Hey Again... How's it going?
It's been a while. I guess I've been in a spiritual winter. I haven't had much to write about because I want my words to build up and they would not have. Thankfully as with the earth around me winter does not mean DEAD. It means resting and we all need REST. Rest, reflection, and renewal. While I was watching Wild Kratt's with my sick three year old, a few days ago, I learned a valuable lesson; A squirrel hides his acorn in the ground and sometimes he doesn't go back for it, it sits through the winter not doing much, then at the right time it starts to grow, and eventually it becomes an Oak tree, which by the way takes a VERY LONG TIME. Nature can teach us a lot. The acorn is waiting for the perfect time to begin to grow. Fruit takes a long time to sprout, grow, ripen. The Designer designed it just that way. He's ok with waiting. He's patient.
In the last few months I have become increasingly aware of my parenting stupidity. Certain behaviors in my children have become blinding spotlights helping illuminate some of my parenting flaws. I've ALWAYS known from day one that I was not a perfect parent and as time went along that become more OBVIOUS!!! So, I would lament my becoming a parent at all. I am somewhat of a perfectionist (in my head, anyway) and I thought to raise GOOD children you had to be a perfect parent. To raise GOOD children I thought you had to be hard, strict, and unmovable. I could handle all that, but I didn't get the results I wanted. Instead of GOOD children I started to see fear, stress, perfectionism, and anger (at themselves).
Of course I then said to the Giver of these little ones "WHY DID YOU GIVE ME THESE KIDS??? I'M GOING TO RUIN THEM." BUT GOD (my favorite words of the Bible)... BUT GOD began to show me some of the problems. #1 I was parenting them out of fear. Fear that they would be like me. Fear that they would grow up and be lazy, stupid, worthless slobs, OR vain, worldly, and self important. You name it I'm afraid of it. That's why I HAD to be so hard on them so they wouldn't be all that. So, the first thing I had to realize is THEY MAY BE ALL THAT and it's ok. One thing is certain FEAR is not effective. Fear makes you hard and mean. If God is the perfect parent and He has disobedient children... I can bet I will. FEAR needs to be replaced with HOPE. Hope in God. So, how should I parent.
These are some of the verses that have helped me.
"He remembers that we are dust." Psalms 103:14. God knows I'm NOT perfect... He remembers I'm just dust. He knows I'm going to mess up. There is HOPE in knowing that God knows that and yet he blessed me with these little people. He CHOSE that I would be their mother.
"The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger and rich in faithful love." Psalms 103:8 If God is all of those things then those are the things I need to concentrate on with my children. I love this HCSB translation... RICH IN LOVE... What is LOVE; patient, kind, gentle... It bears all things, it believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
This one thing in my child's life, that is a direct result of my harshness, began to spotlight all my failures as a parent. I had lost hope. I felt like a complete failure and I cried out to God. As he always does when I say "I really screwed this up." He said it's OK. Now let me show you a better way. It's not fixed, but I have hope. I can do this better and the Lord can heal hearts. I can have a second (million) chance.
Even though I'm not perfect (or close). Even though I'm clueless. Even though.. God chose me. God is patient and remembers where I came from. He is the designer of slow, steady processes. Because of his graciousness and compassion to me I am learning to be gracious and compassionate to them. Because He is ok with my slow growth and sometimes no growth at all, I can give my children some space. Because at the end of the day YAHWEH is the AUTHOR of salvation I can trust HIM with their souls. Because of HIS great love and mercy I can be RICH IN LOVE and FULL OF MERCY. BECAUSE his word says, "Or do you show contempt for the riches of HIS kindness, forbearance and patience, not realizing that God's KINDNESS is intended to lead you to repentance." What does God use to lead us to HIM??? KINDNESS and LONG-SUFFERING.
I started reading the Bible over again for the new year and the plot of every story is the same... God uses regular people in spite of themselves and their faults, failures, and weaknesses. He does this because He has to since none of us will ever arrive, but also He does this to display His character, His glory, His GREAT LOVE FOR IMPERFECT MANKIND. His ways are not our ways. His strength is made perfect in our weakness. He remembers we are just dust and for that I'm thankful and hopeful for our future.