Not very long ago… perhaps 2 months maybe, we were hitting a wall regarding our little ladies. Forget the cliche terrible twos. Terrible can be at any age. Trust us. Am I right parents? I feel like my mom said several times when I was younger, “one day I hope you have a child who is like you so you will learn how difficult you can be”. Thanks Mom. You win.
Sure my girls are princesses when we wave hello to you in the grocery store aisles. They use all their polite manners when we come over for play dates. But at home, in the car, and every little moment in between, we were at war. And frankly, who has time for fighting, right? I wanted to give up. I was giving up in so many ways, and more like giving in so many other ways. Brandon and I both were. We were letting things slip. “Choose our battles” we would say. But the more that we let slip through, the more we just couldn’t wait for bedtime to come so our little ‘monsters’ would go to sleep and we could clock out of parenting duties. I mean, literally, we were rushing them to get in bed as soon as dinner was done. I am not exaggerating.
Their bad behavior was consuming us. We finally hit a breaking point… and I can’t even recall it as a momentous thing
that took place, it was just a quiet ah-ha
moment that we both realized we had to stop it. We had
to fight back. Why were we letting our children set the rules? Why were we letting them get away with terrible behavior? Why were we allowing them to argue, to fight, to insult each other? Why were we allowing tantrums? We were tired, thats why. But we prayed and regained some clarity, and realized that we needed to fight for our girls. We needed to fight the bad behavior, we needed to do it for them, for their sake.
So we began not allowing anything to slip through. I mean, nothing. NOTHING. And at the same time, we began adding structure back into our weeks. It helped that I could begin homeschooling at the same time. School alone added the structure we needed. School also added lots of attention and love into their little cups. You know, those cups all kids have that need to be constantly filled. We fought for those cups to be filled, for their days to be structured, and for their actions to be watched so that nothing bad was slipping through the cracks.
I began picking up on what was behind the bad behavior, the roots of the problems. I began noticing unhealthy competitions between the girls, or ways that they weren’t loving each other well. Things that perhaps we have never taught them how to do. And so we started providing opportunities for them to learn how to love each other in ways that we would like to see. The results were immediate.
It was a marathon of conquering the bad, the sin, the frustrations, the exhaustion, the confusion, and the ugliness that was creeping into our lives, our family, and our home. Conquering it, rather than ignoring it. Conquering it, rather than allowing it to crush us. We conquered and then we started building. We are still doing this. I don’t foresee that we’ll ever be done. There will always be something new to conquer and something new to build upon. We are building these little people into who God has made them to be. We are building them up, they need our help, they HAVE TO be helped in order to learn about who they are and what it means to be a young girl, a sister, a daughter. We have to help define that for them. We are guiding them, we are learning about their tendencies and their gifts. We are learning about how God has made them in order to best build them up. We are building up ourselves, building up our family and our home. This can’t be done passively. Although I do believe God can be working in unseeable ways, I mean, hello, He is God. But we have to do the work. No one else is going to do it for us. We have to get off our complacent, exhausted, coffee loving behinds and get it DONE. I know we can. Jesus did so much more and overcame so much that He gives us the hope, the love, the strength, and the grace that fuels us during those hard and difficult marathons in life.
“No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.” -Romans 8:37
“You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.” -1 John 4:4