Monday, December 16, 2013

The Ebb and Flow...

A time for dancing!
Here lately, it seems like I've been reading a lot about parenting methods.  I've seen advice given as if there is only one way to go.  I've heard moms who feel as though fervently adhering to one method or another will eventually make their lives easier and their children sweeter.  I've seen moms who feel like they have to explain or defend their choices constantly.  I've read parenting books and blogs that present their information in a "try-this-it-works-every-time-if-you-do-it-right", one-size fits all kind of way.  I've been a victim of the "parent guilt" inflicted on today's mom when her child has a melt-down in public, or if her baby is wearing a puffy coat in the carseat on a cold day.  I've also unintentionally been an instigator at times, I'm sure.

A time for bathing.
Today, we try to make everything into a precise science - how to eat the most healthy diet, have the most organized home, be the perfect wife, or parent our children effectively and safely.  Technology puts information at our fingertips, and we use that world-wide web of information as our gospel.  You can find precise answers (or opinions) to all of your questions.  We can always find something that sounds just so good that it HAS to be right. Right?

"There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death." Prov. 14:12

A time for wearing the tree skirt.
I'll get to my point.  Parenting is not a precise science.  There is no one-size fits all.  It can't be broken down into a method.  Parenting is an act of LOVE.  It is a special relationship that God designed in order to give us a glimpse of WHO HE IS.  It has an ebb and flow, alive and active.  It involves discernment, perseverance, sacrifice, successes and failures, and sometimes even getting it right while other times having to apologize for getting it wrong.  Most of all, it is between us and the Lord.  Our success is directly related to our relationship with Him.  And we can find the answers to all of our parenting dilemmas in His Word.  I speak to myself as much as to anyone else.

"He who fears the Lord has a secure fortress, and for his children it will be a refuge." Prov. 14:26

In my parenting journey, I have gone to other books for help.  I have tried the methods.  But you know what? Eventually there is an exception to the rule, and you have to go with your heart.  If your heart is full of anger, resentment, hurts, regrets, guilt, or bitterness, then that is what will come out of you in the most difficult parenting situations.  If you are feeding on the Word of God, receiving His healing, love, joy, peace, and patience (and other fruits), then these are the things that will come out of you in those tough moments.  No method can do for us what the Word of God can do through us by the Holy Spirit.
A time for music lessons.

My advice:  PRAY!!  Pray for the Lord's wisdom.  Pray for a godly mentor who won't point you to some book, but to THE BOOK.  Pray for the strength to see things through.  Pray for your children and their journey to and with the Lord.  Pray for courage to parent without fear.  Pray for the wisdom you need and you WILL receive it.  That is a promise! Pray for humility and the ability to empathize with your child when they face failure (which in our house is at some point every day). Pray for other moms and their children. Share your struggles and successes with each other.  And look to the Word of God as your parenting handbook.
A time for cuteness!

James 4:10 "Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will lift you up." (Humility)

James 5:16 "Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.  The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective." (Fellowship)

2 Timothy 3:16-17 "All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work." (the Bible as our handbook)

2 Timothy 1:7 "For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind." (Courage)

1 John 3:18  "Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth." (Love is active)
A time for love.

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