I've often heard that parents say to their children..."I hope you have a child just like yourself someday!" I personally do NOT remember my parents ever saying that to me...which was nice of them ;)...because usually when parents say this, they are frustrated in the moment with whatever behavior their child is displaying that doesn't meet their expectations. Guess what...our children were not born to MEET OUR EXPECTATIONS. They are NOT GOING TO MEET OUR EXPECTATIONS. They will NEVER be the perfect child and you and I will never be the perfect mom. That's why we all need Jesus ;). Our job is to love them where they are and be Jesus to them. Jesus was gentle in his spirit, spent great amounts of time along side teaching and hanging out with his disciples, washed their feet, served them, ate with them...they were his priority. My children must be MY priority! God made me a mother...TO MOTHER MY CHILDREN! That is my NUMBER ONE JOB. :D Am I investing in my children like I should? Am I gentle, spending time with them, teaching them, hanging out with them, serving them, eating with them (all that without an iphone distraction!?).
I know we've all been there...wondering how we do this thing without messing our kids up or without going crazy in the process. Parenting in the moment is one of the HARDEST THINGS EVER!!! ESPECIALLY when your child is just like you! Orrrr is it actually EASIER when they are acting just like you? I think this really depends on your perspective. Think about it. If your child is acting JUST LIKE YOU. Then you have a "back door" so to speak into their heart and mind. Because if they're acting just like you, you have a great idea of what they must be thinking/feeling. You have insight into why they may be frustrated in a particular conflict between the two of you.You have an excellent inside scoop on their personality/bents. I can't tell you how many times throughout the day my 7 year old acts just like me. And I am left with a decision to make...am I going to let this irritate me and think she is against me and out to get/annoy me...or am I going to recognize that quite possibly, she is just utilizing her God given personality and some things just need to be tamed/brought under control and very likely there are things I just need to let go because it really doesn't matter. I think back to my days as a kid and when I was acting this way I was not usually out to get my parents...I only wanted to understand and be understood. I am not advocating that my child is always right - she needs a lot of molding/refining/discipling. But I do know that in my tendency to lead/control/be right, I can easily respond in anger/frustration/irritation if I am not careful...and Jesus would NOT do that. Jesus would seek to GENTLY. REACH. HER. HEART. He wouldn't scold in frustration. He wouldn't get annoyed. This is where my heart breaks, and I am humbled, and I realize that only by the grace of God can I be the parent that my children need me to be. Not lording it over them, but gently walking alongside them, teaching them, coaching them, redirecting them, gently disciplining them...just like Jesus did. Just this morning I read 1 Peter 5:2-3 and while it was written to pastors, to me it very much applies to how I raise my children..."Care for the (children) that God has entrusted to you. Watch over (them) willingly, not grudgingly - not for what you will get out of it, but because you are eager to serve God. Don't lord it over the (children) assigned to your care but lead them by your own good example." WOW! Take a bite of that! These last couple days I have really been focusing on the areas of gentleness and patience with my children. I have focused on being more intentional in everything. It has been challenging to remain this way when they through fits. But I can feel the stretching and growing in my personal and spiritual life. And I LOVE it. I love how God is changing me.
It's ok for your child's opinion, taste, behavior, idea of how life should be is not what YOU think it should be. God PURPOSELY made them with their personality and bents to fulfill the specific role he has for them to play in his mega-story of redemption in this world. Kids don't wake up in the morning on a mission to bring you down. Their behavior, however it plays out goes much deeper than that. They are little people with great personalities and an idea of WHO they believe they are supposed to be and also of WHAT their world should be like. Some of these are biblical world-views and some of them need to be molded and tweaked. But they need you as a parent and they definitely need God to help them do that. Because I know AR possesses great leadership qualities and intense passions, I recognize this coming through in our conflicts. These skills she has are gifts from God that the enemy is trying to run away with.This is why it's so important to be more invested in your child's day than your screen in front of your face. For this reason I HATE SMART PHONES. They're the devil. Yes, I have one. And it's a blessing and a curse. Ok, smart-phone rant over ;).
Yes I have rambled. It's on my heart right now. Sorry if it doesn't make sense to you. I do not claim to be an amazing writer, but I do hope this encourages many of you :). I am passionate about encouraging :).
In closing, here are some of my favorite quotes from sally clarkson!
"Life will be hard because I am fighting against the enemy for the hearts, souls, lives of my children."
"I am to train these children, who's souls have eternal implications, to be ambassadors to the world."
"Raising my kids for God is my spiritual act of worship."
And one of my VERY favorite quotes from Sally, was when she encouraged us to relate this to our children saying, "I will never be a perfect mom, and you will never be a perfect child. You never have to fear you will fail me because God has already caught you and you can live in grace and freedom." She also related that to us as moms when she said "God wants us to rest in the fact that we will NEVER be enough. There is NO condemnation though, for those who are in Christ Jesus! We have freedom! And Ask God for grace to accept your limitations because HIS GRACE IS ENOUGH!"
Go and seek to be a blessing to your children. You could very well be raising your best friends who love Jesus and serve him along side you for the rest of your life. Now THAT is victory in parenting :D.