I went back to an old faithful passage this morning as I sat down with the Word. I first took this passage to memorization when my oldest daughter, Avery, was potty-training. I was close to being in despair! If you aren't potty-training right now as you read this, you probably think that's silly. As soon as you're done, the horribleness fades a bit and after a while, maybe you think it wasn't that bad. Or, worse, it actually wasn't bad for you and if you fall into the latter category, then count yourself fortunate! Anyway, mine was one of the worst I've heard about. My child "held it" to the bitter end and drove her parents insane! Pastor Ron preached on this passage and I took hold of it and didn't let go.
Lately, my daughters are constantly tempted to fight and argue, which breaks my heart. My constant prayer is for their unity as sisters who know God, and for God to grow patience and love in their hearts. So as I sat down this morning, I knew where I needed to read!
"But we hold this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed." (vs. 7-9)
My favorite part, as a mom, is "perplexed, but not in despair". I hardly have an hour go by in my day when I'm not perplexed! Perplexed about why my child does what she does and what in the world am I supposed to do about it? I often fall so short of my goal of pointing my children to truth and feel very close to despair when it seems as if all my efforts at training my children falls on deaf, unchanging ears. However, God is faithful! He says I'm a clay pot, and yet the Holy Spirit still resides here. I don't have to despair. I can be perplexed, but I must not despair!
The end of the passage, vs. 16-18 reminds me that my trials are achieving for me "an eternal glory that far outweighs them all" (even potty-training). So I choose to fix my eyes on Him, Who is eternal, and remember that my struggles of this life are temporary, but what I'm working toward is eternal - pleasing my savior.
And then I pray for wisdom!
Sunday, April 26, 2009
What else would I want my daughters to say about me, besides that I was a patient and kind mother? I hope that they'd also say I was a woman of whom it was obvious that she loved the Lord. Patience and kindness are both Fruit of the Spirit, so it seems as if those would be essential elements in my behavior toward my own children, if a life lived for Christ is my goal. With young children in my care, this is often a struggle for me. Yesterday I (a bit begrudgingly, because I knew the likely outcome) got apple juice for my kids. This was not regular old apple juice, either. This was home-pressed, thick, sticky apple cider from my dad. I put it in "real" cups, not sippy cups, and gave it to my two happy girls. Before I could return the jug to the refridgerator, Allie had traveled away from the "apple juice zone" (the table) and spilled it on my kitchen floor. I admit my reaction was not quite patient or kind. I made sure Allie understood that I didn't like that she had spilled and was about to start cleaning it up, when Avery jumped to her chair at the table and also spilled in a completely other spot of the kitchen! This time my response was, "You two aren't careful because YOU'RE not the one who has to clean this up!"
I use this very common story from my very normal day to show that I struggle with selfish thoughts as I parent my wonderful daughters. I often find myself thinking (or saying), "I need a break," or, "I need a vacation!" I am again convicted of the sin of selfish thinking and the futility of looking to anything other than the Spirit to overcome this in me. Vacations and breaks are nice, but you always return to your problem. They are not the solution. I take comfort in 2 Thessalonians 3:5 that says, "Now may the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God and into the patience of Christ." The Spirit rose Christ from the dead and empowered the early church to do extraordinary things - He can accomplish amazing things in my life as well. I'm already seeing victory in taming my tongue and speaking kindly in all circumstances with my little darlings. Lord continue to help me!
Friday, April 24, 2009
Since Rich changed jobs 6 months ago, we have really enjoyed having some morning time with him. He goes to work an hour later, so the girls actually get to see him before he leaves. I think we all like this arrangement. On the rare occassions that one of them is still sleeping before he leaves, Daddy is so sad he hasn't gotten his hug and kiss. There has been a few times recently that Avery's been sleeping and he's written a special note to her for the day. She loves it! This morning Daddy sang through a Bible songs book with the girls. What a blessing to have a husband who so joyfully spends quality time with his daughters, teaching them about the Lord!
Thursday, April 23, 2009
Well, I've been talking for a while about maybe starting this up, and here I am. The girls are actually leaving me alone for a little while and the laundry is going (ok, it's over now and the responsible thing to do would be to take a quick break and move it on...) and I just decided to give it a shot. I have no idea how good I'll be at staying up on this, but I want to try it out. I don't pretend to think many people are that interested in what I have to say or what's going on in my little family's life, but read this if you like! Allie (my three year-old) just came in and asked if they can have ice cream. It's 8:57 in the morning.