Because We Can’t Hit Rewind

DSC01912Our words.
Once they’ve left our mouth, they’re out there.
We can’t pull them back in. There’s no rewind button.

So what can we do?
We can take care of our heart. The place from which our words come.

Every instance of pain we experience, God sees.
Disrespect. Defeat. Discouragement. Rejection. Harsh words.

He sees the wearing down.
Fatigue. Sickness. Lack of sleep. Talk back. Fighting.

He sees the effect to our heart.

DSC01914Long before words emerge, He knows what’s building within.

He can help. More than help. He can heal. Comfort. Pour grace.
Restore. Strengthen. Transform.

O LORD, you have searched me and known me!
You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
     you discern my thoughts from afar.
You search out my path and my lying down
     and are acquainted with all my ways.
Even before a word is on my tongue,
     behold, O LORD, you know it altogether.” (Psalm 139.1-4)

All-knowing God,
Help me bring my experiences and thoughts to You.
To be cleansed, humbled and healed.
I want my words to go through the sieve of Your grace, power and love.
BEFORE THEY LEAVE MY MOUTH.
Amen.

Crying To Be Heard

 get-attachment-9.aspxI wish you could tell me what you need.

Especially in the middle of the night, many times this was my thought when one of our babies cried and could not be soothed. I yearned to comfort them, to make it all better. Sometimes I would pray, “God, please help. You know what it is. Comfort him or show me what to do.” … Wish I’d done that more often. Probably would have logged a lot more hours of sleep.

“But in my distress I cried out to the Lord;
 yes, I prayed to my God for help.
 He heard me from his sanctuary;
 my cry to him reached his ears.” (Ps 18.6)

When babies cry, it’s not specifically directed. They just cry – to whomever ‘the world around them’ is:
I’m wet.
I’m hungry.
My tooth – whatever that is – really hurts.

As our children grow, we teach them to communicate their needs and frustrations to us.
Sometimes our children came to me; sometimes they went to Terrell. Other times they obviously felt that physically expressing their frustration ONTO their sibling would be more effective. Can’t say that I was ever shocked because my brothers and I did the same thing.

DSC01927“When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears,
 and delivers them out of all their troubles.” (Ps 34.17)

When our kids are young – or at any age – we can share a priceless gift with them. We can give them the perfect means to help them in all relationships and life struggles.

We can teach them to first take their frustrations to God. To look to Him for comfort and direction.

Now here’s the irony. THE VERY THING I WANT MY CHILDREN TO DO … I STRUGGLE TO DO.

Too often I react ONTO  my children or my husband because I haven’t first cried out to God – the One who knows my struggle and has the resolution.

“I rise before dawn and cry for help; I hope in your words.” (Psalm 119.147)

We can teach our children the things we’re still learning.
We can acknowledge we’re lifelong disciples
… as we make disciples.

I Don’t Like Her Decision

I only play the piano because you want me to. I’d like to stop my lessons soon.
I’ve decided I’m not going out for the tennis team again. It takes too much of my time.
We broke up; I told him I don’t feel the same way anymore.
I wanna grow my hair long like all the other guys.

How do you behave when your child announces a decision she’s made – that you don’t like?

React  – venting every first-impression emotion.
Ask ‘Why?’ in a tone that says ‘What in the world are you thinking?’
All-out persuasion to “help” her see my view.
Incredulous comments like:  No way.  Really??  You’re kidding, right?  

Honesty is important. So is grace.
I won’t tell you how many lessons I’ve had about this.
As our child shares, it helps to go to God with our feelings – so we don’t go at – or away from – our child.

Recently, a friend described such an episode.  As her son shared, she listened. Her demeanor was calm; internally surprise, sadness and disappointment churned.

“Wow, I’m so surprised. Are you sure?”
“Yeah, Momma, I just don’t wanna play baseball anymore.”
“But you’re so good at it.”
SILENCE
“Well… okay, son…”

As the days passed, she wrestled with her feelings and noticed that her son seemed extra quiet. Something wasn’t right. She hadn’t overreacted; she hadn’t tried to manipulate him. Yet, an impenetrable heaviness loomed between them….

“God, I’m disappointed and sad about his decision. It’s not what I want at all.  I give my feelings to You. Comfort my heart. Heal my son if my reaction has hurt or confused him. Help me walk this out Your way.”

Later that day she told her son, “When you told me you didn’t want to play baseball, I was sad and disappointed – but not in you. I didn’t make that clear. I’ll miss watching you play because you are so good at it. I want you to know I love you so much – and nothing will ever change that.”

Love penetrated the heaviness.
He smiled. They hugged.

When our child reveals a decision, she watches (or listens if we’re on the phone). On the outside, she wants to know our opinion about her decision; on the inside, she wants to know how we feel about her: “Do you still love me just as much?”

God loves us in the midst of our many decisions.  Our first response should be love – His love through us. His love creates the bridge for conversation and growth.