Tending Our Heart to Love Theirs

DSC02537You love your child a bunch, more than you can put into words. You know there’s a big age and maturity difference between you. You even “get” why he does or says some things. So why is it that we react critically, or even meanly, sometimes, yet other times we don’t?

The short answer is – the condition of our heart. The medium answer is – A lot happens in the day; our heart records all of it, and some recordings need to be edited out. Here’s my longer answer to explain.

One day can hold sweet moments like a hug, a thoughtful text, an unexpected ‘Thanks, Mom’, an adorably mischievous grin, laughter, or obedience. That same day might include a rude remark, a disrespectful tone, an ungrateful attitude, a mean face, or a disappointing decision.

Hours, then days pass in a blur. We live forward, our mind focused to what’s next. More positive and negative experiences occur. Some we deal with and others we don’t. We teach, correct, and forgive our child. We’re prayerful, trying to depend on God for help and guidance. And then we lose it.

The ugly comes out. Why?

DSC02538Our heart hurts. First, we are women. We have feelings and our feelings get hurt. Being a mom is a major role in our life. However, if we see our self solely as a mom with responsibilities, we might unintentionally neglect our self as a person with a heart.

“For I will restore health to you, and your wounds I will heal, declares the LORD.” (Jeremiah 30.17a)

Our kids don’t plan to hurt or disappoint us. They try to practice what we’ve taught; sometimes they hit the mark and other times they don’t – just like us.

DSC02536You may have forgiven your child, but have you unloaded your feelings and experience to God and then invited him to heal your heart? When God heals, he restores and builds our heart stronger.

“The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.” (Psalm 23.1-3)

Holy God, You alone know all that my heart has recorded. Please show me what I need to unload to you. Thank you for your healing love. Amen.

Here’s Video 07 and the Audio 07! I pray that you’re encouraged and strengthened. Please tap one of the icons below and share with your friends!

The Promise of Self-Control

IMG_0730Have you ever had one of those days (or in my case, weeks) where being self-controlled is like getting jello to stay on your spoon from the bowl to your mouth?

That was always a cute sight when our kids were little. Moving their little hand without thought from bowl to mouth, the jello jiggled unpredictably, fell off the spoon, plopping to the table. About 3 attempts later, they’d figured out that either they had to focus and move more slowly – or just put their mouth over their bowl, shortening the spoon path.

Being self-controlled – managing our emotions and impulses –  is HARD.

The entirety of each day is unpredictable to us…though not to God. He knows ALL that’s coming. He prepares us and hopes we’ll pursue Him for help, comfort, guidance, protection, strength.

DSC02004When we have those ugly, out-of-control days where we wish for a do-over, self-determination stands strong – to do better, keep-it-together, be a better mom:

I’m not gonna let her get to me.  
...as our toddler or teen whines for that thing we’re not going to give them.

It’ll get done somehow.
..when the washing machine breaks with a full load in it and 3 more to do before we go out of town.

I’m not going to let this get me worked up this time.
when a theme of disobedience has moved into its 2nd month.

I can handle it; only 7 more hours till bedtime.
….after 4 days of rain and being cooped up in the house.

Self-determined, we deal with the surface – whatever presents in the moment, trying to solve, resolve, ignore, suppress. Some days we actually manage our surface emotions and impulses this way – until ONE.MORE.THING happens.

…and we lose it. Emotionally and sometimes behaviorally. Placing blame on the child, circumstance or both. Labeling our self (I’m a horrible mom…), labeling our child (He’s so …).

DSC02005 “…the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control.” (Galatians 5.22-23)

We wear ourselves out trying to generate a trait that God cultivates as we love Him.

Choosing dependence, surrender begins to replace self-determination.
Jesus, her whining is about to do me in. I give you my frustration and exhaustion. Please help me.

Abiding. Practicing being present to God. Makeover Moments where God responds to us as we step closer to Him. Leading us through while molding His traits in the deep places of our heart. Growing fruit.

“Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15.5b)

Jesus, teach and strengthen us to be present to You throughout the day. We want Your traits grown in our hearts. Amen.