When Dennis and I first moved into our house in Iuka, we were excited to be out of our cramped little apartment and have a little bit of space to move around. Then we started walking through the yard and noticed that where there should have been grass, there was a thick layer of dandelions. And, in case you didn't know, dandelions are like the black plague of landscaping. They're tough little boogers to get rid of.
Right now, I'm realizing that pride has taken root in my heart like a yard full of dandelions. It's a sneaky thing, really, because you don't realize how dangerous it is and how deeply its roots have burrowed until you start trying to rip them out.
My most recent battle with pride has to do with my girls. When others gush over my girls' gorgeous blue eyes (they are stunning, if I do say so myself) and praise Micah's smarts (because she's a child genius, y'all) or Kendall's laid-back personality (who doesn't love an easy-going baby?), I swell with pride. And not just a little bit of pride. It's a lot of it.
If it were just those things that I'm prideful over, it might not be so bad, but it goes deeper than that.
For three and a half years I've gloated over the relatively good health of my kids. As if I had anything to do with it. Seriously. Micah NEVER got an ear infection as a baby. She was rarely sick, and when she did come down with a cold, she bounced back quickly. Other people's children suffered from chronic ear infections and were always sick, but not mine. My kids were perfect, and I was proud of it.
Until now. When Micah came home from preschool in early December with a nagging cough, I never dreamed that we would still be battling its lingering effects two months later. And yet, here we are. First it was Micah. Then it was me. We both hacked and sniffled for nearly a month before the antibiotics finally did their work and we got better.
But then Kendall started coughing. And then she got her first little ear infection and took her first round of antibiotics. Ever. And then the ear infection came back, so we stepped it up to the next level of antibiotics. Ten days of that, and I thought she'd be better (because my kids ALWAYS bounce back), but over the weekend, she started going downhill AGAIN, so I took her back to the doctor yesterday morning.
Guess what? The infection is back and worse than ever before. Her poor little eardrum is so swollen that it's on the verge of rupture.
And I nearly cried. Especially when I realized that I was taking these ear infections personally. I'm ashamed to admit that they have seriously wounded my pride. Yes, I'm concerned about my daughter and her health, but I'm also concerned about my track record as a parent, and that's shameful.
The crazy thing is, I know how ridiculous this all sounds. It's stupid for me to be prideful of my daughters' health because the truth is that their wellness has nothing to do with me and everything to do with the grace of God. The only reason that we have enjoyed three and a half years without any major issues is because the Lord has willed it so. Period.
As a mom, it's far too easy to take credit for how great my kids are, even if I have nothing to do with whatever it is that people are praising. My greatest temptation is to pass off the work of the Lord as my own - to accept all the credit when really, all the glory is due to Him alone.
It's no secret that the baby years are hard for me. When I see other mothers floating through the early months of their kids' lives on a fluffy pink cloud of bliss, I want to gag. I always assume that they're just pretending. The reason that I assume that? Well, in my experience, God has used both marriage and motherhood as chisels, chipping away at my character and removing anything that doesn't reflect His likeness.
Apparently, there was a lot of junk that needed to be cleared away, and, in case you're wondering, it's not exactly fun. It's painful. But hey, I've heard that the first step to recovery is admitting that you have a problem. So this is my confession. My name is Leslie Ann Jones, and I'm a recovering pride-a-holic.
When stuff like this happens, I am reminded that God is still working on me. Right now He's helping me realize that the pride that I have tolerated for so long has taken root in my heart, and it's time to do something about it. Thankfully, He's pretty good at wrenching out things that don't belong.
Until next time, grace and peace.