“I Hate Myself.”

Image Credit: Good Job and Other Things

Image Credit: Good Job and Other Things

As you may or may not know, today is the first day of Lent. Yesterday, I shared my 2014 Lent Commitment

This morning, my alarm went off at 4:30. I opened my eyes and thought, “Holy cow. How am I going to do this for 40 days?!” Then counteracted it with thinking of Jesus and the sacrifices he made for me. I guessed I could muster up the strength to get out of bed. 

I came to the computer, logged in to my private prayer blog, and started writing out my prayer. I won’t bore you with all the details, but suffice it to say I prayed specifically for one of my children. I decided I would focus on one of them each day for the first week of Lent. 

This child that I prayed for, I struggle with the most. I feel like I am constantly critical of him, because honestly, he makes very poor choices. Oh, who am I kidding? He makes flippin’ idiotic decisions that I just don’t understand. Know what common sense is? Well, he doesn’t. 

That may sound harsh, but truthfully, that’s where I’m at with him. My Lent commitment makes more and more sense…

This morning was going along like it normally does before school starts. The kids were rushing around, doing chores, and this one boy I speak of was continually spurring on his siblings to irritate them. Normal behavior for a boy, I know. It comes time for him to do his spelling, and he couldn’t find his spelling book. Again. It gets old, I tell you. Very, very old. After an escalating “conversation” with him about how he needs to keep track of his things and put them in the freakin’ BIN when he’s done with them, he continued to argue with me about how it was my fault for misplacing it. Finally, knowing I was about to lose it, I told him (it may have been more like yelled at him) that his attitude just earned him 5 pieces of wood (our kids haul wood or branches when they have an attitude with us–one of the perks of living on property). 

He stomped to the front door, opened it, slammed it shut, and I heard him say, “I HATE you!!”

Now, a better person than I am would have gone into the other room, let things cool down, and then talked to him after he had hauled his wood. But, I’m not a better person.

So, I got up, went out on the porch with him and said, “WHAT did you say?!” I was ready to give him a large piece of my mind. How DARE my child say he hate me. He’s not allowed to have feelings like that.

He didn’t answer. He looked at me, realizing he was in some deep doo doo, and then said, “Nothing.”

I repeated, “TELL me. What did you say?”

He continued to stare at me. Finally he sheepishly looked down at the ground and said, “I said, ‘I hate myself.’ “

Um. What? I could have sworn he said he hated me. But after I thought for about 3.7 seconds, I realized in my haste I had only heard “I hate…” and then didn’t bother to hear the rest. 

I stood there. Stunned, actually.

I’ve heard this child call himself a “bad kid” before (and not because I have ever said that. I have told him he makes bad choices on many occasions, but I’ve never said he was a bad child), but never had I seen him so desperately hurting, and saying that he hated himself.

I realized right then that THIS was what I had prayed for this morning. I prayed, asking God to allow me to see this child through HIS eyes instead of my own. Begged him to show me what he sees so I could relate to this kid who drives me batty and honestly hurts me with his behavior regularly. 

And I did. For that small moment in time, I saw this child through God’s eyes. And I saw myself. You know what else I saw? A sinner. Yup. And I remembered I am no better than him. He’s a child, for goodness sake. Why am I expecting him to act like a mature adult? I realized if Jesus had been standing in our home during our interaction, I never would have acted like I did. I would have turned to Him in desperation, asking Him to help me. I didn’t even ask God what I should do during our little hissy fit toward each other. I just felt myself getting angrier and angrier and it didn’t even cross my mind that maybe I should turn my eyes above instead of straight ahead. 

Yes, this boy pushes my buttons. Yes, he makes me want to climb up on the roof and hide. But he also has an amazing heart, he wants to do the right thing, and he has obvious gifts that I know will eventually be used for God. It’s not my job to change him or force him into the perfect round peg hole that I’d like him to be in. It’s just my job to protect him, encourage him, discipline him when needed, and most importantly, to not be a hypocrite. Why would my son want to follow Jesus if he sees his mom “representing” him in this way? Ouch. The truth hurts. It really does.

I almost didn’t write any of this down. You know, it doesn’t reflect well on me. But, as I’ve said before, I’m all about authenticity. And I want you to know, I failed miserably today. Actually, I’ve been failing miserably quite a bit for my whole life. But that’s ok. His mercies are new every morning. Tomorrow is a new day. This afternoon is a new moment. I am a work in progress, and I’m ok with that. After all, if I was perfect, it would mean I would have nothing to work on, and I’d be dead. I’d rather be alive and a little bit broken.

I apologized to my son for letting my anger {again} get the best of me. I told him I was not a good example of Jesus and that I was sorry I misrepresented him. He smiled, gave me a big hug, and said, “Can I have a snack?”

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Comments

  1. Courtney says

    Thank you so much for sharing your story today. Sometimes when I’m just browsing FB quickly, I keep scrolling and don’t always click on blog posts. Maybe it was the title and curiosity got the best of me, but something made me click on your post today and I’m so glad I did. What you wrote today are the same things I struggle with daily with my son. I know he feels criticized often as my husband and I do our best to raise him to be a responsible, productive member of society. Sometimes I feel like I don’t know how to parent him. But God blessed me with this sweet, sensitive boy for a reason. Thank you for the reminder to turn to Him in prayer more often. Thank you for being real and being a light to others.

  2. says

    Thank you so much for sharing! My kids are both pretty high maintenance (gee, I wonder where they got THAT from?) Sometimes I want to climb on the roof, too. But I think I’ll pray instead :).

  3. Tina B. says

    Thank you for sharing your heart. I also have a child that pushes my buttons on a daily basis and I have also lost my temper with her more times than I count. Thank you for showing me that I am not alone and for reminding me to constantly look to Jesus for help instead of acting out in my flesh.

  4. jennifer lusk says

    His mercies ARE new every morning, Thank God!! I cling to that promise many days that I feel I have completely blown it. In our broken moments we shine when we show our kids that we can be humble, say we’re sorry, and move on in God’s grace. Maybe God allows us to have some bad days so our kids can see humbleness modeled before them.. a great life lesson! Thanks for sharing. :-)

  5. Becky says

    Thank you for always being authentic. I too have kid(s) like this. My two boys push my buttons in their own special ways. My almost 4 yr old, the middle child (until July) is so challenging. The kid refuses to potty train. Yesterday he peed on the floor, on a blanket, and in a cup. He also pooped on the floor. He’s 4 in less than 2 months. I’m 19 weeks pregnant. I have very little patience! I think my 19 month old may potty train before him. Seriously.
    It’s encouraging to hear how you handle these situations. I know my challenging one just needs more of my time. And when I take the time to sit with him, hold him, give him that physical touch he needs, he melts. I have to pray daily for patience and to remember each child’s unique needs from me. Being a mom and freaking hard! Thanks for your always encouraging blog. I enjoy it!

  6. says

    It must have taken a lot to post something like this! Thanks so much for sharing. I don’t have any kids but I think this could really apply to dealing with anyone who pushes your buttons. And for when I do have kids!

  7. Mindy says

    I feel like I could have written this post (minus the wood hauling although I wish we had property and I would add that in!). Thank you for your authenticity. Our feelings towards our kids can be ugly and I desperately need Jesus to come in and mold this clay heart of mine many a days when I’m at my wits end, but reading this tonight helped me feel not so alone with my struggles and feelings. I will admit I’ve had to ask forgiveness for my anger towards my son twice in the last two days! He always forgives, but it’s hard to lose the guilt I feel when I look at him through Jesus’ eyes.

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