A good friend of mine came over several days ago. It is becoming a custom for us to get together every week. She comes to my house so that my son (Liam) can roam around freely and do his thing, although we don’t always stay home the whole time. Sometimes we make Costco runs or go to Hobby Lobby. Other times we stay in and do crafts together or make some sort of treat. Our times together generally involve sharing a meal, and they are always characterized by deep, heartfelt conversation seeped in faith.
This last time was no different, although parts of our conversation were harder than usual. It started off when my friend told me that she thought I seemed pretty self-aware. I came across that way, at least, and she believed it must be the case. But if what she believed was true, then was I aware when I was getting irritated with my son?
I confessed to her that I was aware of it and that it was something I really struggled with. It was something I had even cried about at times and had asked my mom and younger sister to pray about on numerous occasions. And I prayed about it most nights myself, crying out to God to make me into the mom that my little boy needed. But it was still a struggle, and most days I found myself snapping at Liam at one point or another.
My friend gave me some advice and told me she’d be praying for me. I hated talking to her about this because it was humbling and made me feel more vulnerable than I wanted to. And yet this conversation made me appreciate her all the more. It showed me how much she cared about Liam and his well-being, and I felt cared for in that as well.
I was talking to my younger sister about this conversation later on that evening, and she said the very thing that I had been thinking not long after that original conversation—“Faithful are the wounds of a friend” (Proverbs 27:6).
The next morning I woke up wanting to make all sorts of justifications for my behavior toward my son. I knew other moms that would get angry at their kids and yell at them. Being a mom is stressful! Chances are that if you are reading this blog, you probably already know that and have been experiencing that truth far before I have (especially considering my son is not yet two). I knew these thoughts didn’t make my actions right though. I wanted to be a reflection of Christ to Liam. I wanted to point him to a perfect Father. So how was I going to do that when I was giving into my own sinful reactions?
As I’ve pondered my conversation with my friend these last few days and have thought about how I’ve been responding to Liam, I have recognized that I need a change in perspective.
So much of life right now with a toddler is a lot of work because nothing seems to come easy. The diaper changes (or trying to get him to sit on his potty), getting him dressed, going to the store, going to bed—all of it. But there are so many sweet moments sprinkled throughout the day that would refresh me if I would only let them.
Recently I’m finding that if I spend part of my morning reminding myself of those sweet moments to come, I am better able to respond to the hardships that day brings. I am able to see Liam as a blessing and joy when I do that, and it seeps into my interactions with him and in turn makes him feel special.
I am also finding that waking up before Liam does really helps as well. It is hard for me to do so as of late because I have to wake up when it is still dark and cold out thanks to the fact that Liam is an early riser. But as difficult as it is for me to get out of bed, I never regret doing so. The time I get to spend with the LORD before my little guy wakes up and the chance to get in some exercise or straighten up the house a little helps me to feel a little more ready for the day.
I have a long ways to go in becoming the mother I would like to be to my son, but I am comforted in knowing that God specifically chose me to be Liam’s mom, and I trust He is doing something good through that and will continue to help me to become more like Him in the process. In the meantime, I’m glad for faithful wounds from friends who care enough to give their input in love. That, in itself, is a gift from God.