What a grumpy 2 year old, a hormonal teen and an overwrought mom have in common

"So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; bearing with one another and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone, just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. Beyond all these things, put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity." Colossians 3:12-14 Committed motherhood is for me a holy calling of God. I believe that I am a steward of my children given by Him to me, entrusting me to love, instruct them, train them, provide for them in such a way, that they may go into their adult lives emotionally healthy, loving God and serving His Kingdom purposes.

But there are times when, seemingly out of the clear blue sky, I spew all over my children and it isn't a pretty sight. The life-venom of giving, serving, cleaning, cooking, correcting, staying up late, putting up with messes, consumes my patient feelings and slowly depletes my rational, mature brain cells, builds up slowly inside  and suddenly takes over and spills anger over to  everyone in my wake. I always feel terrible when I have raged about. Chastising myself for hours, I curl up in a dark cloud and wonder why I even try.

I do not need a lecture from someone telling me I have been immature, out of control, unreasonable and unloving. I already know that. No one needs to tell me I have acted in an immature way and that my words hurt the hearts of those I love.

But, what I long for, is gentleness, patience--someone to tenderly place their arms around my shoulders, to look into my eyes with the compassion of understanding how I feel, words of "Grace, sweet one, you are forgiven. All will be well," is what I really need.

Longing for a magical wand that can wipe away the moments when I irrationally became a fount of harshness and anger is what I really wish I had--to make it all go away.

Wishing for  another mom who says, "You are not alone, I am guilty of raging in the tempests of my own life, and yet, when I went to my children and asked for forgiveness, they were ready to extend their love to me and to redeem our relationship once more."

And then I need a maid, a waitress and a day away to be an adult again, but that is not in the budget of my minutes and days. Instead, I will be comforted with...

Compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience, as Paul so eloquently wrote.

And so, I have observed my little toddlers, exhausted, over-stimulated, wrapped in a cloud of selfishness, who fall apart in fits of screaming. I am not talking about the normal minutes of the days when they need training, correction and guidance. I am speaking of those absolutely beyond rational thinking--meltdowns.

A warm, blanky embrace, wrapped in arms of love and a softly sung, whispered words of love, a rocking chair moment of grace, a cool, soothing sip of juice--this is what is deeply longed for and needful to a heart out of control.

And then there are the moments in the lives of my teens when they seem to erupt, attitudes all over everything normal--"Everyone eats too much in this house! If they didn't eat so much, we wouldn't have such a mess of dishes in the sink,"--as they slam around the kitchen. Or just an emotional eruption with unkind words, glances that could kill, dark clouds that seem to hover.

I have found that "a gentle answer turns away wrath." Like me, these precious children do not need to be told that they are being mean-spirited and unkind. They already know that. Perhaps, like me, the trials of life, the challenges, the burdens of school and chores, the insecurities of trying to fit in with an ocean of other teens seeking to find their footing, seeking an unsure future, and the raging of new hormones--all of these overcame them and they also spewed.

This is a time when, "I love you, appreciate you, understand. You are acceptable, I believe in you. You are not all "bad" but you had a bad day. I am so glad you are mine," words of kindness and compassion are needed.

At times like these, putting on a heart of love, will bring us back to a perfect bond of unity. Love will heal, love is the answer and the balm and the grace to keep going. Love through a mug of hot chocolate or tea, a written note of "I am so glad you are mine. I love you." A moment to laugh, love, share tears and restore--these are the deepening moments of bonding forever to hearts that bear the compassion of Christ.

These are the moments when true hearts are knit together--Oh to be known, truly known, in all of our limitations, and to still be loved--that is soul satisfaction.

Love is patient, love is kind, love is not selfish,.......................