Isn’t that how the saying goes? We were in a hurry to get out the door, and I was stressed. We’re always in a hurry because I don’t do well with time management. I got up late because I’m trying to catch up on lost sleep from the past 4 months after our baby was born. The rest of the morning had me running around gathering things for the diaper bag, changing diapers, and making sure everyone was fed and dressed. Chaos and loudness were happening all around me. My volcano finally erupted. After I threw up with words all over my kids, I tried to calm down and just give in to the fact that we weren’t going to be early and maybe not even on time. I took a few deep breaths and resolved to talk quietly even if the lava was still bubbling inside of me.
Then it happened. Recently it so often does. One of my children mirrored my attitude and gave it back to me. I couldn’t correct him because I know I had created the frustration. Immediately I knew I had just witnessed my house falling down all around me. Proverbs 14:1 says, “The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down.” When I thought to myself, “I just tore my house down,” I was filled with dread but also hope at the same time.
I knew I had made the wrong decision moments before, but I felt that God had pointed it out to me so I could correct it by responding a different way in the next few minutes. As I said, the lava was still bubbling. I remember talking very quietly and slowly as I fought my toddler’s kicking legs while trying to diaper him. As the baby cried and another child voiced their frustration, I raised my voice to say, “I’m trying really hard right now to not lose my temper. I’m choosing to take deep breaths, but believe me, I want to scream and yell, and if you continue to add to this bad attitude that’s in our house right now, I will.” Hey, at least I was being honest and showing my kids how to fight their feelings and thoughts, right?
Now let’s get back to the feeling of hope. God had shown me what just happened but that my house didn’t have to remain in shambles. After the “ouch” that came with correction, my next thought was, “His mercies are new every morning.” As long as my kids are living in my home, I have the opportunity to practice reacting with peace and calmness to the chaos they or myself bring to our home. Just because I tore my house down in that moment doesn’t mean I can’t choose to rebuild, even if I have to start over a million times. In Lysa TerKeurst’s book, Unglued, she coined a phrase that has been a lifesaver to me; “Imperfect Progress.” If I’m making steps in the right direction in between each step backward, I’m still moving forward; I’m still working at building my house.
Can I encourage you to not give up? No matter how many times you’ve lost it with words, thoughts, or attitudes, He offers a gentle reminder to make the decision to change course and start building again. Then when you have joy in your heart and see joy in your home you can smile, because you know that, “if Mama’s happy, everybody’s happy.”