‘I want more trousers’, comes the wail from down the corridor. It’s the same wail, close to a repetitive drone, that has been echoing through the house for the last half an hour.
The demand is coming from the person who has all his trousers laid out on his bed. Laid out in response to the initial request, in the hope that a choice would be made. Instead, it seems that eleven pairs of trousers (the benefit of being a recipient of hand-me-downs) is not enough, and for some reason the record has broken and we are dealing with a full blown meltdown.
Another day, another meltdown.
This time the cause is hard to discern, but the grumpy edge that appeared around breakfast time has developed into a shouted ‘no’ and a dash for his room and the apparent shelter of his covers. Continued refusal to do what’s asked escalates and, before it’s even 9am, time outs, tearful apologies and consequences are in play.
Another day, another meltdown.
But not just the children. Us adults nit-picking with one another, making conversations spiky and pointedly commenting on what needs to be done, or whatever else seemingly should be the other person’s responsibility. More controlled than wailing or sobbing, but maybe uglier through gathered ammunition and stewed on hurts. Fall-out that can only be remedied through a repentant sorry, and graceful forgiveness.
Another day, another meltdown, and another exposure of our hearts.
My last post spoke of the constant desire in our house to be the ‘good guy’ in whatever game is being played. An admirable desire, and one that we pray would continue in our little men. We long for them to be good men who are like Jesus in character and behaviour.
But our hearts are not naturally those of the ‘good guys’. Everyday, whether a child or a grown-up, it’s always apparent that our sometimes kind hearts are often not; considerate hearts turn selfish; and loving hearts swiftly become unlovely.
In Bible terms, our sinful hearts are on full display and the good times don’t cancel out the flaws. Circumstances might expose it more, but they aren’t the cause. It’s my heart that gets in the way of me being ‘good’.
Wonderfully, all is not lost because Jesus is in the business of forgiving sinners, and changing hearts.
As I see my heart, I know my need for forgiveness – from my children and my husband, but most of all from my God. As tantrums, meltdowns and fights expose our boys’ hearts, we can help them see the problem but also know the one who freely forgives and loves to work ‘good’ out of that which was bad. As they hear us saying sorry, asking them and God for forgiveness and praying He will work in our own hearts, maybe something of this reality sticks.
We’re still praying that our ‘good guys’ would grow into good, kind and generous men but we know that will only truly happen, when they start with a repentant, forgiven heart that only Jesus can bring.
‘But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.’ (Romans 5:8)