Saturday, May 21, 2011

Being tough is tough

Today has been one of those spring/summer days that one can only wish for.  I slept until I woke up, no alarm clock (ok, maybe my cell phone rang, but I was still well-rested).  I read my Bible, working through a couple of days of Breaking Free and No Other Gods.  I did a Zumba video for almost an hour and walked for another hour, sweating and smelling nasty but feeling all the better for it.  I lounged in the bathtub until the water got cold, then played cars with my boy until I was confused about which car was going where.  I put on my cut-offs and my flip-flops, and lounged by the pool watching Caleb splash and reading my Kindle.  One of the things that Rachel Olsen talked about in her book It's No Secret is taking one day and making it a Sabbath rest day, and while this wasn't Sunday, it has definitely been a day of rest.  Until about 530. 

At 530, Caleb was playing on the computer.  His aunt Holly told him he needed to get off so she could do some work, promising to let him back on in thirty minutes.  Caleb just kept pushing his limits, until he was in a full-fledged screaming fit.  Tears and all streaming down his face.  I got mad, he got madder, and it ended with me escorting him back to our house, him crying the whole time.  And after we had both cooled down, I got to thinking.  1. I handled this all out battle much better than what I used to.  I think I only raised my voice a couple of times.  I was firm but not hard-headed and I ended it by getting on his level and hugging him and telling him I loved him, which brought about more, "I'm sorry, Mommy" tears.  So, as I'm patting myself on the back for being the better Mommy, I realized something.  Parenting is hard.  Sticking to your guns is hard.  What is even harder is doing it while you are under control and showing them how much you love them, especially when they pull the ol' "If you loved me, then..." or "You'd let me do that if you loved me." It's hard to reason with an impulsive eight year old whose only concern is what is fun.  And what really hit me then is this: how much am I like that eight year old?  If God is my Father, and I am a child of God, have I always been obedient?  How many times do I push my limits?  Parenting must be hard for Him too.  He has to make hard decisions for us.  Proverbs 3:12, The Message, says, "But don't, dear friend, resent God's discipline; don't sulk under his loving correction.
It's the child he loves that God corrects;  a father's delight is behind all this."
This message is echoed in Hebrews 12:6.  We are adopted into His kingdom, and given an inheritance, meaning He is our Father, so we can cry ABBA, Father... Daddy =) He showed this ultimate parental love by sending His only son, Jesus, to die for our sins, so that we can be in relationship with Him, forever.  So as hard as it is to be a good parent for me, I must remember that in those impulsive, 8 year old moments, I am just as impulsive as a child.  But He loves me regardless, just like I love Caleb.  And tough love, while serving to correct, also must demonstrate acceptance.  Lord, let me do just that.  Help me demonstrate those fruits of the spirit, love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23).

Now, I'm going to go enjoy the rest of my restful day, playing Lightning Mcqueen and loving my boy =)

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Contentment is...

"You're blessed when you are content with just who you are- no more, no less. That's the moment you find yourself proud owner of everything that can't be bought." - Matthew 5:5, The Message.

My Siesta Scripture Memory Verse #10... As I am working through Bible studies about Breaking Free from bondage and being satisfied with God as my only god... Contentment with me, myself and I and who I am in Christ seemed very important.  We are told to be content in all circumstances.  The part of this verse that I love, other than the reminder to just strive to be me, is "everything that can't be bought." Some of my "can't be bought" (even though some of these may have monetary value)
1. Rain on a tin roof at night (As I am writing this it is 45 degrees outside but the rain sounds so good!)
2. Hearing my little man laugh.  Quote of the day, "Mom, scratch my back knuckles. You know, those things that stick out in your back."
3. A hubby that will take your car to have the oil changed and tires rotated and brings it back to you with a full tank of gas (especially since pumping gas in the aforementioned rain is no fun).
4. Laying on the couch and reading my Kindle.
5. Brown butter cookies
6. Grandparents in their 80th year of life
7. Zumba
8.A good Bible study
9. good friends
10. Knowing that God loves me for me
So, tonight, I am content.  I am blessed... far more than I could ever imagine.  It is my job to take those blessings and bless others.  It is my job to glorify God through my blessings.  And it is my job to not just be content, as this may lead me to grow complacent. It is my job to ACTIVELY be grateful. Every day.  Every minute.  "Some people live for history.  I say live for the moment." (slight paraphrase of Beth Moore).

Monday, May 16, 2011

Check the ingredients

I am sitting on my couch with the best boy in the world right now.  Seriously, he is snuggling up next to me and all is right with the world.  But that wasn't the case about 15 minutes ago.  About 15 minutes ago, he was running around the house yelling, singing, dancing, laughing, and talking so fast I thought his tongue was going to come out of his mouth.  Hysterical laughter.  Excessive motion.  Rolling around in the floor like he is on fire.  Yes, he is a little hyper all the time, but this far exceeded his normal.  That's because of a very unwise parent decision that can teach all of us a little lesson in life.  You have to check the ingredients before you consume something. 

You see, on my way home from Bible Study I asked Caleb if he would like me to stop at McDonalds and pick him up anything to eat.  We compromised on fewer chicken nuggets for a special treat, a Caramel Frappucino.  I have no idea what the ingredients of these are, I just know that my little sister drinks them all the time and Caleb had drank some of hers one time.  So I splurged.  Big mistake.  I started not to let him drink it when my other sister pointed out that it had a coffee taste to it (I didn't think about it... another mistake).  But then my very wise dad, the veteran (and lone) coffee expert in the house, said, "It won't hurt him." So drink it he did... every bit of it.  And then proceeded to do the song and dance routine I described earlier. 

He couldn't help it.  And it made me think, we are kind of like that.  A lot of time we are exposed to stuff we have no idea about.  I'm reading No Other Gods by Kelly Minter, and one of the lessons last week talked about things we participate in, read, watch, etc. that may not glorify God.  In these situations, we don't check the ingredients.  We don't check the path we are taking before we start down the road.  Psalms 1:1 Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.  We must be conscious of the path we are taking, and allow God to lead us in the right direction.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I think I need to go find myself some chocolate... or caffeine. I think it's going to be a long night in the Bates house... but at least we are laughing! =)

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Welcome to myself

So, this is the first time I"ve ever tried this and I don't want to seem self-absorbed, but I have always communicated best by writing so this is going to be a medium for me to communicate my thoughts and feelings to myself. If other people read it and are blessed, that's great!  I am currently reading No Other Gods by Kelly Minter and Breaking Free by Beth Moore, and I am finding that self-deception is a major problem in my life.  Im thinking that is probably the case for everyone.  Now before you start shaking your heads (there I go, thinking people will actually read this), how many times have you bought into the lie that you aren't good enough?  That you aren't worthy?  But we are!  One of my favorite verses right now is from 2 Corinthians 12:9.  It's the inspiration for the title of this blog.  It says, "My grace is enough; it's all you need. My strength is comes into its own in your weakness."  Paul goes on to say," Once I heard that, I was glad to let it happen. I quit focusing on the handicap and began appreciating the gift. It was a case of Christ's strength moving in on my weakness."
Now I don't know about you, but I am weak in a lot of things.  I am weak in wanting to do housework and laundry.  I am weak in anger management and patience.  I am weak when staring at a plate of brown butter cookies and a bag of Doritoes.  I am weak when it comes to saying no.  I am weak when it comes down to 1 Corinthians 13 love.  But that's ok.  I can be weak.  When I am weak, it gives Jesus a chance to show through. He can make me strong.  He can help me say no, help me be patient, help me to hold my anger in check and to love completely.  No, I am not perfect.  I'm not expected to be.  But I am not complete, either, and one day I will be made perfect. Philipians 1:6, "And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns."  Until that day, I've just got to keep on keeping on.  And you do, too.  Cause he is enough.