Wednesday, February 21, 2007Just when you seem to get a grip on life...
... something bizarro happens, as if by a calculated stroke of the clock from the evil one. Your prayer life is progressing, you are loving motherhood, your husband and you are communicating beautifully, life is grand.
Just when we think we've risen above the roller coaster emotions of our challenging vocation, you get hit hard. Writing this out is helping me to put that in perspective. I'm never above the temptation to anger and despair. I must always be vigilant for the attacks of the evil one trying to jeopardize my relationship with Christ.
Today, I went to the thrift store with my three little ones in tow. I was wearing the baby and the two and four year olds were riding in the cart while I tried to browse a couple things. The boys were giggling, then standing in the cart. A curt, store employee asks me to have them sit down since many kids fall out of the carts. I nod and smile, of course, slightly overwhelmed because my kids were unruly at the time and I picked a bad time of day to venture out. The boys sit down. Not two minutes later, Leo stands up again to reach for an item on the shelf. The cart tumbles over with a very loud bang. He knocks his head against the shelf and promptly WAILS a piercing scream. Then Dominic starts crying and Xavier is just laying on the floor whimpering. The same woman comes over to me, giving me a very cold, stern look of "I told you so." Another employee asks if we need ice. Leo is fine so I decline. But he is still wailing, now begging for ice. I talk to the boys in as much of a calm voice I can muster, while my dignity and composure are rapidly fraying in a heap behind me: "C'mon boys, maybe we should go." The employees (there are three now) shift around and exchange looks in what can only be interpretted as them not wanting to tell me to leave... but hoping I will. This must be similar to what people feel when their bosses "ask" for their resignation. So I try to shush the baby while picking up Leo and carrying him, still crying, on my other hip. Xavier trudges behind me, crying now because he wanted to stay in the store to play with toys. The entire place is staring at me... it was silent except for my kids crying and my red face screaming for air.
So there's that. It took me a couple hours to digest that but I have it in perspective now I think. I was really rather depressed, feeling like I can't really go out in public anymore... and who am I to think that I have a handle on this whole mothering thing?!
And I have to divorce myself from those thoughts. It was just one day. And it almost makes me feel like I must be doing something right, when things like this happen. The closer you feel to God, the more vulnerable you are to attacks from the one who doesn't want that. He, in his sneaky way, wants us to feel exactly what I am so often tempted to feel: inadequate. This would be such a sucess for him! If we, who are raising the future soldiers and ambassadors for Christ, don't feel able to handle the job... we are inclined to give up or give in to apathy or self-pity. This of course affects our mothering, which plants seeds of easy battle-wins on our children's souls. Where we neglect them or dishonor them, it is like we are creating a mold for their character... with little leaks here and there. And you better believe that he knows their weaknesses, just as he knows ours. I guess what I'm trying to say is that we should be empowered to look at trials like this in a new way. They aren't just "trials from God to endure." Often they are direct battles the evil one tries to plant in our minds. And by recognizing this, we can be ready to fight.