It never fails that when I manage to get up ahead of my children in the morning (which I generally love to do and NEED to do and desire to do but various seasons of pregnancy and new babies can interrupt this a bit!), enjoy my moka pot cappuccino with a cozy fire in the wood burning stove if it happens to be a deliciously chilly morning or a lovely breeze during the coolest part of a crazy hot Banja Luka summer day and actually have the treasured blessing of some time to read my Bible, be assured that THIS will be the morning that all my resolve to be the best mom ever is challenged as never before. Why is it that when I am well-rested, well-caffeinated, and inspired by the Holy Spirit, my 3 year old wakes up before the crack of dawn or my 7 year old wakes up already irate about whatever is being served for breakfast. I don't know. I do pretty well with the early morning ruckus, but indeed as the morning wears on and all 7 of my dear ones are up and moving and in full swing, there are days when my ability to be a kind, patient person wanes, more quickly than I would like! Today was one such morning. Though in hindsight it is so much more comical than it ever should have been frustrating. In fact, in regaling the story to Keith, I couldn't understand why I was even upset and why I even interrupted the scene I encountered. My oldest son (and for those that know him, this really must remain within our little chat here or I'm sure he will take revenge when he later realizes that he was the subject of this blog!) had been busy outside: constructing, nailing, building all sorts of things; completely in his element. He came inside, plopped on the couch to read and had his "hobbit feet" (as some friends here are apt to describe those kid feet that have gone barefoot all over who knows where and then traipse all through the house) stretched quite comfortably across it. His sister was the first to point out his careless oversight. I, still gently, asked if he could get his feet washed up in the tub. Though I'm sure he was exasperated at our hypersensitivity to hobbit feet and would have preferred to just read, he compliantly made his way to the bathroom. Awhile later, I realized he was no where to be found and indeed, he was still in the bathroom. I found him on a stool, feet soaking in a warm bath with a book-from-the-top-shelf-which-are-not-to-be-touched-until-next-year-book (which has been proclaimed more times than should be counted by this book loving mama!). I try to not be a control freak but it sneaks out, and sometimes I just can't help it. We use Sonlight curriculum to homeschool, and I struggle with just letting people read books and enjoy the fact that everyone loves to read and keeping some books separate until the year in which they are meant to be read. Another post, I'm sure. Anyway, the said book in use was not just any book but a lovely hard bound book of poetry (that is one of my favorites), just precariously sitting on knees over a tub full of water. And what do I do? Just what I wished I had not. I storm in, frustrated, harried, frenzied, "Why are you soaking your feet?! Why are you reading THAT book, OVER the tub no less?" Why? Why didn't I just let him enjoy such a relaxed moment? Blech. It is a moment like this most of all, when I reflect on it at night when all my sweet babes are asleep, that I feel like Paul when he laments in Romans 7:15, "For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate." I think of the morning, so far away now, and another so close at hand and think of more of Paul's words from the same chapter, "So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand." "Wretched man [woman] that I am!" And I am discouraged yet again. And I think, what is there to remedy this? How can I move forward? I am encouraged with Paul when he asks, "Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!" I do serve a God of new beginnings, who transforms me daily through the renewal of my mind. He is a God of forgiveness and redemption. So tomorrow, I can go to my son, and I can ask him to forgive me. I can thank God that He gave children such forgiving hearts. I can try again knowing that my worth and my value, mercifully, do not come from this moment or any other collection of moments, regrettable or praiseworthy, in this lifetime but rather through the righteousness that I can wear because of Jesus. "Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!"