Thursday, July 2, 2015
A wise woman told me once that she hated lying to people when they would ask how she was. So instead of the ordinary, polite, society-driven "fine", she started saying "I am good in the things that matter."
I am not fine. I am struggling. I am overwhelmed. But I am so thankful that "I am good in the things that matter". What matters to me? My salvation. My children knowing who God is. My family being together. My husband loving his work and doing great at his new promotion. Our health. God providing for our financial needs. Raising six children is kind of expensive! But God continually provides in amazing and always unexpected ways.
I never in my life thought raising teens would be so hard. I remember my dad saying, "when their little they have little problems, when they are big they have big problems." Oh, Dad, why did you have to by so right? Every day we are faced with at least one issue that pops up. I can see why parents give up. This is not easy! But as I told my daughter the other day when she complained that her life is not normal because of how we parent, I told her, "Get used to it, this is what being parented is, and I will continue to parent you until you are no longer my responsibility."
God is using these teens to forge Steve and I together in our parenting. I am a firefighter's wife. I could never count on him to come home and take care of discplining, because I never knew when he would be home. I am now making my children wait so that they father (who is way less emotional than me) can make the discplining decisions. It has been a huge load off of me and he is doing a fantastic job! I don't feel angry all the time and I am able to enjoy my children more.
I am going to give you a secret confession. I was beat up by the enemy big time this week. I had been praying that a wonderful, Christian family would move in next door. I went to go give my new neighbors a pie and I recognized them! They were from the homeschool co-op that I used to go to when I homeschooled. I hadn't seen them in three and a half years. I couldn't believe it and just started praising God. But as soon as I got home, I started to get really anxious and worried. "What if they hear me yell at my children?" "What if they think I am a bad mom because I don't homeschool anymore?" "What if they won't let their kids play with my kids because mine might be a bad influence on theirs?" "What will they think of my son having a girlfriend, since we aren't doing the courtship thing?" Questions, questions, questions...Old insecurities came crashing down on me. Insecurities I thought I had long since dealt with. Why now, why are they threatening to choke me?
In the morning as I was sick to my stomach praying to God to help me. The word "compare" came to my mind. I looked up all the verses in my Bible that had to do with comparing. I found that comparing is rooted in jealousy. I was shocked when I discovered that I was insanely jealous over the new neighbor's seemingly perfect behaved kids and their life style. They were living my dream. Did you notice I wrote "my dream". Obviously what I wanted and what God wanted were two totally different things. I did not get the amiable children that say "yes" to mommy and go on their cheerful, merry way. God gave me six stubborn, strong-willed children to parent. Therefore, my family looks and acts quite differently than a typical homeschool family.
I confessed my sin to the Lord and my sweet sister prayed the oppression off of me. I will not be defeated by something so small and petty, for in reality there are no perfect families. For years I compared our family to the Duggars. Hey, they got it together right? My heart broke as I watched America tear them apart because of a mistake that was made years ago. What America thought was perfect, wasn't. What I thought of their family was not accurate and unfair to them. We put them on a pedestal and then had to watch the unpleasantness of them toppling to the ground.
Our children are imperfect, free-willed, sinful creatures. They are children and they are going to mess up. I want to be a parent that moves toward them when they mess up and show them grace and mercy instead of anger and disappointment. I want to be a reflection of how how God loves me.
As I was working through this with my Heavenly Father, a friend gently suggested that I might be just looking at was wrong with my family and challenged me to write out what was going right. It was a breath-taking beautiful excercise as I wrote down 10-12 things for each of my children. Over 60 wonderful, godly things that I am seeing in my children's life.
I am truly "good in the things that matter."...