The Morning Circus

Are there days you feel you could be a better parent? Do school and church mornings start like a circus at your house?

Earlier this year, I vowed our morning “getting ready” time was going to run more smoothly – you know, to avoid the three-ring circus. I began to pack lunches and book bags and lay out clothes the night before.

“I’ll have more patience,” I promised myself. “I won’t be so quick to yell.” Unfortunately, the promise was broken. Even with the advance preparation I carefully executed, I still had to raise my voice to the level of surround sound for my children to listen and obey.

Even after requesting four or five times to “brush your teeth” or “get your coat” they didn’t respond. They didn’t seem to hear until I was yelling like a crazy person. My behavior resembled a sports fans, mad at the referee for not calling in my team’s favor. And here I was, just trying to get them to a place they needed to be. After all, they couldn’t get there on their own.

It seemed to take yelling (which I hate) to get their attention. Once I had it, they began apologizing. “We’re sorry Mom,” “It won’t happen again, Mommy,” “We’ll listen. We’ll obey. We love you Mommy.”

My first thought was,“You don’t mean it. If you did you would listen and obey.” But before the words could travel from my head to my mouth, I felt the gentle prod of the Spirit and heard Him say. “If you loved me, you would obey my commands.”

Wow, did that make my toes hurt?! How many times have I not obeyed God’s requests, even after He’s asked repeatedly? Sometimes I’m so busy doing my own thing, I don’t listen and do his request.

What He has planned is always better than anything I could ever do on my own. He is always taking me to a place I need to be, not school, but a place where He can teach me something. Not to church, but a place where I can worship Him and experience more of His presence. There are times I ignore His requests to the point I no longer hear his still small voice and He has to raise it to get my attention. He raises His voice by allowing circumstances to come into my life that force me to listen more closely to what He has to say.

All these thoughts passed in a few seconds, but in those precious few seconds, I was reminded of how good God is. How patient He is. How merciful He is. How forgiving He is. I cried out in my spirit… “I’m sorry God. It won’t happen again. I’ll obey. I love you. I want to do what you have planned. I want to go where you want to take me.” And then I felt it. Peace and unconditional love. The forgiveness He gives when I ask for it. Thankfulness that His mercies are new every morning flooded my heart.

I stopped what I was doing and looked at my children. I wanted their full attention. I told them I forgave them for their disobedience. I told them I loved them no matter what. I told them we would start over again tomorrow morning… and we would do better. Then I didn’t feel so frustrated… so defeated. I felt good because I know Christ is living in me, perfecting me day by day, forgiving me when I make mistakes, doing whatever it takes to get my attention and teaching me to trust and obey. If I can just pass that along to my children, then maybe I’m not such a bad parent after all.

5 Responses to The Morning Circus
  1. Sara
    November 10, 2011 | 9:05 am

    Have you read Shepherding a Child’s Heart by Tedd Tripp. I am doing a bible study currently on this book. Great teachings!

    I love your post and how it relates to God asking us to do something repeatedly sometimes. It is sooo true:)

  2. Carol Hatcher
    November 11, 2011 | 9:27 am

    Great one! And so true!

  3. Sarah Guevarra
    November 11, 2011 | 1:18 pm

    Like I had written it myself, your blog echoes my thoughts EXACTLY! Every morning my boys “ignore” me and eventually I have to yell, I’ve also tried many techniques to try and make it a calmer start to our day, and it’s only been God’s prompts in my heart that have slowly started to change our reality. I find my frustration level has decreased which in turn increases my patience and my creativity to get them moving without all the yelling!

  4. Barbie
    November 12, 2011 | 10:22 am

    I love the gentle conviction of the Holy Spirit. Part of my battles with my children in the early morning is because I “choose” to stay up too late, and therefore over sleep, so I try to rush my kids around, acting like it’s their fault. Ugh! I so needed this one!

  5. Kimberly
    November 15, 2011 | 2:55 pm

    Love it and TOTALLY get it! And cannot tell you how many, many, many times the things I have fussed at my kids about the Holy Spirit has had to also nudge me and show me I am just like them! Ouch! SOOOOOOO thankful for God’s mercy and forgiveness and patience and love. I want to parent more like Him. 🙂