Thursday, April 30, 2009

Who Me?

Yesterday I learned yet another lesson from another child in my home that is not my own. It's amazing sometimes how the Lord will use my circumstances to teach me something I should have gotten from His Word the first time around!

I got everything ready for lunch then headed upstairs to make sure the toys were put away. As each person finished their job, I sent them downstairs. When I came down, she told me that she didn't like two of the three items on her plate. This is pretty common for children to say! My standard response is "This is what we're having" regardless of whose child it is. The children always eat it eventually. They don't get anything else until their plates are clean! To make a long story short, this child is more stubborn in the food department (or else isn't made to eat things she doesn't like) and it took quite a while to get her to eat a few bites of sandwhich. I did conceed and only made her eat that before giving her something that she did like.

While she was eating, I told all the kids about Moses. You remember him, right? Pagues, ten commandments and all that. Well, we talked about what happened before that while he was out in the desert. There was a bush burning up on the mountain that wasn't being consumed. how odd! Out of it came the voice of God. He told Moses to go back into Egypt and get his people freed. How would you respond if God verbally spoke to you through a bush that was not burned up? I hope that I would fall on my face and do anything He told me to! Not Moses. He whined a little- "that's too hard, I don't wanna'" Can you even imagine the nerve? "I don't speak well, who's going to listen to me?" GOD is on His side and he wonders who's going to listen? Our gracious Lord grants a concession and tells him that he will send someone to speak for him. I can't recall if Moses complained any more at this point, but eventually Moses agreed to do what the Lord was asking Him to do. But he missed out on a blessing. Because he didn't respond at first with complete obedience, Moses would not be able to enter the Promised Land. Poor Moses! If only he had done the first time what the Lord wanted.

In the instance with this child, she had to do something that was hard for her (eat lunch she didn't like), I granted a concession (she could pick one of the two items to eat and be done). I didn't remove a blessing, though. I wonder how many times in my life I've whined about something that was too hard to do (a lot, I'm sure). I wonder how many concessions the Lord has granted to me (He's so gracious). My heart is torn by wondering at all the blessings I have missed.

I'm going to work hard to train this into my life and the lives of my children. We will not be whiners and complainers when we are asked to do things. Whether it's something "small" like eating something we don't like, or a little bigger like working hard to get out of debt. Life is full of hard things. When the Lord calls me to something grand, I want to be able to respond "Here I am, Lord, send me" (Is 6:6) Rather than "who, me?" I strive to become a woman who is ready and able to answer whatever call He gives me. My children, too, will become men and women who will respond quickly and immediately to the voice of the Lord.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Who's in Charge?

The set up:
Today I'm watching a friend's two little girls. One is 2 1/2 and the other is about 15 mos. The younger girl cries most of the time she's at my house every time I watch her. Today I decided I am in charge. I decided to actively pursue getting this child to not cry and fuss about everything.

The big scene:
After lunch she needed a diaper change, so I pulled out her things and called her over to me. She actually shook her head no! I walked her through it and tried again. After some training and some practice, she came with a minimum amount of fuss. A couple hours later, she now comes to me without crying at all. In fact, she obeys my every command without even a wrinkle of her brow. She has been more cheerful and playful the last two hours than she has ever been in my home.

The conclusion:
I knew that would happen. I was only surprised that it only took about ten minutes. My kids take a whole afternoon and we don't get the cheerful part until the next day! What I'm surprised about is my own attitude. I have LOVED being a mom today! Even with the extra kiddos! Greg has been challenging me to be more consistent with my follow through with the kids. He's convinced that this will ease my constant irritation with them. Now God has shown me that he's right! (I should have listened to my husband in the first place.)

When I provide boundaries for the children, they are secure and controlled. They know where the line is, they know what the consequences are and they are happier for them. What I have learned today is that when I provide boundaries for the children, I am secure and controlled. Their disobedience is not a reflection upon me or my mothering skills. I need to train my children to choose the right thing and providing consistency in the negative consequences will make all of us happier.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Funny Things Kids Say

Several weeks ago I was sitting in the entryway at church with Veronica. One of the guys needed to walk through several times and would stop and play with Veronica each time he passed. After one interaction, this is the conversation that followed:

Veronica: "Mama, why does he DO that?"
Me: "Well, he doesn't have kids, yet, so when he sees you he likes to play with you. It's fun playing with kids."
Veronica: "What happened?"
Me: "What do you mean?"
Veronica: "Did he kill them?"

I promise, she's never watched an episode of CSI!

This morning Greg and a couple friends are fishing (yes, in the rain). When one of them came over, Zachary answered the door. Apparently there was a little action and here's what he told me:

Zachary: "When I opened the door a cockroach tried to get in. Josh tried to kick it outside, but it wouldn't go. So I picked it up, threw it outside, shut the door and locked it!"
Me (thinking): "It sure is a good thing you locked the door, so that cockroach won't just open it!"

I know there are many more such conversations, but these two have me chuckling today.

Monday, April 13, 2009

easter weekend

Friday night we went to church and had a wonderful service. Our pastor shared the story of Jesus' death from the viewpoint of Peter. It was very engaging. I'm not sure how much the kids got, but they sat still and seemed to be paying attention the whole time.

Then we were invited to tack a red rose petal on the cross. This was to represent our sins. Zachary thought that they needed to put one up for each sin. We decided that we would each fill a whole cross, so we would only put up one for all of our own sins. This was a very powerful lesson for my boys. Quinlan wondered why there were so many sinners at our church- it took so long for everyone to take their turn.

Saturday my mom and I hid eggs in the living room while the kids were out fishing with Greg. It was so funny when Veronica found one and wondered what it was. Pretty soon everyone was running around trying to find them all! We also spent some time coloring eggs and putting stickers on them. While they were drying, I sent everyone outside to draw their favorite part of easter on the sidewalk. Zachary had two favorite parts- When Jesus died on the cross for his sins and when he rose from the tomb. Quinlan's favorite part was when Jesus came back to life. Veronica mumbled too much for me to figure out what she had drawn.

Sunday we went to church and had the easter message. The red petals we had put on the cross were now white! Jesus had made our sins clean! Everyone read the story one more time in Sunday school, too. We had a brunch after the service, and it was amazing how quickly the auditorium turned into a dining hall with everyone working together.

My favorite part of easter was before dinner on Saturday night. Greg was gone when we were ready to start, and all of the kids wanted to pray. So, I let them pray one by one. Each of them thanked God for the things they had done that day and the yummy food. But my boys were also thankful for Jesus dying on the cross for their sins. They were thankful that he did not stay dead, but had come back to life. They were thankful that they will get to go to heaven to be with Him. I was thankful that they are understanding the message of the gospel- that we are sinners and God is perfect, but Christ has come to build a bridge back to God, and we only have to believe and confess it to return home.

My Savior, My God by Aaron Shust is a song we sang on Sunday. I've been listening to it over and over today, reflecting on all that Christ has done.