A warming trend came through recently, melting all our snow. While temps are back down, we've had no new snow. This is my least favorite part of winter. I'd rather have snow non-stop for five months, than a marshy, muddy, good-for-nothing yard.
In what was not my finest parenting moment, I said yes to their requests to play outside, despite the thirty-degree temperature mixed with slight wind, and the presence of mud puddles mixed with ice. I did warn them about the less-than-desirable conditions, but remembering the fifty-degree feel of their last romp, they didn't believe me.
Still, fifteen minutes of peace ensued as they played outside.
Ending the most relaxing fifteen minutes of my day, one brother decided to push the other into the mud. Mary decided to join in the "fun", muddying her jacket and pants. Little Beth decided to remove her mittens and get her hands wet.
I opened the back door to hear Paul vent about his cold, wet, muddiness. Mary, too, was covered in mud, but she didn't mind in the least, save for the cold.
Worst still, Beth was screaming her head off, holding her hands and arms stiff, as though they were broken.
I have to tell you, screaming, injured kids always send me into a panic. When blood is visible, it gets pretty bad for this Momma.
While Beth does talk well enough to tell me her hands hurt, she couldn't do anything but scream, in this case. I wasn't sure whether she was just cold, or had injured her hands or arm somehow.
On my way to slowly warm her hands, I urgently questioned the others to find out what had happened. By urgently, I mean I yelled, "What in the world happened to her? Why is she screaming like this?!" I had checked on her four minutes before and found her on a bike, just sitting and enjoying her siblings' antics.
No one came forth with useful information, and as Beth continued to scream, I continued to panic. I had no car to take her anywhere if she'd broken something, and I had muddy kids waiting for help peeling off their filth, plus two loads of muddy clothes to wash and a muddy, wet floor--mopped several hours earlier.
She continued to scream as I gradually warmed her hands by slowly increasing the water temperature. The color in one of her hands was bluish, which fed my panic. How, I wondered, does one get a frostbite injury in less than fifteen minutes? And why has every toddler I've raised refused to keep mittens on?
I yelled from the bathroom for Peter or Paul to look up treatments and symptoms of frostbite. Really, I had no idea how to properly warm her hands, and I hoped water wasn't taboo.
I couldn't contain my panic, while dwelling on the fact that I had no car and no husband home to help with any of this. I know what you're thinking. Millions of moms face these circumstances alone everyday, and do just fine.
Well, the warm water helped enormously. The screaming gave way to sobs. Nothing was broken.
All crying stopped, I sat at the computer with her in my lap, reading the bottom line on cold-weather injuries.
She didn't have any dangerous signs, other than the bluish color, which had given way to a healthy pink.
Oh, and true frostbite takes time to develop--longer than fifteen minutes.
The others finished their showers and a calm descended over the house, but the affects of the fight-or-flight response still lingered in my body. I felt spent, exhausted.
And disappointed in myself.
Why must I panic so easily? I would be a much better parent if I weren't like this. I'm sure Peter's condition would be better handled by a calmer mother. I'm sure these kids are going to hate many things about me and wish they had a different mother. One who laughs all the time. One who doesn't always seem over-burdened.
All this went through my mind as I scurried to make an early dinner and dress all five of us for evening church.
Trying to calm my spirit, I remembered God's grace. If these kids succeed in life, if they grow up to be sons and daughters after God's own heart, it won't be because of me.
It will be because of God's grace.
Do you know who gets the most out of God's grace?
James 4:6 But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.
That line "blessed are the poor in spirit" refers to those who understand their need for God. They've sufficiently humbled themselves--gotten to the end of themselves. They know they are nothing without Christ. They're in a state of spiritual poverty--total reliance on God.
The spiritually impoverished benefit most from God's grace.
To feel it, live it, give it out to others, we have to humble ourselves. In a world that pushes us to exalt ourselves, we have to continue to diminish.
It is our personality flaws, our disorders, our imperfections, that send us running to Christ.
I thank God for the lousy parenting job I'm doing.
My kids don't need super mom.
They need me.....on my knees, humbled.