Frankly, the last two days of parenting have been rough. I’ve got a a nine month old who wakes up just as much as the 5 day old next door, a toddler who whines incessantly and makes Ghandi and his fasting look like amateur work, and a preschooler that negotiates with every breath. Some days I feel like I can’t breathe from the noise and the chaos and that I’m simply not getting through to them. Which leaves me wondering, am I doing any good here? Am I pointless? Do they love me? If they loved me wouldn’t they want to try and be better? Wouldn’t they listen? Or see how their actions hurt me and others? Are disrespectful? I sometimes wonder if all people with the main love language of “acts of service” struggle heavily with small children. For example I “feel” most loved when someone does something to make my life easier such as put the dishes away, so when a child dumps cheerios all over the floor after I *just* picked up the last spill and vacuumed…it can feel soul crushing.
Obviously, you can see from the above paragraph that there is a lot of selfishness that I’m still working through — / — kids are intense and I’m human. Needless, to say last night I was in my all too usual foul mood when I overheard Stud reading to the Admiral from the Jesus Storybook Bible. He was reading the story of Leah. For those less familiar: Jacob came to work for a guy who had 2 daughters. The eldest, Leah, wasn’t easy on the eyes, and the younger, Rachel’s milkshake made all the boys come to the yard. If you know what I mean. So Jacob works hard for the Dad for seven years to marry, obviously, the hot one, because he’s a dude. Maybe he was in love with her too…but let’s be honest, she was hot. Come wedding day, Jacob channels his inner fraternity brother, gets married to a veiled “Rachel,” and parties hard. Except, it wasn’t Rachel under the veil but Leah. So he sleeps with veiled “Rachel” – which proves it IS sexy to show less – wakes up the next morning next to non virgin Leah…and is horrified. Dear ol’ Dad then graciously let’s Jacob work another 7 years to finally marry Rachel. This is the original Sister Wives. Interestingly, even though Leah is the non favored wife, she produces all the babies (except for 2) and it’s through her lineage that Jesus’s line comes from. ALSO can we just point out that even though girlfriend wasn’t the easiest on the eyes…Jacob clearly still has no problems sleeping with her. That always baffled me. I digress.
Anyway, so generally, this story is used to teach a variety of lessons, but specifically that God shows love and favor to Leah over Rachel. Leah receives and accepts this love and eventually finds satisfaction and fulfillment in life because of this single fact. She doesn’t need the love of Jacob to feel loved and fulfilled…or even happy. It’s a great lesson to cling to as a single, in a bad marriage, or even just a period of struggle in your relationship. SO that’s why I didn’t expect the story to SLAP ME IN THE FACE. Hell-O, SELF! I DON’T need to feel love and respected by my kids to feel happy, love, and fulfillment in my life. I’m loved by the King…nothing else matters.
Of course, God never likes to stop there when He’s making a point to me. He’ll bring it up again and again for funsies. Like tonight. One page into my Bible Study homework and it’s talking about how in light of the eternity, or the hereafter, it can change our perspective of our situations – giving us the strength and motivation to choose joy and love in times of hardship. I can’t help but flash back to my Dad’s death. Slam. I can’t sit in church and not think of my Dad for at least a moment. I can hear him singing “here I raise my Ebeneezer” and countless other phrases as I attempt to choke out the words…sometimes I can’t finish the song, and sometimes I sing louder knowing that my voice is rising in unison with him in that very moment as he sings gleefully for all of eternity. Woah. See, my dad’s death really just personified the concept of eternity for me. I understood it in my head, but after he died I understood it in my heart. I (and the rest of us) were created to be in love for eternity and when that love is cut us from in death our souls break, cry, and yearn for the very thing is was created for and was severed from. Death severs us. But the hope of eternity, of a see you again and when I do we’ll be doing what fulfills us the most – worshiping the very being that went through every torturous step of death and then slayed actual death. Rose from the grave. Gave new life. Gave us a hope of a forever – a chance at bliss. When I’m reminded of that reality check, again, I don’t need approval/love/respect from my children to live a happy and fulfilled life.
Yes, I will still demand them to obey and show respect, because that’s my job. But I will stop using them as personal saviors. They suck at it anyway. I mean….The Admiral can’t even snap his pants without the bribe of screen time. Clearly, my survival would be doomed if I relied on them in an apocalypse. But in reality, how unfair of me to do that to them. Now to wake up and remember this all tomorrow. Wish me luck.