Wednesday, February 24, 2010

I Had A Choice

My son needed me to do something for him.
I had other things to do, things I would have rather been doing, but I decided to take care of this issue first.
So I read the shipping and packaging directions, and wrote down the pertinent information we needed to keep for our records.
Told my son what I was doing and showed him where I was putting the paper. So he would know, should he ever need to find it.
I was doing my best to be kind. Wanted to do what I could to show love to my son ('Cuz he was in a pretty bad mood.) and I thought showing how careful I was being to take care of this task for him would speak love.
But he?
Responded to my gestures with an I-don't-really-care-what-you're-doing-or-how-careful-you're-being attitude.
And that made me mad.
I wanted to lay into my son with a lecture about respecting me, and appreciating all the things I do for him, and then maybe send him to his room until he could work it up within himself to treat me better.

But before I opened my mouth, the Holy Spirit held it closed.
Tightly.
And as I stood there with my mouth shut, He gave me a moment to realize something. Standing there - trying to be nice to my son, feeling put-out and thoroughly dissed - I had a choice.
I could yell at my son and make him feel worse than he already did. I could take out my frustration on him and have him yell at me, stomp off to his room, and slam his door. I could bring a cloud of anger into the house which would likely hang around for the rest of the night.

OR

I could turn the other cheek. I could forgive my son for the way he was treating me. I could remember that he's a child and upset about the fact that he had to do homework. That he wasn't intentionally being mean to me.
And, in so doing, I could increase the chances that we would have a pleasant evening together.

I went with the second option.
Decided it was a good time to leave the house for a few minutes to mail out my son's package and took the quiet moments to let God sooth my heart and spirit.

Oh, am I ever thankful for the grace of God which helps me make better choices.
How have you seen His grace in your life lately?


Karen

16 comments:

gianna said...

That same thing happened to me this morning in a MUCH smaller scale. My 3 year old was throwing a fit in bed with me because she wanted a drink and I was about to tell her that she should have thought of that BEFORE she crawled into bed with me.
As I was saying, "You shoulda...." I stopped and said, "I know."
Then, I watched her (a few minutes later) climb out of bed to get her own drink. I had remembered just before that I DID have a bottle of water by my bed, so I shared it with her.

But wow, those lectures can come out quickly! Way to go just submitting to the Holy Spirit and being obedient and kind to your son!

O Mom said...

I do deserve a great big lecture and sent to my room too often, but He never does it. I always sense Him saying, I know and I'm here....
Thank you for the reminder that I don't need to discipline every little outburst of my children. Sometimes a simple I know and I'm here through it all, speaks much louder.

Patricia/NYC said...

Oh the second option is always the way to go, isn't it?!! But oh so hard to do sometimes!

This just happened to me last night at dinner...Kiara did not want to eat what I had prepared & was making her thoughts on the subject loud & clear & not so nicely...telling me to make her something else to eat. I was just about to scold her in a not so nice tone of voice when it felt as though someone took hold of me...at that moment, I stopped & realized how tired she is from a day of school & then her swimming class...I did not say a word, I served dinner, told her to come to the table...after a few minutes of just sitting with dinner in front of her, she took a forkful & said, "oh momma, I love this!"
I was soooooo thankful I did not scold her...we wound up having a very pleasant & great evening!

You are so right...where would we be without God's grace & the wondrous gift of the Holy Spirit!!

Mary said...

Sometimes it's so hard to just take the 2nd choice. As a wife, mother, employee, friend, it can be frustrating to say the least.

I'm learning (although sometimes it's been the hard way grrr) that if I'm going to reflect Christ, then I need to REFLECT CHRIST in every situation.

Ugh.

Thank God for grace indeed.

Irritable Mother said...

Gianna - Ugh! Why is it that the lectures seem to be perched on the tip of our tongues, just waiting to come forth?
Just had a sermon about taming the tongue last Sunday. A huge task! But for the grace of God, it would be impossible.

O Mom - Strange to think a gentle response could speak "louder" than a yelling lecture. But you're right!

Patricia - Good for you! I don't think I can count the times I have ended up thanking God for holding my tongue for me - for keeping me from scolding or snapping - because while I remained silent, He was changing my child's heart.

Mary - You're right. We can't be effective disciples of Christ if we only reflect Him in the situations that are easy, comfortable, and convenient. That word "every" is pretty demanding.
Makes me even more thankful for His grace!

Ronel Sidney said...

Wow, this really spoke to my heart. This week has been busy for my schedule and the house is starting to look a mess (to my standards of course) because the boys (DH & Noddle) have been alone two nights this week. This morning I thought of missing quiet time to pick up after them but did quiet time instead. I thought about making him pick it up before school but instead prayed with him about his day. I thought about leaving a list of things to do for my hubby but instead I told him I loved him. I think grace is so much more pleasing to God than a clean house :D!! Besides my boys are happy and who as I to push my desires on them at the expense of their happiness (the house really isn't that bad).

Irritable Mother said...

Wow, Ronel. You made some wonderful choices! Way to go!!!

Jan said...

It is so hard sometimes to just keep my mouth shut when I am "feeling" hurt by the tone of voice or words that my kids use. On occasion, I have been know to just gently give them a reminder, "Hey, why the sharp tone?" or "Hey, that doesn't sound very nice" or "What is going on with you?" in a pleasant, easy voice and they are quick to realize what happened. Respect is big at our house, and it goes both ways. I know I need reminders about my tone every day too. Thanks for the great post!

Jerralea said...

I have had that same scenario happen many times. Good for you that you made the right choice! Not too long ago, I wanted so much to give my teenager a stiff punishment, but God instructed me to give her grace that time. After all, I need and ask for grace all the time!

elaine @ peace for the journey said...

This is the second blog I've read today regarding parental interaction with an upset son... must be something in the water or a full moon.

You are a good mother, Karen, and I applaud you for turning the other cheek and letting it go. I should have done more of that with my older sons.

Control, control, control... such an issue for me. Funny, just last night we were talking about our "issues" and I couldn't think of one.

Hmmmmm... thanks for that, I think.

peace~elaine

On Purpose said...

Grace is a beautiful thing! Oh and its very evident in our home...mainly because three amazing boys are 'stuck' living with this girly! Thankful for His grace and how it flows through us...when we choose to allow it!

Irritable Mother said...

Jan - Yeah. I need those reminders, too. And God is gracious to give them to me. Frequently.

Jerri - I have a great story about a father giving his son grace. I think I'll share it here sometime!

Elaine - Control. Yep. That's my issue, too.
One of the best things my mentor has said to me was what another mother said to her once. And that is - Don't do something now that you're going to have to (try to) repair later.
I think acheiving that feat may involve turning the cheek several times.
But I'm willing to do it.

Nicole - Oh, I don't know. I think it would be fun to be 'stuck' with you! *grin*

Leah @ Point Ministries said...

I am sooo behind reading blogs. Sorry!!

I need to remember this very often. Close my mouth. allow my heart to engage before my mouth. Great reminder Karen.

leah

Angie Muresan said...

I see God's grace daily. I am pretty laid back and my children are still young for me to be bothered by their behavior. I know the time will come, and I am already preparing myself with prayer on guiding them in wisdom and love.

Irritable Mother said...

Leah - No apologies necessary. I'm glad any time you get to stop by. *grin*

Angie - Preparing yourself. That's a wise move!

km said...

I'm so thankful that you share how God is at work in your heart...He so often speaks to me through you.