Sunday, October 12, 2008

This will not win me the "Mother of the Year" award

I am embarrassed to write about this story. It shows a side of me which is very real and flawed as a mom, the side you don't want others to see. I mean, don't we all want others to think that somehow we have it all together? We never mess up. We always respond appropriately. You know the part. But it's not reality. The reality is I am flawed and human and mess up and blow it, sometimes more often than not. However, God is so good and He is continually teaching me, albeit through humbling circumstances, what it takes to become more and more like Him which in turn makes me more and more like the mom I am supposed to be. So, there you have it.

On Friday my four year old son Petey and I left home to run a couple of errands before picking up the other kids at school. (Jack and Ellie) He asked if he could bring a DVD to watch in the van and if he could load the DVD himself. I said yes he could, BUT you have to WAIT until mommy turns on the van AND says it's ok (those two points will become critical to the story)

Here's a couple of things you need to know before I proceed with the rest of the story:
1. We ended up buying a new van on Monday. (the van that is talked about up above). A 2005 Nissan Quest which we bought for a great deal. It has very low miles, very well taken care of and it came with a DVD player, which we never had in our VW Eurovan. Having a DVD in the van was like a God send since my family lives in Ohio and my husbands family lives in Iowa. Considering the price of airplane tickets for a family of 5, suffice to say, we drive almost everywhere. "How great that the kids can watch movies on long road trips!" and "This is so awesome!" were two of the most repeated phrases in our house this past week between my husband and I and the kids.

2. Our Volkswagen van, the one for which this post was named after, was still in the shop being repaired. 5 and 1/2 weeks after we dropped it off.

In a nutshell...new (to us) van and new DVD player.

So, I am getting in the van to turn it on, after I clearly told Petey to wait for me and as I am turning on the van I turn around to look at him and I hear him say proudly, "I did it! I put the DVD in!" I look at the DVD player and its saying "No disc" and then it hits me HE PUT THE DVD IN UPSIDE DOWN!! This is the part of the story that gets embarrassing for me to write about because to put it simply, I started going down hill from that point on.

I immediately start pushing the eject button in an attempt to see if the dvd will somehow come out. All the while I begin muttering under my breath, "I cannot believe this is happening! I cannot believe this is happening!" After several futile attempts to remove the dvd, the sad truth sinks in...the van that we've owned for four days now has a dvd stuck in the player rendering it completely useless.

Four days-broken-no dvd player.

I was upset. Mainly, two reasons come to mind.
1. My son disobeyed me
2. We now owned a van with a broken dvd player.
I started saying things to Petey like, "I can't believe you didn't wait for mommy like I told you to" and "Our dvd player is broken now because you didn't obey mommy" and " I am very angry at you now" and "Do you feel bad that our dvd is broken?"

Oh my goodness...I am so embarrassed as I am writing this. How I wish I could take back my words. But I can't and I didn't and I kept up the phrases above for several minutes.

Then, I called my husband because what says "Hey! I'm angry! Let me ruin your day at work honey so you can be mad too!" like a call from your upset wife? I spent a few minutes with him rehashing what had happened making sure I was talking loud enough for my son to hear me just in case he missed the part that I was mad at him. My husband listened for a couple of minutes and then responded with, "Well, so much for that. Got to go. More patients to see. Bye" (he's an EM doctor)

By this time I was at the mail store on the island. It's a cute little coffee shop, gift shop and mailing store all in one. I stopped to mail a package and honestly I was still in a huff. Telling Petey to "Come on!" and "Hurry up!" We got into the store, stood in line and it was right there that the Holy Spirit started doing a much needed number on my angry little upset heart. "So, I take it this is how you want me to start treating you the next time you sin? Going on and on, letting everyone know how upset you are and beating you over the head with your sin repeatedly?"

Gulp.

In my mind I started thinking "No, no that's not how I want to be treated with my sin. I want to be forgiven and shown some grace." but then I went on "Isn't it ok to be upset? I mean it was brand new?"

"So let me get this straight...what you're saying is you value stuff over people so much so that you're willing to break their spirit to make your point?"

Ouch.

The conviction fell hard.

"Is that what I've done?''
And, yeah, basically I had. Did Petey need reprimanded for disobeying? Yes. Is it good to be responsible and good stewards of our belongings? Yes. But never at the expense of hurting someones spirit and valuing stuff over relationships. I had gone overboard and I needed to make it right with my son and I wanted to. The Holy Spirit had done his job in effectively convicting me and causing me to repent.

I mailed my package and Petey and I headed out the door. I said to him, "Petey, I am so sorry I yelled at you so much about the dvd player. I love you so much more than any silly old dvd player." He looked at me and softly replied, "If a child says they hate their mommy two times will they have to go in their high chair for a time out?"

I just wanted to cry. (side note about the high chair... the high chair is where Pete goes if he gets in trouble and needs a time out. It's a basic, plain plastic IKEA high chair and could probably hold all our kids)

I stopped in my tracks, got down and looked him in the eye and said, "Oh Petey, is that what you feel right now?" He said, "A little." I picked him up and squeezed him tight and said, "I am so sorry Petey. Mommy loves you and I am sorry I used such angry words with you. Will you forgive me?" He put his arms tight around my neck and said, "Yes. I didn't really hate you either!" I said, " I know, sweetie, you were sad and had hurt feelings." By this time we were to the van and I sat him in his car seat. As I was hooking him in he grabbed me by the neck and pulled me close and said, " I'm never going to let you go!" I hugged him back and said, "Good!"

Ahh, isn't forgiveness a wonderful thing? The freedom that comes from admitting what a mess up you've been and the restoration that follows. It is absolutely worth the humbling and pain. Aren't you glad, like I am, that God doesn't treat us and our sins the way we treat others? He forgives and He brings it up no more. When He convicts us and chastises us it is completely out of love not anger or condemnation. Oh that I would be more and more like him each day. As I am sitting here writing this I can hear my oldest singing the chorus, "His grace is enough. His grace is enough. His grace is enough for me." Yes, it is indeed.

Lord, may I be more of a grace giver than I have been known to do in the past.

We all could use a little more grace in our lives, don't you think?

Oh yeah...here's the amazing follow up to this whole saga. On Saturday my husband went out to the van to see if he could get the dvd out and guess what? Petey had missed the slot altogether and my husband found the dvd wedged on top of the dvd player under the seat. It was never broken!

Take care,
Julie

12 comments:

Bubba's Sis said...

God is good. And YOU are a good mommy. We all mess up sometimes - Lord knows I have a lot - but He is good and He forgives us. Thankfully our children do, too! Thank you for posting this, sweetie. It's a heart-moving story.

Emily said...

Jules, if we don't screw up now, LEGIONS of therapists will be out of work in 20 years. Think of it as doing your civic duty. ;)

But seriously, you're doing a great job with your kids. we all have mommy-moments that we cringe to remember (mine involved a poopy diaper, brand-new carpet, and "fingerpainting", but I'll leave the rest to your imagination). Praise God we have His example to look to, time and time again, when we fail miserably at our role as parents.

Now don't forget to forgive yourself, too.

Debbie said...

Oh Julie. This is such a beautiful post written about an experience we have all had. Any one of us could write this if we had your talent and honesty. And, if we stopped to listen and act on what we should do. Great story. You really modeled a lot of terrific things to your son when you apologized and made the best of the day. Good for you.

katemcdonald said...

oh girl...we all have those moments with our kids- the day I woke up to Cohen;s poopy room I yelled and when his little lip curled down I nearly died. I am glad God spoke to you about it and glad Petey and you made amends. Growing up my parents were always quick to apologize and I think that's one of the reasons all of my siblings and I are so close to them. Its a powerful thing for a parent to do.

BTW, where is your family at in OH? I only live about 40 minutes from Cedarville - love the connection!

katemcdonald said...

did you ever know someone named Sarah Bunn? She is a dear friend of mine who grew up in Troy

Kristin said...

been there, done all of that and always feel crappy. i too have learned to say sorry, ask for forgiveness and move on. thanks for sharing and being honest. and thankfully!, the dvd player is ok.

on a side note: i can't imagine you all without your VW! : )
miss you...

Becoming Me said...

Beautiful story Julie. I have so been there...I have been even far uglier...you know...

You are a loving mother...and I'm glad that you turned this moment around and taught Petey a bit about forgiveness and that everyone messes up...even moms.

Now that you've learned some more about grace...be sure to let yourself be covered with it...in other words, don't hang on to the ugly moment...but the beauty of being so special to God that He spoke right to your heart...how neat is that??

D... said...

Thank you for writing this. Because you aren't alone. We have ALL had moments like this. Each and every one of us, no lie. We are so blessed in the love of our forgiving God AND forgiving children. I think the important thing to remember is that you listened to the conviction. But, not only did you listen, you reacted. You taught Petey a valuable lesson. A lesson in integrity AND grace all because you apologized. You built those bonds with your son even stronger. It takes a good mom to admit that she did something wrong to her child. And YOU are a good mom!

And like, Becoming Me said, let it go. It's over and things are right with you & Petey. Now you know. Lesson learned & no need to dwell on it.

On a happier note, I got the book today. Thank you So Much!

duganheimer said...

That's a sweet story, Julie. We were just talking about forgiveness is Bible study this past Friday. We were talking about how easily children forgive, and we should be that way also. I think every mom has had that kind of a moment, so don't worry!

We missed you at MOPS last week. Hope to see you soon!

Jennie said...

Oh wow. I really, really needed to hear that today. It's so hard to share our slip-ups, but your openess blessed me tremendously.

I noticed your comment over at D2's site and couldn't resist coming over. I drive a Vanagon and married a VW mechanic. Sorry to hear your Eurovan is ailing.

Irritable Mother said...

Julie,
I am so glad you had the courage to do the uncomfortable thing and admit to your failings in this story. You know how you started out saying we all want to appear like we have it all together? I know that's true, but what we really need is to be able to admit that we don't have it all together!
There is so much freedom in being able to say, "I am not perfect and I will never receive the Mother of the Year Award." When we can say that, we become approachable and other moms find the freedom to be real, too. It's a very good thing!

What we need to do is fall freely into the arms of God and receive His grace daily. As we fill up on Him we will be able to shower others (our kids!) with the same grace which we, ourselves, have received. And that's another good thing. *grin*

Keep your eyes fixed upon Him. Remain tender to His spirit. He's using these trials to make you more like Him!

Loving Jesus,
Karen

DKay said...

WOW-what a powerful post. I flipped over from Angela's blog All that Naz. (They are my cousins)My eyes teared up reading it. We have all been there and will be again I am sure. God spoke right to you and you were able to make something so beautiful for you and your son to share and learn from each other.
I'll be back to read again soon.