“I DIDN’T SAY THAT!!!!” One sister yelled.
“YESSSSSSS YOUUUUUUU DIIIIIIIID-AAAAAAAA,” the other retorted.
“WELL THEN YOU HEARD ME WRRRRROOOONNNGGGG-AAAAAA,” she snapped back.
“Ugh,” I sighed, listening to them pile frustrated syllables on top of simple words, “they’ve BOTH gotten that from me.”
Faces twisted into eccentric versions of craziness, both seethingly glared into the review mirror. Apparently, that was my cue to magically apply logic to what had “actually” been said. Ironic, how they burst into laughter at Siri’s mistakes …or Mom’s …that’s always hysterical. But they take sisterly “corrections” very seriously.
Grown-up or not, we all fall victim to our own stubbornness. Right or wrong, few people have the ability to apologize on the spot for the effect irrelevant to the cause. Except Siri, she’s pretty quick to tell you, “I’m sorry, I did not understand.”
If you join me in the struggle to handle hot-tempered moments of kids quarreling in the backseat, I can offer a couple of tips that have kept me on the road. But don’t judge me if you hear me screaming “SHUT UP!” as I drive around town with the windows down. #trying #inthefield
1. Load up and line up your corrections.
“Consecrate yourselves and be holy, because I am the Lord your God. Keep my decrees and follow them. I am the Lord, who makes you holy.” Leviticus 20:7-8 (NIV)
Tense moments flare tempers, and words seem to fail us. No matter how many, or at what volume, they spill into the car … mistranslated like a text message surrendered to auto-correct.
God seeks to steer us, and applauds efforts to guide our children through tedious moments. Seek His wisdom. Set aside some space to clear the clutter and read the Bible. Everyday has five free minutes. The time I spend in His Word allows me to relay the motherly messages He always intended for my daughters to hear.
2. Embrace The Correction
Imagine God watching from Heaven while we blow right by misinterpretations and hit “send” anyway …EVEN WHEN He’s waving both hands in front of our face?!?! Instead of ridiculing us for missteps and side-trails, He sent His only Son to die for us. The love demonstrated in sacrifice forever forgives our failed efforts. Through Jesus, God replaces every “fallen short,” with “grace and love.”
What missteps have lent us the opportunity to spread Christ’s love? The story of Jesus naming Peter yields immense hope.
“And he brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon son of John. You will be called Cephas (which, when translated, is Peter.)” John 1:42 (NIV)
Peter was a fisherman that doubted Jesus at the rooster’s crow. But he was also known for having solid faith in Jesus, and for his leadership in the early church. The NIV Study Bible further notes that, although his name is literally translated, “Rock,”
“Peter was anything but a rock; he was impulsive and unstable…Jesus named him not for what he was but for what, by God’s grace, he would become.”
My daughters’ bickering in the backseat brings to light the natural struggle to be right …to be the best …the favorite … independent… No winner emerges from unjust conflict. There’s no reason to put our individual mission on earth to death by comparison. Our kids need us to be who Jesus says we are.
“Peter was best know for his impetuous nature and fierce devotion to Christ.” -NIV Study Bible Text Note
Impetuous means, “acting or done quickly and without thought or care.” (Google.com) It also can mean, “moving forcefully or rapidly.” (Google.com)
Fierce means, “having or displaying an intense or ferocious aggressiveness.”(Google.com) It can also mean, “(of a feeling, emotion, or action) showing a heartfelt and powerful intensity.”(Google.com)
So by one definition we can choose to see Peter as a flip-flopping doubter with a temper. Or, we can choose to look a little bit deeper into the heart Jesus identified long before Peter knew his name. The “Rock,” who spread the gospel with force and speed throughout the early church, and loved Jesus with heartfelt and powerfully intense faith.
Embrace the correction.
“Girls…” I warmed up, as I prayed that a nugget of Spirit-led wisdom would fall out of my mouth, “…it doesn’t matter who started it or who’s fault it is …you both need to apologize and hug it out.”
Insert insane amount of eye-rolling and last ditch efforts to pinch each other…
“Love you,” I added with a smile.
The correction is love.
We don’t have to fight to be fierce. Most of us haven’t even grown into our true “names” yet. When we’re scrunched up and mangled into frustrated faces, Jesus sees our hearts and knows our names. His gift of death in exchange for grace grants us new life …for life …for forever.
Fight with the fierce and ferocious power of the love that conquered it all. And if you let a hot-tempered phrase slip, apologize. It works for Siri …my kids think she’s hilarious when she admits she’s at a complete loss…
When I want to quit, prayer is there to pull me through. I hope you know He’s there for you, too.