Tuesday, December 6, 2016


My day with the kids was bookended by yelling.

It is NOT something I was hoping for.
It's pretty much the opposite of what I was hoping for.

My word of the year for 2016 was soft.  I prayed that I would let trials soften me, smooth my rough edges like sand and salt water on a piece of glass.  But here I am, three weeks left on the clock and still I splinter like a dropped dollarstore dish.

We had a great morning.  Everyone was happy, things were rolling along swimmingly, but all of a sudden it was 2 minutes til bus time and I hadn't yet packed their lunches and instead of flying into their snowsuits both Sam and Vava were lying on the floor whining that they needed help putting on their snow pants.
I yelled.

And we had a repeat at bedtime.  A sweet friend brought us a lift-the-flap Advent storybook to read, and I sat down with the big kids to read it to them before bed.
"You will get to turn pages and lift flaps," I promised them, "but please don't do it before I tell you or you will ruin the surprise."  Sam's hand inched toward the page, flicked out to flip the flap.  "No, Sam," I warned him.  He couldn't resist.  He tried again.  "Not yet!" I said sternly.  He reached, grabbed, flipped open the flap and I flipped my lid.
"Sam!" I jumped up, yelling, "That's it! You can't ..."

But I couldn't finish that sentence.  He can't what?
Can't read the rest of the story with me? Really? When we're reading the story of the Saviour who spread open His arms and said 'come unto Me' - ?
Can't open any of the doors on the pages of a book about the very one who opened Himself to declare 'I am the door' -?

Sam started to cry.  "I'm sorry! I'm sorry!"

I know Sam wants to be good.  I know it in my bones because I live it.  I want to be beach-glass soft.  I want to lead and teach my kids firmly, but not sharply.   I don't want to cut them on my own immaturity.  But my temper flicked out fast and swift and I met the same thing Sam did ... the heart of a Saviour who steadfastly refuses to turn us away.

I couldn't finish that sentence because none of the anger-fueled things I might have threatened would have represented His open door, His open heart, the whole reason for His advent.

No.  I couldn't finish that sentence with anything true.

I sat back down and we finished reading, with a repentant Sam snuggled against his repentant mama.

Merry Christmas, friends.

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