Elijah and I were finishing one of his requirements for Filipino one evening because we were cramming some of his work to end before September. Along came Edan who wanted to make the same thing I was making with Elijah – a lapbook. Because I was in a zone (which I tend to get into when I am focused on a task), I was dismissive.
“We’ll do it later, Edan. You have to wait.” My tone was raised just a decibel. (I still avoid shouting at my children at all costs, but I can have that irritable tone from time to time, which is not acceptable either). He persisted a few minutes later, “Mom, can I make a rainbow, too, like Elijah? Can you help me?” I replied, “Edan, I said later, right?! Elijah and I have to finish this,” and let him feel like he was disturbing me.
My dear son, Edan, sat on the floor and tried to put together the pieces of colored paper himself. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw him struggle with his hands and he was starting to get frustrated because he couldn’t attach the papers well. Under his breath he mumbled, “If only SOMEONE would help me…” At that point, my heart went out to him. I asked myself, Why do I have to be such a grumpy mom this evening? Is finishing a lapbook more important than making sure that my children know that they are important to me?
God convicted my heart. I put the lapbook down, turned towards Edan and said, “I’ll help you, babe.” I glued together his rainbow. It only took a few minutes to do so, and he beamed with delight.
That same evening when the boys were seated with Edric and I around the table, I asked for their forgiveness. “Boys, I’m sorry that mom was in a bad mood tonight. I was wrong and I want to ask for your forgiveness. Even if I was busy with something it wasn’t okay that I acted irritated. Will you forgive me?” My children readily forgave me and the atmosphere around the dining table became light-hearted as we played a board game as a family.
By the end of the night, Elijah and I had finished his lapbook and Edan had a mini pop-up rainbow for himself. As I displayed the two books on top of our piano, I realized (once again) that busyness is never an excuse to dismiss or reject my children when they need me. It’s never worth it to wound their spirits just a little. Just a little moodiness is not excusable. Just a little irritation in my tone is not that much better than all out shouting. All these “just a little bits of negativity” can pile up in the hearts of my kids and hurt them deeply.
No grumpy moms allowed! Instead, I’d like to propose my mom’s approach to being a wife and mom. She said that a wife and a mother should be “predictably happy.”
This statement often plays in the back of my head when I’m feeling moody. I think of my parents and the cheerful manner in which they consistently related to one another and to us. When my dad would come home, and say, “Deonna, I’m home!” he always knew, and still knows, that he was coming home to a happy, smiling wife, and not a burdensome, nagging or frazzled one. As children, my siblings and I always felt like mom was excited to see us and be with us. She made us feel like we were more important than ministry work, personal activities, or other people. She still is this way!
Her secret has not been her perfect personality. It really is and continues to be her joy in the Lord. As the Psalmist says, “be glad in the LORD and rejoice, you righteous ones; and shout for joy, all you who are upright in heart.” Psalm 32:11
A predictably happy woman is a woman who walks intimately with the Lord and finds her joy in him. That is the secret! Thank you, mom, for your example to me!