To walk into the high top, past the three rings and the fire breather, between the clowns and the jugglers to face lions is no easy task.

But we are called to it. Mothers. We are called to tame lions. And while I don’t know much, I am learning that it is impossible to face this King of Beasts that fits neatly into a toddler-sized package and effectively soothe his soul when we haven’t first tamed our own hearts.

And my heart roars. It frightens me on occasion. It is wild and snarly and quick to bite off the head of a child.

Taming this heart of mine is my constant work. It’s my wake-up-in-the-morning and beg the Father God for help work. It’s my 5pm-daddy’s-running-late I don’t think I can do it challenge. It’s my drown-my-sorrows-in-chocolate-cake-after-the-kids are asleep calling that I will, nonetheless, keep chasing.

Because I am learning that the only sure thing I can control in this family is myself.

I can’t control if my son still has nighttime accidents or if his big brother sneaks into our bed at midnight. I can’t control our income, how long the passport application for travel home will take, or whether Micah will smile for a photo or not.

I can only control me.

I can control my frustration and how I express it. Only I can iron out my shouty face, my crossed arms, my wrinkled attitude. I can always choose to laugh. And when it’s a day for tears instead, I can share them honest and safe and not loud and vindictive.

The lion king in me needs to lay down beside the children I am raising and show them how emotion is safely wielded. That we can be the boss of our own feelings.

I can tame lions. Starting with my own stubborn heart.

Because this house, this sometime-circus, it echoes what comes out of me. When I am angry it ripples outward and is reflected in every word and action and reaction of my children and the man I love. But when I can remember to bite tongue, spill grace, fight back the snippy retorts, we are all more likely to keep it together.

At least for this afternoon.

{Congrats to Kristina for winning Don’t Make Me Come Up There – an excellent how-to for would-be lion tamers on those crazy, juggling, fire breathing, run-of-the-mill days}

Photo: Krakow, Poland.

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