Bedtime started the same as all the rest. Logan climbed into his bed, arranged all of this “stuffies” and settled down onto his pillow. He kept squirming and moving around, unable to lay still. I then asked him what songs he wanted to sing, even though I already knew that answer. This was part of our bedtime ritual. I ask him what songs knowing that he will tell me Jesus Loves Me, Itsy Bitsy Spider, The BIBLE, and ABC’s and in that exact order. It’s the same every night but I still ask. So I start singing, and he lays there and is anything but still. My frustration was starting to grow. I kept telling him to settle down and listen or sing along with me, but he wasn’t listening.
I finally made it through all four songs, in the correct order, and it’s time for bedtime prayers. My patience was quickly wearing thin, and I was getting short with Logan. I asked him what he would like to pray for and he answered with his usual response, “Everything! And my closet, and my tent bed.” Then, I asked him if he would like to pray, trying to explain to him that God likes it when Logan talks to Him. His answer was no, he wanted me to pray, as usual. So I started and Logan began talking and playing loudly, while I was trying to pray. I lost it!
My frustration and patience had reached their max in that moment and I blew up. I yelled and used my stern mom voice to demand he listen and lay down! Very quickly I felt remorse and guilt for blowing up. I stopped and closed my eyes for a moment while Logan just stared at me. I silently prayed, “Lord, forgive me.” Then the thought came to me, don’t just ask God for forgiveness, ask Logan too.
Really? Is that what I should be doing right in this minute. I mean, Logan wasn’t really listening to me and it was justified in my eyes. In God’s eyes, it wasn’t. I had a teaching moment in front of me. I had a chance to show Logan that I am human and not always perfect. I could help him understand that it’s okay to admit that you aren’t perfect and that you should ask for forgiveness in those moments. So I took a deep breath, looked at Logan and said, “Logan, mommy was wrong. I shouldn’t have yelled at you. Will you please forgive me?”
You know what he did next? He shook his head yes, and gave me hugs and kisses. My heart melted and I realized in that moment that he is always going to love me. I need to show him that I’m not perfect, but I have a perfect God. I have a God that fills in the gaps where I fall short. I forget that the best way to teach Logan is to show him through my actions and responses.
It’s so easy to forget during the busyness of everyday tasks that I need to be the example to Logan of who God really is. He needs to look at me and see the example and the actions that reflect Christ in me. I don’t like those moments where I mess up and make mistakes, especially parenting mistakes. Admitting you are wrong is never easy, and having to admit it to your child can be so difficult.
Teaching moments are not always easy or pretty but they are important. They present themselves daily. I wish I could tell you that bedtime has been perfect since that one night but it hasn’t been. I have had to stop and ask for forgiveness again and again. I just pray Logan understands that I’m not a perfect mama, but I love him more than he could ever imagine. Most of all I pray that he understands he has a God that loves him even more!
What are some hard teaching moments you’ve had as a parent? Have you ever asked your child for forgiveness?
God uses my children to teach me important lessons like this all the time. One day I remember being frustrated with my oldest and telling him that if he really loved me he would be obeying me right away. As those words came out of my mouth my heart stopped for a moment. If I really love God then I will obey him right away. Not when I feel like it or when I want to, but right away.
Laura Ramnath says
Thank you Rebekah for sharing this. I find myself expecting immediate obedience from my son without taking the time to teach him who the obedience needs to be for. It really is tough to raise kids in this day and age and shepherd their hearts towards Christ.
Jennifer DeFrates/Heaven Not Harvard says
It is really hard to find that line between insisting on obedience and cooperation and losing my temper. Sometimes a hard tone is necessary, but often it is my exhaustion and frustration speaking louder than necessary. Good thing that asking for forgiveness with humility makes a bad moment such a witness! God has such a good plan, even when we fail!
Laura Ramnath says
Thank you Jennifer for those words! You’re right, sometimes a hard tone is necessary but I find I am loosing my patience and will yell instead of truly disciplining, God’s forgiveness is such a beautiful thing.
This is very true Laura. I think at the end of the day as mother’s we are so exhausted that we can’t wait to get them in bed so we can rest. You are so wise and susceptible to God for knowing what you did wrong. I tend to ignore that inner voice. Thanks for the reminder.
Laura Ramnath says
It is so easy to ignore that inner voice when we do things wrong as parents. Thank you Dominique for your kind words and taking time to stop by! 🙂