because it's loving to her

So a few weeks ago I shared this.....

"Some days it just feels as if the challenges will never end. The disobedience seems constant, words like "no" and phrases like "I not gonna do it" seem to be what I hear the most, and my responses are not at all the reflection of Jesus that they should be. On days like this I just want to throw in the towel. I feel like telling my Little, "have it your way. I'm exhausted."" 

That last little sentence there? Well, the Lord has really chiseled away at my heart in regards to that often felt statement in these days, reminding and teaching me, in various ways, why that's not exactly a good mantra for parenting. 

Never have I better understood the depth to which the Lord loves me than since becoming a parent. The grace He gives me, the forgiveness He grants, when I continually battle my selfish sin, my battles of wanting what I want and fighting Him because He's not giving it to me. Oh, the abundant love that the Lord has for me, that He has not said to me, "have it your way, I'm exhausted." His example to me of perfect, sacrificial, PATIENT love is an example that I want to hold tightly to every single day, and as I teach, play with, talk to, and discipline my Little, to fight to emulate.  

And in the same gentle way that His love for me does not allow me to get away with my sin, but to understand and feel the consequences and the effects of it, and to see that His ways are truly higher and better than mine, so I must teach my Little. To give in to her sin, to say to her "have it your way. I'm exhausted," will not only have unhappy, awful lasting effects, it would be unloving to her. To do that would teach her the very opposite of truth. I want, most of all, for my Little to come to know Jesus and for her independent, brave, strong, thoughtful, creative, beautiful self to be used greatly by Him, just as He designed her to be. That it why I must teach her about her need for Him. 

As I teach her, I share with her. I tell her about my need for Jesus and about what He does, every single day, in my life. I tell her about my struggles to obey and seek Him, about how I fight Him sometimes because I want what I think is best. And I tell her about HIs grace to me and about all He has given me, and she and her daddy top the list. He has done exceedingly beyond anything I could ask or imagine and I want that fact to spill over in every bit of what I teach her about Him.

How often I fall short. How often I do not emulate Christ's love to her and I respond to her selfishly and impatiently and without grace. How often I hold her and ask her forgiveness. How often I fall at the feet of Jesus and ask Him to help me love her better, in the way that He loves both of us. Even in those moments, as defeated as I may feel, there is gold. It comes in the form of another way to give testimony to His perfect, great, magnificent love; and that is the best thing my daughter can know. The greatest way I can be loving to my daughter is to teach her about the One who loves her best.

 

some thoughts on learning balance


J and I have learned, even more so over the past month, that we must guard our family time. In the busyness of life it can so easily slip away. We want to pour ourselves out for others, have hearts eager to serve, and be flexible and willing always; but, we have discovered that if we don't have time just the three of us/two of us together our little family unit begins to suffer. 

Over the past month, as we have sought and prayed, the Lord has helped us come to a deeper realization and understanding of how the priority that is raising, teaching, and training our Little must look in our lives and her life, for our family. Every set of parents is different. Every single child is different. Every single parent has to learn and grow in wisdom about how to teach and train their child/children well. Kids respond differently, they learn differently, they are encouraged differently, they love different activities. As parents, the heart must be that we act off of the same set of grounding principles and truths that the Lord has given us in His Word, but fleshing that out, practically, into our children's lives will look different. As we are faithful to seek the Lord for His wisdom and guidance, He will help us come to those conclusions and decisions for our individual families.

A beautiful thing in all of this, though, is that we can learn from one another. We can ask our trusted friends, our parents, our kindred-spirit mothers, about these areas and gain greater help from them. There have been countless times in talking with other parents that J and I have had major "aha!" moments and walked away with some extremely helpful advice. Please don't take what I'm saying as advice to put a bubble around your family and ignore the wisdom, the years of parenting, the learning that other parents have walked through. I want always to have a humble, learners heart and observing the lives and hearing the words of those around me is a way to gain precious nuggets of wisdom, encouragement, or just to be reminded I/we are not the only one(s) in this boat. Thank you, Lord, for that!

Something we quickly learned about our Little is that she is just like us, perhaps even more so, in loving her comfort zone, in being refreshed with quiet at home, and in not being a huge fan of big groups or constant high-energy situations. Being two people who tend toward those very same things, we truly understand where she is coming from in that. However, just as with ourselves, we don't want to let her sit in it where it is sinfully selfish or fearful; we want to gently teach her truth and help her learn how to handle uncomfortable or nerve-wracking situations. We want to take every opportunity to teach her little heart and mind and to help her grow in this way. On the same hand, we don't want to push her in an unhelpful or selfish way on our part. Sometimes we are going to need to say "no" to great opportunities because, truly, it would be setting AK and/or ourselves up for unhelpful, unnecessary battles or discouragement or exhaustion. And the Lord is good to give us all wisdom on our limitations and our kids. 

In all of this, too, seasons change. Life situations change, # of kids change, moves happen, church or school may change, new jobs come, new opportunities arise, family situations come up, the list goes on. Some seasons are just going to be busy, some are going to be more calm. With the changing seasons, though, the Lord's counsel and wisdom remains steadfast, and we have a direct line to that if we are faithful to seek Him. He will give us grace and understanding for how the balance of life should look for our days, for our marriages, for our families. It's sweet to learn from Him. I have treasured learning how to rest in His wisdom for our family, our 3 musketeers little Coobs family. I've learned, and am learning still, to fight that awful temptation to compare, to learn greater trust in Him, and to let go of what others think of me/us and be truly confident in the Lord. There is such a profound peace that comes with that. 

So, as I said, some thoughts for you. Not seamlessly connected or perfectly formed, but more like an insight into my thought journal on learning balance. I don't ever expect to reach a point of a perfectly constructed, beautifully organized, art form of a balanced life; but I am sure of one thing: the Lord will never cease to give clarity, wisdom, and grace for the process.