How ironic that my two oldest have put me in my place this week. I should have known I was just asking for it when I started having these kiddos memorizing God's word. He's always good at humbling me and chastizing me when I'm in a sinful attitude, but now He's using my kids - while I'M the one teaching them?! Is there no justice??? Oh, wait there is...His justice. :)
Friday we had one of those mornings. You know, the ones we homeschooling mothers most likely refuse to admit we have more often than not. The schedule was not followed, the chores and schoolwork were not finished, we were running late for an activity, and I was not in the best of tempers. And when I'm not in the best of tempers, you know it's not gonna be pretty retaliation from 4 little mini-me's! It seemed the faster the clock ticked, the more they dragged their feet.
Anyway, we got in the van to head to our activity. I was still a little steamed, but trying to calm myself - and thinking I needed to teach them a lesson (Big mistake!). So I handed a bible back to Chloe. I told her to start looking up some verses. She couldn't find the first one. I told her to sing her song to find the book. Still couldn't find it. Mommy had to take deep breaths. This took quite a bit of time. I encouraged her to keep looking, all the while trying to think of a verse on persevering instead of whining and giving up (I know there's some in there, but for the life of me, can't think of them when I need them). She's in tears at this point, and I'm getting more irritable. Then to realize I gave her the verse number that literally couldn't be found - I said something like verse 19 when the chapter only had 17 verses! Nice, huh?
So we moved on to another one that they already know, but that THEY needed a reminder of... or so I thought. I told her to look up Colossions 3:20. My sweet little girl tearfully began to read in a small voice.
"Children, obey your parents in everything, for this greatly pleases the Lord (sniff!)" There was a short pause. Then her voice got a little stronger.
"'PARENTS, do not provoke your children to anger, lest they become discouraged!' Mommy, what's provoke and discouraged mean?"
I couldn't breathe. God had totally put me in my place. He had reminded me of my position as their teacher and parent, and how fallible I am. I was humbled for a moment. I was starting to tear up when a huge guffaw came from the back seat. I caught my oldest practically rolling in the rearview mirror, and I had to smile.
"It means Mommy shouldn't yell at us so much, Chloe! Hahaha!!!" Connor couldn't stop laughing, and I started joining in. So did Chloe and Canon. I teased her that I told her to read 20, not 21, and that got them all giggling. It felt good. Tears and laughter both have their place, and one can cleanse the soul as well as the other.
We'd arrived at our destination. Several of our friends were getting out of their vehicles and waving and smiling to us. But I couldn't get out. Not just yet.
I turned the van off, and I turned in my seat. I told her they were right, and I asked them if I had provoked them today. Chloe, trying to be sweet, said no. Connor answered with a resounding yes! (Ever the diplomat, might I add!) I apologized to them, and I asked them if they wanted to pray. They unbuckled, came up to the front, and we held each other and prayed. It didn't take long, but we asked for the Father's forgiveness for ALL our actions, and for His guidance in helping us love each other and be more kind to one another. It was enough. We were reunited. We were washed clean. Together. We met up with some of our friends and walked inside with lighter hearts and brighter smiles.
While I joke about them zinging me with scripture, I'm so very thankful that they are able to do so. I want them to see me as a sinner saved by grace. I want them to know that Mommy and Daddy need forgiveness from their Heavenly Father, just like they do. I hope that they see that we are willing to humble ourselves in front of them and ask for their forgiveness as well as God's. I wish I didn't have to so often, but I will never regret the times I've done it...
But, I may be more careful about which verses I pick out next time! ;)