Carson had quite the fit the other day, and I, in turn, almost lost it as well. The tantrum itself was not what got to me, rather it was the level to which I identified with his emotions. That kid might look a lot like his daddy, but man- he takes after me in some ways that scare the heck out of me.

The scene: I had created a make-shift letter puzzle with index cards a while back. The purpose was to match the capital and lowercase letters together. Easy peasy, right? It should have been, but little Carson with his perfectionist/low-tolerance-for-frustration tendencies couldn’t handle that the edges of my homemade sorta-ghetto puzzle wouldn’t match up just so. He cried and cried that he just wanted everything to be perfect. Gaps in the puzzle were not an option, perfection was the only way, and there would be weeping and gnashing of teeth (okay, I might be a bit dramatic there) until something changed. What I saw as something clearly silly and unworthy of such tears he viewed as a complete tragedy.

I tried to have a moment with him, explaining that I knew how he felt. That I sometimes get upset about things not being perfect when they don’t need to be. That my emotions sometimes get the best of me when things don’t go my way. And so on and so on. But he didn’t want a moment. He just wanted to cry. So I held him, shaken that my child had inherited some of my very own struggles.

I was the kid who had to be encouraged to stop studying. While I obsessively studied flashcards, I also made it my purpose to please others. So I studied and pleased my way through my child/teenage-hood. Sound like a parent’s dream child? Wrong. I was internally a hot mess, focused so intently on pleasing others and maintaining a certain image of perfection that my eyes shifted away from the One who had already granted me all the approval I would ever need.

In those formative years of undergrad, God brought me to the understanding that my worth and identity was rooted in Him rather than appearances, accomplishments or assets. The pathway that led me to this understanding was rocky and arduous and painful. And heck, I don’t think I’ll ever reach any sort of destination on this journey (this side of Heaven at least), as my heart will forever be a work in progress.

Every mother desires to protect her children. To shelter them from harm and heartache. I am no different. And when I see my very own struggles and issues displayed in the lives of my children, it stops me in my tracks. While I pray my tail off against these issues (ahem, sin) taking root in the lives in my children, I must rely on God’s grace rather than my ability to parent. I’m not sure why I ever doubt that the God who has redeemed and restored my own life could do the same with my children.

Oh and that silly index card alphabet puzzle? I thought about trashing it, but I decided to keep it as a trophy of sorts… a sign that maybe I really had made some strides in my journey towards being okay with just-okay. I’m pretty stinkin’ glad that my hope is found in Christ alone rather than my ability to create stellar teaching tools.

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