Wednesday, August 24, 2011

A Beautiful Heart

There is nothing simple or easy about raising a 3 year old little girl. The constant battle of her need for independence and to be heard, yet that fact that she is still too young to really have much voice are always a source of conflict in this home. It's not that I don't respect her as an individual, but things like wanting candy for breakfast are just not smart choices. She still has a hard time understanding the concept of time...meaning, you can't have it now, but after lunch. To her, all she hears is "no". The whining and crying to be heard, yet my need to instill discipline, patience, and manners wear me down mentally every day. Add on the fact that her naps are becoming a thing of the past and I just feel so run down by 4pm every day that sometimes I just put my head in my hands and cry. I love my children, but having 3 little ones who are ages 3 and under is very hard. I may seem like I have it all under control...and for the most part I do...but, I am not superwoman.

We had a rough afternoon yesterday. The twins are both teething and fussy and my patience with Ella was very small. I tried so hard to just sit and play with all them. I even took them all on a wagon ride, but as soon as walked back inside the whining started up again. The day basically ended with Andrew walking through the door and me saying "Ella is yours. I don't want anything else to do with her today. I am over her." I hate that. I hate feeling that way about this precious child. I know in my heart that it is my job to teach her how to behave like a little lady, not whine, and be a grateful person. Sometimes, I am quick to forget that she is a sinner just like me...and not just a sinner, but a child who is still doesn't understand that the world can't always cater to her every desire. The repetition of disciplining and reminding her of how to behave can be exhausting. I wonder if we exhaust God? Goodness knows I am constantly going to Him with my whines and complaints. In many ways, I am probably no different than my 3 year old child.

There is something that always brings me back to my knees and thanking the Lord for this sweet little life He has intrusted me with. This morning, I awoke with a fresh attitude and was determined to remember my role as her give her love and be her teacher.

With my new perspective today, I sat and was reminded why she is so amazing and why she is worth every effort to help her learn how to behave. I sat and watched and observed what a BEAUTIFUL heart my daughter has. This is nothing new, but I had forgotten in the midst of dealing with temper tantrums. This girl isn't just beautiful on the outside. God has given her the most beautiful and compassionate heart. I know God has great plans for her.

What did she do exactly? I watched how she so effortlessly loves her siblings and helps them. She is always looking out for their safety. She is always willing to share her toys and never snaps at Jacob when he steals her toys. She also knows that Audrey can't crawl yet, and I watched her take some toys and put them in front of her so that she didn't feel left out. I watched her take something out of Jacob's mouth that he could have choked on and she so sweetly said "Jacob, you have to be careful. You can't put those things in your mouth because you will choke! Here you can play with this instead." I watched her go hug Jacob when he fell down and hit his head.

Later, I heard this sweet voice open Audrey's door and talk to her through the crib slats and say "Don't cry Audrey. Mommy will be here in just a minute. Here you want my blanket?"

Now that's love. Ella's loves her blanket almost as much as I love my morning coffee. But, when she saw her sister cry, she thought offering her that would bring her a smile that same way it does herself.

I never have to ask her to be sweet to her siblings. She naturally is sweet to them. She loves playing with them and making them laugh. She genuinely loves to share with them. This is amazing to me.

When she hears another child cry on the playground, it really upsets her. Often I see her go up to them and try and offer comfort. It makes me so proud. Isn't that one of the main things we want from our children? learn to love and extend grace and compassion to others?

So despite the fact that she tries my patience daily...and many times (too often, actually), I fail miserably to keep my cool...her heart will always amaze me. So even if I fail as a mother at times, I can see that God has instilled something in her that will serve her well in life. I cannot understand why God gave me such a generous and compassionate child, but I am so grateful for her and her beautiful heart.

Her nickname is Ella Bella or El Belle, which means beautiful Ella in French. There is no doubt that she is beautiful on the outside. But, I am starting to believe her internal beauty is going to outshine even that!


Lauren said...

I can completely relate to your frustrations and your joys. And I think it can be very hard to concentrate on the joys in the midst of all the frustrations. Thanks for the reminder!

Tiffany said...

I can also relate to your frustrations and joys. I have a 4 your old that is just like that. Just recently my little ones were to stay with my parents for the weekend and go to a family reunion in AL (my oldest had a soccer tournament) and my son (who is 5) was very upset about staying and wanted to come home. (we were in a car accident last year when we went hence why he didn't want to stay) Olivia, who is 4, got upset because he brother was upset and tried to console him. They both ended up coming home within 4 hours.
Ella loves that way to others because she is shown that by you! I can tell by your posts that you are a great example and role model for her!

S is for Sarah said...

I can totally relate to this...3 years old is so much harder than 2 was, for sure! I read an article last week on the Desiring God site that really spoke to me~mainly about how we have a choice when responding to our children, and often it involves extending to them the same grace and lovingkindness the Lord extends to us. Here's the link... It was a reminder that I needed to hear! I love your experiment with being watchful and looking for blessings.