Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Practice, practice, practice...

My daughter recently started keyboard lessons. This has given me some insight into her personality. She loves the playing and going to class, she loves the attention she gets from others when she plays for them. I know it is boosting her self-confidence that she is mastering a new skill, BUT... She does not like to practice. She wants to be good and even know the songs the very first time she attempts to play it. She also doesn't understand why she has to practice the same songs over and over again. I've noticed it's the same way with school work. At first I was very frustrated by this and would lose my patience quickly with the lack of motivation. It didn't take long for the Holy Spirit to begin using this as a learning opportunity for me. As I began to see that I am much the same way.

The bible says that there is a way that seems right to man, but the end leads to death. Throughout the New Testament we are commanded to die to the flesh and renew our minds. Notice this word DEATH. This does not imply something painless and easy. However, I want EVERYTHING to be easy. I want being married and being a mom to be easy. I want homeschooling and housework to be easy. I want Love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, kindness AND self-control to be easy. I want hospitality to be easy and I want it to all be easy simultaneously. BUT, as you well know they are not. It takes years of practice and a test every now and then to learn any new lesson, especially when you are not naturally gifted in such areas.

God has always been faithful to allow me to get too far out in the water so that I will call out to him for help. HELP ME!!! That's my cry. I can't figure this thing out... At first it was marriage. I cried out for wisdom because "MY WAY" was definantly NOT working. God was faithful to answer my cry. He began to shower me with new ideas and ways of acting, thinking and feeling. I started to apply his wisdom to my marriage and WOW things really started to turn around. It wasn't easy, mostly because the principles that I learned didn't come naturally to me. Thankfully though things really changed and we have a good solid marriage thanks to God's word. THEN- dun, dun, dun... What happens you hit a few bumps in the road or some stress, or hormones or a new baby... Anyway there is a time of hardship and testing. How well did I really learn these new principles??? Well, I think I did pretty good when EVERYTHING was calm and still. Life doesn't stay that way long and what I have found is it takes a lot of PRACTICE to get something new down. Even then you still don't have it so it takes some testing to see how well you remembered what you have been taught. And over and over with the same lessons because like I said I don't come by this naturally.

Then it wasn't long after that that my two oldest children decided to have an opinion about life and distinct personalities marked by sinful heart. Don't get me wrong my kids are beautiful amazing creatures, but the Bible says that we all have a sinful heart and that foolishness is bound in the heart of a child. So, after tears of frustration again I cried out to God for wisdom. First I must say that I foolishly thought that this parenting thing was gonna be easy. Just make some rules and apply some discipline and nothing can go wrong. WHICH is severely underestimating the FREE WILL of these little humans. Thankfully once again God began to show me some things. This I must admit has been an ongoing day by day adventure. Training a child in the way they should go can be a minute by minute responsibility and then you add a new little person every couple of years and it gets pretty crazy. But, when we call God is faithful to answer!!! Along the way parenting has given me the most opportunity to become more Christlike. So, the lessons in patience, gentleness, kindness and of course self-control have all come through parenting. AGAIN these are things that are completely out of my nature and character, but I found out the hard way that children learn by example. So, IF I was going to see these characteristics develop in my children then I was gonna have to learn them.

So, what does that mean for me??? Just like my daughter has to practice that keyboard everyday I must renew my mind and practice. Just like she has to play the same songs over and over I must practice the same concepts over and over until I can play by heart without looking at the music or my fingers. It has to get out of my head and into the deepest parts of my heart. AND, when I have gotten it I must move on to the next song and practice until I don't want to practice anymore. Then just when I think I've really gotten all the old lessons God will shake it up again and test me on it to see IF I REALLY GOT IT?! So, instead of throwing fits I need to practice because I know I love to feel accomplished, I love to get the attention from my heavenly Father and even from those close to me who recognize the changes in me, that I'm getting better everyday. Just like my girl when she practices. I love to watch her as she plays. I love to see her face light up when she has played a song perfectly for an audience. Remember Heaven is watching...