I’m sitting in my house just after noon on Sunday, and I’m mad.
This morning, we went to a house church with friends. I had prepared like I always do – bringing extra clothes, diapers, wipes, a bottle, formula. I felt like I had everything covered, confident we’d have a good day.
And now I’m home, feeling defeat. My son is finally asleep, after losing it multiple times, fussing over teething, being feverish, being hungry or sleepy. We walked him, put him on the floor with toys, snuggled him, fed him. I actually went home and got our pack n play and some medicine, and brought them back, thinking those would solve the problem.
And now we’re here. And I’m can’t do it. My husband asked me what I was feeling, and I said, “Frustrated.” But I don’t know why. Logically, it makes no sense. He’s a baby. He doesn’t feel good. He knows what he wants but can’t express it. And he’s just innocent – it’s not like he’s doing it on purpose.
The more I think about it, the more I realize – it’s frustrating because it’s not supposed to be like this, in my mind. I’m doing my part – putting the input, feeding my baby, cuddling him, shushing him. Why am I not seeing results? He should just go to sleep! What is the deal?!
I’m a stay-at-home mom, so I can look at “momming” as my full-time job. In a lot of ways, I feel good about how I do it. I play with my kids, I keep them fed and they’re usually healthy.
But parenting is not a job. You want to know why? Because at a job, you do your work, you accomplish tasks, and you get paid. (Or you don’t, but it depends on you.)
Many things in this world look like that. You go to the gym consistently, you work out, you see results. You study and work hard, and you get a good grade.
Parenthood is not like that. In fact, most relationships are not like that. It’s not about how hard you work, or how good you are at it. Sometimes the output just does not match the input. On either side.
It makes me think about God. God’s input towards us does not always reflect our output. In fact, we’ll never match the input. God sacrificed his son for us, he arranged the times and the places so we could know him, he adopted us as sons and daughters, he provides what we need (not always what we want), he equips us, he has great plans for us. He is the perfect Father.
So how do we respond? Even my best isn’t good enough to match that. I claim Jesus as Lord, but I can still do my own thing, and give in to fears or selfishness. I still choose sin, knowing full well it hurts him.
Even more so, how does God respond to our response? Does he get mad? Is he fuming over doing all the work and seeing none of the results? Luckily for us, no, he doesn’t. His patience is infinite. His perspective is greater.
So this is what I’m holding on to. My responsibilities don’t stop, even as tired as I am or as much as I think I need a break. My frustration isn’t gone, as much as I know it isn’t helpful or as entitled as I feel to it. But I can remember God and his sacrifices and his attitude towards me. I can choose his bigger perspective over my narrow one. And I can fail again and again, and I can get back up.