Lake snuggled down in the bottom of the stroller on my walk.
Baby - totally a daddy's girl. . . but then again, I think he claims all his girlies.
Football with cousins and uncles.
Cookout on the beach.
She can sleep anywhere.
Some are more contemplative, others run wild.
Of course, fort building. The kids worked hours on it. The finished product was pretty amazing.
My mom and dad are celebrating their 40th anniversary!
Here I am hanging out with my sisters - a rare thing these days!
I'm the middle sis, my oldest sis is two years older and my younger sis, who has Down Syndrome, is 6 years younger.
We brought the gocart down for the kids to ride on the beach. Robert and I enjoyed it too.
Lunch time is proving to be journal time this week. Feels almost unnatural I'd get a breather these crazy days. But it's probably a good thing. It's restful.
I was explaining to one of my children last night that we can't live by our feelings.
Another one I was talking to about loving with no expectation of return.
Spoke to another about forgiving and not being offended.
Hugged a child with the reminder, "You're special."
Wrote a note to my son for his back-pack, "It doesn't matter what people think or say about you. . ."
"Take the plank out of your own eye, son." I hear myself repeating.
I told another, "Don't let others control you. Stand alone even if it means rejection."
I sit here and wonder how I can be so hypocritical.
Just in the beginning of this week my feelings were overwhelmingly controlling. . .
As a mother, as a follower and believer in Jesus, I believe I have a constant job of taking the log out of my own eye before pointing out the speck in another.
This doesn't just apply to *other* relationships, this first applies to my relationship with my husband and children.
There is this saying Robert likes to use: "Hon, where there is smoke, there is fire. . ."
I often find myself applying this line to parent/children relationships.
When I see "smoke" coming from the lives of my children, I can follow the trail of smoke back to the fire in me.
This knowledge should bring patience and tenderness in responding to my children. There is always need for log removal first.
They are little souls with responsibility before God apart from me, but at the same time, more often then not, their reactions and responses to life can be traced back to me.
I was thinking about motherhood a lot this morning.
I want to be a good mother. I want to be, for good motives - maybe. Sometimes not good motives. . . sometimes out of fear, or pride, or image, or idolatry. I prefer honesty with myself or there is no hope of growth. I want to grow.
There is no perfect parent. There is no perfect parenting technique. There is not some family out there who has the answers and if you do what they did with their children, you will get some result that will send your children to heaven and relieve them from having to go through suffering in this life.
I ask myself concerning motherhood/parenting: "What is it I'm after?"
Is the way I parent motivated out of my desire for my children to not suffer, experience hardship or broken-hearts? Honestly, of course I have those thoughts. Even today as I was thinking about one particular son doing something the thought came, "No, he shouldn't do that because he might have to go through other kids making fun of him. . ."
I shrink back naturally from wanting to watch, or know, or see my children suffer.
But I cannot let that be the deciding factor for why or why not I do something or let them do something. Instead, I must be willing to take on my responsibility to parent them through the situation and be open to allowing God to use hardship in their lives to make them stronger. I have the responsibility and even pleasure of walking beside them, being love when the world is not lovely. Living out truth and telling the truth when they are given lies.
Is my heart for parenting motivated out of walking them through suffering, hardship, and broken-hearts to find and experience the real love and the salvation they need and can only find through Jesus Christ? Or am I more motivated to just keep them from being hurt in this life?
There will be suffering. There will be hardships. There will be broken-hearts. That is life! That is reality.
I remember how my parents instructed and desired for me to not "date" - they wanted to protect me from heart-break and immorality.
I made it to marriage never experiencing even the tiniest broken heart. I am thankful for no moral failure, nothing to haunt my marriage in that way. . . grateful for their hearts that desired to protect me and guide me in the right way.
Ultimately though it was not their protection that kept me from being immoral, it was that God had revealed Himself to me and changed my heart. I wanted to honor Him in my relationships because of HIM an HIS work of salvation within me. Ultimately it was a heart thing, not a protection thing. It was a God thing.
Then I was married. Note to any single girl out there: Every single marriage experiences broken-hearts in one way or another.
Mine has, and for our own good. My parents couldn't ensure my heart would never be broken, as much as they might have desired that for me out of love, just like I would want that for my own children. But the reality is - this is a fallen world, with fallen man/womankind.
I went into marriage clueless about a broken-heart. In one way, yes, this is wonderful. On the other hand, how unprepared I was for real life in this area.
I not only trust God with the story He has written for me in regards to the heart ache, but rejoice - nevertheless, this reminds me that it is not my job as a parent to fix my kids environments so that they never experience their own fallenness or the fallenness of others.
It is the valley that draws us to God, it is our fallenness that we (and our children) must come face to face with in order to repent and follow Jesus.
As a child living at home - this is the practice ground for real life. As parents we are there for them during this time! To walk them through, guide them, instruct them, warn them, help them through difficulty, point them to Christ, comfort them and encourage them, explain what suffering and difficulty is for and be there for them through it - not merely orchestrate their lives to shield them from it.
I want to be willing as a mother to pray, "Lord, whatever it takes, save me. Save my children."
It scares me a little to pray that because I want to naturally shield my children and myself from suffering.
But what if it's the suffering that saves us from ourselves?
"Perfect" lives, protected from reality, cocooned from hardships, tightly guarded from this fallen world do not produce godly children nor authentic christian adults. Making an atmosphere that is only a conception of perfection will NOT produce righteousness in our family or children. . .
Some types of parenting might produce a LOOK of righteousness. . . but really, is that worth anything at all in the eyes of God?
Do we really believe that? really?
I pause. not quick to answer. . . I chew some more on my apple.
Yes, I really believe appearances are dead without the life of Jesus Christ pulsing and moving within the hearts and lives of the parents and children. Appearing like God is pulsing and moving doesn't cut it either.
There is balance in all things.
BALANCE, not falling in one ditch or another.
I was a gymnast up until I was 16. I spent an incredible amount of hours on the balance beam in the ten years I performed gymnastics.
Balance never comes easy.
It takes a great deal of practice, desire, determination, and concentration to balance on the high beam, let alone do back flips or the splits on it. Staying on the straight and narrow beam though is only achieved through balance.
Parenting, and life, is the same way.
I do not believe we throw training/or protecting our children to the wind.
But I must have a BALANCED perspective on it. This balance can come as I seek to understand how God views things vs. how I view things in this life. The difference between how God views difficulty vs. how I view it.
I must check my motivation for why I am protecting them and seek God's view of life vs. my own human view of life.
Well, that was a lot of thought for lunch break, ah!
I know much of what I write is through my own grid and maybe not what others are experiencing, but through my own experiences.
This isn't for others so much, as it's for me.
I wrestle, strain, and search for what is right in this mothering thing - not just taking what I've been told by others, not taking what I've seen - I don't want to just follow what appears to be "working" for another family, or even what "worked" for my own growing up, though it was a blessed childhood. I want to know for me, to know what I believe.
Sometimes this writing stuff is the process it takes to find that balance I yearn for.
I have faith that God is at work because it is He who has me asking for answers.
I'm off to the next thing and hope to post this later.
| ||Posted 1/4/2012 2:30 PM - 1391 Views|