The Fruits of the Spirit for a Mother’s Heart

Dear Father,

The further I journey into motherhood, the more grateful I am to call you my Father. When I am overwhelmed, tired, and clueless on what to do next, You are there to show me how to parent with grace. When I wrestle once again with my attitude and temper, and I wonder where the gentle and quiet Spirit I pray for daily has gone, You remind me that the fruits of the Spirit are not the fruits of my Spirit but of Yours, living and breathing inside of me.

Lord, fill me with love – a divine love for my children – a love like Yours. A love that loves without selfishness, without agenda, without limits. Fill me with a love that drives me to do the hard things for the greater good, and to offer grace no matter how undeserved.

Lord, fill me with joy – the kind of joy that transcends happiness. Joy that soaks in the precious moments and presses on through monotony and struggle.

Lord, fill me with peace – a peace that is deep and unshaken by a chaotic home, a tantruming child, or a lack of sleep. Fill me with a peace that breathes in and breathes out, accepting and giving thanks for each moment.

Lord, fill me with patience – the patience I don’t have on my own. The patience that can see the forest for the trees. The patience that recognizes my children look to me for guidance, help, direction, and security. Patience that sees my children looking up at me and bends down to speak to them in a way they can understand – just as You came down to live in our skin and guide us home.

Lord, fill me with kindness – Teach me to be kind in the face of backtalk, bad words, squabbles, and rudeness. Teach me to treat my children as my neighbors. Fill me with the type of kindness that kneels down to wash their feet. Let my kindness be an example.

Lord, fill me with goodness – fill me with You. Fill me with pure motives and a true heart.

Lord, fill me with faithfulness – the kind of faithfulness that prioritizes You no matter what is going on around me. The kind of faithfulness that holds on to Your Gospel in the moments when things seem to be falling apart. The kind of faithfulness that disciples my precious children even when I’m worn and tired. The kind of faithfulness that makes time to rest in You but does not turn away those who need You when they come.

Lord, fill me with gentleness – Lord, how I need Your gentleness. Fill me with gentleness rooted in wisdom and empowered by Your Spirit. The gentleness that speaks slowly and listens quickly, that makes room for vulnerability, that creates a home of safety.

Lord, fill me with self-control – In the moments when none of these other fruits come easily. In the moments I want to yell, be sarcastic, or ignore. In the moments I want to forsake the dignity of my children and vent their failings to the internet community – please give me self-control. Teach me to control myself by surrendering completely to Your Spirit.

Let the fruits of Your Spirit be alive in me, that by drawing closer to Your heart my children might do the same.

Let it Flipping Go

When Malachi first saw Frozen he completely fell in love just like every other child on the face of the planet. He watched it every day for over a week. He learned all the songs. We bought the book. He occupied himself for thirty minutes in the CD section of Barnes and Noble by passionately staring at a cardboard cutout of Anna and Elsa and announcing every 15 seconds, “It’s Fwozen, Mama! See it? Wook, Mama, Fwozen!”

And then all of the sudden he became so terrified of Big Snowman (the ice monster thing) that he wouldn’t even stay in the same room when the movie was on. He’d watch the first twenty minutes, hide when Anna started up the mountain, and not come back until the big snowman died approximately 45 minutes later. He became obsessed. He would flip to the page in his book with a picture of Big Snowman and stare. He had a near panic attack in the car while listening to the sound track. He couldn’t focus on his hot dog in Sam’s because 100 yards away he could see Frozen on approximately 30 flipping TV screens and he knew Big Snowman was coming. I think this trailer accurately sums up his perception of the movie for the last couple months:

So for the past two months we have impatiently and patiently waited, talked logically about how animated objects are just pretend and live in the TV, avoided TV screens where Frozen was playing, and watched other movies. And then, earlier this week, he was ready to try again. It’s possible I bribed him with popcorn, chocolate, Captain Crunch, and a toy from Toys R Us unless you think that’s excessive in which case I’m assuming you probably don’t have kids. He did it, he laughed, he decided Big Snowman is burping when he screams “Don’t come baaaack” and he gives me huge high fives every time he sits through it. He is also no longer afraid of the Wiggles or the Chica Show so hip hip hooooooray. And now we’re back to watching Frozen every day.

I was going to insert some pithy picture to illustrate my feelings about this, but I found this instead and couldn’t stop laughing.

Malachi will only tolerate Pixar movies or other animated films of equal quality. He is not to be bothered by the Jungle Book, Aladdin, Fievel, or even The Little Mermaid. He only wants Cars, Different Cars (Cars 2), Buzz-Woody, Different Buzz-Woody (Toy Story 2), Finding Nemo, or Frozen. He’s also taken to spontaneously quoting lines from these movies and confusing the daylights out of me.

Me: Thanks, buddy.
Malachi: No pwoblem.
Me: No problem, huh? Where’d you learn that?
Malachi: Like Dori says.
Me: Oh, ok.
Malachi: No pwoblem, Mama.
Me: Ok, buddy, go eat your lunch.
Malachi: No pwoblem.

During lunch with a friend, when no one was talking to Malachi he interrupts our conversation to say…
Malachi: You wanna thwow me out the window, Mama?
Me: What? What are you talking about?
Malachi: You wanna thwow me out the window, too?
Me:
Malachi: Like Potato Head say in Buzz-Woody!
Me: Good Lord, Malachi, please don’t say those things in public.

During dinner tonight when conversation lulled.
Malachi: Oh my gosh! Malachi swimmin’ out to sea!

Anytime he is annoyed with anybody.
Malachi: Don’t! Come! Baaaaaaaaaaack!

We’ve actually had to put him in time out for repeatedly screaming “Don’t come back” in my face when I tell him he has to finish his lunch or put his toys away.

Jessie: All you ever talk about is your STUPID Andy!
Malachi: Jessie, say “stupid,” Mama. Dat’s bad.
Me: You’re right, buddy, it is. She should say “silly.”
Malachi: You want to say “silly,” Jessie, ok?

I’m not sure how to wrap up this yawner of a post so…..