perspective.gratitude... and a smudgy handprint.

 Perspective is such a powerful thing.
Whether we see our glass half full, or half empty, can really effect how we taste it as sweet, or bitter. Each day we are gifted with the 'present' of being present can either feel like a joy to unwrap... or the misery of another pair of itchy socks from ol' Aunt Gertrude.

To be honest, my heart tends to flip flop to both extremes... in any given five minutes.
But I'm learning, slowly, to flex the heart muscle of gratitude... so it can bear the weight and bounce back quicker from daily loads thrown at it, like that sack of moldering laundry in the corner.  
Gratitude is a real perspective changer.
Gratitude lets us look through things... instead of at them.
You know, instead of begrudging the dirty dishes.. look through them to see the blessing of food shared with family/friends.  Look through the chaos of toys and clutter on your floor, to the young souls in your care that love knowing you are there with them.

I was thinking this the other day as I saw this smudge of a hand print on our (finally) cleaned picture window.  I stared at that mess, hard. It represented a whole lot of futility to me in that moment. This never-ending cycle of clean the things, they mess the things, clean the things again can wear down even the most devoted of Cinderellas. But, this was the epiphany slowly unfurling in my heart - 'look through'.

 This isn't some idealised notion that you need to be enraptured with every disaster you encounter each day.  I still have nerve endings that twitch as they feel messes happening at the other end of the house. It's just a reminder to my heart, and maybe yours, to seize those moments to 'look through' the glass instead of just at the smeared hand print. 

I know some of us mamas can feel pretty worn out some days.
Trying to feel gratitude is maybe just vinegar in the wound... but if you could imagine some sweet elderly Grandma putting her hand over yours and saying: "I wish I could have one more day of your chaos and mess, just to hold my dear children on my lap again" would that help our perspectives?  Or, a friend drops by for tea and shares with tear stained eyes... that they have miscarried, again.  She looks at you and pleads: "treasure these blessings you've been given, for those of us who don't have them".

I don't want to waste a day.
Regretting, resenting, rejecting the presents given to me.
 I want the perspective of gratitude.
Gratitude to the Giver who entrusted me with this one precious life and three precious souls in our care.

Mel ;o)



foundations + fractures.

Because sometimes it's the smallest moments that give me the biggest reminders of eternity.
Because sometimes my children are the clearest mirror of my own soul.

That's why, when my daughter accidentally breaks our marble treasure box - and anxiously blurts: "It's ok mama, I can fix it!"...this is why I take a picture.
To remind me that we all have broken something so precious, and we all frantically seek to fix it with things that cannot hold.

The very foundation of our souls.  The purpose to our living.  To love God and enjoy Him forever.
We chose otherwise.  We chose our own way.
"There is none righteous, no not one... all have turned away" (Romans 3:10-12)

Now standing on a foundation that is cracked at a cosmic level.. we stand separated from the very Giver of life.  We feel the isolation.  We see the brokenness.
So, we blurt: "It's ok papa, I can fix it!".

But we lack the proper materials, we only have glue and scotch tape.
When the pressures of life hit, our foundations crumble again.
Whether we thought we could make our security stand on:
 good works

They all eventually crumble.

Only one foundation holds.

" For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ."
1 Corinthians 3:11

So when I see my daughter frantic to fix a marble box, I take a picture, and I write this all to remind myself... there is nothing that fixes this heart that I can work with my own hands.  Only as I hold to the nail-pierced hands of my Saviour am I held secure.



confessions of an (unlikely) homeschooling mama:

"The mind is not a vessel to be filled but a fire to be kindled" - Plutarch.

There is a new glow crackling and warming up this heart of mine.
A fire that once seemed frightening and engulfing, is now one I eagerly dance around and roast marshmallows by.
It's been a wild ride, seeing how my heart was trapped on the fence for so long about whether I could hack being a homeschooling mama.. and now feeling what I do (joy) about it all.
Because, I used to have so many concerns, fears and frustrations about this issue.
I had all the 'arguments' one would use against such a decision down pat.
I also had all the common excuses, too.
The big (nasty) one being: 'how could I handle being around my kid all the day long?!'
But now, the joy of watching these children learn, explore, play, laugh and engage in this amazing world around them - outweighs the crazy with such deep awe.
I'm really savouring this time I have with them.
We've been learning so much already, and I've seen a huge shift in my outlook.
The biggest change for me being: the pursuit of intentional/teachable moments.

I think I always struggled with viewing myself as 'teaching material' because I wasn't intentional about weaving discovery, wonder and learning into our average days.
Learning to learn like a child again.  What a thrill! 
Homeschooling isn't easy, but it's good.  Like most things in life.
Before we decided to go ahead with this, I always feared what a furnace it would be for my heart.  I feared what frustration or anger would boil up in me when faced with the hurdles along the way.  But I'm learning to trust God's providential hand - and timing - in every.little.crazy thing that comes my way.  So if the lesson doesn't go as planned, or the kids are all taking turns to wail and whine on my lap, and the phone is ringing, and the dish water has turned cold... there is a peace in the chaos. It turns out this furnace is a refining one.
And, like Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego (Daniel 3)... I am not standing in the fires alone.

Once again, I am seeing... this home, this crumb cluttered floor... is holy ground.

Mel ;o)



stones + streams (thoughts on faith)

An encouragement to weary pilgrims,

There will be times in the journey of faith,
When your heart feels like a rock,
You feel unmoved, impermeable,
To the presence of God.

There will be times,
When prayers seem to bounce off the ceiling,
Landing like lead upon your heavy chest.
Pray harder still.

There will be seasons,
Where even the attempt to pray,
Feels like rolling a boulder up His holy hill.
Keep pushing upward.

There will be seasons,
You feel lost in the parched desert,
The memory of a lush garden all but forgotten,
Keep staggering towards home.

There will be days,
His Word seems dry and barren,
The stone tablets crush your spirit,
Keep reading still.

Remember the One Who made you,
The One Who took your heart of stone,
Gave you a heart of flesh.
To pulse with love for Him and others.

Remember the difference,
Between stones on the shore,
And those in the stream,
The smooth ones are in the stream.

Keep immersing yourself,
In the living waters,
Even the rocks give way,
To that holy washing.

Mel ;o)


growing new eyes.

So, when I was young, I knew everything.
Now that I'm getting older... I see how much there is to learn.
When I was a teenager, I painted a mural with the quote:
"The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes" (Marcel Proust)  I thought I was painting my sage-like perspective on that canvas.
Now that I'm older, I see those new eyes fluttering open.

There's an incredible re-birth that a parent is granted.
You get to see the world afresh through their dewy new eyes, and marvel at the things your eyes forgot were remarkable.  And the questions!  'Why is that the way it is?' 'Where does it come from?' 'How does it do that?'

And you start to see how little you really know,
and how glad you are to embark on this 'real voyage of discovery' right alongside them!
Today we watched the life cycles of a butterfly.
She coloured in a few of her favourite ones from our recent trip to a butterfly conservatory.
We hiked down to the river, collecting rocks, flowers and clam shells.
(Were they clams, mussels, or oysters? Thanks internet - clams!) 

God's wild world of wonder is unfolding new wings before our hungry eyes.
The marvel and the mystery.
The gratitude and the glee.
The wonder and wisdom.

 This mama's heart is in it's own metamorphosis.

Mel ;o)


small steps, big leaps.

Do you ever wonder if the next step towards change is going to transform you, or cause you to stumble?  It's hard to trust that the 'leap of faith' off the proverbial cliff is going to let you fly, instead of crashing into a mangled mess on the rocks below.

But currently, I feel the wind beneath these fragile trembling winds.. and I am excited to share with you friends the changes on our horizon!

After keeping our oldest daughter (Azriel,5yrs) home for junior kindergarten year, and then sending her off to try out a local Catholic school for her senior year... we've recently decided to homeschool her for (at least) this next school year.  Maybe that doesn't seem like a big deal to you, but if I'm being honest there was lots of internal 'freaking out' and paper bags involved.  Because, I am not the type who embraced this idea right off the hop.
There were the silly reasons - like, "I'm just not creative enough to teach her".
The selfish reasons - "Will I ever get a moment to myself?!"
The socialisation reasons - "Will she be isolated from her peers?"
I was the champion of listing pros + cons for both sides of the debate... but after sitting on the fence for the last couple of years, it was starting to chafe.
So we are stepping out, and I am seeing the joy - instead of sheer panic - about this choice.

There's a lot more I could say, but for now just a few points:
We chose this path for our daughter (for now) because we believe it fosters her well-being. She has blossomed over the summer in ways we were delighted to witness, and have noted that it is in direct correlation to the quality time spent with her family/friends.
This does not mean we make homeschooling our 'gospel' and assume it's the best choice for everyone.  I respect the convictions and choices each family makes for what is best for their children.  Like many of the debates in our culture - this one seems rather polarising as well.  I'm not out to convert or convince you to homeschool (my many homeschooling friends will be the first to tell you that I often questioned their reasons, in fact!)  It is probably ironic to them that I am now on this side.
But maybe we don't need to make it about 'sides' with this issue.  Let's just hold to the conviction to be on the side of our children's growth and health... and encourage other parents to do the same.

For now, I'm just feeling so blessed to know that this sweet gal will be by our side a whole lot more this school year!

Mel ;o)


there and back again...

Oh hi, ...anyone...?  Just blowing the dust off the blog here.
Let's pretend we were on summer vacation and far too busy with the three kiddos in our nest to scratch two words together.  Partially true, also... the laptop was out of commission for the past couple months.  So here we are, back for now.  Thanks for your patience friends.

Let it be known, I was still writing (in my head often) and I also was published in the BARNABAS summer edition magazine recently.  For those who weren't able to get their hands on the article I've attached a version of it here:
"We live in a busy age, don't we? We want our food fast, and our theology in a sound bite. How do we find perfect peace at this peace? How do we pursue the presence of Christ?
The Bible is my defibrillator.  When I feel the panic of 'do more, be more!' attacking my heart, I find the shock of Christ's words brings much clarity.  Take this passage for example: Jesus enters a village and is welcomed in to the home of Martha and her sister Mary.  Martha, understanding the importance of hospitality in that culture, was 'distracted with much serving'.  Mary simply sat at Jesus' feet and listened to his teaching.  I can imagine the vein bursting from Martha's forehead when she protests: "Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone?  Tell her then to help me" (!!).
We see Him respond with: "Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary.  Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her".

Serving, or sitting.
I feel Martha's priorities hammering on my own heart.
I desire Mary's passion to consume it.

Because productivity is like a drug to me.
If I can keep just enough things clean.  If I can check off just enough tasks on the 'to do' list.  If I can visit with enough people.  If I can juggle all the important parts of the day without being swallowed in to chaos...
... I can find my value in that accomplishment.
Because the business of busyness defines us as important, doesn't it?
Which is not to say that being productive is wrong.  The problem is if our identity is found in what we are, instead of Who's we are.  The danger is if we find our value in what we do, instead of what we are (in Christ). What one thing defines you? Where we find our identity, is where we rest.
A heart that rests, is the Mary heart.
Found sitting at the feet of Jesus.

Holding to his teaching.
Leaning on his strength.
Trusting in his promises.

A heart that does not know it's 'one thing' is the Martha heart - "anxious and troubled about many things".  There is the restlessness.  The running from thing to thing to find comfort, peace, security.... identity. 

Practically how does that look for us in the harried days of daily life?
One way that I've been convicted lately is to make my 'quiet time'...my devotions of reading/study/prayer take place during the *sweet spot* of the day.
You know, that one precious hour when the house it quiet.
That delicious moment when you know you could be 20x more productive at cleaning the house, or catching up on e-mails, or fill-in-the-blanks...
I see this as the perfect moment to give a sucker punch to my productive heart.
To clearly show it that we are going to STOP. SIT. and be STILL at the Saviour's feet.
I'm not perfect at it.
I still have a throbbing vein in my forehead that wants to do instead of be.
But I see the sweet relief that comes from this rare rest.
I want more of it."
"Thou has made us for Thyself, and our hearts are restless until it finds its rest in Thee" - Augustine.


Stay tuned,
Mel ;o)


hobbits and holy ground...

You know that scene in The Hobbit movie where the dwarves, and Bilbo, are wandering through the darkened Mirkwood forest?  As they all start to get more lost - from the path - and from their own senses, Bilbo climbs the tree to get his bearings.  It's a glorious scene as he lifts his head above the tree tops... sees the butterflies soaring, the sun shining... and clears his perspective with the fresh air.
I often feel the same way when I read the Bible.
It's like coming up for air.
It clears my senses.

It's like I've been drowning in a distracted fog beforehand.
Wandering off the path.
Confused by all the voices.

The Bible wakes me up.
The Bible shakes me up.
It's a defibrillator for my heart.

Reading Psalm 119.
"Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of your law".
The Psalmist was besotted with God's Word.

When the world seems upside down.
God's Word provides the bearings.
He is the Anchor.

Daily I need to lift my head above the enchanted forest.
The Bible is the filter through which I see.
I see the Son shining in all His glory.


the tragic, and the triumphant song.

My heart is a jukebox of sin.
Most days I stay busy enough, distracted enough, to not hear the music playing.
But, when I slow down… I find the volume goes up.
You know when – and where – I hear it the loudest?
As I’m standing at the sink full of dirty dishes.
But this is not a dance floor I find myself on, it’s a battleground.

Now, maybe for you it’s during the long commute home, or while you  stand in the shower, or when you can’t drift off to sleep.  But for me, when I am stuck at that sink, washing dish after dish… the music begins.
Now, I suffer from two tracts, set to repeat.

The first is prides’ song.  Cue: “You’re simply the best.. dun, dun, dun.. better than allll the rest”.  This is where my mind wanders to all the wonderful things I have said or done for others that day.  Really, I’d pat myself on the back if it wasn’t so sudsy from the dishes.  It’s here that I also start to envision myself as a really mama ‘martyr’ for how selflessly I give.give.give all the day long.  And as I lift another dish from the tepid waters, and feel the weariness of my limbs... I start to drone: “Nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen…”
Suddenly this  jukebox heart shifts.  I skip a beat.  Just enough of an interruption to gain clarity and perspective on how inward and prideful my thoughts are vortexing.

Cue the second main tract:  Shut up, just shut up, shut up.  Shut up, just shut up, shut up”!
(No, really.  If you were standing in the kitchen you can hear me say it out loud even).

Because so often lately, and more quickly, lately… I am so over hearing about ME.  So done, with stroking this viper of pride in my heart and thinking it’s a pet.  Be killing sin, or it will be killing you’ it’s said.  So I get out a mallet, and smash the jukebox with an angry “Awwww shaddup!”.
Go figure, it doesn’t help for long.
Turns out that just trying to will myself to not think about something doesn’t work.
I can’t just not think about something I’m  trying to not think about… because it leaves a vacuum.
I need a new song.
What is otherwise called – the ‘expulsive power of a new affection’.
For me, this is the moment I start to sing hymns.  Songs of praise and worship to the One who saved me from myself, from my sins.  The more I love Jesus, the better this jukebox plays a song worth singing.
Some days (some moments) the old tunes  still taunt.
But, as Odysseus tied himself to the mast, to avoid turning his ship to the enticing destruction of the siren’s songs…  I tie myself to the cross.  I cling to the cross of Christ.  Despite the siren song of pride in my own chest, that would rather exult myself than another, I cling to the cross… and sing:

"O to grace how great a debtor
Daily I’m constrained to be!
Let Thy goodness, like a fetter,
Bind my wandering heart to Thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
Prone to leave the God I love;
Here’s my heart, O take and seal it,
Seal it for Thy courts above"
-Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing-
Mel ;o)


an open letter to weary parents:

weary parents,

there are times when you feel done from the start.

while the world slept, you held a screaming terror against your chest.

the morning greeted you with a sneer, and a child peeing across the floor.
exhaustion pulls at your tired body, while exasperation strains your mind.
all you see are needy hands clawing away at your emptiness.
and you find yourself pointing a shot gun of anger at anyone within range.

look down.

who are you so furious with?
what has stretched your thin skin of patience over a ballooning frustration?

was it those tiny fingers that pushed all your buttons,
or yourself for having those buttons within their reach?

look down.

it feels like all you bring to the table is a cold bowl of contempt.
hardly enough to nourish those young hearts, and you're already gagging on it.
what can you stir into this pot to feed your family with?

vile ingredients of despair, guilt and gloom choke out the very taste of hope.

dear soul,

look up.

there is ONE who drank the bitter cup,
ONE who swallowed the sin from our deepest reserves,
In the place of our poison, He offers living waters.

sparkling with hope, faith and love.

look up.

Jesus declares: 'COME!  All you who are thirsty, come and drink!  I AM the living water.
though your heart feels dark as a tomb, I will give you new life.
though you soul feels parched, My grace is a tidal wave crashing on your shore.
when you feel you don't have enough to give, see I AM abundantly MORE than you can hope or imagine'.

then... look down.

with eyes and heart brimming over with this living water.

soak your family with the lavish joy and affection from above,
you are created to be a channel, not a dam.
get out of the way... and let that river flow.

Mel :)


... a rambly note:

(Credit: our talented pal Chance Faulkner Photography)
I guess now is as good a time as any to dust off the cobwebs in this corner of the inter-webs.
You may have guessed that I had lost my will to write as of late... but in reality I have had many blogs fluttering around the caverns of my brain.  I just have spent my time on other passions than putting these to paper screen (?).

To be honest, I'm still struggling with keeping this blog even a thing.  I love to use it as a space to inspire or encourage... but it also runs the trap of being a vanity parade for myself.
Like, 'woo, looook at me' and 'hear my thoughts' and 'aren't I profound'.... kind of weirdness.
I like to run as far from that kind of stuff as I can (although getting away from my own head is a real trick).  So there it is, to blog or not to blog...

I also don't feel like the same person that started this space.
Or, the passions that filled this place have become more 'secondary' feeling than all consuming, you could say.  So, if you are here, you are getting my heart.
A heart that desires more of Christ, and less of me.

Maybe I could tell you more about that next time?
Secret confessions of a re-converted convert.. or, something like that.

Alright, the chili is steaming up the house.  The monitor tells me that baby #3 is having her afternoon nap.  The boy just spilled beads and rice all over the floor.  We need to pack up and get big sister off the school bus soon....  here we go!

Thanks for popping in, and patiently waiting me out,
Mel ;o)  


give a girl a paintbrush...

Yet another moment in parenting where I am learning to 'let it go' and foster our kid's creative expression.  Because yes, yes our five year old did just paint her wall.
Mama drew the outlines... and then she slap-happily brushed the paint on (while I 'touched up' the final bits... because I just can't fully 'let it go').

This project was the result of her declaring that her side of the room should be her favourite colours - pink/purple.  Her brother could keep all this delightful 'boyish' green on his side.
Sensing and impasse I used the age-old trick of distraction, and offered her the option of just painting some flowers, or swirls... or birds.

Birds, of course!
Our house is filled with them, and trees (and bunting) all throughout our nest.

It's funny, this was another moment when I looked back with gratitude for how my folks raised me.  Some parents would have likely balked at letting their kids assert their creative fingerprint on their home decor.. my parents embraced it.  I think that was very empowering for my individual expression and confidence as I grew up.  They didn't bat an eyelash (at least outwardly) when I wanted to do all sorts of craziness to my room.  Or, when I wanted to shave half my head.  Or, when I wanted to wear a tux to my grade 8 grad... etc.

As I grow in this parenting thing, I'm learning (even from my own parents) to not sweat the small things - and to recognize what the small things are! 

It's a beautiful thing to see their creativity take flight.

Mel ;o)


creARTures great and small:

 There is something so wonderful about a shared delight.
I love painting.
The kids love painting.
We all feast together in this creative communion.

Maybe this is how the techy parent feels when they see their kids hack a computer.  Maybe this is why the sporty parent delights to see their child thrive at the game.  Maybe we all just love to see our kids embracing something of our own heart.
Don't get me wrong, it's not that I'm forcing them to like what I enjoy... or trying to live vicariously through them. It just brings such a deep joy that's hard to really describe, when I see those small hands pick up a paintbrush and so confidently swirl and splatter out their unique souls on to the canvas.

Then, I stop and wonder.. maybe this is just a hint of what God must feel about his kids.
When we have that shared delight.
The Creator and his created who love to create.
I feel his pleasure when I paint.

Just saw this quote today.. and it's fitting:
“All my life nature and art have been reminding me of something I’ve never seen.” (C.S. Lewis)

creatively yours,
Mel ;o)


she's the ONE:

Be still my heart.
Our little lamb, Talia, is officially a YEAR old today... where did that come from so suddenly?!

She's still the sweetest apple of her whole family's eye, I can never quite tell which one of us is most smitten with her. Our oldest, Azriel (5) still acts like every.day.is.Christmas to see her baby sister who is just "SOOOOO CUTE!!" she can't even handle it.

I still maintain that having a third child is a wonderful gift of 'perspective'.  Since the first two have grown in much the same blur of diapers and delight... I feel like this time I at least knew enough to stop and savour this child through each stage.
Despite sleepless nights and all the rest she may have syphoned from me.
I've counted (almost) all of them as extra moments to snuggle her.

This little bundle of blue eyes and two teeth loves her family.
She delights in peek-a-boo.
She squeals from tickles.
She eats ALL the food put before her!
She's a crawling machine.
She stills sits up at night and doesn't know how to lie down again...

And, she's our gift from God.

Happy Birthday little lamb.


tweet family painting fun:

Hello there friends,

Today we just wanted to share a fun little project we finally finished as a family here.
Taking our inspiration from a tweet mug a friend had given me.. we set off painting.
The kids love working on a 'mama project', and we all work alongside each other through each stage.

We used fabric to get the bird patter motifs in place.. but, I would recommend using scrapbook paper for anyone else out there - as it lays flat and wouldn't bubble up with the paint.
We added all the 'sand/grit' texture to try and camouflage a bit of that fabric blunder.

Most of my art comes from 'fixing' mistakes, actually.

Another creative and colourful addition to our nest here.
Creatively yours,

Mel ;o)


how to: be relevant.

Curious title for a blog here, isn't it?
But I've discovered a 'secret' about life (that maybe you already know too).

Now, I didn't know this secret when I was bit younger.
Like the time I started to work at a youth drop-in and wondered "how will I relate?"
Or, when our friends started having kids (before we were even on that wagon).. and we thought "ugh! We are NOT kid people.. how can we connect?"
Or, maybe it was when we'd visit our Grandma... and I'd see other seniors slouched in the halls and not know where to start with a conversation.

Old, or young.  Rich, or poor.  Teenagers, or toddlers.
We all can struggle with knowing how to 'connect' or even feel relevant to other demographics and generations around us it seems.

So what's the secret I've discovered, that makes you able to connect with anyone on any level...?


 Both the old and the young can see it a mile away.
Even the teenager covered in goth makeup, or tattoos, or piercings... recognises when you see through them - to them - with respect and warmth.
That one inch thick surface that so many of us use to differentiate ourselves by... is filled with the same substance that unites all mankind.
A soul.

If we can look with the eyes of faith, the eyes of love, to see that soul in every one we meet... we would find ourselves connecting with many around us that we didn't feel 'relevant' enough to talk with.

We're not so very different after all.
Mel ;o)




 There are days when the sun is shining, and I have a good day with the kids.
We've shared laughter, meals and tickles.

Then, just when you've let down you 'guard' - and you start to pride yourself on being a pretty decent mama - things start to unravel.
Someone is whining about the texture of their snack.
The baby is shrieking because she can't figure out how to lay down to nap.
The constellation of crumbs under the table is growing.
Every where I look I just see chaos and need.
I feel my eye starting to twitch.

Then, it just takes one little thing for me to crash like a house of cards.
Maybe like the futility of picking up that certain toy for the millionth time today.
I start to fume inside.
The child pees next to the potty instead of in it.
I choke-hold the air in front of me.
The phone rings right when I'm changing a diaper.
I feel utterly exasperated.
At this point I'm ripe to explode.
On the inside.
(I told my husband we'd be rich if we could patent a 'scream room' for mamas who are having a meltdown.  You know, just a sound proof - padded - space that we could have our own temper tantrum in.
Because I refuse to yell at my family, but if they were inside my head...)

Now, I've written before how isolating that moment feels, when you've seen such a beast of anger lurking within your own heart (confession post found here)... but I want to further share.
I think many of us step under a burden of discouragement at this stage.
Because after some 'blow out' of my anger, I fall into a sullen silent stage.  Moping around the house, smothering my heart with a heaping yoke of guilt and contempt.
I feel like I've seen many people fall into this rut... and lose all hope of climbing out.
Maybe because this dark under belly of parenting caught us by surprise.
We were told that there would be diapers and delights with having children.
We likely weren't told there would be deep discouragement and despair.

Because, if you ever want to feel like you're a pretty decent person, don't have kids.
(Actually, just keep yourself isolated from any and all things that put enough pressure on your heart to push out all the nasty bits lurking beneath the surface).

But, if you want to grow and learn what grace looks like.. have kids.
The path that shows our inner ugly bits in the brightest light, is also the path that leads us to humility.
To be honest, I was having one of these melt-down moments this week.
In the wake of this discouragement I happened to pull a book of our shelf and find this quote:

"It is of great importance to guard against discouragement on account of our faults.  Discouragement is not a fruit of humility, but of pride, and nothing can be worse.  It springs from a secret love of our own excellence.  We are hurt at feeling what we are.  If we become discouraged we are the more enfeebled, and from our reflections on our own imperfections, a chagrin arises that is often worse than the imperfection itself.  Poor nature longs from self-love to behold itself perfect; it is vexed that it is not so, it is impatient, haughty, and out of temper with itself and with everybody else.  Sad state; as though the work of God could be accomplished by our ill-humor.  As though the peace of God could be attained by our interior restlessness"
(quoting Fenelon from Hannah Whitall Smith's "The God of All Comfort")

I'm learning to find every trial and tempest that pushes me to despair in myself.. as a gift to look past myself.
Introspection in a bottomless vortex.
Guilt is a terrible motivator.

For me, looking to grace, looking outside myself to the Giver of grace, lifts my heart from this terrible rut.  When I see the God who reaches down to me in my brokenness (instead of waiting for me to be 'good enough' or 'perfect enough' to reach up to the heavens), I see hope.
When I am discouraged, I need to have the courage to behold Christ.
Every time I fail, to fall upon His grace afresh.
"..Where sin abounds, grace abounded all the more" Romans 5:20.

So, let's not resent those children for pointing out our darkest parts.
Let's not resent our imperfection and stroke the ego till it's purrs again.
Let us throw aside the burden of pride, and take on the light yoke of humility.

The harder path is the better path in the end.

Mel ;o)