Monday, May 30, 2011

Help Yourself

For the past couple years of parenthood, I've just barrelled through - praying a bit, but ultimately hoping sheer work and determination would prove effective.
(not so much)

Two months ago, I was about to quit. I rarely feel this way. I have not been a perfect mom, but dang it, I dare you to try to find someone who gives it more effort! But a series of events concerning my kids stopped me in my tracks. I left for mother's day weekend at my mom's and just committed to pray while I drove. I thank the Lord that he heard my cries and provided a fresh new path.

It started with a book I had seen several times, but dismissed due to the title alone - "Have a New Kid by Friday". My repetitive reaction was, "What EV-er!" But when I confessed my plight to my cousin, she encouraged me to read it. I did. In one all night...finished it around 4:45am. (I'm a nerd!!) It was filled with practical verbiage for the day-in-day-out interactions with your kids.

But the convicting tone in its premise that "if you want to change your child, change your attitude"....nelly. I wept. I asked forgiveness. I memorized the phrasing so that I could go home and implement the no-nonsense approach. It wasn't all new and amazing...some of the concepts were already in our repertoire, but Philip read the main chapters in the following two evenings and we united, renewed and inspired.

We rocked the kids' world with kind consistency and unwavering standards. The improvements were remarkable...after some difficult days. At one point in his frustration one child blurted, "MOM! Why are you so NICE? I hate it. What did Grammy do to you while you were gone? Brainwash you??"

Hilarious. No, Abba Father just plain washed me:)

Last week, I finally received a book I ordered before Mother's Day. My college friend suggested it in response to an earlier plea for help and prayer. "Parenting is your high calling and 8 other myths that trap us in worry and guilt" AGAIN a title that was not luring me right in. But AGAIN, perfect in God's perfect timing.

Now that we had our household lovingly managed again, it was time for God to liberate me from my own hard work. "I'm trying so hard to stop trying so hard" was my struggle throughout the book. It's not one of my favorite books ever written, but for me in this specific succession of God's provision and equipment, it has been a perfect fit.

We are not promised success. We are not promised happy and respectful children who make the right choices all the time. (Have you ever read in Judges about Samson...think of his journey through the eyes of his parents.) Therefore if parenting is our highest calling, there is a huge chance we're going to fail.

BUT if loving God with all our heart is our highest calling, then regardless of our children's lives, we can hope to stand before Him having "well done".

I smile at God as I realize that the New Kid by Friday book was really how to be a New Parent by Friday. (The New Kid was just a perk:) BUT just in case I were to board the USS "It's all about me"....He followed up my first session parenting crash-course with the truth that it's really still all about Him.

"I have a new peace and new strength - and a new companion for the journey. God is here with me in this beautiful everyday riot of my house and my heart. He is with me as my redeemer, my sovereign,and also as a parent himself, a Father who has revealed his own tender, hurting, hope-filled heart. Parenting is so much less about me and so much more about God! This is God's holy enterprise - and wondrously, joyously, I get to be a part of it." - Leslie Leyland Fields

***There is a little bookshelf at the bottom of this blog page where I keep a record of what I'm reading. Scroll down and see! It's really cute:) A couple of you have asked for specific book reviews... I haven't forgotten. "There-a-comin!" Thank you for your patience and trust:)