Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Greater Than My Heart

Last week, Brighton was sitting in the front seat.  Evidently, my water cup calls his name any time his bottom hits any seat in any car.  Every time.  And yes, I make an issue of it..... by saying “no”.  Every time.  I don’t feel the need to explain myself on that one either.  This particular day, I noticed that he didn’t ask for water.  Instead, he started playing with the lid--- flipping it up, flipping it down, touching every square inch of my lid, my mouthpiece.  I told him not to touch it.  After a little hearing problem... a delayed response, he did.  Well, when he removed his hand, he left the lid up.  And this bothered him.  A lot.

Knowing he’d pushed it a little, he asked, “Mom, can I flip the lid down?  I REALLY want to close the lid to your bottle.”

Weekday 8 of our 2 weeks off after Christmas, I was wondering if he was pushing my buttons.  Just wanting to do what I asked him NOT to do just one more time.

“No.  Just leave it alone.”

“Mooooommmm.  It’s really bugging me.  I just want to close it.”


Resignation. And a minute or two.

“Mom, have you ever really wanted to do something or wanted something to turn out one way, and you just couldn’t make it happen?”

Hmmm........... how did he know?

Things went through my head like, is he serious?  Is this the first time he has ever pondered such a question?  Does he really think I may NOT have experienced that, like EVERYday?  How does he know the one frustration of my entire life----- that I don’t always get MY way?

My restrained answer to him on the way to a day with friends?  “Yes, honey.”

End of conversation.  But not an end to my thoughts.

This morning, we awakened to a little dusting of snow.  Our school gave us an extra hour and a half, so the kids creamed each other with snow balls and asked for pancake syrup to try their hand at snow candy.  {I think they just wasted a lot of Aunt Jemima goodness.}  While they were having a “big fat blast” {B’s words} outside, I was moping {moping NOT mopping} because my vision for an ordered, scheduled morning was obliterated by the frozen mix that started dropping about 6am.  We’ve been bums for two weeks and today was the dawning of a new age, the new semester.  Order was to return today.  My way.  It’s still in the bed under the warm covers, I think.

My sister-in-law, Tricia, has always been such a blessing to me.  One of the MANY ways is her recommendations of books, podcasts etc.  Over Christmas she told me about a book she was enjoying--- with a very funny, but very real title--- Am I Messing Up My Kids? by Lysa TerKeurst.  I didn’t need a new book, but because of my respect for and admiration of her, I didn’t waste anytime ordering it.  And I am so glad I did.  The writing is candid, the chapters are short and each one is closed with Scripture and questions to ponder.  Being in closer quarters with my children over the last month, the Word and her words have hit close to home.

There’s a lot to say about my not getting my way, about not being in control, about not trying to control my kids.  {I won’t pretend I don’t try to control my husband.  His rudder isn’t easily moved and I have no idea why I keep trying.}  As a parent, sometimes it’s hard to know when you’ve crossed the line with your kids.  Am I really exercising a controlling spirit or am I just trying to do what I think is best for them?  Or do I consider it a training issue?  If control is a tendency you have, like me, it’s easy to disguise it when your kids are little.  We control so much of their environments, their foods, their friends, their free time, their sleep times, their music, their toys, their wardrobes..... and then little by little, they need to have some of that control back.  They need choices and they need to practice making choices.  And my rude awakening is that they don’t always choose my way.  Shocker, I know.  Why does this cause me discontentment, discouragement and even disappointment?  Because I want control.  I want my way.

A few of Lysa’s words which have challenged and encouraged me these two weeks:

You can make little decisions each day that will transform your motherhood experience.

Have you ever had a “worst mom ever” day?  Take heart, so have we all.  Apologize to your children.  Ask God for forgiveness. Get over it and stop letting Satan drag you down.

If God removes our sins, then why do we allow Satan to beat us up for them?

With God, I’m never a bad mom.  I might be having a bad moment...or two... or seventeen, but a few bad moments do not define me as a bad mom.  You are exactly the mom God knew your children needed.  Let’s live in that truth today.

I have been called to die to the selfishness that characterized my life before kids.

Acts of service to others is what the pathway to joy is paved with.  Little stones of service that, when carefully laid beside each other, lead to great places.

{And another way to ask B’s question, she asks,} Do you get discouraged when your plans aren’t unfolding as you’d hoped?  Do you ever beat yourself up for things not being as organized as you wish they were?

And no kidding, yesterday afternoon while the kids were at activities for about an hour, I read the chapter “Who’s going to fill me back up?” and she goes through this paragraph, “If I have an argument with my husband, Jesus fill me.  If I am discouraged by the actions of my children, Jesus fill me.  When my favorite trinket gets broken, Jesus fill me.  When the dog chews up my new rug, Jesus fill me.”, and not thirty minutes later, I heard a crash and one of my favorite lamps was on the floor-- the lamp shade, cream linen trimmed in black grossgrain, had its spokes sticking out.

“I was just trying to get a book out from behind this chair.”

Oh, I remembered, “Jesus, fill me.” but not until after I had said something I regretted.

Today, the friend I email in the mornings to let her know I actually got out of bed early responded to me, “It’s snowing now.”  Usually snow days call for jubilant celebration and visions of fires in the fireplace and free flowing hot chocoate but all I could see was my extended time alone seeming to get shorter even before the sun came up to shine............not getting my way, the way I had planned the day.  His word sobered me.... a swift kick in the rear.

A few Scriptures with my substitutions of “mom” for “man”....

Many are the plans in a {momma’s} heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.  Proverbs 19:21

In {her} heart a {momma} plans her course, but the Lord determines her steps.
Proverbs 16:9

Well, well.

A verse I have always loved but He has given it new meaning over the last few weeks, “My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”  Psalm 73:26

It’s a no brainer that my flesh fails.  It’s supposed to, but my heart?!  What pains me most is when I fail in matters of the heart... not expressing love when they've been disobedient, not engaging with my kids when I feel pressed by a to-do list, not responding in kindness when offended, not having patience in the dailies of siblings growing up together.  I need Him to strengthen my heart!  These are the things the kids need to see, experience, and grab onto as life lessons.  Condemnation.  Oh, but LOOK!  This verse gives me great comfort:

If our hearts condemn us, we know that God is greater than our hearts, and He knows everything.  I John 3:19-20

My heart condemns me... but HE IS GREATER than what goes on in my heart.  And He knows EVERYTHING.  And loves me anyway.  He is my portion. He is my strength.  I can try to control many things and try to make this and that happen, but ultimately it’s HE that determines my steps and HIS purposes that will prevail.

 And then my way doesn’t seem so important anymore.

Thank you, Lord, for saving me from my own plans.


Emily said...

Thanks for sharing your heart. It is good to read your writing again!

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Sarah said...

I'm over the snow too. Our Christmas snow was enough for me.
Love your thoughts, as usual.

Alyssa said...

You took some struggles straight from my journal and placed them here alongside great Truth to set me straight. Thank you for sharing your heart and struggles, along with the Truth to guide us through them.

TJ Wilson said...

ok, didn't know author was Lysa T - of COURSE it's funny! And love "Jesus fills me." Good good.

Meghan said...

This is great, I'm not a momma yet but I can let Jesus fill me in so many areas of my life! I certainly I'll use it to think before I speak

andrea said...

Thank you for the scripture to go to when I am going through moments like this. Sometimes when I make mistakes I really kick myself over and over in my head. This is what Satan wants....to drag me down but God knows me and loves me and has given me the children that he knew I needed and that they needed. xxoo