Monday, March 03, 2008

A Heart Assessment

Have you ever visited Rachel at A Heart Assessment? I don't remember how we first became acquainted, but we have had some great conversations via email and I consider her my friend. So I trust she won't mind that I am borrowing her blog title for my post title. (By the way, her dad needs our prayers right now. Click over to her site for the details.)

A Heart Assessment.

That's exactly what I had to go through last night.

On Sunday nights Brian and I have small group at our house. We've been doing this for years and, when we began, the timing all made sense. The kids were always in bed by 8:00, so that's what time everyone gathered at our house for small group. Sometimes we were a little "late" getting downstairs, but the kids were in bed, everyone was happy and it all worked out very well.
Fast forward to the past month or two.
Our kids are older now. Their new school starts later than the previous one, so they don't need to get up as early in the morning. Therefore, bedtime is no longer 8:00. But small group still is.
We have adjusted our timing and expectations of the kids and their bedtime to work with our Sunday nights, but recently there has arisen a problem. Joshua has decided he just "can't" go to sleep if I don't come in, sing to him, and say goodnight right before he has to go to sleep. In other words, I can't sing and say goodnight at 7:45 and then let him stay up until 8:30, or whenever he wants to go to bed. It just won't work for him.
I have tried to tell Joshua it is rude for me to leave my guests in the middle of our meeting to go in and say goodnight to him. I told him if he wants me to go through the regular bedtime drill, he will need to be in bed by 8:00 on Sundays. He hasn't been too crazy about this option, but last night he was ready for bed before 8:00 and I tucked him in before small group began.
Everything seemed to be going smoothly, and I was relieved.
About 8:45 or so, Joshua came into the family room with a very sad look on his face and mumbled something about not being able to sleep. He asked if I would come say good night to him again. I could see he was on the verge of tears and I got up to go back to his room with him. When we got there, Joshua climbed into bed and said he was sorry.
Sorry? For what? Because he was having trouble falling asleep?
Why should he be sorry for that???

That's when the heart assessment began.

I realized Joshua was apologizing for asking me to leave small group to come and say good night again. He didn't want to "inconvience" me or my guests. I could tell he thought he was bothering me, and he felt sorry for that.
Oh, how I wanted to cry!
This was my sweet little boy, needing his mommy, yet afriad I was going to be upset by his neediness. The moment caused me to come face-to-face with my sinful nature. My selfishness.
What had I told him before? I didn't want to be rude to my guests by saying goodnight to him in the middle of small group. Was that it?
No, last night I realized the truth. My small group members are my friends. They don't care if I get up to attend to my children. They expect it - I'm a mom!
The truth of the matter is, I didn't want to be bothered. I was allowing my selfishness to speak for me and pin it on not wanting to be rude, but that wasn't the truth at all. And Joshua's simple, Sorry, made me see the truth.

I love my children. I do not ever want them to think they are a bother or an inconvenience to me. They are gifts from God, and I want them to know I believe it. My battle with selfishness and self-centeredness is likely to be life-long, but I thank God for taking me through this heart assessment and allowing me to see what's really there.
My prayer today is from one of my favorite choruses: Change my heart, O God. May I be like You!

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freetofly said...

Karen, this is SOOO me! I have been confronted with this ugly truth in myself, many more times that I care to think of!

But, you caught it, you turned it around! That's awesome!

Way to go, Mom!


Mississippi Songbird said...

You are a great Mom and I know your children love you so much.I can tell in your post. You are a hero of a Mom!
And thank you for sharing this..
God Bless you..

luvmy4sons said...

I so appreciate your honesty. I can honestly say I have had to do the same! Children do so much for building our characters, don't they?

3 boys club said...

wow, the spirit is our comforter and our confronter. I have been struggling with selfishness and and wanting "me" time all the time lately and it was really taking a toll on my relationship with my sons because I have been acting more like a babysitter than a great mom. My days are much brighter and playful and honestly more productive when I can take a step back and be a mom.
You have really challenged and inspired me. Thank you for a great post!

Happyhome said...

Karen, you just get it! Thanks for helping the rest of us get it too.

Rachel Meyer said...

I don't think I ever read this post! I have tears in my eyes as it reminds me of why it is so important to continually take that assessment! Loves to you <3