Monday, December 10, 2012

Just another manic Monday...

You guessed it... It was a stereotypical Monday morning here in the Sweeney house. Shoes were thrown, tears were flung, snot was slung...and all before we woke the kids!! haha..just kidding. Maybe.

 But really.

It all started when my middle child came up not wearing the clothes I had laid out for her. Please understand that she has a strong aversion to anything besides skirts and leggings. She claims to hate jeans. But ya know, sometimes jean are called for. Today was one of those times. After a little fit and some stern words from mom she loudly stomped herself to her room to change.
 Then my oldest daughter came up to get her hair done. And this is where the drama really ensued. Now, shes 10 so I give her just a little more liberty in choosing her outfits. Which sometimes she appreciates and other times its just too overwhelming..but that's another blog. Today, as I give her the once over, I realize that her pants are a little short. And by a little short I mean the girl could wade the Mississippi river and not get her pants wet until she was 3/4 of the way across. Seriously...they are that obviously short. So, I point this out to her and state that perhaps she is wearing her sisters pants? You would have thought that I told her that her (nonexistent ) dog died and not only is he dead, he is NOT going to heaven. The wailing that followed my observation was jaw-dropping. I offered at least 5 other suggestions, but not one was sufficient. She was just mad. And cranky. And everything from that point on was a fight. Nate took the kids to school with Emma kicking and screaming and fighting the whole way. I got a phone call a little later and Nate informed me that Emma had left her binder at home and that she was really upset because now she was going to get a white slip in all 3 classes and she wouldn't be able to participate in "Super Friday" and that the teachers would label her a "bad kid"( should know, she is an amazing student. All of her teachers say so. She is seriously an over-achiever when it comes to school).  Nate was of the mind of she had made her choices that morning and was so busy arguing and being rude that she forgot her things and that she should have to live with the consequences.


Mom has a tendency to be a bit more sympathetic and wants to use these opportunities to teach about grace..and mercy.... In other words, I am a giant pushover. And the thought of my baby being embarrassed at school makes my heart hurt.

However, Nate had told Emma that he was going to suggest that I don't bring it. So now I'm REALLY in a pickle. I don't want to undermine my husbands authority... but It is SO HARD not to swoop in and rescue your child!!

 So, all the while I am praying and asking God for wisdom. And when I say that to Him, about how hard it is to not rescue my child (even though she was acting like a giant turd), He speaks so clearly to my heart and says " Don't you think I know that?".

Oh. ..... OK....?

He then speaks to me and says " My desire is not for your comfort or even for your happiness. My desire is that all are saved and come to me through Jesus.  And that you are then empowered by My Spirit for the express purpose of leading others to my throne of grace. I am OK with you experiencing a little discomfort if that discomfort brings you to a place of humility and brokenness and dependence before me.

Hebrews 12:11

11 All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness.

There are bigger things at stake than your ego or reputation or your fleeting desires. I don't rescue you from every fire immediately because often times the purpose of the fire is to expose and remove impurities. You cry out to be rescued, but I want you to learn to trust Me in spite of the fire. Trust that I am doing a work in the midst of the fire."

 He went on to show me that in regards to Emma and my desire to rescue her, that there was a bigger lesson to be learned:

 Our actions are far reaching. And they don't affect just right now and whats in front of us. They can affect our future, and they can affect others.

This is something that we have talked with Emma about countless times. But now she had the opportunity to see it in action. We have also been talking to her about doing the right thing because it's the right thing, Not for reward and not for fear of being caught. We have been talking to her about personal responsibility and the affects of her choices. Mom and dad will not always be there to save her. We have told her " You are free to choose, but you are not free from the consequences of your choices". So today...she gets to experience it for herself.

But its still hard for me to watch. :(

So, God says to me, " So you know how you  said " it's so hard not to rescue your child!"?  And I said " yeah..." He said "that brings me to another point. That time that my one and only Son, was hanging on a tree and He cried out to me. I had to turn my face away. Some people might see that as hateful or insensitive, but I couldn't look because my heart was breaking. As much as it broke my heart for my child to be in that condition.. I knew it was the right thing...It was for a purpose. A greater purpose than anyone could ever have dreamed. So you see, sometimes you have to allow your child to experience the unpleasant".
( He said this so I would know that He knows where I'm at. He sympathizes)
  You have to resist the urge to rescue them and allow the process of sowing and reaping to birth something excellent in them."
 The lessons that stick with us the most, the lessons that truly grow us, are the ones we experience one on one with Jesus. Allowing Him to lead us out of the murky, muddy ditch we are in. Sometimes we put ourselves in that ditch and other times God allows it even though we have done everything we are supposed to do. It's never, ever to be cruel. He is kind.
 Just as I am not trying to be cruel in NOT taking my daughter her binder. I care more about her character than her comfort. And I will be there to hold her. Even if she blames me and she is mad at me. I love her too much to not allow her to feel the sting of the consequences of her behavior. I trust that one day she will see that everything I do is motivated by how much I love her. I have taken my knocks. I have dealt with the results of making bad decisions. And Gods grace blew me away. I would be doing my child a great disservice if I didn't allow her to experience God's amazing grace for herself.
  God is not cruel when He allows trials, or allows us to face consequences. He doesn't always rescue us because He sees a greater purpose. He understands the pain and the discomfort, He experiences it with us, because He NEVER leaves our side.
 The lesson for me today, is trusting God and that He is a better Father than I am mother. The lesson for me is that I have to trust God enough to allow the Biblical truths we teach to our kids to have time to process and produce lasting fruit in them. To resist the urge to pluck them up when a little adverse weather hits and instead trust the nature of storms that causes all plant roots to dig down deep and cling tighter to what grounds them.
 The lesson for Emma is accepting personal responsibility for her behavior. We won't always be spared. When we are ruled by our emotions and act out of them, the ground we stand on is shaky and unsteady. We all have to learn to trust God and do the right thing in spite of how we feel. The principles of sowing and reaping apply to everyone at all times. When you sow bad seed, you yield a rotten harvest. When you plant good seed, you get good fruit and more seed.
So, when we don't understand God's plan, we should trust His heart. His heart for us is good. It's always been good.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Cookie Dough

Several months back...I'd say before Christmas... I was mixing up a batch of cookie dough and thinking about some things that God had placed on my heart regarding my family. Nate and I had really started to take a new approach to our parenting. You see.. I don't believe that it is our job to make our children conform to a set of rules, but rather to lead them to the One, who can transform them from the inside out. As a parent I am hopelessly flawed and in the hullabaloo of every day life, I find myself losing focus of the goal and resorting to desperate measure for the sake of a peaceful household. :) But our Heavenly Father is full of patience and compassion. He is able to teach and train my kids where I can't. My to get them close to Jesus and allow HIM to pierce their hearts. Then, we will see an outward expression of an inward transformation.
 A part of getting them close to Jesus is teaching them all I know about God and His character and how He desires our family to interact with one another... And thankfully.. He will often drop these little stories into my heart to share with the kids. They are practical stories that apply to my kids at the age they are now. So on this particular day I was mixing up a batch of oatmeal chocolate chip cookies and this is what God showed me to share with my kids. I give God all the glory for this... because I am not smart enough or creative enough to think of it myself! It may not mean much to you... but it hit the mark with my kids... and that's what matters the most  ;)  :

 A family is like a batch of cookie dough. Each family member  is an ingredient that does its part to make a perfect batch of cookies. In this case, we have flour, oats, sugar, chocolate chips, milk, eggs and butter. Each ingredient is very important to the final product.  When one is missing or not doing it's part, the dough is useless. If you have only eggs, sugar and butter, you get a runny, gritty batter that won't hold it's shape. If you have just flour, oats and milk, the dough is stiff enough so that you can make a cookie... but it won't taste very good! Likewise.. no single  ingredient is meant to stand alone. If you eat a spoonful of flour you are sure to be disappointed by its bland and flavorless texture. One or two spoonfuls of sugar might taste good, but too much of a good thing is a BAD thing, right?! Butter alone is not so appetizing... but it helps hold thin gs together and complements the sweetness of the chocolate morsels oh so nicely! Each ingredient has a job and God made us to WORK TOGETHER and depend on one another. (Ephesians 4:11-12) 
 So after I poured all the ingredients in the bowl I got out the beaters and mixer and began the process of mixing the dough. God then showed me how life is rough. Sometimes a family goes through rough seasons or difficult  circumstances and it feels like they are getting beat up and thrown around. But God uses those circumstances to make us CLING TO ONE ANOTHER!!... just like the ingredients in our bowl! God wants to use ALL things in our life for our good! (Romans 8:28)
 The last thing He showed me to share with my kids was as I was placing the cookies in the preheated oven. He said the oven represents God's Word and His presence. When we spend time in those two things, as individuals and as a family, we RISE to become what God made us to be and to live out the purpose that God has placed in us!!  Without spending time there in the oven the cookies would remain blobs of dough on a cookie sheet. It wasn't until they spent time in the oven that they became what they were supposed to be all along!! God desires an abiding relationship with us. Its in His word and His presence that we discover our purpose. :)  (John 15:1-8)

 So, that is the little story that I was able to share with my kiddos as we nibbled on our cookies. I THANK GOD for these precious times and the opportunity to talk to my kids in a way that they can relate to..cookies of course!!! :D These are the "crumbs" that my blog is named after! And nothing brings me greater joy than to see the lights of understanding come on in their little hearts!! 
 Thanks for reading and I pray that God will speak to you through all the "crumbs" in your life!! 

Now.. I know you have a hankering for some cookies after that... go on and make some..and bring me a few while your at it!