Wednesday, July 12, 2006

What I Learned in VBS Today

Oh what a morning. Lately starting the day in our house is just . . . not fun. Buddy's main method of communication when he gets up is whining. And Princess's main goal at that point seems to be to get a rise out of Buddy. Breakfasts have been torture. Crying, screaming, whining, fits. And that's just me! (Ha - had to say it.)

This morning I had just had enough so I made Princess go back upstairs and wait to have breakfast. Buddy was already crying because of something Princess said (I think she told him that she was going to eat the same kind of breakfast bar that he had - HORRORS!) and as she started up the stairs she started crying, too. She kept wailing that she was SOOO hungry and that she felt sick because of the hunger (never mind that I had to ask her three times to come down to breakfast because she was playing with her Barbies).

I have to admit, I yelled. I threatened. I spoke very harsh words to both of them. You see, I was just DONE with it. Every morning. Every morning it's like this and I was just done. By the time I got the kids in the car I was almost in tears.

I mentioned in another post that I'm leading the kiddos in two songs every morning. On the way to VBS we listen to the two songs so that I can warm up and refresh my memory. We backed out of the driveway and Buddy requested his favorite of the two songs. Of course, Princess immediately asked for the other on. I said that whichever song came on when I turned on the CD player, that's what we'd listen to first. When Buddy's song came on first, Princess started her sassy talk. "Well I guess I won't get to hear my song because HIS song came on first. I guess I don't get to hear my song at all this morning." I turned off the music, pulled over, put on my hazard lights and we all just sat. I needed a "time out". I finally told Princess (in a harsh tone) that I was having none of that and that she needed to stop complaining and whining and apologize for her attitude and behavior. After a minute or so, she finally broke and said that she was sorry. So I pulled out into traffic and turned the song back on.

Here are the lyrics to the first song:

Love like You, I want to love like You
With patience and kindness, forgiveness, too
Love like You, I want to love like You
Oh, Lord, won't you help me to love like You?

When I'm feeling glad (Help me to love like You)
When I'm feeling bad (Help me to love like You)
When I don't get my way (Help me to love like You)
At school or at play (Help me to love like You)

CHORUS AGAIN

When Mom needs some hugs (Help me to love like You)
When my brother bugs (Help me to love like You)
In all that I say (Help me to love like You)
Every day (Help me to love like You)

Ouch. Those words pierced my heart. I knew that God was really speaking to me through those lyrics. I was not, in any way, shape or form showing my children His love this morning. The Bible verse that this VBS is based on is 1 Corinthians 13:4 - 7 "Love is patient, love is kind, and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things." Now with that definition of love, was I telling my kids that I love them? How could I lead 500 kids in a song like that when I couldn't show two kids how to live it?

When we got to the church, I stopped the car and turned to the kids. I told them that we were not showing each other God's love this morning. I made sure that I included me! I asked questions about some specifics - when I did this, was I showing love? - and then asked them to forgive me for not showing them God's love.

Princess and I dropped Buddy off at his classroom and then we walked over to the main building where all of the older kids meet their teachers. I just didn't have peace that I could leave her. Something wasn't right yet. So I sat her down in my lap and prayed. I thanked God for giving her to us. I confessed to Him (as she listened) that I had not acted as He would have me act. I prayed that He would give me His strength and that He would truly help me to love as He does. As I spoke to the Lord who loves both me and Princess with a love that is perfect, I felt her little arms tightening around my neck. She buried her face in my neck and just held on. I felt healing and I felt peace that can only come from the Father. It was a sweet, sweet moment.

I wish we could have had that moment without the pain that preceded it, but God needed to take me to my knees. I have not been seeking Him lately at all. Oh yes, I have been praying. I always pray and I also try to praise and thank Him as many times a day as I can. And let's not underestimate how powerful prayer is. But I have not been going to His word for nourishment. Living a life that reflects Christ without going back regularly to read His words is like trying to give a book report on a book that you haven't read in six months. You might be able to recall a lot of it, but you probably wouldn't remember some subtle nuances that enhance the story and reinforce the theme.

Had I been spending more time seeking His will through His word, I probably would have been better equipped to deal with what went on this morning. I am not saying that reading the Bible is a magic pill that will make me able to listen to whining with a smile on my face. And I'm not saying that, had I been reading the Bible more regularly, I would not have blown up this morning. I'm saying that this morning I was asked to give a book report to my kids and I acted as if I had never even read the book.

But I'll bet that I have another shot at the book report tomorrow morning!

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