Saturday, September 11, 2010

It Worked!!!

Tonight I had a very productive conversation with my 10 year old.  He's been really difficult lately with lots of whining, disrespectful tones, bad attitude, disobedience and bad choices.  Tonight, he deliberately disobeyed 4 instructions in a row and seemed to completely ignore the consequences and then blew up when I told him to go to bed.  I'd had enough.  In a moment that could have very easily escalated into one of our "intense fellowships", I had a God-moment.  I was both a parent and a teacher of God's word to my son.  I'm excited about the message that I believe God gave to me and how He lead me to share His message with my son!

We sat on the landing of our stairs and began to talk. My son began to spew his all-too-common monologue of the "freedom" that he is denied in our home.  I didn't argue. I didn't get irritated by the sense of entitlement coming from my son.  Instead, I listened to him and asked him "what type of freedom do you want?"  He gave me a list of demands that were mostly impossible to accomodate (my own room, not sharing his DS games /w his brother, etc).  Then, God spoke to ME.  He said "teach Him about honoring authority and obedience."

So, I began to talk with my son about the authority position that God has given to me, as his mother, and that one of the very first rules God gave to us is in the 10 Commandments - "Honor your father and mother."  Then, I talked to him about the concept of obedience and I told him that, as sons and daughters of God, we need to obey God's rules.  I told him that it is my job, as his mother, to teach him how to honor authority so that when he is a man, he will know how to honor God, his boss at work, and his wife. I told him that I have to teach him how to obey, as a child, so that when he is a man, he will obey God. I explained that if he learns to obey, when he is a father, he will be able to teach his children to obey. 

He wasn't getting it and started the "freedom" talk all over again.  He started talking about how we "treat him like dirt" because we "don't let him live his own life." 

So, I paused, again, and waited for God to tell me where to go.  He gave me Proverbs 22:6 "Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is older he will not turn from it."  I gave that verse to my son and I asked him if he knew what it meant.  We talked about the meaning, which allowed me to reiterate that God was telling me, as a parent, to teach my son about rules, respect, honor, and obedience so that when he is older, he will remember. 

My son asked me why we don't allow him to make his own decisions (which we do, as appropriate!) and I explained to him that he hasn't earned the right to make the kinds of decisions he wants to make.  He hasn't honored his parents in a manner that shows he can honor others. He doesn't show us the respect that he should, which means we can't trust him to be respectful in other situations.  I explained that the types of "freedom" he wants will come to him when we believe he has learned the lessons that God wants us to give to him.

Then, something terrific happened.  My son thought about a particular instance of disobedience and disrespect recently and began to talk about why he had done what he did.  I asked him if he knew that it was a bad decision when he did it and he admitted "Yes."  I asked him "What is it called when we make a bad decision and go ahead with it, even when we know its bad?"  In his hesitance to admit what I could tell he knew, he said "I don't know".  He even avoided giving the answer when I gave him a hint.  His heart was really struggling and Satan was trying to get him to avoid the Truth.  He knew the answer was "sin."

I then reminded him that the Bible says there are consequences for sin and asked him if he remembered what that consequence is.  He said "Death".  So, I asked him if he had accepted Christ as his personal Savior and he said "Yes." (He took this step of faith in May 2010).

Full Circle. This lead me back to the initial point of our conversation - God's rules and my job as his mother.  Teach him to honor and to obey.  I explained, again, how if I teach him to honor his father and me, he will know how to really honor God and His rules for life.  I explained, again, that if he learns to obey his father and me, now, he will be better able to obey God's direction over his life, as a man.

He got it.  In that moment, my son got the message.  It didn't go in one ear and out the other.  I know that tomorrow may be different and his sinful nature may take-over again, but in that moment, I believe that God allowed me to speak to the heart of my son.  I allowed God to come into that moment in a way that I've struggled to do before and I trusted that God would give me the right words to speak His word to my child, and it worked.  That's exciting!!! 

The meeting on the stairs ended with two big hugs between my son and me.  We exchanged "I love you"s.  Then, he calmly went to bed, as he'd been instructed to do. 

Thank you, Father, for teaching me to pause, listen to You, and really let You parent my child through me.  Amen

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Woman's Work

Yep.  This is completely and totally how I feel lately.  At work, I need to totally rock out at my new job, hire a new employee, start a new program, figure out what hasn't been getting done and what needs to be done and manage a caseload, and be available to attend lots of meetings.  At home, though, I'm supposed to be this amazingly patient mother with lots of energy, time to cook a meal, do the laundry, clean the bathroom, supervise homework, study spelling words, and spend 20 minutes EACH night reading with EACH child, and spend time with my husband without falling asleep on the couch by 9 pm. 

It's exhausting. Its stressful. Its frustrating. Its fulfilling. Its rewarding. Its meaningful.  Its my life. 

So, what is it about that Proverbs 31 woman that is so intimidating...(verses 10-31)

"A wife of noble character who can find?  She is worth far more than rubies. Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value. She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life. She selects wool and flax and works with eager hands. She is like the merchant ships, bringing her food from afar. She gets up while it is still dark; she provides food for her family and portions for her servant girls. She considers a field and buys it; out of her earnings she plants a vineyard. She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks. She sees that her trading is profitable, and her lamp does not go out at night. In her hand she holds the distaff and grasps the spindle with her fingers. She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy. When it snows, she has no fear for her household; for all of them are clothed in scarlet.  She makes coverings for her bed; she is clothed in fine linen and purple. Her husband is respected at the city gate, where he takes his seat among the elders of the land. She makes linen garments and sells them, and supplies the merchants with sashes. She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue. She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: "Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all."  Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised. Give her the reward she has earned, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate."

Oh yeah, she works hard.  She gets little sleep.  She watches over the affairs of her home.  She is praised in the city, by her children, and her husband.  She is generous.  She's GREAT!!!
Where does all that come from?  How can one person possibly do all of that and do it well? 
I guess the only answer is that God wouldn't expect anything of us that we cannot do.  It is only by Him that we will reach this goal.  It is only with His strength, encouragment, and guidance that we will live up to this standard.  We need not measure ourself against the expectations of those around us - not our boss, our co-workers, our children, our husbands, our friends, or even other women in society.  We need only to strive to reach the goal that God has laid out for us.  When this is ultimately the "little red dot" we're moving toward, we're likely to get there because He will not let us stray.
As a side note, we, as women, should not set ourselves up for disappointment and unhappiness. We need not compare ourselves to the woman next door, the friend who is in a different season of life, or even the older women in the church who seem to have "done it all".  God says no where in this section of scripture that we should compare ourselves to any other woman.  He also does not suggest that one woman's role in life is any more difficult nor any more valuable than anothers.  All women have the same goals.  To be strong, hard-working, nurturing, loving, watchful, mindful, and responsible.  HOW we do that is determined for each of us, individually, as daughters of Christ.
My Father in Heaven loves me enough to know where and how I can serve, in my family and in my work.  My life is His mission and I will live it that way. I will also recognize that there are seasons to life and that new seasons bring change. I was with my children, focusing completely on my family when they were young. Now is the season for me to work outside of our home AND to be a great mom.  That is my goal...for now. 
Take a minute to encourage a woman in your life who does "Woman's Work" and let her know she's doing a great job! God may use YOU to make her day!!!