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!

Why did I say that?

“The conversation was going fine – Why did I say that at the end?!”
“Why did I have to have the last word?!”
“Why didn’t I just listen?!”

None of these are my thoughts as the “unfortunate” words run out of my mouth.  Instead, self-righteousness, self-justification, judgement or pride won the moment – sadly.  It’s later on, when a little – or a lot – of time has passed, depending on how stubborn I’m feeling.  Ugh, I really don’t want to share all this.

Saying SOMEthing may be the right thing to do.  Sometimes saying NOthing demonstrates wisdom.  Often, prayer – and lots of it – are ALL the words we’re supposed to say.  BUT, saying the wrong thing or saying what doesn’t need to be said can wound, offend and often strain our relationship with our child.

So, knowing this, why do I continue to do this?

I’m tired physically … Always a sign that I should probably hold my tongue, get some rest, and anticipate a fresher perspective and disposition to follow.

I’m tired emotionally regarding a particular issue … Big red flag for “I havent been releasing my burdens, concerns, feelings to God to restore in His mercy, healing, and refreshing.”

I am discouraged. My eyes are on the circumstance, the person, the state of our relationship… Misplaced hope.  I have hopes FOR my children, but my hope is to be IN God.

I’m distracted by a circumstance that has nothing to do with my children … My thoughts are turned inward rather than Upward so I react from the place of my thoughts.

Wouldn’t it be great if parenting were like making a movie?  When we don’t like the way we acted in the scene, we can say “Take 2…Take 27…”

God has a better way.  He provides “opportunities” for practice, inspiring guidance and boundless help.  He wants us to learn about Him – His grace, His love, and His mercy. He wants us to learn about ourselves – humbled that we still behave like children and we need Him.  He wants us to be inspired by His faithful love – to mirror the way He parents us as we parent our children.

“Be still, and know that I am God.” (Ps 46.10)

“Be still…”  Still means calm, quiet.  That’s HARD in the moment!  God knows this.  Stop for 30 seconds and don’t say a word; excuse yourself for 5 minutes; tell the child you’ll call her back in a little while – and invite God into the moment.  Yes, He’s already there, but too often our behavior in the moment says “I’ve got this one God.”

“…know that I am God.”  Believe this.  Believe God.  HE is God; we are not.  We need to let go and let God.  Our participation is prayer, for our child and for our self.  Asking Him to hold our tongue and guide our words.  Asking Him to change us and change our child.

“Be still, and know that I am God.”
Thank you, Father, for this challenging yet comforting word.  Lead us to know you as our refuge and our strength.

Choosing Counsel

“All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”  (1 Peter 5.5)

I desperately NEED grace.  I definitely want God’s favor.  He has promised it to me.  And yet, I struggle still.

 

One day I realized that I am potentially the most influential teacher for my children to learn to NOT be humble:  While they live at home, I am with them the most, so our relationship gets the most “practice” for choosing: be humble or be prideful.  So, when we have conflict – because I’m enforcing a boundary or because they have abused a boundary, I have to decide in that moment who my counsel is – my self or my God.

 

When I choose self, I’m determined to conquer and win the moment. I go with my immediate and pent-up feelings, which often include some mixture of fear(of not having control), hurt and anger. Then add some fatigue, and we’ve made dynamite! My words and actions are a reaction to my child’s words or actions. At first, my reaction feels good, but eventually an empty feeling, a dead feeling comes. Do I want a dictator/child relationship? I exercised authority — but what did I accomplish, in the eyes of God?

“When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom. (Proverbs 11.2)

When I choose God as my counsel, my next step is usually hard because I’m choosing to try to be humble (counting on a lot of grace from God!).  This means I don’t react in like manner to my child’s outburst; I respond, remembering she’s the child – I’m the grown up.  Well, that’s hard if I’ve got a really good comeback line!

 

Being humble also means, admitting I’m wrong when I am AND asking my child to forgive me. At times, I have wrongly accused a child, yet once I saw that I was wrong, I wanted to brush over it like nothing happened.  I finally came to see my pride and the effect of this dismissal on my child.  Finally, if I know my position is right, being humble means listening, not doing all the talking, so I meet my child where he is and bring him along from that point.

O Lord, you’ve been so patient with me! Thank you. I want to be a humble leader for my children. Please assist me with Your grace. In Jesus’ name, Amen.