I wasn't a very good first time mom. I thought I was, which probably made it worst. I had major anger issues (now I just have anger issues) coupled with the fact that I thought authority meant breaking my child's will to conform to mine. It makes me cringe to write those words.
So, when my oldest son has trouble going to sleep at night, the old Mommy guilt creeps back.
Do you know what it says? Maybe it says the same to you?
"He is so anxious at bedtime because you traumatized him by yelling at him so much to stay in his bed when he was a toddler."
"You scared him one to many times by grabbing his little arms in frustration to hold him to the bed."
"That latch you put on his door to keep him in, probably not a good idea."
I could also list the excuses that come to mind:
"I felt like a single mom with a husband in residency, I needed him to sleep. I needed a break."
"He was so strong willed, he left me no choice."
"I didn't know any better. The parenting advice I was receiving was not a good match for my temper or my kid."
And do you know what? All of those things could be true. The accusations and the excuses. But neither of those things change the fact that I wish I could do it over. I wish I could wrap my oldest boy in my arms and go back in time and be a better mommy to him.
And it dawned on me today, while wrestling with my guilt after a long night of bedtime battles, I can.
I can go back and do it over.
Grace says, "You don't deserve a second chance, you blew it big time, but here's is another chance to love. Here's another chance to love out of the grace that has been lavished on you. You know this grace-love, it brings tears to your eyes to think of your Heavenly Father looking down on you in love when what you really deserve is death."
So, when my boy walks out of school to my waiting car today, I can lavish him with smiles, all the smiles that I didn't give him when he needed them years ago.
I can move to him with a hug when I feel the most repulsed by his behavior.
I can move forward in hope knowing that he has a Savior that can heal all his wounds, whether they are caused by me or by the reality of sin.
I can continue to pray that God will change my heart of anger into a heart overflowing with grace-love.
I can have peace.
"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope."