I don't have a poker face. Or a church face. A Sunday best face that tells everybody "I'm fine." Sometimes it would be convenient though. Like today. It's a rough day at the Meidinger house. I was a terrible mom from 6-10AM, at which time Sunday School finally started and my children were free of crabby mad mom for an hour. And then, after teaching the preschool large group lesson for 20 minutes, I sat down in a cozy chair in a fellowship area in our church with a friend and blurted out all my negativity about my terrible morning, how I'd been yelling at my kids for 4 hours.
Why the crabby crazy mom?
Well, my stellar hard-working husband got very little sleep at the fire station this week and is suffering from chronic back pain that has grown worse through some very strenuous situations this week at work, and I was letting him sleep in until church started. Trying to be a good wife, right? But I failed. Miserably.
At 6:11AM when Greg came and woke me up to go pee, and then at 6:28AM when Griffin woke up an hour earlier than normal (nature called for him too), and then at 6:46AM when the girls slammed their bedroom door and started playing barbies. And so although breakfast is usually at 8:00 on weekends, today I was already making pancakes at 7:00 because every single child was awake and hungry. Aggghhhh!!! (I was making pancakes not because I was being a good mom, but because we have been out of milk and bread for three days.)
And then from there just the typical getting ready for church hysterics started (we have an enemy that does NOT want us in Church...keep that in mind and don't let him win), and then my already bad mood led me to getting very stressed out about foolish things like when am I going to have time to get a haircut for this blonde bush I am growing on my head, and how am I going to pay bills this month, and we really need some help with our children, but usually you have to actually pay for help and I can't afford to pay for help (I really wish we were still in the "it takes a village" days), and will I ever get to have a full-length uninterrupted conversation with my husband? I mean really, you marry someone, until death do us part, and then you fruitfully multiply as commanded in Scripture, and then all of a sudden you don't get to talk to that person again for like 20 years until all the kids graduate? And how is this exactly supposed to work? I mean, don't get worried...we're in this "til death do us part" for sure, but seriously. We can't get through a conversation EVER. It's exhausting and stressful. We can't even talk long enough to plan out who is going to go to the grocery store to buy bread and milk. If we can't even talk about bread and milk how can we ever talk about things that matter more than that, which is pretty much everything. How are we going to fix our broken windows and is there time for me to get a haircut this week and are we raising our kids to know what hard work is and how do we discipline consistently and did you help our child with her spelling words this week and are we doing a good job of raising our children to know Jesus? These are the questions we don't have time to talk about.
So all these things piled up in my brain until I could no longer think rationally so I started yelling. Of course. Makes perfect sense right? As if yelling at my children so they start crying and so my exhausted husband couldn't sleep even though I told him to sleep in was going to solve anything. Total craziness. And have you ever noticed that although you THINK yelling is going to make you feel better, it actually intensifies your crazy anxiety and then you feel horrible about yelling so that makes you angrier so then you yell again and again and it's a crazy insane snowball effect? Insanity.
All this is what I unloaded on my friend and her husband on the fellowship couches today when a church face "I'm doing great" would have been a bit more appropriate.
Thank you for listening, Janess. And commiserating and not judging. Unfortunately there were two other parents there whom I didn't know, independently enjoying the peace (until I came along) and doing things on their phones, that were probably highly irritated by this crabby mad lady who was ranting and raving about her terrible morning and how much she yelled at her kids today and felt like the world's worst mom. A church face that told everyone my life is perfectly fine and dandy probably would have been welcome at that point. But I don't know how to do that.
And then, a handful of other people whom I DID know walked by and commented things like, "So...not a good day, Rebecca?" "Something wrong today, Rebecca?"
I really appreciated one friend who was like, "Hey, you got four kids here. Yeah maybe you yelled a bit, but you're here. Good job." Thank you Sara.
And another friend who agreed that she ends up being "crazy yelling mom" trying to get her kids out of the door every Sunday morning. Thank you.
And even my pastor who stopped by, asked how I was doing, told me he doesn't believe me that I yelled at my kids all morning, but after I convinced him he said, "Hey welcome to the club. Even though my kids are grown and I don't yell at them anymore, I still say the wrong things and can be a jerk." Thanks. I really do appreciate knowing that I'm not the only parent who fails on a daily basis. I mean, I know in my head that we are all sinful parents and fail daily, but man I wish we talked about our issues more so we don't feel all alone in our own failures.
So...I don't have a church face. Sometimes I wish I did. But then, when you just lay your issues out there in the middle of the fellowship couches at your church when everyone is dressed in their Sunday best and acting all churchy, somehow (according to my friend) it's a breath of fresh air. Here I am on the verge of tears telling my friends about my angry mom morning, and they are all like, oh good. Me too.
And the day is definitely improving, but it's not a great day at our house by any means. It's definitely below standard. My husband's back hurts alot. Plus he woke up to me yelling at our kids this morning, which starts anyone's day off bad. I've cried alot today and that has made me emotionally exhausted. The three-year old is defiant. The married couple of the house still hasn't gotten through a conversation.
But in the midst of a tough day I'm feeling the grace of God covering us, and that's like a sweet spring rain. The grace of God is even better than sunshine on my face (and I LOVE sunshine on my face). There is such grace and mercy through the fellowship of honest friends on the couches of church hallways, don't you think? I think God's grace comes to us through the friend that says, "Hey me too." "Hey, you're here and we're happy you made it." "Hey, I'm crazy mad mom too." "Hey my kids are grown up and I can still act like a jerk of a Dad sometimes."
Thank you friends. Thanks for not judging. Thanks for being right there in the trenches with me. Thanks for understanding the exhaustion of having all four children awake in the 6's on a Sunday morning and never having a real conversation with your spouse.
I don't really have a good ending for this blog. I just poured it all out there and I don't know how to tie it up all sweet. Life is hard. Parenting is hard. Following Jesus is hard. Loving like Jesus loves is hard. Regrouping yourself after yelling at your kids all morning is hard. Apologizing to those children and apologizing to your husband for yelling and waking him up is hard.
But today in church after my venting session, our pastor preached about the rich young man in Mark 10 that walked away from Jesus sadly when Jesus told him that the way to enter Heaven was to give everything away. And he told us that this difficult text teaches us that the only appropriate posture for us to have toward EVERYTHING in our lives is that it's not ours at all. It's God's. Everything God has blessed us with belongs to Him. Including my children and my marriage. They are not mine. They belong to God. And in the midst of all the stress, my command from Jesus is to give them back to him. Give Jesus my kids. Give Jesus my marriage. And put all my trust in the Savior who is really the ONLY ONE who has given up everything for Me.
He gave up His life for me. And when I give my life back to him, it's gonna be okay. It's NOT going to be easy. But it's going to be covered by His grace. And His grace will cover over my children. And His grace will cover over all the situations that my husband and I never got a chance to talk about. And His grace will cover over every situation when I don't know how to pay bills. Just give it all to Jesus because He can handle it all and I seriously cannot.
And with Jesus I never need a church face because He knows I'm a mess and loves me anyway.