You know, there are many difficult things in life. Some I have experienced and many I haven't. I have walked through the fires of depression, rejection, and overcome several major obstacles in my life. I have given birth three times (soon to be four), and two of those times has been without medication. (Yes, by choice. I am crazy, I know). But, out of everything I have ever been through, nothing has rocked my world like parenting. When I stepped into the world of motherhood almost 9 years ago, I had NO idea how much it would change me and challenge me on a regular basis. God has taught me so much through my children. He has used them to teach me about what love really is, and what it is not. He has taught me about how to forgive myself, my past, and other people. He has used them to teach me about how He is my Jevovah-Jireh (my Lord who Provides), because no one can really ever "afford" to have a child. He has shown me through them that He is my Jehovah-Rapha (my Lord who Heals), for there where hurts in my life from my childhood and decisions made as an adult that haunted me that were not healed until my children came along. He has shown me that control is an illusion and that He is the ONLY who deserves the name El Elyon (God Most High). I have become more patient, grace-filled, and merciful, but also more firm (which believe me, is a tough balance to find and even tougher to maintain).
And yet, as my children get older I am finding that I am being challenged on a whole new level. I am the steward (along with my husband) that God has entrusted with the job of shaping the heart and will of my children. Of course, I know that it is God who draws all men (and women) to Himself. But, we cannot deny the important role of a parent in a child's life. My children are now 8, 7, and 4, and we are constantly fighting the "battle of the wills". I want my children to obey-they on the other hand want to make their own choices. We have graduated from disciplining their behavior to training the heart's motive behind the behavior. It is requiring very intentional parenting on our parts, which is MUCH more time consuming. It requires wisdom and discernment, which only come from God Himself. I mean, there are times when my children insist that they were "only kidding" or "just playing" or "telling the truth" and I really don't know what the truth is or what the right answer is to "solve" the problem. The Bible says "Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child" and "the heart is deceitful above all things and without cure". Only a personal relationship with God can "cure" the diseased heart. I get frustrated with the meanness, selfishness, uncontrolled anger, lying, stealing, lack of respect, and so on that come from my sweet children with such ease. And yet on the other hand, I see so much of that in my own heart and their behavior shines a very bright light on my own sin. How to do you discipline one of your children when you see so much of the same in yourself? It is ridiculous. I know it is my job and I take my job very seriously. So as I work on my children I am constantly reminded that I need to allow God to work on me.
Anyway, so I realized something recently that has put all of this into perspective for me. I didn't overcome depression-God did that. I didn't heal my fear of abandonment and rejection-God did that. I didn't overcome debilitating guilt-God did that. I didn't will myself to be more patient, merciful, and grace-filled-God did that. I don't come up with great ideas on how to deal with my children-God does that too. So, you may ask, what DO you do? I PRAY! I have decided that I will fight the battles that I can fight, and the rest of them I will fight on my knees. I can't do this, not on my own. Without God and the power of the Holy Spirit I will never succeed. Praise God that He has made a way for us to succeed.