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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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Ultimate Stain Fighter

I was powerless to stop it.

My son Micah flew around the corner with a smoothie in his hand -- a red, berry smoothie.

I immediately sensed impending doom.

You know that feeling. You’re witnessing a train wreck about to happen, but you’re helpless. It’s as if you’re moving in slow motion.

Sure enough, Micah’s feet slipped out from under him and the smoothie flew into the air. It landed, well, …everywhere. On the carpet, the walls, his shirt. Everywhere except its intended destination.

Before I even had time to (over)react, Micah bolted from the room.

Wow. He might be a slob, but at least I’ve taught him responsibility, I thought. He’s running to get paper towels to help his mama clean up. What a good boy.

After a few minutes without the expected Bounty reinforcements, it dawned on me. He ain’t comin’ back.

Nope, I was the hapless victim of a tragic smoothie hit-and-run.

Micah’s not the only one who has the tendency to run away from messy situations. Growing up, my family ran away from its problems, too. They could be dripping from the ceiling and covering the walls, but no one was willing to face the unpleasant, sticky and difficult task of mopping up the mess.

I vowed it would be different with my family. But guess what? For a long time, it wasn’t. Even now, I have to fight the urge to bury conflict and unpleasantness – both in myself and in my children. Isn’t it strange how we repeat the very history that we were so sure we would leave behind?

As I grew up, I saw the effects of using the “ostrich method” to deal with difficulties. So why is it so stinkin’ hard for me to break the pattern? Well, for a number of reasons, but three stick out in my mind. Can anyone else relate?

1.) It challenges my “ideal picture.” We all have a “perfect family” picture we aspire to, even if we do so subconsciously.

2.) It’s inconvenient. Tackling problems head-on takes time, courage and energy and often pushes me me out of my comfort zone.

3.) Pride. Acknowledging and addressing my family’s flaws isn’t easy, especially when it might require me to seek outside help.

But I’ve learned that denial has its own dangers. The longer a “stain” remains, the more ingrained it becomes, the more damage it inflicts and the harder it is to treat. That’s true, whether it’s speck or a strawberry-smoothie mess the size of Texas.

Hard as I try, I can’t fix myself or my family alone. I am grateful that God – the Ultimate Stain-Fighter – always meets me there with the reinforcements I need – courage, wisdom, healing and perseverance. He'll do the same for you.

And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. 2 Cor. 9:8 (NIV)
Melinda

9 comments:

  1. Melinda, takes time and effort reason was one of mine. Yes, the Lord does want us to break the unhealthy cycles. With His help, we can.

    Hey did you call you son back in to help you?? :)

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  2. I'm so guilty of trying to stick my head in the sand. I hate dealing with problems. But, it doesn't work, I know...

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  3. Wow! What a wonderful and symbolic post Melinda. Fantastically writtena and with such a good message. I'm an avoider by nature and I'm trying not to be for the sake of my family!

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  4. You're so right, Melinda -- denial has its own dangers. It has taken me awhile, but I've learned that.

    Meet it head on, I say!

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  5. Beautiful post Melinda! You are right that stain becomes ingrained and even if you think it is gone, it pops back up!

    Hope you had some help with the smoothie clean up! :)

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  6. Growing up we'd have these terrible fights and then when everyone was speaking to each other again we'd just act like nothing ever happened.

    I do make a point of apologizing and talking about those feelings even though it's horrific and uncomfortable.

    I've yet to incorporate faith into the mix, but I'm trying!

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  7. I found that keeping the elephant in the middle of the room makes for MORE stains. Best to get it out of there!

    But for the very reasons you noted, it's tempting not to. As I confessed in a blog, facing our problems isn't for sissy's.

    Thank you for your words and wisdom!

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  8. But I like denial - sticking my head in the ground, ignoring the problem..... aw shucks, Melinda, you are making me think again. Thanks, seriously!

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