Day 3 and a new element is introduced into my quest for Christmas: work. Don't get me wrong, I love my job and I love the kids and I love the people that I get to work with. But the past couple of weeks haven't been the smoothest journey and it's coming up on crunch time with midterms and all that business. So I spent my day on the edge of my seat, looking for an opportunity. Alas, either the opportunity didn't present itself or I didn't see it. I'm going to go with my "Jesus-ism" and say that God has something else in mind.
I got home with a pile of work that would require my immediate attention. This would have been much easier had it not been for the tragic, painful, pre-teen angst that awaited me at home. I had, unwittingly, erased the most-favored, most-loved app from the iPad when I updated it last night before going to bed.
Well, it had to be fixed immediately and there was nothing that was more important than having that app, re-installed NOW! That didn't happen. Turns out, the update killed the app and in order to reinstall the app I had to rollback the operating system. Translation - the pain train was on the mom track for about 3 hours before finding the completely hidden post that tells you it can't be done no matter what you do.
By this time, what I was serving up was not the unconditional love of God. Kyser and I had already traded words a couple of times over the process and he was losing patience almost as fast as I was losing the reign I had on my tongue.
Finally we both snapped. I let loose on him with a well-practiced diatribe about how he was so spoiled and so impatient and how world revolved around him. He let loose with a piece of truth that I thought I was pretty good at veiling. "It doesn't matter to you. You think it's stupid. You think everything I do is stupid. You wish I was a baby or in high school," his face was almost as red as his hair. "You pretend to listen to me but you don't very much at all."
The hottest tears I am certain that have ever been formed in the eyes of any mother began to burn my lower lashes. The lump was completely beyond being swallowed. I'd been caught. He's 10. And evidently he's pretty perceptive because I do that all the time, and don't shake your head and click your tongue at what a terrible person I am because you do it too. It may not be with your kids, but you do it.
And suddenly here was my sacrifice and my service for the day. It seemed odd to me, especially since I had made my own "rules" and on Day 3 was already breaking them, that I would be called upon to humble myself to my child. But don't think that the whole "theme" of this quest was getting past me. My problem was and is that I have stopped serving and putting others first. And putting the face of my child on the walking, talking thorn was just brutal. Sometimes God is brutal.
Every child is a miracle; but mine is an actual documented medical miracle. His conception, his birth, his survival wasn't supposed to happen. For the first few years of his life, it was terrifying and awesome to be his parent, terrifying because I knew that what I had been entrusted with was a blessing and a miracle; awesome because I had been trusted enough to be entrusted. Then I got used to having him around... he started talking, having ideas, being a person. And I did with him what I did with every other person: devalued him by putting him where I thought he belonged. Sure he was talking, but was he really SAYING anything? Sure, he wanted to go, but did I make it a PRIORITY to take him.
I have devalued my child to the point of not taking him to church. This is a touchy subject in our house. My husband doesn't feel the need to go. For me, I was raised to believe that church is where you go for fellowship and for the refueling of the heart and spirit for the week ahead. I got sick of fighting the battle with him and with his father. I don't make him go. We don't read the Bible as a family. In fact, there is no spirituality in our home whatsoever. We don't pray before we eat. I have given up trying to minister to my husband and at the same time, I am not ministering to my son or exposing him to any instruction.
I know how to fix it. And there is no good excuse for not fixing it. In fact, there is no excuse at all. There is either teaching my child about God or not. Right now, I am not. A part of me wants to blame my husband; he is the spiritual leader of the home. He is the head of the household. But we both know that his heart is not in a right spirit when it comes to God and my heart is not in a right spirit when it comes to him. As a family, we love each other, but as people, we are strangers. We cannot even be bound together by faith. That is terrifying to me.
So what is my service and sacrifice tonight? God broke the rules for me; He opened my eyes to the reality of our home which to Him must appear confusing and disjointed from His heavenly throne. I love my son and my husband. And so I pulled Kyser aside and I apologized to him. Not just for yelling at him, but for not paying attention to him. I apologized to him for not taking him to church, which he didn't know was a lack of service on my part and informed him that from now on, he would be attending with me. We also agreed that each night, we would read the Bible together. Where is the sacrifice, you ask? The sacrifice is in my sharing that despite being given the one thing I wanted more than anything, a child, I am still prideful and selfish enough to believe that that child belongs to me; he belongs to God and so I will give him back.