Monday, August 3, 2015

When Mom Needs a Time Out

I turned the cold water on full blast, hoping to mask my uncontrollable and desperate sobs. I could hear angry stomping and crying outside the bathroom door from at least one of my kids, adding to my misery. 

Since the water is on, I might as well get in.

I sat on the edge of the tub and plunged my feet into the cold water. Tempers were raging, confusion filled my thoughts. Resting my head in my hands and my elbows on my knees, I prayed; 
How do I get out of this mess? How did we even get here? Lord, please make it clear. What do I do now?

I considered sitting in the tub completely except I felt that would have been over the top dramatic and ridiculous. The cold water was refreshing and produced the desired affect as my brain began to clear. I literally began to emotionally cool down and could think straight again. No, all hope was not lost. I, we, could move forward from this moment in time. This horrible moment that felt like we couldn't ever recover from. 

A simple instruction had turned into a yelling and screaming match. Plans cancelled, frustrations building, everyone hurt and angry in the end.

When we posed and took this picture, a foam heart showed up.

I called them into the bathroom with me. Hurt and anger pained their faces. "Put your feet in the tub."
They obliged.

With out explanation, excuse or blame, I took full ownership of my actions. I apologized for every thing I did wrong. I asked for their forgiveness, right there with all our feet in the tub. I affirmed how we all wanted to be heard more than listen and because we felt unheard, we couldn't listen. I asked for forgiveness with out expecting a request in return. I resolved in my heart, they owed me nothing.

I stopped talking and listened. With out interrupting, with out argument, with out trying to set the record straight, I simply sat...staring at the toys floating in our bath tub pool, listening to their words, feelings, frustrations and eventually fears.

One of them spoke for both of them. Finally, though reluctantly, the other spoke, of fears deeper and greater than what had transpired over the last 60 minutes. The heart opened and the tears spilled out. The pressures, the fear of not being good enough, the desire to not have to feel responsible but be allowed to remain a child. The pent up burden of unwanted transition and change was released.

The cooling water continued to bathe our feet and miraculously sooth our heavy hearts. The rushing stream from the faucet moved the toys and odds and ends around.

The heat of the escalation had cooled. I couldn't take back anything that happened. I couldn't fix or change it. It can't unhappen. All I could do was admit the fault and sit right in it, hoping to move forward, reiterating my need, as much as theirs, for grace and Jesus.

I had no solutions but in that blink, water was the answer.

Sometimes you have to let it flow, stick your feet in, as ridiculous as it seems, and have a family meeting in the bathtub. 


  1. You have such a way with words. I hope you publish a book for women some day.

  2. Sometimes it's so hard to see past the situation. I think you handled it the best way. Listening is so hard to do at times


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