Last Saturday was a great day. We visited family, hung out with old friends, and generally had a great time all day. Even the sunset was beautiful. Then came bedtime.
Oh. My. Kids.
There were more blood-curdling screams than at the Nightmare on 13th haunted house. And why were they screaming? Heaven only knows. At bedtime, needs change constantly so as to provide a constant barrage of excuses to keep Mom and Dad’s attention. And if one request can’t be supplied, all Hades breaks loose, and before we know it, one side of the house is filled with weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth (or gums, in Squeakers case), and the other with adults trying to drown out the sound with pillows over their ears. Beyond timeouts and lecturing, what’s a parent to do? After numerous door-smashing tantrums, heated lectures, and threats of lost privileges, the wailing only got worse. Jenni and I were both on the verge of an all-out breakdown. The idea of letting the kids wail themselves to sleep was the ultimate plan, but just try laying in bed and sleeping peacefully for three hours with a perpetual onslaught of screams coming from the other side of the house.
It was completely insane. In the end, one of them ended up sleeping on the couch (don’t ask me why that helped). Was it a good idea to let him have his way after a horrid tantrum? Maybe not, but by that time, we were on the verge of full mental breakdowns.
At church the next day, the brother teaching the lesson talked about something that had happened this last week that really caught my attention.
He said that the previous Monday had been one of the worst days in over a decade. One small thing after another, and though the entire day was just absolutely horrid, his one consolation was that at the end of the day he was able to kneel by his bed and thank the Lord that even though nothing had gone right that day, he’d been able to face each situation in righteousness – doing the right thing despite how horrid he felt.
I thought about the previous evening. It had been absolutely horrible. And though I felt like lashing the lot of them, I hadn’t. Though I felt like screaming at them, I didn’t. I was firm, but I didn’t do anything regrettable. As I realized that, all the stress and frustration from the night before just melted away. I had done the right thing. I knew I could at least say that much. Sometimes we can only do life a day at a time, and some days will be awful. But if we can say we acted in righteousness to the best of our knowledge, then we can be sure that the Lord is helping.