Last week, I shared how we have been reflecting on the school year (especially the last few unexpected months) to see what we can celebrate, enjoy and find satisfaction in. As the kids and I have talked about the growth we have seen and the things we have enjoyed, something surprised me.
The day by day of this season has been hard. VERY HARD! It has felt overwhelming and frustrating. I have grown irritated when the kids didn’t do what they were asked and I had to give them multiple reminders or when they pushed back on having to do their school work. It has been a very messy season and has not felt very successful. Yet when I look back from where we started to where we are now, I see so much growth! The kids have grown in their responsibility, initiative, creativity, ability to play well together, and even the household tasks they have learned to manage. I have grown in flexibility, trusting God, and my ability to feel peace in the midst of chaos, despite the inability to make a plan. (Can you tell I am a planner and don’t like to feel out of control?!)
When exactly did this happen? It didn’t feel like we were growing. It felt bumpy, messy, grumpy and chaotic. My kids were pushing back, arguing, and not doing what they were asked the first time. They needed lots of reminders and experienced lots of consequences to their actions (or inactions).
I asked Immanuel about this recently and sensed Him assuring me this is what growth looks like. Growth doesn’t mean one day the kids wake up and instantly do everything they have been asked with no push back or reminders. It is a process. They learn how to take responsibility by making mistakes. They feel the results of their actions (when they focus, school is done sooner; when they mess around, their brother finishes first, and they are still stuck working).
If they suddenly woke up perfect children, they wouldn’t learn. If they complied because they were afraid of our anger, they wouldn’t learn internal motivation. Learning to do hard things and learning to do what we don’t feel like doing are both important tasks of childhood. Neither is easy, and both are messy processes.
Do you feel like you have been spinning your wheels these last few months? Does it feel like life has been a mess? Be encouraged! Masterpieces are formed in the midst of a mess.1