I have a problem with losing it with my kids. Mostly my four-year-old. Because he is four and four-year-olds are annoying.
I get to the point where I get so angry that my heart is beating fast, my head feels like it's going to explode with anxiety, and I just want to curl up in the fetal position with my hearing turned off. I get very anxious. Very overwhelmed. Very angry. I say things I regret. I act in ways I regret. Slamming doors, yelling at my kids.
This happens a lot before church. It's the worst. The stress of having to hurry up to get ready, make sure I've packed diapers and wipes, getting the stroller ready, putting shoes on, making sure they're fed, brushed, dressed, groomed, wiped... it gets to me many Sunday mornings. Here we are, getting ready to worship, and my heart is full of anger and frustration, and I've been anything but loving. It's almost embarrassing to be in his presence.
But then, I had the most comforting thought.
He is peace when I am not.
When I am in a rage, he is peace, despite how I am behaving. What a patient Father.
When I am throwing an adult fit, God doesn't react to me in the way that I react to my children when they are throwing fits. He doesn't get in a rage. He isn't livid with me. He doesn't huff and puff in a corner and tell me he doesn't want to talk to me right now because he's too angry. He doesn't roll his eyes at my apologies and tell me "well, if you really are sorry, then you better show me that you mean it!"
I guess, in other words, God isn't a teenage girl. Heh. But anyway.
The thought that he is peace when I am not brought tears to my eyes. I think we should always come to him with humble hearts in worship, but the thing is, God accepts us and loves us in every state. He takes me angry, frustrated, broken, anxious, overwhelmed, and at a loss. He has utmost patience for us. My behavior when I get angry doesn't reflect what he thinks of me when I've been less than pleasant.
I like to think when I am so frustrated with my children to the point of wanting to run away and not come back, that he is there, he sees everything in his peaceful presence. He understands me, he empathizes with me. And he'll give me the strength to be patient when things get really tough.
He'll help me not become exasperated when River swings his fishing pole up in the air, getting the string all tangled in the dangling twinkle lights in our living room. He is peace.
He'll give me the strength to be firm and consistent when Austen is throwing a fit because she doesn't want to get out of the shower and would rather stand there shivering and screaming for ten minutes instead of letting me wrap her up in a towel. He is peace.
Amid these trials that seem so petty (but so aren't when you're a mother and deal with this crap every day, all day long!) he is peace. Even though we lack patience sometimes when dealing with our difficult children, he is patient with us in our downfalls. He gives us second changes, third chances, seventy-seven chances. He is always forgiving, always gracious, always loving.
He is peace when I am not.