Friday, November 20, 2009

Learning to Parent

It`s funny I thought it might come more natural. I thought I would be better at it. It is very clear I have a lot to learn, but how many books on the subject do I need to read?

My children and other children have both similarities and differences. Complexity and exhaustion run my life. I have given up at times throwing my frustration into the air and other times I have witnessed joyful times of development. I have fainted from exhaustion and I have been filled with great strength. I have lost heart and have been greatly encouraged through it all.

I still have many years ahead. Oh forgive me my mistakes children. Forgive my foolishness, ignorance, and laziness.

-THE CONFESSIONS OF A PARENT

"A happy parent is a good parent"

The desire to be a good parent is natural, but becoming one is not. Every mother or father desires to be seen as good in the eyes of their children. We want our children to recognize our sacrifices for them so that they would know that we love them. This is our hope anyway...

Often times I am at a loss as I try to herd my children into a direction we need to go. I try to be mindful of them and their needs. I try to encourage them, but they love to disobey, they enjoy watching me transform into an angry daddy. It is almost like they want to see my bad side, they want to test me to see what I would do if they did XXXX or YYYY.

It seems when they grow tired of my kindly disposition they do something to get a different kind of reaction. If I was never home or did not look after them perhaps they would be on their best behavior as to win my affection. But they know I love them and that if I am angry I will still welcome them.

For who can hate their own? What evil would posess parents to hate their offspring, or to put a yoke of despair on them. Parents who cause their children to sin...it would be better to have them throw into the water with a millstone around their neck (drown to death). These are parents who sell their children or murder them, or kill their spirits with insults.

Within all of us in the potential to do great harm to anybody, ourselves, or our children. Our selfish and sinful nature can be the source of great misery and pain in our families. As we learn to parent our kids, we often need to take time to look at ourselves. Maybe our behavior or difficulties are afflicting our children or creating a negative environment for them. We are not always the cause of our children`s problems but we have a big role to play.

Becoming a parent means that you will come face to face with issues of who you are and who your children may become. This should inspire us to pray all the more fervently for ourselves and for their futures.

Bless them God and be kind to them, as you have been kind to us. May you give them grace and favor with you. Teach them and teach us O God. Let us cherish the days we have to grow together as a family. Amen.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Caring for yourself and serving others

Does anybody feel like serving? Sometimes we can find meaning and purpose in it. We can create an identity around our work of service. It is good to serve and it is a two fold blessing. When we serve and we bless others, we also bless ourselves. The effort and energy we give in the service to others can be multiplied many times over touching countless lives and encouraging us.

We serve our wives and children at home by volunteering our time and energy. We serve our customers, co workers and bosses by using our talents with excellence. We serve God through our living devotion to His purpose. Service is a part of who we are.

Yet I experience and see there is trouble when we serve. Service can be costly and deplete us of time, money, and our health. Without properly caring for ourselves we put ourselves at risk to the often referred to condition of "burn-out."

Self care may be a way to help others. How can the sick heal the sick? If we neglect self care then we will ultimately be headed on the road to "burn out." There are seasons of service and there are seasons where we can withdraw and focus on caring for our needs. God is compassionate and knows the best way to heal us, teach us, help us, guide us, and restore us.

If we aren`t making time for this to happen, then we will find ourselves missing something. We will find more of our identity in serving others than being God`s children, His servants. We are His, so let us be used by Him as He decides.

God care for us like you say in your Word. Bring us the comfort that we need and touch that we need. Inspire us to serve you in little ways and in great ways. May we see the opportunities you give us. Satisfy us fully, as we serve you in the place you have us. Amen.
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