Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Oh Lord It's Me, Standing in the Need of Prayer

Sunday mornings in our home are more often than not, a blessed atmosphere as we quietly reflect and prepare for worship.

I wish

This past Sunday was spent with me alone fighting 3 girls over spring/winter shoes. It was the first warm Sunday we've had since Spring began and everyone wanted to wear sandals. Last years sandals don't fit the same girl this year and so we began our tradition of 'handing down' shoes. Which is never a good thing to do on a Sunday morning! My girls have begun to grow on different scales and this process doesn't always work as I would like it to. Brooklyn's foot is way bigger than Faith's, so Brooklyn's last years shoes don't quite work for Faith this Spring. Although she tries to convince me otherwise and walks around the house like Bozo the Clown, upset if I say no. No one was happy to wear winter boots with their new spring dresses Mimi brought. Attitudes were terrible. Mine was the worst.

We have began two morning services at the church in Braga, so Michael and usually one girl leave much earlier than than the rest of us as we meet him there for Sunday School and the later worship service. He normally carries one of the older girls with him and that means the chosen girl dresses herself and styles their own hair because I'm still in bed.

hmmm...hair.....that's a touchy subject with me....that's an area I'm having a hard time releasing responsibility of. I want them to always have beautiful hair.

So when I arrive at Sunday school to find my 9 or 10 year daughter smiling brightly at me, as she has already been in one worship service, only to find her hair has a huge rats nest and the hair bow she chose does not match her outfit, I immediately begin flinging her head around as I try desperately to smooth out the nest and fuss about how she must have gotten dressed in the dark. I continue to really critize as I comment on how she must not have washed her hair well in the shower the night before because it still looks greasy.

She then walks away defeated, and I walk the other way frustrated and embarrassed. Surely folks must think I don't care about the appearance of my children.

My Mom left last week and on her bedside table she left a small devotional magazine she brought with her form the States. I've been devouring the devotions in it as I am reminded how badly I miss the abundance of great study helps in America.

One story, well there were several, but one specifically left me in tears, praying to God for help and asking forgiveness.

My critical spirit has hurt my children.

"I'm so concerned about being right. I'm more picky than positive and I have an overwhelming urge to make a mountain out of a molehill. Sadly, kids in my house have had a tough gig." -Melinda Means, author

That's me...exactly. To a 'T'!!

I even hear myself talking when one of my girls criticises another. Telling her to "stand up straight, and suck it in". "Can't you learn to sweep correctly?!" "Your teeth look terrible! Go brush them!"

These are my critical words that have found resting places in my daughter's hearts.

"I'm often quite right about my kids' shortcomings. However, the bottom line is this: Constant criticism hinders intimacy. My stubborn insistence to always be right instead of choosing my battles, was sabotaging my goal of creating a home environment of openness, grace and affection." - Melanie Means, author

I've always been so concerned about how folks viewed me. I wanted to make sure they thought I had 'everything together'. That I made 'mothering 5 young children look easy'. These type of comments from friends and even strangers made my day.....but it was at my childrens' expense.

My preferences are causing divisions. Preferences are usually what causes criticism. Preferences aren't worth pushing my children away.

(I prefer Faith not wear her headband the way she always does, and I'm constantly on her about the "proper way to wear a headband". As if I'm the headband creator!! Geeze...who do I think I am?! She loves headbands, but has begun to not wear them as often because she can "never wear them right" she's told me.)

Bless her heart....Lord help me.

Now.....with God's help and much prayer, I will no longer be so concerned about myself or about what others think, and more concerned about building lasting, intimate relationships with my children. Relationships that will show God's grace and help to build good, strong character in them...and in me.


I have chosen to be more positive and much less critical.

Because criticism hinders intimacy.


Becka said...

Oh My !!! You are so right,
I'm not just that way with the girls, I'm that way with the boys too, its sad,because I always said I would'nt be that way cause mama was, not that she was a bad mama,just because at times I thought I could'nt do anyting right,
Lord help us!!
love you & I have always thought you are a GREAT mother,
Remember I'm not just saying that because you my friend, I have spent alot of time with you..

Jen said...

Thanks for posting this and being so vulnerable. I'm sure that many people can relate. I know I can. I've had to bite my tongue many times when it comes to expressing my opinion to my kids. My daughter is so very creative in her wardrobe attire and it's sometime very interesting. I've actually come to appreciate her choices and find joy in what she comes up with! Anyway, saying a prayer for you right now. God is so good that He pinpoints things in our lives to change us!

Sharon said...

Oh Nina! I know exactly where you are coming from! Thankfully you have realized this trait early and through God's Help can overcome it. I'm praying for you!!

Amrita said...

Thank you for sharing this Nina, it touched my heart I needed to hear this somehow.

Cathy said...

Ouch! This is hard to hear, but I'm afraid I really needed to hear it. Thank you!

Heather Wheelock said...

Wow! Thank you for posting that, I think I´ll print it and stick it to the wall! I need that remimder EVERYDAY! We´ll all have to pray for each other!

Dani Joy said...

wow, you sure are opening yourself up, girl!

I am balling and I need a hug! my word! I have been praying and praying that the Lord would change my heart and my mouth. oh my.. Is this confession time or what!

Thank you for sharing those quotes. I am going to blow them up and hang them in my room!
love ya so much! love Dani

Heather Simpson said...

The Lord is teaching me the same thing with my 5. It definitely is very challenging! I still have to apologize to them...kids are so forgiving! We could learn alot from them.:)

janice said...

Great food for thought. Thank you for sharing. Blessings from Anchorage Alaska

Anonymous said...

BAM! You stepped on every last toe and it hurts.

That's me exactly. I am so sad to say...right down to the headband thing. In some brief moments I suddenly realize how I am being, but then I seem to fall right back into my old ways. Why are we like this with our kids?

Looks like I have a lot to make right. Thanks for posting this one.

Mom said...

Well I dont have the issue with the little ones any more. But I some what have it with the hubby. Terry tells me I criticize (did I spell that right?)him alot. He cleaned the garage floor yesterday with "true green" cleaner. He was so proud of himself. I told him it smelled like a public bathroom. He didnt like my comment! He said I was being a grouch. I told him I was just making a comment. Perhaps I should have kept my comment to myself!
Yep, I think we all go thru this.
Maybe Michael could check the girls hair before they head out the door for that early service?
You know, just to be sure that rat is gone?
I love you baby girl...
be nice to my grand-babies.

Love Mom

Anonymous said...

Did you have to "sucker punch" me so hard today? Seriously, thank you for putting it out there and stepping on my toes (in a good way) today. If ever there was an area this perfectionist wannabe mommy needs to work on, this is IT.
God bless - Ruth Hanson

Tori said...

Wow, this was a great post and I'm sure it was so needed by way more than just me. You're so right, we do tend to settle into a negative, critical attitude so easily. I was just telling my Hannah that there is no way she's wearing those blue shoes to church and how badly it matched.
Taken to heart, thanks!!!


Dear Nina, I have long since had young children in my home but I can with regret worrying too much about how they looked before they left our home. But I just now realized that it was not for them but for what people would think of me!

I am thankful that my four sons and a daughter turned out well even though I did not do my best, I am sure in many areas not just this one. Maybe they are too concerned today with how they dress, I am not sure. But I am thankful that when we do makes mistakes God gives us grace.

It is so good that you have seen your mistake while you can still correct it. I want have that chance again but maybe, I will just apply it to myself. Just maybe the next time, I go out of the house, I want feel that I can't go out if I am not just right. Thank you, Nina, I do think that maybe many of us needed what you have posted. ♥♥ you, connie from Texas

Personalized Sketches and Sentiments said...

hmmm....truly this is something that we have all experienced! Doesnt it seem like that happens with our loved ones who are the ones dearest and closest to our hearts. It seems as if it is because we are so "at ease" with them that we say things that perhaps we wouldn't say to someone not as close. And how true, regarding... that in an attempt to be sure those we love are "perfect", the wonderful things they accomplish or represent are overlooked.

Thank the Lord for His mercies and grace! Your post spoke to my heart to remember and appreciate the ones that I love. And how blessed to have the ability to see where we may be to critical and have the ability to instead love, love, love and love some more :o)

Blessings & Aloha!
(Thank you, as always, for your sweet comments at my post...)

The Swan's said...

Wow what a great post! I can so relate to it too. Praying for us on this one.