Have you ever heard yourself talk and listening to it made you cringe?
Except, most recently I wasn’t actually the one talking.
I heard myself in a stranger. A fellow mom of girls.
I recently sat next to her as we both hustled through afterschool responsibilities with our daughters. She was tired and there were endless amounts of homework to be done.
Her daughter on the other hand was energetic, chipper and a bit chatty—seemingly oblivious to the mounds of worksheets, journals and textbooks that surrounded her. With each irrelevant word, she was begging her mother to venture into the various parts of her day with her.
In between word problems, she shared the details of her lunch table conversations, her struggles at her locker and her excitement for an upcoming field trip. This sweet girl just could not contain it all and she was literally bubbling over—right into her mother’s frustrated ear.
I could relate.
With each of her words, her mother’s response lost another notch of patience. I recognized the look of annoyance as she counted down the available minutes and visualized the growth of a never-ending to-do-list, with this particular time-slot being dedicated to homework.
I imagine she was thinking, “If not now then, when?”
As a result, her responses became short, her tone snappy, and her pleasant demeanor vanished.
She lost it.
Eventually notebooks were forced back into the backpack, smiles tucked themselves behind tears and a once chipper little girl sat in shame.
We sat side by side without saying a word to each other, yet we shared so much.
Not because I judged this mother’s parenting, but because I recognized it.
I listened to her responses and I heard myself.
My girls have sat in shame because of my impatience. They have been forced to hush their giggles because of my exhaustion and they have cried because of my harsh words.
I was ashamed and it made me cringe.
Embarrassed, this mother glanced in my direction and I smiled.
This particular day it was her.
The day before, it was me.
Has it ever been you?
I am grateful to know that God offers mercy in moments of regret. He extends grace in seasons of struggle and a steadfast love to cover me through it all.
I want my girls to know that I value their voice.
I enjoy the details that make their days fun and I cherish each invitation they extend my way.
My prayer for the stranger I sat next to – for you and for myself – is that the voices that make our hearts cringe would ultimately lead us to God’s Word in search of change.
When you are struggling to balance between precious moments and your to-do-list, here are 3 Ways God’s Word can lead you to change:
- Pray for patience.
With all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love (Ephesians 4:2)
- Allow for time for you and your child by adding empty timeslots on your to-do-list.
The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps. (Proverbs 16:9)
- Pray for grace and accept God’s mercy.
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, His mercies never come to an end; (Lamentations 3:22-23)
Wynter, For Girls Like You
Wynter Pitts is the author of For Girls Like You: A Devotional for Tweens and other popular books. She is also the founder of For Girls Like You, a ministry to girls that includes a print magazine. Sadly, Wynter went home to be with Savior in 2018 and is missed by so many. Her husband, Jonathan, carries on the ministry, along with their four daughters.