Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Perfect Love: A Work in Progress

Parenting is no easy job.  Parenting Special Needs kids is no easy task either.  Parenting an adopted child takes work.  Parenting requires love, often the kind of love that without God we are not capable of showing. 
This is love:  not that we loved God,
but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.  1John 4:10

My kids behaving just so and me appearing as the awesome mom of well disciplined children is about my glory and my pride. This scenario has a very high possibility of unachievable expectations. It leads to frustrated children and infuriated parents. But what does perfect love look like? Perfect love anticipates mistakes that can be followed with appropriate correction. Perfect love doesn't compare children and it allows each child to work within their ability. Perfect love teaches discipline and self control that are lasting opposed to the emotional outrage and tirade that may only produce momentary obedience and mediocre remorse. Perfect love is about God's glory, not our own.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

A Four Letter Word
You can call it whatever you like, stress, worry, anxiety, a rough patch, but I'm gonna call it what it least for me........FEAR!  It is ugly and it has held a great power over me the last few weeks.  It haunts me when I'm trying to fall asleep.  It greets me bright and early each morning.  It shares afternoon coffee with me and sometimes even sneaks in when fun has shows it's lovely face.

I watched as Chris struggled to get back into the groove of doing college, and not knowing how else to encourage him I tacked up a sticky note to his computer with this verse...

"Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be afraid, for I am your God. 
 I will strengthen you; I will help you;
 I will hold on to you with My righteous right hand."  
Isaiah 41:10
In that moment I certainly did not imagine I would be the one to need to draw the most strength from it.  I read it each time I sat at my computer.  I read it over and over and yet it's words and power did not put out the fires of fear raging inside of me.  The older I get the more I really learn about myself, the good and the bad, my strengths and my weaknesses.  And yet despite this knowledge I continue to fall prey to the same lies again and again.  Satan, our enemy, indeed loves to watch me squirm and fret, loving each moment I feast on his lies.  "You are not enough.  You are not good enough.  You don't measure up.  Look at you!  It won't work!  You are not enough."  It started out subtle.  Then it became a nagging ache and before I knew it I was experiencing daily headaches, heartburn and hives to top it off!
And yet that sticky note said "Do not fear....." why, "because I am with you."  When I was finally ready to admit how awful I had been feeling to my husband and how not enough I felt he lovingly and kindly told me, in a way only a Marine can do, "Your not enough."  No I did not make him sleep on the couch that night.  It was a stark wake up call!  He was absolutely right.  He continued to tell me he thought that was the point.  We can't do much of anything on our own.  Without God's help we will fall on our face, we don't quite measure up and that is OK!
"My grace is sufficent for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness."  2Cor. 12:9
I wish I could be so bold as Paul, to say that I am "boasting all the more gladly about my weakness," but I am at the point where I can acknowledge my need for help and be ok with it.  Maybe the next time that four letter word tries to work its way in I will be a little wiser to it and be ready to say "for when I am weak, then I am strong" because I know that the Lord's right hand is holding onto me and surely his grip is better than mine.