When the Peanut Butter Hits the Fan

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As I am writing, my children are 2, 4, and 6. This tells you many things. For one, I am nowhere near the end of raising my children; in fact the true raising is just beginning to kick in. Two, I am more sure of what doesn’t work (for my kids) than what does, and finally, just as I am finding a rhythm in the preschool world, I have also placed a foot in the world of a child in school full-time. There are days when I put my head to the pillow overwhelmed by the blessings these kids are in my life and the confidence that I am “doing something right.” Then there are days when I go to bed overcome by my shortcomings and certain that God entrusted me with way more than I am capable of managing…even with his help. Both ends of the spectrum are dangerous places to set up camp, but I want to speak to those in the latter end.

When the Peanut Butter hits the fan, how do you survive until bedtime?
When you have a baby, you think you know what you are getting into. There will be good days and bad, but the good will far outweigh the bad. You know every day won’t be peaches and cream. You expect bad days. The thing we often forget to expect is that the bad days will almost always come at the worst time. In my experiences, it seems the kids are always behaving less than favorably on days that I am already drained and less than my best. ­What kind of sick coincidence is this?! I am already having a rough day and then they decide to act rambunctious times ten! As the day starts to unravel, I begin taking mental inventory of all the areas of my life that are lacking the proper discipline to prevent days like this. Before long my list is extensive and I am quite convinced that I am, in fact, failing at this whole mothering gig. I tangibly feel the foxes come in and pillage the fruitful vines in record numbers leaving empty and withered vines in their wake. If my attitude were a tire and peace the air inside them, it would be safe to say that I just ran over a nail and the loud, slow hiss was the sound of my hopes for a winning day escaping.

When peace escapes your atmosphere, it leaves a space that must be filled with something. Chaos is waiting in the wings in the absence of peace. He brings lots of negatively charged emotions with him. Kids are accustomed to chaos in their minds, but do well under the rule of peace. So in the moments where you are battling to keep peace and it would be easier to succumb to the chaos of kinder rule, remember the words of Jesus in John:

 “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give as the world gives.

Do not let your heart be troubled and do not be afraid.”

John 14:27 (NIV)

Jesus’ peace is supernatural. It is not the absence of chaotic circumstances or bad days altogether.

It is the ability to receive a fresh portion of peace in the center of all that is going wrong.

We can call on his name and ask for a new dose of peace and clarity. We can banish the emotions that Chaos brings with him and ask the Holy Spirit to saturate our atmosphere with a peace that passes all understanding. We don’t have to wait for the new day. We can receive it right now. So when the peanut butter hits the fan and your children are acting more like the foxes than the little blessings you know they are, shake things up. Turn the TV off or grab their attention for a quick dance party to worship music. If they are fighting, redirect their energy into cleaning up a mess, or make them all list something they are thankful for. These small activities can change the atmosphere and usher in peace and gratitude. Place the above mentioned scripture around your house somewhere to remind you that the Word includes a direct quote from Jesus saying he is giving you his peace. Quote it out loud when you need to remind the Enemy that you are entitled to peace in your home because you belong to the Prince of Peace.

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