My days are packed with trivial drama. Solee hid the toothpaste because Haydn (and probably Zaidee too) never puts the cap on when he’s through. Between that and the over-squeezing, it gets all nasty (for extra effect Solanna says g-nasty). To solve this problem before, I went from the one big tube to three 99 cent, trial-size tubes. Problem not solved. Everyone claims the pristinely kept tube as their own. Solanna took matters into her own hands and hid the thing. What’s a 13-year-old to do?
I tell myself to be happy they are all brushing their teeth.
My toothpaste example demonstrates that the trivial drama starts first thing in the morning, and keeps on going until it’s time to brush their teeth again for bed. It’s exhausting. When they were younger, I dreamt about the real conversations I would be having with them by now throughout the day. Sure, there are plenty of those. My life is pretty wonderful really. But sometimes it’s the ordinary, inconsequential commotions that make me feel like a mama on the edge.
There are books for this. However, I didn’t give my children that much grace over the toothpaste incident. Maybe it was a gospel-teaching moment that I forfeited, but my expired brain just wanted them to get over it, put the dang cap on!, and go to bed. Really. That’s it. I love the idea of having these gospel-teaching moments peppered throughout my day, but at some point my kids will turn even gospel talk into white noise if that’s how I address every piece of crazy that they conjure up in a day.
And let’s face it, I’m being selfish too—with my time, my sanity, and my desire to not be sucked into every bit of drama they want me to referee. Hooray for Solanna for independent problem solving. The other two knuckleheads will have to live with the consequences of g-nasty clumpy toothpaste.
By this time my eye is twitching anyway and I’m the one that needs the gospel.
I want to talk to my kids about things that matter. I even want to goof off with them about a million things that don’t matter. I want them to know that the gospel matters all the time. It certainly puts things in perspective. “Jesus died for your filthy sins, every single one of them. He’s given you his Holy Spirit as a seal to transform you into his image, and guarantee you will be raised in new life. Who the heck cares about the toothpaste?” Or, “And you don’t even want to share your clean toothpaste? What does that say about your heart?” Or, “And you can’t even take care of a piddly tube of toothpaste? What does that say about your ungratefulness for all Christ has done for you?”
But I told you. I’m at the point of eye-twitching and expiration. I’m perfectly happy to chock it up to mom-fail. I have to pick my moments in the trivial war zone for when I’m going to deliver the gospel kablam-o because I still want it to have some kablam-o effect.
And this is why I am happy to return to my corner between the tedious rounds of ordinary life in my day. I feel like the old guy who’s trying to prove his tried and true skills in a comeback attempt. I may have a better reach, but those young’uns are relentless. I spend my days preparing for the big moves, uppercuts, submission holds, only to find that I’m barely cut out for the toothpaste round. I go to God’s Word for extra chins. More often than not, it isn’t the upper cut or the swing kick that does us in. It’s the endless, inconsequential hits. As Joe Frazier said so well, “Kill the body and the head will die.”
The small blows to my middle are wearing me down. I just plain forget the good news. Next thing you know, I am operating under my depraved default of “how to be a better mother.” Sure, I can do better. I can always do better. But I need God’s Word to strip me of my own righteousness and clothe me in the One who has done it all on my behalf. When I am ministered by God’s Word, I am strengthened to prevail because of my victorious Savior. He builds my endurance, which is really just an acknowledgement of my total dependence on him through it all. Hopefully, as I exercise his graces in the small blows, I will be trained to put my hands up for the drop kicks in my future. I am confident that he who promised is faithful, and all this conditioning is making straight paths for my feet towards the Source of my strength in every blow.
Therefore strengthen the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be dislocated, but rather be healed (Heb. 12:12).