Somewhere along the way, I have lost my confidence. I have come to realize over the last couple of days that this is the reason for most of my problems. And I can't put my finger on what exactly took it away. It isn't that I feel I have lost myself, because I don't feel that way at all. All I ever wanted to do was be a wife and mom. I wanted to stay at home with my babies and take care of my husband. That is exactly who I am and what I want to be doing. But it is more that I feel like I am failing at those things that I am supposed to be doing.
When Jordan and Claire were little, and it was just them, I felt really good about the job I was doing. Things were so simple then. We would get up, eat breakfast, play a little, get dressed, meet friends at the park or whatever, and life just seemed right. Time went by, we lost a couple of jobs, and we settled in Murfreesboro. Stephen started working at State Farm and he loved it. Things were getting back to normal, and Lukey was born. Oh, sweet Luke. I still felt really good about my abilities as a mother. Jordan and Claire hadn't reached the fighting stage yet, I had a perfect little one again and things were right.
But I remember telling Stephen at one point that I was scared for everyone to grow up. Not that I was sad for the baby stage to be over (though, now, I am), but I was terrified. I know how to take care of babies and toddlers. I am quite good at it, if I may say so myself. I love to hold them, take care of them, teach them things, just be with them. But I am terrified of the older stage, where Jordan and Claire are now. How do I parent them? Do I have what it takes to teach them about God and life and everything they need to know? It was almost as if, when I said it out loud that I was terrified of it, Satan said, "Now I've got her! I know just where to bring her down!!" And he took all the confidence I had.
We have been having some trouble with my precious Jordan. He is incredibly smart, funny, a great big brother, just an all around great kid. But for the last few months, probably 6 or so, there has been something going on with him and me. It was like he turned into a different kid around me. A lot of arguing, back-talk, just plain disrespect. I was so frustrated. What was I doing wrong. He was doing it to Stephen, too, but not to the extreme he was doing it with me. I had a really bad day with him this past Saturday, probably the worst it's been, and I called my friend. I went and talked to her for a long time and we just talked through everything. When it started, circumstances, etc. She asked me if I could change one thing to make me feel like I was making some progress, what would it be. I told her that I didn't like myself. At all. I didn't like my body, I didn't like myself as a mom, as a wife, as a friend, etc. There wasn't anything about me that I like. If I could change one thing, it would be to have confidence in myself again.
So, I prayed on the way home that God would show me who I am in Him. No, I can't parent on my own. I can only parent with the Spirit guiding me. He knows Jordan better than I do, and the only way I can parent him is with the Spirit's help. Yesterday was incredible. I told myself that God was with me and that He would help me. He gave me my kids because, with Him, I do have what it takes to be their mom. I have what they need and they can respect me. They can obey me. They just have to know that I love and respect them and that whatever I do, I do because I love God and want the best for them. Not because I want to be a mean mom and not let them do all the things they want.
All this to say, my problem wasn't with Jordan. It was with me. I had believed the lies that Satan was telling me. Lies like I can't be a good mom; I am a terrible homeschooler, I can never make it work; I will never have what it takes to have that phenomenal family I dreamed of. Those were all lies and I know that now. I feel liberated. Not that I feel like everything will be perfect from here on out. But I know the answer to my problems. My strength comes from God alone. As long as I remember that, I will be fine.
I want to share two things that have touched me over the last few days. I am re-reading a book that my friend reminded me of. She calls it her other parenting Bible ;) It is called A Positive Plan for More Calm, Less Stress by Karol Ladd. She also wrote The Power of a Positive Mom, if you are familiar with that. Anyway, it is an excellent book and there is a poem that touched me.
"Let nothing disturb thee,
Let nothing affright thee,
All things are passing,
God changeth never." Teresa of Avila
Also, a scripture keeps coming up and I know why now. It is Isaiah 41:10. "So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand."
God is good. God is faithful. And God hears your cries for help.