The Great Meltdown

It’s Friday, which means Susanne is hosting her Friday Fave Five carnival at Living to Tell the Story. I’m thinking of introducing a new Friday carnival in keeping with my current emotional state; something like Friday’s Whiny Woes. How do you think that would fly with the bloggy crowd? Such self pity is sure to garner many readers!


Never one to knock herself out to garner readers, I’ll tell you up front: I’m whiny. I’m sad. I’m more-than-melancholy. In fact, I want to run away. Hide. Quit. Cry.

Or, all of the above.

I had a rotten night last night, a tug of war of wills with my youngest son, the second such encounter of the week. The Great Meltdown Revisited. My husband was out of town, so this battle I fought solo and like all such battles, it was not pretty. There was screaming (both of us), crying (mostly me) and outright defiance (not me).

I hate it. Hate it and hate myself because of it. This morning I am still reeling from the encounter–feeling empty, broken, ashamed and downright awful. I know, I know, he should obey. He was plainly warned that there are consequences to disobedience and I stood my ground in defense of those consequences (established during the The First Great Meltdown Monday), though I wanted desperately to give in out of sheer exhaustion from the war of the wills.

I stood my ground, I just didn’t stand it well.

My youngest, to his credit and the only thing he did right last night, eventually hugged me and apologized of his own accord. That is, once he realized he had made me cry. (Note to self: play the crying card early) After he hugged me, he then asked if he could watch tv (which was the whole point of the argument to begin with–he is nothing if not stubbornly persistent).

We narrowly dodged another meltdown. Maybe he was as tired as I.

My kids are sinners, no doubt about it. Their mom is too, chief among them. I wish my kids had a better mom, one who doesn’t lose it, one who never screams, one who could maintain her calm, one who speaks only what is edifying in an edifying tone of voice. I wish I knew what to say and what to do and how to parent with wisdom and grace. Sometimes I am overcome by my failures as a mom, by my inadequacies and my many mess ups. Sometimes I think to myself: I cannot do this another day, much less another decade and then some. The rest of my life, moms who are older and wiser tell me.

I’m worn out and weary, I stand condemned by my own failures. I do what I don’t want to do–I scream and yell, I lose my temper, I fail to be the mom I ought. What I want to do, I don’t. Is there freedom for moms like me? In my shame and my woe I remember Paul’s question in Roman 7: Who will set me free?

Paul’s answer: Christ alone.

In Christ I am set free. Free! No condemnation, but forgiveness. Redemption. Grace. Mercy. After a rotten night, I am humbled and grateful that His mercies are new every. single. morning. Every morning!

I am unworthy. I do not deserve His pardon. Didn’t He see me last night? He did, and His Spirit does His good work of bringing conviction today. I confess. I repent. And I know His glorious mercy poured out anew on this humble mom.

To God be the glory.


Author: Lisa Spence

Wife, mother, Bible teacher, bibliophile, occasional blogger

12 thoughts on “The Great Meltdown”

  1. I’ve been there more times than I care to admit to. Thank you for sharing and most of all for directing us back to the hope we have in Jesus.

  2. I’D participate in this carnival idea of yours although, as you said, perhaps it’s better that it wasn’t well established? Last night I screamed and hollered too – but it was venting my frusterations to Jonathan over the stupidity that exists in our little universe. I know I’m not perfect either. Which I have to say is a really annoying thing.

  3. Been there, done that…oh wait, still there, still doing that!My heart goes out to you, because my heart is in the same place. So glad His mercies are new every morning…and every moment.Thank you for writing this.

  4. I can so relate, unfortunately. Great post both for its authenticity and for the Truth it provides.Hugs to you today, my friend!

  5. I wrote about my oldest today (her birthday) and I have lived those days more times than I care to count. The battle … even the memories are painful. We haven’t been there for several years and just recently it looked as if we might be in for a rematch. Thankfully maturity and grace have taken root and we are walking the line but it still makes me hold my breath. I despise it so much.Now my boy. He is much like my oldest and the battles are beginning. It is a long road and without grace I would have already crawled in the ditch.Thank God for the new day because there are nights where that is all I can cling to. Sorry you had to brace this one alone. Thanks for this post. What a beautiful exposure of our weakness and His strength.

  6. I do not believe there is a mom in the world who cannot relate to what you posted. This happens at my home as well…that was an amazing post!!

  7. God can redeem any mess-up we’ve made. God does it all and it’s so good to keep going back to the fact that God is faithful and he will faithfully sanctify us as we struggle with our flesh on this earth and make mistakes and keep going back to Him for forgiveness. There are so many days I wish I could take back in raising my strong willed 2nd son. Sheesh…but I can’t take them back I have to trust God to redeem it…My adult relationship with my 2nd born is so much better than the younger years, praise God…

  8. I wish my kids had that kind of mom too. They don’t. Not even close.My husband tells me over and over again that I need to quit taking my children’s defiances so personally. Just deal with them appropriately, and move on.I don’t know how to do this. I don’t think I ever will. What’s more personal and heartbreaking than your child’s defiance? Wow, just realized that is a very convicting thought. Love you friend. Praying for you. We’re in this boat together.

  9. If you find a mom like that, send her my way…my daughter could certainly use her!I'm struggling with the pre-teen attitude & mouth BIG TIME. I've just got to keep seeking God, because I'm spinning my wheels.

  10. Oh Lisa, I’m so sorry. I hope this week is much better for you.Just this weekend, I found myself yelling at my 2-year-old to “STOP YELLING!!!” Hm, that’s probably not the best approach, huh? And I could definitely have joined you in a whiny woes carnival! 🙂

  11. Oh I’ve been the same boat more times than I can count. I think it’s the same for everyone of us. I thank God every day for his grace and mercy for all the mistakes I make parenting. And you know I know some pretty fine moms but I think they’d be the first to say that there is no perfect mom out there. We are all in need of the grace and wisdom of God when it comes to kids.

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