"Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.
Each day has enough trouble of its own." Matthew 6:34 NIV

Saturday, November 30, 2013

His Little Creations

"You're a good mom," my seven year-old whispered before bed. I was stunned. This from the son who thinks the world revolves around him. Honestly, I needed to hear it because today I did not feel like a good mom. I felt like a maid, a cook, a mediator, a manager, and an "Oh why can't you just get your shoes on when I ask you to?" inquirer. Throw in some massive anxiety about my children needing loads of professional help to untangle the broken mess of emotions they call mom, and call it a day.

God I look to you
I won't be overwhelmed
Give me vision
To see things like you do

God I look to you
You're where my help comes from
Give me wisdom
You know just what to do
      - Jenn Johnson

When I feel like I am getting it all wrong, when I worry that my children will never outgrow the selfishness in their hearts, when I think about the overwhelming task of bringing them up in the Lord, I get on my knees. And I make sure to have tissues close by.

Praying for each of them specifically, I am reminded that no amount of correction and training in righteousness can fill a heart with love. Discipline does not mold them into a new creation. Only Christ in their hearts can change them from the inside out. Only the love of God experienced personally manifests outwardly as love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. So this will be the bedrock of my prayers, along with wisdom to know how to move forward day by day.

It does not mean that all standards for behavior get tossed out the window along with consequences. But it helps me see my children differently. I cannot expect them to ooze selfless love before they have met the one who is the ultimate gift of love. My job is to point them to him and watch in amazement as he takes these little lives and uses them for his glory.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation. (2 Corinthians 5:17-18 NIV)

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. (Philippians 4:6 NIV)

God of perfect love, fill me with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control toward my children. Give me realistic expectations of them in these tender years. Remind me of the eternal importance of my prayers as I take my anxiety to you. Amen.

Monday, November 4, 2013

God is Patient Too

I found myself singing a catchy little tune to my children the other day. I don't remember who I learned it from, but it's been on the tip of my tongue many times over the years since having my sweet little babies. It goes something like this:

Be patient. Be patient. Don't be in such a hurry.
When you are impatient, you only start to worry.
Remember, remember that God is patient too.
And think of all the times that others had to wait for you.

Patience. It's something I don't pray for more of, right? Otherwise, I might have to be in situations where I need to exercise it. Oh, but why is it so hard?

Henri Nouwen suggests that the word patience means "a willingness to stay where we are and live out the situation to the full in the belief that something hidden there will manifest itself to us.”

Live out the situation to the full... hmmm. Accept what is, at the moment it is given. Accept that the one who gives the moment, knows what he is doing. Understand that every moment is an opportunity to learn.

Learn what, one might ask.

When I demonstrate patience, I realize that I have a choice of how I respond in any given situation. I learn how to show love even when I don't always "feel" love. I learn that the moment I am in is just as important as the moment I am trying to hurry toward.

When I am honest, I admit that most of my impatient moments can be traced back to poor planning on my part. Or, to a less than loving attitude as my baseline for the day.

Remember, remember that God is patient too.
Yes, and always loving.

Love is patient, love is kind. (1 Corinthians 13:4a NIV)

Whoever is patient has great understanding, but one who is quick-tempered displays folly. (Proverbs 14:29 NIV)

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. (Romans 12:12 NIV)

Am I willing to stay where I am in order to find what is hidden: a wealth of understanding, valuable coins of love? I guess I'll find out the next time I am trying to rush out the door while little feet dawdle, shoeless after three promptings. 

God, thank you for being patient and loving with me. I ask for wisdom in my frustrating moments, so I may respond in love rather than impatience. Help me to see your orchestrated opportunities for growth. Amen.