Parenting

The Holy Spirit At Work

Danae has been asking for a phone for quite a while now. We always tell her that we don’t think she’s ready for it yet. And besides, if we do get her a phone, it would probably be a non-smart one. Basic, old school phone first. She has an ipad because it’s required for school, and we see that she needs to be more responsible with regards to its use and with regards to our rules.

The other night, however, she said that she didn’t care about getting a phone anymore. We were having a heated discussion about her attitude, and somehow being responsible and having a phone was brought up. I took her word, even though I knew she didn’t mean it.

Later on, she apologized for her attitude. She seemed sincere, but sometimes apologies are just words until you see change. But of course as parents, we need to forgive our children despite that, because we are called to love them and model grace and forgiveness to them. So all was well.

The following night, she brought up “her phone” again. I smiled and half-jokingly said,

“I thought you didn’t care about phones anymore.”

She said, with a sheepish smile, “Mommm, I was full of pride then.”

As a parent, that gave me so much encouragement. You know, I talk and talk and talk, trying to give them wisdom while hopefully setting a good example, and hope that something sticks even though many times their actions, words, and reasoning baffle me. We pray, pray, pray constantly for and with them. We discipline them and do our best to deal with their heart more than their behavior. We have Bible time with them. They go to Kids Church, we have victory group. At times, I cry to God because I’m so tired of the craziness — three kids coming at me with their own issues, sometimes their issues are with one another, and often they’re the same annoying issues. Few other times, I check out. I let King handle it when he gets home (poor King hehe 😬).

But when Danae said that, it just confirmed to me that the Holy Spirit indeed is at work in her life. She recognizes the specific issue in her heart, and she listens to the Lord! She may have a difficult time fighting it or controlling it sometimes, but she is aware of what God is teaching her. After her emotions, she eventually listens and obeys. God made me smile as He gave me that assurance. The word of the Lord is living and active. It changes me. It changes my children. The Lord is transforming me. The Lord is transforming our children. King and I are in faith, despite or maybe moreso because of our occasional despair (yes, our children are awesome many times too), that we will eat the fruit of our labor, that our children will love and honor God all the days of their lives. 

For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Hebrews 4:12

I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. Ezrkiel 36:26-27

Blessed are all who fear the Lord,

    who walk in obedience to him.

You will eat the fruit of your labor;

    blessings and prosperity will be yours. Psalm 128:1-2

 

MY THOUGHTS EXACTLY, Parenting, THE BRAINY BUNCH

Jesus and Parenting

2012 was such an enlightening year for me, especially in parenting. There was a season where I was always stressed, very easily angered and often very much frustrated. I would complain to King about how our kids were turning out. They had their great moments, no doubt, but when they would disobey, I would be infuriated and frustrated. I felt like it was the same things over and over again. I felt exhausted.

On one occasion, I couldn’t help but ask King what we were doing wrong. I felt like we were doing our part. I’m a hands-on, stay-at-home mom, for crying out loud! We teach them God’s word, pray with and for them, spend quality and quantity time with them, teach and show them life lessons constantly, make memories with them, provide for them. We encourage them and are affectionate towards them. We don’t spoil them and we discipline them. How come it’s as if all our efforts are futile? They still disobey, disrespect, and fight us.

As I was ranting, I just felt God speak these incredible words to me:

“BECAUSE YOU’RE MAKING IT ABOUT YOU.”

That’s when it dawned on me that I WAS making it about me, about my own ability to change my children. I was unknowingly parenting with what I believed was the formula. I mean, I always knew that there’s no formula in parenting, but right then I realized that that was what I was doing. I expected results based on my work, on my skill as a parent, which is why I was always angry and frustrated. I took on the burden and the pressure to “make” godly children, when that is JESUS’ JOB.

It was so liberating to repent before God for my pride, my self-trust and self-dependence; to RELINQUISH CONTROL and give it back to Jesus, because only He can transform my children to be like Him, into Christlikeness. I, we, will do our part as parents, continually pray for them, do our best to be examples to them and sow into their lives, but that’s just about all we can do. I AM NOT JESUS and just as I could not save or morph myself, neither can I save or transform my children. I need to trust in the finished work of Christ, not on my imperfect, incomplete, limited efforts, and teach our children to do the same.

Parenting is still not stress-free of course and I am still very much flawed and human, but I don’t have to be the overbearing, ever-angry, ever-frustrated mom I was last year. I am relearning to pick my battles and to let go of the little things. Because of Jesus and His finished work, I am FREE TO LOVE and enjoy my children more.

Thank you Jesus for bringing me back to the Cross and for putting me in my place. 🙂

For God’s will was for us to be made holy by the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ, once for all time. Hebrews 10:10 NLT

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. 2 Corinthians 5:17

I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. Galatians 2:20 ESV