Monday, June 3, 2013

Hiding my face {or admitting my shame}

On my better days, I remind myself that I don't need to be embarrassed by my children. Not because they're so well behaved or because everyone else has miniature tyrants too.

Because they make their own decisions. The fits and selective hearing and disobedience... all on them. I don't have to take credit.

I remind myself that I only need be embarrassed by my reaction. When I hiss through my teeth or turn a deaf ear or roll my eyes that I have to tell them "one more time not to touch that."

So why did I feel humiliated this weekend as my children ran wild?

I tried to tell myself I was only being humbled, put in my right place. But that's not how I felt. I felt humiliated. Hang your head in shame before the gawking stranger as you waddle after your wayward 3 year old trying to keep the screech out of your voice. Humiliated.

I'm humbled when I have to ask for help so that I can stay on the couch.

I'm humbled when I see the dog hair forming a protective second layer of carpet on the stairs.

I'm humbled when I'm gently reminded of my weakness. My Christian-trained mind values humbleness, even if I bawk at first.

But this weekend was no gentle reminder. And I found myself asking The Lord, why aren't we out of this awful phase yet? Why are they still fighting after all the talks and time outs and spankings and appeals and rewards? Haven't I done enough to bounce us out of this funk?

And why do I feel brought low, humiliated? I thought you were the gentle humbler? I don't feel like a bruised reed unbroken. I feel like a child whose been jerked up short. Do you do that? Do you catch me by my wayward ponytail and snatch my attention?


    verb (used with object) hu·mil·i·at·ed,hu·mil·i·at·ing.

  1. to cause (a person) painful loss of pride, self-respect, or dignity; mortify.
    I might have reminded myself not to be embarrassed of their poor choices, but had I repeated that mantra on the good days too?
    No. Absolutely not.
    I wanted full credit for those days, the children who walk calmly by my side, listening for my voice. Those were brought about by my wise counsel, my diligent discipline.
    And there is no room for pride in a heart full of Christ.
    Or rather, there is no room for Christ in a heart full of pride.
    And a gracious father gives what we need. Himself. For I have no good apart from him.
    This mortifying, this humiliating work is painful and public. It has to be. If no one sees, I keep telling myself the lie that I have achieved parental success.
    But what is parental success or failure? What do I give account for? 
    The girls behavior cannot be my witness and proof. That's pride or humiliation. 
    My success in parenting must rest where it lies for everything else... Jesus Christ and him crucified. What else do I have?
    This putting pride to death phase isn't over yet. I wish I could glimpse the lesson and experience the burden immediately lift.  So far, it has never worked that way. I see what I'm being taught, then have it hammered in a few more times. Repetition works for heart memory too.
    So we press on in a mortifying season trusting that his grace is sufficient, that his power is made perfect in weakness.
    Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly in my weaknesses, for when I am weak, then I am strong.

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