If the past three and a half years of motherhood have taught me anything, it’s how much I need Jesus. It also has taught me how stubbornness and pride are two terrible parts of my personality I still haven’t turned them over to Him. While I’m still wrestling it into the place God wants it to be – in complete surrender to Him – He gives me many opportunities on a daily basis to practice what I preach to my children…and continually remind me that pressing into Him is the only way.
I’m at my wits end with Serafina’s eating habits. I work hard to make nourishing, healthy, delicious food for our family without having to make a different menu for the kiddos. I know she likes the food I’m making because she’s eaten most – if not all – of it before but all of a sudden she refuses even her favorite things.
While I’m convinced she’s acting out and doing it as an act of insubordination, it doesn’t change how it grates on me. I am tired. Tired of the extra effort required to convince her to eat food I know she enjoys. Tired of her choice to be disciplined rather than eat. Tired of her choice to boycott food I’ve taken the time to prepare for her. Compounding the issue is the fact that she barely eats enough as it is. By going on a self-inflicted hunger strike, she sets herself for an even bigger breakdown due to hunger and exhaustion.
The adamant refusals, the tears, the hitting…all of it. I’m just done. And I’m frustrated.
She’s three years old. Threenagers, I believe this special group of children are called. Three going on thirteen. Honestly, it’s just three going on crazy. And since I got one just like me, it’s even more difficult because I see the stubbornness in myself reflected back in every defiant word she says.
This is where my pride comes out.
Where I recognize my incredibly deep need for Jesus.
The part that breaks my heart so much as a mama is her refusal to ask Jesus for help. This is something we are training her in so it is more of a recanted appeal rather than an internally motivated one. Regardless, my job as a parent is to point her to Christ for help, reassurance, comfort, and strength among other things.
Just today, she wouldn’t take a “no thank you” bite, a customary practice in our home she was fine with up until a few months ago. A “no thank you bite” entails having one bite of something before saying you don’t like it. Since this is something we feel strongly about enforcing, she and I took a moment to talk about whether or not it was a good choice to refuse said bite. She said no and I asked her if she’d like to ask Jesus for help to make a good decision. Saying yes, I helped her pray a simple prayer (yes, Jesus cares about even the little things…but that’s another discussion for another day). After “amen,” I asked her if she was ready for her “no thank you” bite. She answered with an emphatic “no.”
Why not, you wonder? She didn’t want to listen to Jesus.
How many times have I been in her position? On the verge of a bad or selfish decision, my husband or a dear friend leads me to Jesus and helps me petition His wisdom for the situation. Jesus comes back with a solution through His word or some other avenue yet I pridefully choose not to respond.
My heart breaks that I’d be so calloused.
So emphatically righteous.
I am so thankful I have a strong-willed daughter. I am grateful God uses our everyday circumstances to teach us more about ourselves and more about His goodness. Seeing her innate sinfulness and how much it reflects my own shortcomings is convicting yet encouraging at the same time. I need Jesus and so does she and He is big enough to be enough for both of us. For all of us. I have the most important job in the world: pointing my children to Christ until they can listen to and follow Him on their own. But I can’t do that if I don’t constantly – and consistently – respond in obedience to His call. I need to listen to Him even when my pride gets in the way.
Blessings, friend. Thank you for letting me be honest with my struggles as a wife, mom, friend, and most importantly, daughter of The King.