There is something about Friday that makes it the worst day of the week for me. It should be the best day – our family’s weekend is Friday and Saturday due to my husband’s work schedule, so I should be celebrating the first day of weekly rest and relaxation.
Oh wait, that’s the problem. I’ve somehow never let go of the notion that the weekend means rest and relaxation. I have three kids ages three and under. They aren’t more independent, better behaved, less likely to fight or more angelic on Fridays and Saturdays. I have the added help of my husband on those days, and that’s great, but it isn’t as great as weekends filled with the freedom to rejuvenate. So every Friday I wake up thinking how happy I am that it’s the “weekend” and within 10 minutes I am excessively disappointed that the day ahead looks like as much work as every other day.
Because I am a Christian, however, when I get up on the wrong side of the bed it doesn’t look like when a non-believer gets up on the wrong side of the bed. I take time to pray for strength, quickly bounce back (sometimes skipping down the hall to my kids’ bedrooms), delight in their smiles and feel the crankiness melt away.
I am totally and completely kidding.
I’m a mess. When I wake up on the wrong side of the bed there is almost no chance I will take time to pray. By the time I get to the kids’ rooms, the door knobs weigh a thousand pounds. At the first whine someone is in time out…for twice as long as normal. By the time we are downstairs for breakfast, I’ve almost certainly yelled. When we say grace, I tell the kids it’s my turn to say it because I know I can say it faster than they can and we can get on with breakfast.
A friend of mine recently told me that I sound so “peaceful” in my blog posts and lamented that she wasn’t feeling that way. I assure you I am no better of a Christian parent than anyone else.
In 2 Corinthians 12:7-10, Paul speaks about the “power” of his own weaknesses: “To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
Interestingly, the Bible never tells us what Paul’s “thorn in the flesh” is. That’s a little annoying because I’m very curious. It’s obvious that is by design, however. Unless his thorn happened to be identical to our own, we would just evaluate our thorns versus his, decide that ours are more or less difficult in comparison and discount the relevance of the rest of what he said accordingly. The beautiful point he would rather focus on is that ALL of our weaknesses are an opportunity for God to demonstrate His power.
When we are weak, God can USE that! This is an amazingly refreshing thought for me: As much as God can use us with our kids when we are having “good” days, He can use us with our kids when we are having “bad” days. We are God’s tools ALL the time, even when we feel like the grandest Christian parenting failures. Think about how many teachable moments are made possible by those failures, when we open ourselves in humility to our kids.
Unfortunately, God has a whole lot of room for His power to be made perfect in my life. Fortunately, that’s where He says He does his best work. That is very, very good news for my next “bad day.”
What are examples of teachable moments you’ve used from “bad days” with your kids?