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I’m a big believer in second chances.  And third and fourth chances.  I’m grateful for those I’ve been given {which are beyond numbering} and I know I need to be that person offering the same gift to others.

Others, like my children.

Because, yeah, they need ‘em.  Like when I ban throwing balls in the house and they “forget” and break my lantern.  Or when I tell them to never, ever strike each other and one of them gets mad and socks the other.

Second chance parenting

My home is like any that houses children.  It’s loud, sometimes messy and it’s filled with rule-breakers.

Sinners.  Like me.

It’s my job to disciple my children to obey.  It’s my calling to lead them to the cross and back again and again.  It’s my life mission, in this season, to raise children who seek the Lord and thirst after righteousness.  Yet some days it seems all they’re thirsting after is a good fight.

And left to myself I’m not a great mom, you know.  I’m selfish and tired and sometimes I just want to do something besides remind them of the same old things.  Sometimes I just don’t want to be chief trainer of this circus that is my family.

Circus

Take yesterday for instance.  I didn’t do one load of laundry or cook one single meal.  The clothes piled up and yes, the kids ate but I’d rather not talk about it.  I stayed in sweats until the day was half over and I finally found my way to the shower.  But that didn’t happen until after I paid off my two daughters to watch the twins so I could lock myself in my room.

I’m not even kidding.

Not every day is like this.  In fact, most are not.  But I have 7 children, a husband, a house, a dog and a homeschool.  My plate is full and tipping over.  Occasionally it threatens to crack and when that happens I take a step back.  I’m not that supermom who pushes through and does it all even when I have no reserves to do it.  When I’m empty, I refuel.  Plain and simple.

Now I’m not suggesting you should throw money at your kids to pick up your slack (though I will say $2 for an hour of quiet was money well spent) but I am encouraging you to know your limits.  Listen to and respect those limits or they will bite you in the backside.

If you don’t have older kids to lean on, simply toss the non-essentials off your daily grind.  It never killed anyone to let the dishes sit or to  ease up a little (or completely) on the schooling for a day.  The key is to give yourself the rest you need and then jump back up on that horse.

The problem only comes into play if you keep putting off remounting the horse.

Motherhood is not pieced together by super-human moments of greatness.  It’s a compilation of little moments of, well,
littleness.  It’s doing the next thing every single time you can and laying down at His feet during those times you just can’t.

It doesn’t have to look pretty even.  Days in this house are rarely very pretty.  But they are funny and crazy and they’re filled with laughter and forgiveness and love.

Even when we forget and slug each other.

And sometimes I just need to take a deep breath and remember things are really going pretty well.  The lantern is broken, that will not change.  But the spirits of my children are intact, and growing, which is a gift straight from the hand of a second chance God.