Dear Lord,So far I've done all right.I haven't gossipped,haven't lost my temper,haven't been greedy, grumpy, nasty, selfish, or overindulgent.I'm really glad about that.
But in a few minutes, God,I'm going to get out of bed.And from then on,I'm going to need a lot more help."
A candle, cup of tea and my Bible get me started off right. I've laid my burdens at Jesus' feet. I've read His words and they have ministered to my heart. I've worshiped Him. I have asked Him to change me, to help me grow, to bless my family and lead them. I'm sure it's going to be a wonderful day, and all is well with the world.
And then I get out of the chair.
And sometimes, it feels as if all is downhill from there!
Once, when I had 3 teens and a 4 year old, I had a lovely quiet moment in my bedroom watching the snow fall gently out the window as I sipped my last sip of tea. My heart said, "This is going to be a great day, what a great way to start, I am feeling peaceful."
No more had I left my bedroom and walked the hallway to the bedroom, than I was already irritated at my children and gave them a lecture.
"Wow," I thought. "Where did that come from?" And guilt immediately filled my heart.
Wouldn't motherhood, wifehood, even Christianity be much easier ... if there weren't any other people involved?
I have been thinking lately about some secrets I learned along the way that have helped me through some of the
God loves relationships. He, Himself, exists as a relationship--Father, Son and Spirit, three in One--a mystery we can't wrap our minds around. We bear His image, and part of that is this need we have for relationships; to know and be known, to love well, to draw strength and learn from one another. Yet relationships are not easy. Sinful people, living together in a broken world, sometimes hurt one another. We misunderstand and are misunderstood. We struggle with pride and envy, greed and deceit. So do those around us--and our children are no exception.
We need God's grace--His undeserved favor.The kind of favor that says, "I know you are limited. I know you are a toddler in your faith. I will cover your flaws and my love for you will never, ever change because you are mine and I love you."
"Giving the gift of grace to our children is actually a two-part process. First, we need to help our children receive grace. We do this both by extending grace to them, by being patient, by overlooking failures and telling them we believe in the person they will become. We accept the limitations of their phase of life--teens need sympathy for sometimes feeling lost and needy, with a desire to have others love and affirm them. Toddlers need us to be patient as they go through their first phase of independence while pushing against us a bit. Tired children do not need discipline, they just need to go to bed. Then we instruct them about God's gracious love that chose to redeem us through salvation. After that, by our teaching and example, we must train our children to give grace to others in turn.
Jesus summed up this two-part process when He was asked to name the greatest commandment. He said we are first to love the Lord God with all our hearts (receiving grace) and then we are to love our neighbors as ourselves (giving grace). This commandment, therefore, sums up the first gift we can give to our children--the desire and ability to understand and receive the grace of God and to give it to the rest of the world.
Understanding the importance of the gift of grace has really helped me respond to the daily dilemmas and frustrations of life in a household of four children. As we go through our days, for instance, I try to be mindful that, to God, relationships are always a top priority. I try to think of ways I can model for my children the redemptive grace and love of Jesus--and also influence them to extend grace to others through their actions and their attitudes." ~ The Ministry of Motherhood
We will always be pressed by our relationships. My prayer is that they press us all closer to the heart of God, Who loves to extend His grace to us, and teaches us through His example to do the same.
Hope to see you who live in middle Tennessee at the Nashville event next Thursday. We shall have a grand evening together.
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