Thursday, March 10, 2011

Theology Thursday: Lent and Parenting

I remembered! It's Thursday, and while I'd planned to do some sort of more focused Lent-related post today -  You know, why do it, some good resources, etc. - I will instead share a journal entry I made this morning.


Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own insight. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones. - Prov 3

One of today's readings, and SUCH a familiar passage, but one we need to say to ourselves every hour probably.  There is too much that I fret about, try to control, or think I am wise about.  Yes, He has enabled me some wisdom, but His is infinitely greater.

Parenting is humbling, and an arena wherein I trust God too little, nor do I trust myself much, honestly.  The past week or so has been trying as our little 15 month old has more an more of a mind of her own, and has been especially whiny and needy.  Her naps have been sporadic, and her night sleep on occasion as well.  Of course poor sleep begets poor sleep and makes little babies fussy.  Whether it’s teething, pollen, bad parenting or just a phase, I have felt anger well up in me this week that has surprised me.

Yesterday, the first day that we took on the discipline of our Lenten fast, is of course when I was stretched by her.  It was rainy and gloomy, I was hungry much of the day, Jeff had a late meeting so was not home until after she was in bed.  At some point in the afternoon, I attempted (for a second time) to put her down for a nap.  I KNEW she was tired, and I had loads of things to do but she just cried and stomped and would NOT sleep.  I jerked open the door to her room and yelled “what!” We were both taken aback I think, She stopped her whining for a moment and I felt immediately awful and morphed into kinder tones. But inside, oh inside my blood was boiling, and I'm pretty sure I hated her in that moment. 

Whether it was the enemy’s temptations on our first day of Lent, or God’s tender discipline and exposing of my heart I know not, but I am yet again reminded how much I need Him.  Later we took a trip to the gym just so I could put her in the childcare and get a breather for an hour. When I picked her up she started crying and didn’t stop until we were home.  The anger and bitterness started to well up yet again, even after listening to an hour podcast on the Purpose of Lent and getting me all pumped up!  Of course in hindsight, it seems one of the purposes of Lent is exactly that, to expose our hidden anger, bitterness and pride.  But dang, day 1, really!?  

I dreaded the evening ahead, counting the hours until Jeff got home and I could shower or just be away.  But you know, after she had a snack and some milk, she turned a corner.  Suddenly she was my sweet little girl again and we just rolled on the floor and I tickled her til she couldn’t control her giggles.  It was incredibly sweet, a moment of clarity within my little doom loop.  Despite the struggles, she brings us great joy and I’m so thankful. 

Lesson learned. For now.  I'm sure it will be promptly forgotten if the same thing happens next week. So a final Theology Thursday point to that ends:  we need Lent, and other holidays and feasts that happen every year, over and over again like the seasons.   Our memories are incredibly short, at least mine is. 

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