There’s no eating out this year, unless you eat outside in your yard or take a picnic lunch to a nearby park. Gifts from your kids may be very creative, since none of our kids are in school making thoughtful gifts in their art classes.
Actually, many of you wish you could have a break! The house to yourself for several hours or a long hike. Right now, we can’t even go shopping or get our hair done.
All I have to give to you, fellow mom, is a prayer, some encouragement, and an opportunity to win a free book. Here is my simple prayer:
Lord, when I am unsteady, hold me up. Jesus, when I want to cry, be my pillow.
Lord, when pent up emotion makes me want to scream, be my safe place of release.
And then Lord, during the moments when a smile comes easily, help me pause and say, “Thank You”.
I encourage you with an excerpt from Chapter Eight: Joy, A Secret Weapon from my new release, Cultivating the Souls of Parents.
Psalm 30:5: “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.” Parenting can make us weary and frustrated. Do you have a child that for whatever reason deals with procrastination? I once did. As a task-oriented person, reminding him—nagging him—would wear me out. I prayed and prayed and encouraged, and yes, nagged some more. All I could think about was how poorly they would do in college if they didn’t get their act together now! The Holy Spirit used Psalm 30:5 to encourage me. He also reminded me that my child’s time management skills would develop one day. To wait with joy, I had to change my focus. One idea to alleviate my weariness was to celebrate any small victory, like when he accomplished a goal that he’d set for himself.
Have you ever glossed over a moment when your child finally “gets it?” Did your attitude express: “They are finally doing what they are supposed to!” Can you hear the tone in those words? I’ve been guilty of this as well. It’s as if our kids are doing us a favor to comply, that it took too long, and it deserves no recognition because it’s expected behavior. Instead of my self-righteous and ungrateful mindset, I need to stop and take in the moment. “Honey, what a great decision to begin to do your homework right now! Good job!”
We can give our child a high-five or a fist-bump. Let’s celebrate our children’s victories, big and small, by making a mental note that seeds do germinate in time. Etch those moments in our memory banks so that just in case the same wise decision isn’t made the next day, we can know that our training is slowly working. We have to stay encouraged and let joy be a weapon that cuts off discouragement.
The details of managing a household are like the giants that the Israelites faced when they saw the promised land. They are constant, and they are overwhelming! Our tension builds. Because of our responsibilities and the messiness of family life, we begin to react instead of respond. Diapers, lunches, whines, spills, missing homework, medical appointments, work, meetings, oil changes, sibling rivalry, unexpected data charges, mood swings, marital spats, pimples, laundry, college applications, uniforms—whew! Life overwhelms us and makes us feel like grasshoppers (Numbers 13:33).
Let’s expect that giants will always exist. Every age and stage of our child’s life will bring issues that overwhelm us. We can grumble and complain, or we can realize that no matter how much we pray heaven into our homes, perfection is not for our earthly life. When we expect that our kids are sometimes going to throw tantrums and give us a lousy attitude, joy can offset the tension that builds in us. Today on the way to church, my 8-year-old asked me why I hadn’t told him about an event that he wouldn’t be able to attend. I responded, “Because I didn’t want to hear you complain and ask me 200 questions about why you couldn’t go.” He paused and said, “You’re smart.” I smiled, looked in the rearview mirror and said, “I know.” He smiled back. It’s nice for both parent and child to be able to find these potentially aggravating moments joyously amusing.
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