"Where there are no oxen, the manger is clean, but abundant crops come by the strength of the ox."
It's been a rough morning.
Both kids were awake before 7:00 a.m. My daughter is coming off of a fun weekend at Grandma and Grandpa's and is adjusting to being back at home (re: testing me to see if all the house rules still apply!) My 3 month old son has refused to nap for more than 45 minutes at a time in the morning, these past few days not at all (Thank God he has been taking a long one in the afternoon!) He also must be going through a growth spurt because has has wanted to nurse almost every two hours today. And to top it off, my daughter has been (and there is no delicate way to put this) putting her hand down her pants as a sort of comfort gesture. Right before her nap she *discovered* something in her diaper.
Needless to say, the following few minutes involved an apology from Mommy, a bath and a change into an outfit with a onesie (access denied!)
On days like this, the above proverb often comes to mind. When I come downstairs and find every single toy from the toy box strewn across the living room floor, am dealing with various unpleasant bodily functions emitting from my little darlings and/or apologizing again for yelling, I start to feel really overwhelmed. I start to feel like a failure because I can't keep the house or my children clean for more than an hour or deal with that inevitable temper tantrum. I think God is using this proverb to remind me that in the midst of all of these physical and emotional mothering messes, much is being sown in my children's hearts. Every moment becomes a teaching moment that I can use to strengthen them to become wise, independent adults. A lot of those moments wouldn't be there without the mess. God is so gracious to remind me that the imperfections of life are often the places we can experience His mercy and training the most!
So many times, I do screw up this whole mothering thing! That's where this proverb is also a great reminder that I don't always have to have the perfectly clean house or well-behaved children (remember that if you come to visit!) All of this is a process, after all. I am thankful that God is reminding me through His Word of the invaluable fruit that is being sown during this training season in my children's lives. These two little "oxen" sure do make for a messy life, but if I continue to trust God in the midst of this really busy season, I will see how He has used my efforts and failures. I may not see much progress now, but with much prayer and training, I hope it will come!