I was taught a very valuable lesson recently and guess who the teacher was? You! Both of you, actually! Now, this happens often to parents, but rarely do we slow down enough to accept the lesson. It is very humbling to know a 3 year old and a 1 year old can teach what you should have known all along. What you should have been teaching them.
I hope by the time you read this it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to you. I hope you are not nodding your head saying “Yep that sounds like mama alright!”. I would like to think I have grown in the years since I wrote this letter, that I have truly taken this lesson to heart.
You see, as of 2011 I have a major hang up which, in a matter of seconds can take me from a Praise-The-Lord-Hallelujah fit to a Pulling-My-Hair-Out-I-Hate-Life fit. Seriously, I admit it is really bad and unacceptable. What is this horrible hang up? My clothes (and hair if I am being honest)… ok let’s just say my appearance overall. Or at least my perception of my appearance at any point in time. Absurd… truly!
So, anyway… one night your father thought he would help me out and put the clothes from the washer in the dyer for me. Not until the dryer buzzed in completion did I realize that my jeans were in there… MY JEANS HAD BEEN DRIED! Oh boys, boys, boys… mama does not dry her jeans. Things happen in the dryer and they happen to only my clothes. They shrink at least 2 sizes. Seriously my loves, I’m even considering opting out of drying my underwear! Shrunken underwear is worse than shrunken jeans! Trust me….
Well, at the realization of my surely shrunken jeans I sailed up from whatever I was doing and I started crying. I really cried. Not only had my jeans been dried… but they were my fat jeans! You know that onepair of jeans that you can always wear and they don’t touch you anywhere?? Those jeans had been shrunk… they were no longer my fat jeans, but rather just my jeans. I had to go to bed, emotionally spent at the thought of what tomorrow morning would be like when I tried to put them on.
I got up early the next morning to work out… maybe if really gave it my all, I would lose a few pounds before getting dressed. I waited until your father left for work to get dressed. A quick little prayer later I slid my jeans on. They fit… they fit like any other pair of jeans. They were no longer my fat jeans, they touched me. I cried. I am not kidding you, I cried. I put on my makeup… tears being shed the entire time. I did my hair and of course it laid up there like a dead rat that had been moussed and blow dried! Pure sadness all the way around. At this point I threw the brush… threw it in rage. I can tell you it was not the first time I took my bad hair day out on my hair brush. Odd behavior…
Oh well, who cares… I’m just a sad old mother. May as well go buy a mini-van and wear elastic waistband the rest of my life. This is when I decided to get you boys ready. Oh Landon, you looked precious but honey you crawled behind me for at least 100 minutes crying, wanting to be picked up. You kept pulling on my legs all the while rubbing snot down the backside of my shrunken jeans. Nerves hanging on by a thread at this point.If I could just get your teeth brushed, Andrew and hair done I could get out the door and be done! Oh Andrew, at age 3 you do not stand still at all. Your hair was askew and toothpaste had dropped on your shirt. I lost it. I yelled at you both… I may have thrown your hair brush too.
You both started crying and I so did I. I was so ashamed because I had taken my shrunken jeans out on you. I picked you up (Andrew) and told you I was sorry and I loved you very much. I told you both it was not your fault mama was sad and I was wrong to yell at you. Landon, you smiled at me as if I was the greatest, most perfect person in the world. And in your little 1 year old eyes, I was. Andrew, you said ‘I forgive you mommy.’ And when I said ‘Thank-You, buddy’, you said ‘You should have some candy, it’ll make you feel better’. How sweet are you?
Once I got you dropped off at school and I got quiet for a few minutes, God really started to deal with me. He reminded me of Proverbs 31. Every churched woman in the world aspires to be a Proverbs 31 woman. Two verses were very appropriate on this morning:
She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. (Prov 31:25)
Clothed in strength & dignity? Nowhere were my jeans mentioned. I certainly had not been clothed in either strength or dignity this morning. And I certainly was not laughing.
Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised. (Prov.31:30)
Every woman in the world needs to hide this verse in her heart. Boy do I have to go back to it on a daily basis. This world really wants me to believe my worth is found in my pants size and youthful skin, but that is not what God cares about (however, he does care about being healthy – another topic for another day). God is far more concerned about matters of the heart. He is concerned about my relationship with Him. Where I stand with Him flows directly into my relationship with others – particularly you and your father.
I sat in the parking lot of worked and just cried and asked the Lord to forgive me. I asked him to help me to focus on the things that matter. To put my outward beauty into proper perspective and not lose sight of what is important in His eyes. I would much rather be a good, Godly mother and wife than to turn heads when I walk down the street.
I also thought about what true forgiveness is. You boys had been the face of what forgiveness should look like. I was not kind to either of you. You had every right to be mad at me. But, when I asked you to forgive me, you not only smiled and did so, but you tried to make me feel better. Landon you just gave me a look of adoration and Andrew, you tried to fix it with candy. No, candy couldn’t fix it, but your sweet, Christ-like attitude went a long way in helping.
I thank God for you both daily. You are so sweet and so very special. You truly are gifts to this world and I know God his hand on you. I thank Him that he made me slow down a little and learn a lesson from 2 small children. I pray that as you grow in both wisdom & knowledge, that you will never cease to learn lessons from ‘the least of these’. Sometimes we are the teacher and sometimes we are the student. God is always working in your lives, so stay alert, learn from your mistakes and be willing to teach others!
Love you much,