If you were a fly on the wall at my house, you'd be sure to hear your share of fussing, complaining and whining. Maybe even a slammed door or two.

But enough about me.

In the pressure cooker that's parenting, I have exploded more than once. And it's harder to clean up than spaghetti night with a toddler.

So after years spent indulging in fruitless self-flogging, I finally let go of my obsession with getting it all 'just right.' I confess...I'm not a perfect parent.

Whew. That felt good.

Now, when my son saunters in with his 42nd tardy of the school year, I let it go. When I hear myself hollering "Whatever!" at my teenage daughter, I move on.

Having it all together is overrated anyway.

And I've determined not to waste God's grace. I'll never get it just right. You won't, either. So read on, sister. If you see a little of yourself in me, I hope it helps to know that you're not alone. Nope. If you're a mom, face it. You're never, ever alone.

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Monday, September 27, 2010

A Wake-Up Call … Er....Crash

How did I end up here?

Last week, as I stood in the middle of the street with my front bumper lying in pitiful pieces on the ground, I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. (I chose cry.)

It was a typical morning. By "typical," I mean stressful, rushed and crazy. I was taking Micah to school. But this morning, my mind was particularly full of distractions. Micah was reading to me from the back seat, but I wasn’t really listening. A couple of tough, overwhelming weeks had taken their toll on my body and soul. My mind was teeming with worries and what-ifs.

Just minutes from school, I approached a familiar intersection. I came to a full and complete stop – law-abiding citizen that I am – and quickly looked left and right. Assuming the car approaching to my right would stop as well, I continued into the intersection.

Bad move. No. Very bad move.

You see, the driver on my right didn’t stop, because, well, he didn’t actually have a stop sign. Nope. What he had was a pesky little thing known as “the right of way.”

For a crucial and fateful split second, I believed that this two-way stop – that I had entered and negotiated safely hundreds of times – was a four-way stop. The sound of crushing metal was my first clue that perhaps I was mistaken.

Although everyone was pretty shaken up, no one was injured. But as I comforted my crying son and surveyed the vehicle damage, I shuddered at the thought of what could have been.

And I realized something. I needed to stop – and not just at road signs. Here's what I decided I need to stop doing:

1.) Stop internalizing my family’s stress. I can’t control everyone’s happiness and – shocker – 14-year-old girls, in particular, are often not happy campers.

2.) Stop trying to change and control my husband and children. The only person I can change is me. And as hard as it is for this stubborn girl to change her unhealthy ways, I’m not sure why I think I can change anyone else. Better left to God.
3.) Stop trying to save my family from experiencing pain and failure. I’ve realized that I am the family “rescuer.” It sounds noble, doesn’t it? Well, it’s exhausting. And futile. The times that I am the most desperate for God and most willing to change, is when I’m experiencing pain and discomfort. Why should I think my children would be any different? Do I want to prevent them from learning valuable life lessons and drawing closer to Jesus?
4.) Stop taking on other family members’ responsibilities to avoid conflict. Ever thought, “It’s just easier to do it myself.” Well, it’s not. It comes at a tremendous cost. Worse yet, my children pay an expensive price, too. When I take their responsibilities on myself, I’m nurturing a sense of entitlement and I keep them children, instead of teaching them how to become mature adults. I've made some steps in the right direction recently, but fallen back into old habits.

When we’re going through a difficult or uncomfortable time, it’s human nature to want our circumstances and/or those around us to change. We continue cruising along, thinking we can manipulate outcomes, until one day – CRASH! We get a serious wakeup call.

And we suddenly see with clear eyes the damage we are causing ourselves and those we love the most.

So, with the Lord’s help, I’m going to stop. And yield. And buckle my seat belt. Even good change can be a bumpy ride.


  1. First of all I am thankful you are all ok. What a lesson - love the phrase about him having the pesky right of way. LOL. Too bad we seem to go into overload before we rediscover the boundaries in life, isn't it? again glad you are ok and thanks for the good reminder!

  2. this is an incredible post! We sometimes just need to let it go. We cannot control the others in our lives...working on that here too.

    SO glad you are all OK.

  3. I'm glad everyone was OK! It's amazing how events in our lives can provide insight into seemingly unrelated topics. God spoke to you---and how! Thanks for sharing!

  4. Praise God for watching over you, keeping you safe, comforting and encouraging you! And for using it to bless you in so many ways! Have a blessed AND safe week! :) :) :)

  5. Oh Melinda, I am SO glad everyone is okay!!

    Thank you for sharing this life lesson with us...inspiring and encouraging. I'm sure you would have been happy to learn it without such a dramatic event though!

  6. So glad you are fine, and so is your son.

    I've been there and done that, backed into a guy at a dry cleaner one day (My husband's birthday nonetheless.)

    I know what you mean and often find myself saying, "It's just easier to do it than to fight about it." Great advice.

  7. That could easily be my list of things to need to stop. Glad you were all safe. :O)

  8. Melinda...
    I am so very thankful that you and your son are okay. Sometimes God uses these particularly rough lessons to get our attention and it seems like you are spot on in your changes. Your list looks like something I would write for myself! Thanks so much for sharing this experience and the insight you received through it.

  9. Oh wow, Melinda, I'm SO glad you and Micah are okay. WHAT a wake-up call. I love this post and agree that most of us need to stop at least one of the things on your list. With God's help, we shall do it!

    Prayed for you and Molly this morning. (((Hugs)))

  10. So sorry about the accident, glad no one got hurt.

  11. So glad that you are okay. Something like this always makes us re-think things going on in our lives. I honestly think we need a 'wake-up call' once in a while.

    I to am dealing with #1, 3, & 4. I always carry such a heavy load...that does not belong to me, because I want to protect everyone around me. Recently all that changed for me too. Now I am relearning what it means to love and care for your family without taking on responsibility for their lives. I just realized that I am only responsible for me. That is a tough one for a 'good mama'.

    I hope we both make the changes in 'ourselves' that are necessary to mu 'us' happy.

    So happy that you are okay, {HUGS}


  12. Weeping! This is a great post. I'm so glad you're all okay.

    I hate that your wakeup call had to come in the form of a crunched car, but I am thankful for the message you got out of it - and that you then shared it. Thanks!

  13. I'm so glad you and your son are okay. You are pretty amazing, always able to take something like this and turn it into a wonderful life lesson. To probe and consider what may be at the root of things.

    It's so hard to NOT want to fix things for your family and make everything right. I'm seriously concerned that I will have a big problem with this when my kids are older.

    Right now...it's pretty simple...I usually can make it all better. I know those days will soon be coming to an end as my ability to provide boo boo kisses and chocolate milk will no longer solve their problems.

    Sounds like you are certainly getting back on track, thank you for sharing this lesson. It's one I will carry with me through the years.

    Here's hoping this week is much calmer and safer for you and your family:)

  14. Oh my gosh...you really have had a rough time of things lately. I'm so glad y'all are OK though. I think you and I are more alike than we know my friend but even stubborn women like us can change with God's help. ;-)

  15. I am so sorry you had an accident, but glad nobody was injured. And, I can really relate to the need to stop. It is so easy to become overloaded.

  16. I'm so glad no one was hurt! It's a tough thing to STOP all of those behaviors you have listed. Seatbelts are a must literally and figuratively.

  17. Oh, Melinda, so glad no one was hurt! That is a scary and sickening feeling. Your points of application are spot on. I think we need to be reminded of that on a weekly basis. Harder to do than to say, though. But the good Lord will help you/us. Hope you don't have any aches and pains from the accident. Blessings, dear one.

  18. I am so sorry that this happened- but I am so thankful for the way God used it. Not only for your soul- but for us reading it as well. Such a powerful reminder! blessings! (ps- I know you follow my project blog- but I have another I post much more frequently. ) I can relate to so much of what you post about- thank you!

  19. Oh my goodness! First, thank GOD no one was hurt. He surely is watching and protecting His children. I had no idea you were having such a hectic time lately. But you are right, God's hands are far more capable of handling our every situation than ours. We need to stop, let go and let God. It's amazing though, how He is using your life to bless others, as you have just shared wise words here.

  20. I am so thankful you all were not injured. And I have found myself driving distracted far too many times. Often, I'm worrying about such silly, trivial things.
    Excellent post.


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