My Love is not home again tonight. Work travel. I put together an easy meal of shell pasta with red sauce and spinach salad. Our neighbors returned from their vacation to the beach with souvenir shirts for our kids. So sweet. Brother and Sister were sporting them proudly today. Anticipating spaghetti stains, I told them to wait so I could take off their shirts before they ate. We do things casual around here. I stepped over to help Babydoll when Bundle Boy started to take off his shirt and accidentally flung his plate off the table splattering his shorts, chair cushion, area rug below the table and nearby wall with spaghetti sauce. He was so so sorry. I immediately started praying out loud for patience and self-control and grace toward my son whom He loves.
It has been a few days of exhausting parenting around here. Even consistent consequences haven't seemed to get to the heart issues. I was hungry and tired and knew that everything within me was not ready for this situation. He kept apologizing as I took off the rest of his clothes and of course told him it was ok (with a twinge of "I wish you would have waited for me to help you...but I know it was an accident" attitude). I told him to go to the play room until I could clean up the mess. He went willingly. Babydoll got to town on her meal even though she doesn't seem to consistently like pasta. As I started wetting and spraying and scrubbing the stains, I heard a still small voice whisper in my heart, "Is it more important to clean this area rug or feed your son?" I stood up to fill a new plate of food being sure to pray out loud my thanks to God that we even have enough food for seconds. My heart aches for the children who won't eat tonight. I called in my boy and sat him at the other end of the table. I got the cream colored seat cushion in the wash while they were eating and using resolve to treat the stain since we were out of laundry spray. Mental note: add that to the list. I grumbled as I saw that I had to make room in the washer by transferring a load to the dryer but then saying out loud more thanks when I saw Babydoll's bedding (she had taken off her diaper during nap and wet the bed in her sleep) and pillow needed to be ready for bed that night. Better to see it then rather than while trying to put them to bed. I came downstairs to two giggling kids messing around at the table not taking any words of mine serious enough to obey and doing everything but eating. Dinner was cut short with food still on their plates. I sent Babydoll to the bathroom and saw her shorts were wet. She accidentally peed in her booster seat at the dinner table because... Really?!?! I herded my two precious gifts from God and said their goodnights at exactly 6:40pm after leaving them with a stack of books on each bed. They did anything but sleep. Two hours later and the sun still isn't down but I think they finally got tired of talking through their open doors to one another and drifted off to sleep. I sat down to feed myself and my flesh and read this post from desiringgod.org and God decided to feed my spirit.
Why do I ever take a moment to put higher value in something that is not eternal? Why do I let tired and hungry feelings dictate my words and actions?
For the fruit of the Spirit [within me] is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Anything done by my own strength does not automatically spill out these traits. Death to self makes Him alive and visible in life. More surrendering and repentance to be done.