Last week as I was folding clothes in the downstairs laundry room, I heard running water. My first thought was, “Why is someone taking a shower at 3:30 in the afternoon?” I had just been upstairs ten minutes prior to this and both boys were playing quietly in their rooms. As I started walking towards the stairs to investigate who had gotten into the shower, I instantly realized the running water was coming from the hallway bathroom, downstairs. I knew something was terribly wrong! As I entered the bathroom, water was literally raining down from the exhaust fan and the can lights in out in our hallway! Knowing that directly above where I was standing was my youngest son’s room, I literally ran up the stairs to find the wood floor in his bedroom flooded!
He had plugged up the drain in his bathroom sink because he was playing with a newly put-together LEGO boat. After playing under the “waterfall” for a few minutes, he simply walked away with the water running, totally forgetting to shut it off. He then went into the bonus room and started playing something else, oblivious to the flood taking place in his room.
Great, ADHD strikes again!
Our house, now a total disaster, was also less than 30 days old! The absolute rage I felt as I began to clean up the water is still embarrassing to admit. Uncharacteristically, I yelled at my son. No beating around the bush– I was so mad at him! As he approached me, I told him not to talk to me! I was deep in thought about how we were going to fix this damage. How could this possibly happen in just 10 minutes? How could he have just walked off and left the water on?! … Oh so mad!!
And then I caught myself… WHAT AM I DOING?!! Get ahold of yourself, Lisa! This is just STUFF and it can be fixed or replaced; he is your child and part of your heart!!
My son was now crying, obviously scared at my freaky metamorphosis into the Mean Momster. From on top of his bed, he apologized and told me (again) that it was an accident. He equated my anger to hating him and told me so. Ouch!
With a fragment of clarity, I enlisted the help of my oldest son, my husband and even my mother to be the clean up crew and call some professionals. I then climbed into bed with my little one. I held him and apologized to him for getting so angry. I told him how wrong it was not wanting to listen to him and then making him feel as though I hated him! I tried to reassure him that my momentary meltdown had nothing to do with my lack of love for him – that I could never stop loving him. He told me that it “felt” like I didn’t love him anymore because of they way I was talking to him after he had made a mistake. Humbled, I was reminded how words can be so destructive, especially to the ones we love the most.
The Bible has many examples of the power of words. They have even been compared to the sword in their affect to hurt (kill) others! Another example is found in James 1:26, “If anyone thinks himself to be religious, and yet does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this man’s religion is worthless.”
My son recovered from his bout with the Momster. He has also promised to not play in his bathroom sink anymore! I have learned a valuable lesson about priorities and remembering that mistakes happen– and will continue to happen. What matters most is to always remember we are caretakers of our children’s bodies AND hearts!
As parents we can teach our children that as we all stumble our way through our daily walk with Christ, we can be glad that He’s not expecting perfection. Instead He loves us all in our imperfections; even through our failures. It is only in Him that all things are possible. It is His arms of grace which He wraps around us whenever we make mistakes which make us feel undeserving of His love. The enemy tells us how we are deserving of God’s hate, wrath, or at the very least a good flick on the forehead! During those times, our Heavenly Father sits beside us and reminds us that nothing will change His love for us…even if make big, fat, damaging messes. He is in love with each of us. And thankfully, unlike we imperfect mommies (and daddies), our God does this without first changing into a mean momster!
Lisa Strnad is a freelance writer/blogger, who regularly contributes to What’s in the Bible? and Jelly Telly. She is a homeschooling mom of two, who works independently in Christian media in the areas of writing, promotions and marketing. She lives with her husband and children in Nashville,TN.