The Learned Art of Awareness in Parenting

DAY 13, Five Minute Prompt: AWARE

from Flexibility and Feelings of Children [Click to read the full post.]

From any perspective, she has adjusted well. While she doesn’t often mention missing her grandparents or friends in America, she hasn’t been unaffected by boredom and loneliness. She even worries about everyone hating her, noting how the few kids she knows shoo her away with stuck out tongues.

These missionary and mommy worlds often collide, and my daughter is found in the debris. I can shield and protect her, keep her to myself, and never let her experience this country. Or I can allow these experiences, however painful, to shape and mold her into who God wants her to be.

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At that time, I had become aware that what we were doing wasn’t working. This awareness made me able to make some changes that lifted her spirits. I began spending more one-on-one time with her by allowing her to stay up a little later with mommy. We went on more walks around the neighborhood and tried to get out more.

I was able to enroll her in a nearby pre-school where she is the only foreign student. It is a joy to all of us to see her language taking off and her confidence booming as a result. [more on this decision: Pre-School on the Other Side of the Planet: A Mama’s Desperate Act ]

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It hadn’t just been boredom and loneliness. My sweet 3 year old had been hurting in big ways she didn’t understand. She didn’t know that she needed social interaction and sunlight, she just knew she was sad. I got sucked up in my schedule and missed an opportunity to really see her, pour into her, and love her back to life.

As busy moms, it is so easy to just check off the daily to-do-list and just barely make it to bed time and fail to check in with the hearts of our children. Sometimes there is more than just rebellion at the bottom of that explosive toddler tantrum or brooding teenager in the backseat.

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Awareness involves questions, quality time, and constant prayer. It alleviates unfounded worries and causes me to make change in areas where it is really needed.

Just like me, my children want to be known but may not always be able to express complicated emotions. The responsibility falls on me to study them and surrender their needs to Jesus.

My prayer is no different than last year: that we can point her to Christ, and that she will trust Him with her life. I ask God to make me aware to her needs and to give me wisdom to meet them.

Parenting is such an enormous responsibility, and, honestly, one I don’t feel overly qualified for. But there’s so much grace in my inadequacy. God meets me each day, giving me what I need for this most important ministry called motherhood.

My eyes and ears are open. My heart is bowed before the Giver of this most precious gift.

Are you aware of the needs of your children?
How can you open your eyes to see them today?

Talk to me in the comment section!

 

Shouldering the Weight of God-Sized Dreams

Day 11, Five Minute Prompt: SKY

We had been carried by cable car 8,000 feet above the city we’ve spent a year and a half falling in love with.   Removed from the startling sounds of city life, we stood in awe of the beauty of our home abroad.

I chased my children around, avoiding falls down the side of a mountain because I’m a good mom like that. I watched my husband from afar as he gazed across the Valley. I sensed what he was up to. He was praying, strategizing how to reach this country with the gospel.

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Up in the clouds, he was dreaming bigger-than-blue-sky dreams. The God who made the peak we stood on made his heart just big enough to hold them. But the thing about God-sized dreams is they can get rather heavy.

I peer across the Valley, and I see smog and earthquake damage, countless people carrying tremendous burdens. I am overwhelmed at the task ahead and shake my head at these far-fetched plans. It can’t be done.

I remember that Jesus asked His followers to evangelize the whole world. They stood looking into heaven, waiting for Christ’s return when two angels rebuked them to get to work on this impossible task (Acts 1:10-11).

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I can stand here, holding my husband’s hand, admiring his God-sized dream and waiting for the Lord to come relieve the weight of its burden. Or I can keep the pace of feet chasing the impossible, shouldering the weight of the burden as we inch closer to completion.

Living the Golden Rule is simple on this one because, being one with my husband, this dream occupies my heart, too. On my end, there is so much fear and insecurity that threatens the success of these dreams. My heart is so frail, and I think it might burst from the burden of this work. I surrender it to the only One who proved on the Cross his ability to carry it. There’s a peace that this is the best way to help.

I rally my kids and sneak a second next to my man whose brow remains furrowed. I squeeze him around the waist and thank God for the super-size dream we share. We take in the magnitude of it all until my toddler gets that look in his eye. He’s about to stray from the protected path and plummet down this mountain. Better stop staring and get back to my job.

*No children were harmed in the making of this dream.

Do you and your husband have God-sized dreams?
What is your role in seeing them through?

Talk to me in the comment section!

linking up: Coffee for Your Heart , Tell His Story

My Husband Doesn’t Know Me

Day 10, Five Minute Prompt: UNKNOWN

“You don’t even know me!” I screamed at the end of my rope and the top of my lungs.

These vicious words leapt out like an uncaged beast and I immediately wanted to shove them back into their insecure source. But they were already out and wreaking their destruction.

I could see that he was already wounded. There’s so much pain in being unknown and so much grief in expressing it.

We spent every day together studying language We lived in a a fairytale dream world where we went on a date every day. But there was so much I wasn’t telling him, so much I couldn’t express. Earthquakes, essential good shortages, general loneliness, and other calamities had taken a toll on my spirit.

I wanted him to know all this somehow, but I soon realized this was an unreasonable request. Though he knows me better than anyone else, he really doesn’t know me at all.

Not in comparison to the One who knows the numbers of hairs on my head and the number of breaths I have left in my body. I am completely known and completely loved. Nothing inside of my heart scares or surprises the Deity that dwells in that space.

He gave me this man to kind-of know me.

While we should study each other in efforts of knowing, we can rest because we are already known completely. This truth empowers us to serve one another without calculating how much effort is put forth on the other side and reciprocating accordingly.
Living the Golden Rule, I recognize my desire to be known and so seek to know and serve my husband according to his needs.

I’ve heard a marriage can’t be built on secrets, and certainly I strive to maintain an open and honest relationship with my husband. However, I realize his limitations to know and understand me on the deepest levels. We won’t be setting up house on such a shaky foundation.

Feelings are fleeting. Happiness ebbs and flows. But the God that established our foundation is firm and unmoving. We can build our marriage upon it with confidence it will withstand the storms we will weather together.

All because two people are known and loved by a good Father.

Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it (Matthew 7:24-27)

Is your marriage foundation set upon the Rock?
How does being known by God empower you in marriage?

Talk to me in the comment section!

 

 

 

Humility: My First Move in the Fight for my Marriage

Day 8, Five Minute Prompt: MOVE

I accidentally mixed up prompts 15 & 8, but in the spirit of giving myself grace and not scrapping a perfectly good post, I’m just swapping them. Anyway, I keep thinking maybe someone needs this like I do…

We are both stubborn. When the words begin to raise the temperature in the room, neither side is quick to concede to cooling it. He is better at sticking to his guns than I am. I usually forget what I wanted in the first place, but I still want to win, so I keep talking in circles.

I have met people who claim they have never had a fight with their spouse which leads me to believe one of two things:

1) They never talk

2) They have a different definition of the word “fight” than I do.

When a disagreement arises, so does an opportunity to show a tremendous level of respect for my husband. I can keep digging a deeper hole of hurt to bury him in, or I can choose humility before we go too far down our lists of grievances and end up knee-deep in regret.

I forget that we are on the same team. We fight for wholeness and happiness in our marriage, of course, but we also fight for the testimony of the work of Jesus in our lives.

Humility is so rarely my first move. Remembering the Christ that moved towards me in complete disregard of Himself, I am convinced it needs to be. I do quite enjoy being right, but I enjoy being right with my husband and portraying a right picture of the One we represent much more.

Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous: Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing. For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile: Let him eschew evil, and do good; let him seek peace, and ensue it
(1 Peter 3:8-11).
Do you need to make humility your first move?

Let’s get a conversation about the Golden Rule in our marriages going!

 

The You of the Golden Rule

Day 6, Five Minute Prompt: YOU

 If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him? Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets (Matthew 7:11-12).

The Golden Rule is not about you.

It’s not about me.

It’s about God and his goodness.

It’s about how the gate is wide and the way is narrow and what our lives say to those who haven’t been captivated by the Love that calls us down it (v 13-14). In our efforts to be like Jesus, we depend completely on His grace to bear fruit which makes His presence in us known (v. 16-20).

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Karma says “do good so good will be done unto me” while grace says “You can’t repay me, but I will serve you anyway.”

Grace looked at us in all our filthiness and died to make us its own. That redemptive act moves us to say, “I will lay down my life for the least of these because I know Whom I serve.” We serve the Almighty God who put on flesh and died a criminal’s death so we could fall in love with Him.

It’s about Our Father who gives us good things.

Proclaiming His name in our families and among the nations is the best gift we’ve been given after salvation.  I want to live as a servant sharing Christ and helping a few more people find the narrow road. I’ll sing and serve my way to golden gates.

What does God’s grace move you to do?

Talk to me in the comment section!