Overcoming Harshness With My Kids

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Young Woman and Child by Hughes Merle

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” Gal 5:22-23 

I’ve really been struggling lately with a few things.

I have just come out of a third episode of extreme insecurity and discouragement as a wife and mom. I mean, we all have our moments like that, but these are more like short but intense times where I am overcome by negative thoughts and feelings, discouragement, and even hopelessness.

Have you ever felt this?
  • Tapes of negativity and lies playing in your head that you can’t seem to stop
  • Praying feels like wading through mud
  • Feeling exposed and vulnerable to spiritual attack
  • Being completely emotionally raw
  • Doubting your ability to think rationally through a problem
It’s like normal life challenges occasionally send me overboard. The feeling reminds me of the prenatal depression I had with the last two pregnancies, except it is only for a few days at a time. 

I think I’m beginning to understand what has been happening. I think that the reason I’m struggling so much is because, while I appear to be managing things pretty well, I’m doing it all on my own strength. And I’ve been failing.
 

“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” 2 Cor 12:9 

This last episode was a couple of days of near despair as I struggled with how harsh I can be with my children. It’s not a new thing. I’m not a naturally gentle, soft-spoken kind of mom. I’m not patient. I’m not even all that affectionate – at least not as much as I’d like to be. However, God has really been leading me to seek more gentleness, warmth, and intentional kindness toward my children

AND I’VE REALLY BEEN TRYING! 

And failing. 
 
Only that failure has brought me to where I need to be. TRULY at the feet of Jesus. Truly humble and dependent upon God for the solution, because I. have. none.  
I struggle knowing that I can’t overcome how I’m wired. But God can.

“Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God.” 2 Cor. 3:5 

So this is where I am. It’s not the best feeling in the world, but it is sweet in it’s way, because I know God is holding my hand and guiding me back on the right path. From this position of trust and dependence, I will more clearly see what God has for me to learn in this area.
 
Here’s what I’m doing now:
  • Spending more time first thing every morning connecting with God and listening to His heart. Not the quick prayer thrown up as I guzzle coffee (although I pray those daily!). Instead, it’s the halting, desperate kind of prayer that says “Lord, I have nothing to give my family that isn’t from You. Please give me Your patience. Your gentleness. Your self-control. Your joy. Please fill me with your Spirit.”
  • Seeking the counsel of my husband and wise friends – I am already learning much through them. So far, they are telling me to humble myself and seek wisdom, and that while I seem to be juggling everything well, I am internally overwhelmed, which is contributing to my harshness. They recommend I evaluate my priorities and activities. 
  • Praying for guidance in what God wants me to focus on, as well as wisdom in parenting and managing my home.
  • Re-examining the parenting tools and resources God has given me with fresh eyes and a listening spirit, instead of my typical “get it done and move on” approach. 🙂 
  • Simplifying our lives by examining what we can cut out, rearrange, or re-prioritize in order to reduce my workload and properly focus on the most important things first.
Here’s the tools and resources I’m using:
  • My Bible
  • The Hello Mornings challenge through Inspired to Action. (It’s full for now, but you can check out her Maximize Your Mornings eBook for some great tips.) It started today and I hope it will help me solidify my morning devotion and prayer time as well as start some better daily planning and exercise habits.  
  • The Gentlenss Challenge through Women Living Well. This was a blog series done a while ago and I’m slowly taking bites out of it and incorporating them into my daily interactions with the kids. It’s already been a huge blessing.  
  • Parenting resources I already heavily use, but have become even more effective as I more gently and humbly implement them: 
  • Books I’m going to read or re-read/skim
 
=================
 
We have had a lot of change in our family and there are a lot of things I am managing. We have all been there. We have all been stretched thin. 
 
Will I allow the enemy to take this as an opportunity to push my insecurity buttons? Will I continue to try to do everything on my own strength? Or will I show myself some grace and run humbly to my God, relying on His strength and His Spirit in every detail of life? 
 
Oh the lessons I must learn over and over. 🙂 
 

 

 

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This Post Has 10 Comments

  1. Being a mum is sometimes very hard going but all I can say is hang in there
    is usually all works out in the end.
    Merle…..

  2. Thank you so much for your post! That is exactly where I have been. I have four children five and under, I’m due in 2.5 weeks with my fifth and we just received a 2-year-old foster boy last week. I’m drowning. I feel like I’m praying into the fog. I need the Lord so desperately and yet He feels so far away. I dread parenting right now. I’m tired and weak and scared about the future. I know God is in control!! Thank you again for your words!

    1. I know we all get to that tired and weak stage sometimes! Thanks for the comment. I’ll be praying for you!

  3. As always, you’re singing my song, Tauna. I struggle with being harsh too, and my natural personality is more analytical and less warm & fuzzy. It makes it hard to be the compassionate and tender mom that I want to be, but that’s what Christ has called us to be. I’m finding that The Mission of Motherhood is really helping remind me of this. Thanks for sharing your heart.

    1. Oh, thank you so much for the encouragement and sisterhood Gabby! I really appreciate it. I need to pick up that book again, so thanks for the reminder. 🙂

  4. This is exactly where I am. Bless you and thank you.

  5. Hit the nail on the head. I’ve been struggling with this. And keeping my house clean. And volunteering for someone else’s dream. And tryimg to work for the post office sometimes 10 hours a night, 6 days a week. And trying to cook – failing miserably. And trying to wean my 15 month old. And trying to teach my daughter to be less sensitive but her sensitivity is a direct result of my harshness. And dealing with a child that isnt mine biologically and I’m having thoughts of just letting her go stay with her father because I am tired of the drama and utter chaos. I needed this.

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