Moms of elementary school children, do you get papers home in the “Tuesday Folder” and then spend way to much time trying to figure out…what was that? What class was that? And, if your child is still struggling to write anything legible…what does this even say?
Most Tuesday afternoons, when I open the backpack full of random, rustled and crinkled, manila pages, my brain starts to twitch and my body starts to panic. I am not well organized in my kitchen, there are fewer piles than there once were, but there are still far too many piles strewn about in not just the kitchen, but the office where the kitchen piles go to have babies (babies called organization attempts). Tuesday folder is needless to say, utterly stressful.
A couple of weeks back, in the Tuesday folder, one assignment home broke my mama heart. A large (12″x18″) manila page, with a hole cut out of the center about the size of a face. Ava’s name was at the top of the page and then in rainbow words (the first red, the next orange…) she wrote:
Ugh, what? What was this assignment? What were the directions? I imagine…look in the mirror, what do you see? How would you describe yourself? What adjectives describe you? And in my self-judging heart all I could see were the bad words, the judging words, the words that told me that my child is unhappy at times. GROUCHY, JEALOUS, LONELY, MEAN, NOISY
My heart broke over those words, so I took to searching the Word, the Scriptures, to counteract those words she thinks of herself. And I started to pay attention to each word. I wanted to find words that said “Jesus loves you even when you’re grouchy”, “Jesus loves you even when you’re jealous…mean…noisy…” It wasn’t an easy search, and I didn’t necessarily find what I was looking for, exactly.
The lovely things she said about herself had lovely verses and encouraging truths to be found and applied; but so did the distasteful words. The distasteful things, the sad words, held encouragement and also room for character development, for discipline, for correction. Those words are truthful. She is a grump, a lot of the time and God addresses that attitude in the Word, “It’s better to live in a corner on the roof than to share a house with a contentious woman.” Proverbs 21:19
Okay, yeah, she’s only seven and that’s talking about a wife, but the wife started out as a girl. A girl who got her own way, a girl whose attitude went unchecked, a girl who was let to act how she wanted without regard for how it affected everyone else in her house. And of course the verse pokes me in the pride personally.
All this to say, that this has woken up in me a purpose to see how she sees herself, to show her how God sees her, and to know that attitudes are not permanent. Because you have moments in your day, days, over time when you feel _____________…whatever, that’s not your definition. That isn’t how you will feel every day. We, all of us, must choose to minimize our small feelings, our bad attitudes, our selfishness and expand the things in us that light us up. EXCITEMENT, FAIRNESS, GENTLENESS, HAPPINESS, HELPFULNESS, LUCK, CRAFTINESS.
A little perspective goes a long way.