, and hopefully will remember that choices have consequences and the tongue is a powerful weapon.
“I know You’re able and I know You can
Save through the fire with Your mighty hand
But even if You don’t
My hope is You alone”