what you won't see on my facebook status updates.

if everyone and their mom has said it before, then everyone and their mom will say it again: one of the frequent problems with blogs and social media is that we tend to get a very limited view of people's lives.  the picture that people love to paint of themselves is usually success-heavy.  "aren't i funny?  aren't i crafty?  isn't my house beautiful?  don't i give great advice?  aren't i an awesome mother/wife/photographer/cook?"  and the answer is frequently, "based on what i see on your blog or your facebook page, yes. yes, you are."

well, here's the uncensored truth of my life: yesterday, i told my kids to pick up their toys before lunch.  i pushed, i prodded, i urged, i reminded...i got angry...i got angrier...i lost control.  as much as it pains me and embarrasses me to lay it out in detail, i don't want to be vague.  i screamed in my children's faces.  i threw things.  i ripped a lovey out of penelope's hands and she was so scared of me, she ran crying across the room.  when atticus asked me for help finding the box to put his toy trucks away, i screamed something like, 'i don't care what you need! i just don't care! JUST OBEY!'  i punished them by sending them to nap without lunch.

friends, it was sickening the way i treated my children.  they were so hurt.  atticus wouldn't even look at me, penelope was crying, and still i was so proud.  i put them in bed and walked out and closed the door without even telling them 'i love you.'  my heart, laid bare, is a gross, sinful, nasty mess and i take it out on the ones i've been given the single job of protecting, nurturing and cherishing. 

this is how i sometimes behave when you can't see me.  are you shocked?

i share this with you for many reasons, none of which are for you to feel sorry for me or tell me that it's somehow okay that i behaved this way.  it's absolutely not.  the bible states so clearly that we're not to give in to 'fits of rage,' and that's exactly what i did.

one of the reasons i do share this with you is to lovingly, compassionately, empathetically tell you that, if you are finding yourself relating to this in any way, it is not okay for you to behave this way either. 

at the end of my hardcore temper tantrum yesterday, i just broke down.  i pleaded with god to change me.  not to 'grow' me or 'help me be better.'  i told him in desperation that i can't be this person anymore - i can't continue to call myself a christ-follower and presume to lead my kids in faith if i can't control myself, if i am enslaved to anger and outward control.  and i can't make the change myself - i have tried and failed so many times i can't count them.  i need him to do a radical work in me to make me a new person, not just a better version of the person i've always been.  i need him to work like he did when i first became a christian: one day i was a sinner, without hope and without god, and the next day i was forgiven, and seen as pure, and given hope and a worthwhile future.  that's the scale of change i need to see in my life.

and i am convinced god will do it.

after i cooled down, and i called todd and confessed all the nasty sin i had just committed, and sat in the bathtub and bawled for awhile, i opened to philippians 1, where it states, '[i am] confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of christ jesus.'

god hates our sin.  it was the reason for his son's murder, and the source of our separation from him who cares about us desperately with deep affection.  but he loves us.  his heart is one that wants us to grow to be more like him.  when we want that, too, and call out to him asking him to do that for us, he will give us that desire of our heart.  i am absolutely certain.

be broken by your sin, and be encouraged by god's spirit: you don't always have to be the way you are when no one sees you.  if god can forgive and change even someone as sinful as i am, he can forgive and change you, too.


todd said...

The ugly truth is better than the beautiful lies that are often told.

Our kids don’t need you to be Jesus for them, they need you to need Jesus before them.

That is what you did in repenting and confessing your sin yesterday to me and to them.

That is the Gospel.

It would have been easier to paint over dirt.

It would have been reasonable not to tattle on yourself before others.

If looking good were what life is primarily about.

But it’s not.

You get that and I love God for revealing that consistently to you.

The Jones Family said...

Remember me? I'm the one who unashamedly introduced myself at cstone as the one who loves your blog, though you don't know me well. Anyway, I am so glad you wrote this and decided to put yourself out there. Unfortunately I can relate to how your sin manifested itself. It is a horrible feeling to see fear in the eyes of your child as they look back at you. But God in his rich mercy, that is new every day, is just and faithful to forgive. My husband and I are going through the book "Give Them Grace" which has really challenged us (in the best way) in our parenting. Do we want "good kids" or kids that are keenly aware of their need for a Savior? Thanks for your transparency. This world needs more moms who glorify God, not only when they're all put together but also, and especially when, they are not.

the jersk. said...

thank you for this. i've been having hardcore jealousy over everyone's lives and although this is going to sound weird and need a disclaimer, i love that i'm not jealous of you.
i LOVE you. i get to LOVE you. because i know who you are inside and out, good days and bad, and that enables me to give you love that comes from you being fully known.
everyone i'm jealous of, i don't really know. i can't love them because i don't know them. i just offer up the bitterness of my heart because i don't have anything but a highlights reel to look at.
you are my favorite movie. drama, comedy, tragedy and sadness. i love your life, i love your husband, i love your children and i love you to the depths that i can never express. it's because of stuff like this. your humility to be open with your flaws and honest with the internet (like really, who does that?) and it makes you even more beautiful than ever.
this is why your family will thrive. this is why your children will grow up strong and fierce and godly. because you treasure the Bible and the words of life within, you seek to honor Christ (even when you don't) and you choose the love He gave you above choosing to serve yourself.
and on your bad days, you still come running back to the cross because you know that's the best place to be.

i am HONORED to know you. you make my life better by just being in it. i can only pray that you receive the rewards you have sown into others in this life, not just eternally.

love you.

todd said...

@ The Jones Family

Kudos on "Give Them Grace" by Elyse Fitzpatrick.

We got that book a few years back. You are spot on. We want more than "good" kids. We want kids who see the Gospel and receive and believe in it as their only source of hope.

TORI said...

Are you sure you aren't me in like a parallel universe but like slowed down by about 15 years or so? What you described here was so me so many days. I love my kids so deeply but sometimes I couldn't control myself around them and it scared me so much that the only thing I could do was collapse and cry before Jesus. Sometimes I felt like He was the only One I could trust--I definitely could not trust myself. Then He would pour extra grace into me and help me make it through another day with the beautiful and underserved blessings that called me Mom. I think probably one of the most powerful things you can do for them all their lives is admit to them when you have wronged them, and ask for their forgiveness. Tell them that you are just like them and you struggle to obey. They are so resilient that they will immediately love you up and think you are great. And the bonus is, they will probably never remember any of this. Thank God for memories that don't record much until middle childhood. Hang in there Paige. God is creating a beautiful legacy through you and Todd.

ohcitycity said...

"That the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ." 1 Peter 1:7

I read this in my bible study book (Grant Me Wisdom by Matthew Henry) 5 minutes after reading your blog and it reminded me of your words. "The afflictions of serious Christians are designed for the trial of their faith...This trial is principally about faith, because the trial of faith is, in effect, the trial of all that is good in us...Gold does not increase through trial by fire; it grows less. But faith is established and multiplied by the afflictions it meets with."

Anonymous said...

We don't want to just be better parents, we want to be transformed parents.

So thankful for grace and your reminder of how much it is needed!