Sunday, January 27, 2013

Don't take parenting advice from me....

NEWS FLASH...Raising kids is hard.  Really hard. If you already have kids over the age of, well, birth, this isn't really news.

In the past few months, I have found myself face to face with issues I would have thought I wouldn't have to deal with.  I have parented with a basic philosophy that I would "instruct them in the way they should go, and when they are old, they will not depart from it."  I payed attention to their bents, listened to the Holy Spirit for specific instruction and wisdom in every situation.  Help me, Lord, was always on my lips.  My best parenting moments have been ones "birthed" on my knees.

Andrew and I have taught our children to be counter culture.  That the world will lie to them.  The world does not care about the things of God and therefore, the world's view on an issue is probably very far from God's view.  We told them that the only word they need to trust, should trust, CAN trust, is the inspired Word of God.  I promised them that if they ever wanted to know the Truth, that they could come to me, and based on what the Word of God said, we would find the truth together.  I hoped to raise them to not follow the crowd.  To love the Lord their God with all their heart, all their soul and all their minds.  And they do.

I didn't think about the consequences to my own sensibilities when I was leading them in devotions - teaching them that their first alliance is to Christ and Christ alone. When I told them to THINK, to be sensitive and open to the Holy Spirit and His leading.  I taught them how to hear His voice.  And there's the rub.  They listened.  They hear from God.  They have bents that I do not fully appreciate or comprehend.  I am watching my heavenly Father lead them down roads that I am unsure of.  Roads that I would fear to walk along, but somehow these children of "mine" are walking down in full assurance of His Holy Hand of guidance.

Entrusting these precious ones to a Plan and Purpose greater than I; committing to uphold them in prayer and under-girding them with my unconditional love; requires a Power greater than I possess. And so I am back on my knees, asking the Lord for wisdom and clarity.  But not for me.  For them.  As they walk out into the world, I trust that God who has begun a good work in each of them, will be faithful to complete it.

On Him, I can put my full trust.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Promises Kept

I don't like New Years Resolutions.  I make them.  I just don't like them. Usually resolutions are made in an effort to change something about myself I do not like.  I want to be a better mother, wife, friend, child of God.  How I intend to go about those things differs year to year.  But the result is always the same. I can resolve all I'd like, but eventually, the willpower to keep them wanes and I am left with a broken promise I've made to myself.  And no one likes to be lied to.

Last year, I decided that I was not going to lie to myself anymore.  No resolutions, goals or aspirations.  As I  spent some time in prayer, I told the Lord how frustrated I was with this sense of  "I'm a failure and I've got to change".  I need to be better.  Different.  Anything, but who I was.  I had a laundry list of things that I felt were in the way of my being "all who God wanted me to be".

I knew better of course.  I knew that God wasn't putting the emotional strangle hold on me.  God had been nothing if not kind, gracious and compassionate towards me.  I knew He loved me.  I knew that His plan for my life, and for those in it, would not be thwarted by my temporary inner conflict.  He wasn't being glorified by it, however. I  felt Him say, very gently, what do you want?

I dumped my list on Him.  Be a better mom.  Be a better wife.  Be a better housekeeper.  Be better at doing my devotions.  The list continued. I finished by reminding Him that if I was in charge of accomplishing those things, I might as well admit defeat then and there.

A moment of clarity struck.  I wanted those things.  But...what did God want for me?  So, I asked Him...

Lord?  Umm...What do YOU want for me?

His answer was unexpected and it rocked my world.

I want Freedom for you.  Freedom to be all those things.  But with no pressure. No striving. Just be. Free.

What does that even look like Lord?

You'll see.  Watch what I am going to do.  Trust me.  Remember, I always keep my promises.

In the past year, I have experienced Him and His freedom in ways I could have previously only imagined.  It came bit by bit.  Moment by moment. Some were huge "a-ha" moments - others were so subtle, I almost missed them.  But His Freedom came.

I  did nothing.  No resolutions.  No to do list.  No spiritual striving.

Undeserved based on my inputs, but oh, so undeniably a work of His Spirit.  I just rested in His Promise.

This New Year, as I reflected on what God had done, I asked what He wanted for me this year.

"Be watchful and diligent.  Do no allow the shackles of bondage to be placed back on.  Continue to walk in My Freedom.  I've still got this."