What I believe makes our parenting effective is the fact that we are daily willing to talk about it. What is working, and what is not working. With Braden especially, things change from day to day. The type of discipline that worked last week usually doesn't work the same now. It's touch and go, especially with our boy.
But Daniel and I are committed to the cause: this parenting cause.
We want to work at it everyday. Last night we agreed that we desire that none of our children would look back and remember a time when they were made to feel ashamed, embarrassed, or belittled by something we said or did to them. I remember only specific moments of being 4. One, in particular, was a moment when someone who was not my parent yelled at me and made me feel something that has haunted me since: shame and embarrassment. I'm sure this adult doesn't even realize that I remember the moment that shaped my memories, but I remember it and it's vital to me that my children don't feel that same kind of sadness when thinking back upon their childhood.
Something that we have talked alot about lately is our expectations of the children. Braden is the smartest 3 year old you will ever speak to. I'm not just saying that because he's ours either. I mean, really, the child is brilliant. He speaks in complete sentences, knows how to articulate what he wants to say perfectly and can manipulate the socks off of any adult. In so many ways he reminds me of Jake and myself. If any of you had the honor of talking to Jake when he was 3, 4, or even now-you know that it has never felt as if you were talking to a child. He always seemed so much older. And then, all of a sudden, when he wanted to act his actual age no one could understand why. No one knew how to respond. Sometimes even now, I have to stop and remind myself..."he's only 12. he's just a child."
So the same is very true with Braden. We came to the conclusion that we are going to expect him to act 3 years old and only 3 years old. I believe this will especially help Daniel because it tends to be much more difficult for him to see the 3 in Braden. If we expect Braden to act his age then he ultimately will not fail in our minds when he carries out the behavior of a 3 year old. If we put unrealistic expectations on this child about his behavior, we are ultimately setting him up for failure every single time. The truth is, he can't meet the expectations that we have previously set for him...and he shouldn't have to.
Parenting takes such a conscious effort every day. It is not unlike our marriages and friendships even. They all take effort.
As I was thinking about all of this last night, the Holy Spirit whirled into my heart. There are moments in my life where I put my relationship with God on such an earthly level. For instance, the greatest thing about the Lord is that whatever our expectation is of Him, He will always surpass it. He cannot be contained into our thoughts about expectations or ideas. Our God doesn't live in some box that He can't escape from and we most certainly shouldn't treat Him as if He does.
There are times when I believe the Lord is probably offended for our lack of expectations from Him. What I mean is this: How many times do we NOT ask God for something out of fear that He may not deliver? How many times do we feel unworthy to go to the Lord? How many times do we internally believe that God may not heal, may not show up, may not, may not, may not?
The truth is, if we expect God to heal, if we expect God to show up, if we expect God to be GOD and stop putting him into this humanized proportion in our minds, He would meet our expectations.
Our Lord is not an incapable, unloving, unforgiving, unrealistic God.
Our Lord is a real, living, moving, showing up kind of King...
and we get out of our relationship with Him exactly what we put into it --
[just like every other relationship we choose to maintain.]
When the Lord started stirring my spirit last night, I made a choice to believe God for a few things of my own. I expect God to show up and do what His word says because I trust Him in all He is. I trust that His word is unchanging, true and God-breathed which means I will not allow this big God to fall short in my mind...and I don't believe He would want me to have that idea of Him.
He explains who He is clearly throughout scripture and none of it describes a God who won't meet our needs according to His word and riches. He will meet our needs and go beyond them. He will surpass our expectations to receive the glory for Himself because He is a great and jealous God. And because He deserves it.
So while I can see with my eyes that Braden needs to be treated like He is 3, I can feel in my spirit that the Lord needs to be treated like He is the Lord. I am not God and I do not need to decide what God (alone) is capable of. If you are in need of something from our Lord today, go ahead....
expect Him to meet you there.
And He always will. Every time.
"And he fixed his attention on them, expecting to receive something from them..."
I wanted to say hi to all my hometown readers today. Daniel hears from you on his mail route, my mom hears from you while shes out and about, and some of you email me to let me know you're reading. Please do! Because although I write because it's what I love, I also know that you are the reason that I feel such support and strength in writing. There is a purpose and I pray that I fulfill that everyday with the words that you read. You allow me to wake up and do what I love and I am thankful!
Happy day, friends.