Sunday was the hardest day of my parenting life.

Leah, the two month old, struggled with nursing all day long and barely napped.  She cried and cried and just wouldn’t settle.

Madison, the two year old, pushed buttons and tested limits.  All day long.

Hunter, the four year old, unfortunately was pushed to the side as we tried to navigate the other two kids.

It ended in an explosion of emotions and lost control and kids crying in rooms and, yes, a spanking.

I sobbed downstairs and one of the kids received the first ever spanking in our household.  I kept sobbing as an overwhelming sense of failure washed over me.  Failure as a parent, as a mother, as a person.

It was an extremely difficult day.

After chatting with my husband for a bit after the kids’ bedtime, I went upstairs to the guest bedroom (the only room where a child was not sleeping) and collapsed against the bed.  Tears streamed down my face and I mourned the loss of who I thought I was supposed to be – it was all crashing down around me.

In desperation I prayed, “God, what is going on here?”

I realized He had been speaking to me about this moment, preparing me, priming my heart for what He was about to show me.

A verse in Psalm 26 finds David asking God to ‘Search my heart and my motives.’  That phrase jumped out at me when I read that chapter a few days ago.  As I slumped against the side of the bed last night I realized that was exactly what God was doing to me.

My motives for being a mother.  My heart behind being a wife.

They were rooted deeply and firmly in pride.

I wanted to be noticed how good I am.  How capable.  How patient, kind, loving, nurturing.  And all the research and reading and fact checking I’ve done?  Yup, it confirms that my way is the best, right, Biblical.  Yet all that time a root of pride was growing and flourishing.  I wanted to prove I could do it.

But I couldn’t.

I repented, broken.  Came downstairs and confessed to my husband all the things.

The next day dawned.  And know what?  It’s different.  I’m different.

That pressure to do it right?  The nagging sense of almost failing?  Balancing on the edge of disaster because of simple mistakes?

It was all gone.

I enjoyed my day.  Like, really enjoyed it.  For the first time in a long, long time.

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