Monday, July 9, 2012

Loving the Inconvenient Way

The Holy Spirit has been convicting me recently about how I act toward and treat my children....especially during the times when screaming is at its peak, chaos rules, or frustration is high.  I demand so much from Jacob, my oldest.  Self-control, pleasantness, and never, ever lashing out or speaking with harshness.  Recently I've noticed his tolerance level toward Joshua and Grace diminishing.  I've spent days (weeks probably) trying to "fix" this problem by really harping on him about it.  I feel like I've been beating my head against the wall.  Then it dawned on me.  The ugly truth that the sin I saw manifesting itself in his life was a mirror image of the sin manifesting itself in my life.  Why is it so easy to see it in someone else and not in yourself?  Coming face to face with it I saw the deep ugliness of it all.

I demand so much from my four year old (FOUR YEAR OLD)!  These are things I cannot do either (and I don't need to tell you how old I am...older than he is and that is all that matters).  God has been showing me these things through Jacob's behavior because I was too blind to see it in myself.  Was I too blind?  Or was I too unwilling?  I have excuses.  Reasons to act that way.  Entitlement, right?  I have three little ones!  Of course I'm allowed to lose my patience, raise my voice, and get all grumpy toward the world in my frustration and annoyance!  Right? 

Being a mom isn't about convenience.  Nothing is convenient.  They don't ever need correction, hugs, kisses, discipline, etc. at a time that is convenient.  Spills always happen right after you mopped.  Boo boos always need kisses when you're elbow deep in raw meat for dinner.  Sibling problems always happen when you're trying to fold laundry.  Discipline is always needed when you're on the phone.  Sickness always comes when your calendar demands you to stay on track with the schedule all week.  Questions always require answers the minute the restroom door clicks shut.  No, it isn't convenient.

When I think about God, my heavenly Father, I can't say I've ever thought of Him as an impatient parent.  He doesn't sigh with exasperation and slam down the raw chicken and storm over to a sibling squabble to rip the treasured toy out of the hands of all parties involved or half-heartedly kiss a boo-boo and send me on my way.  He doesn't get "fed up".  No phone call is too important when discipline is required.  Sickness is a blessing because it is a time to draw near.  Questions are welcomed, regardless of the deep desire for a quick moment of peace.  I mean, God is busy running the world, but nothing, nothing (!!) is too inconvenient for Him.

God has called me to be a mom.  It is a high and important calling.  My job is to point my children toward the gospel in all things.  All things!  That includes how I respond to them when I'm tired, frustrated, fed up, folding laundry, on the phone, in the restroom...  I should expect to seem them mimic the way I act.  How I wish they could see more of the Holy Spirit in me! 

Lord, I pray you will fill me to the brim with your Holy Spirit.  Only You can empower me to love my children in a way that points them toward you in all things.  This, Lord, is the deepest longing of my heart.  Father, let them not be inconveniences.  Let them be great opportunities to point them yet again to your cross and to their need to one day come to know you as Savior.  I cannot do this alone.  I cannot do this by my own strength.  Lord, help me to see all those minor inconveniences as blessings--blessed opportunities to talk more of our dependence on you!  Amen.

I'll leave you with a picture of what God says our love should look like.  My prayer is for the Holy Spirit to empower me to love my children in light of His word:

Love is patient and kind;
 love does not envy or boast;
it is not arrogant or rude.
It does not insist on its own way;
it is not irritable or resentful;
it does not rejoice at wrongdoing,
but rejoices with the truth.
Love bears all things,
believes all things,
hopes all things,
endures all things.
Love never ends.

~1 Corinthians 13:4-8~

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