Monday, August 18, 2014

A Heart Connection.

Growing up children.

They come with so little instruction and we strive through trial and error to best raise them.  It is easy to get well meaning advice along the way that either helps or hinders us on this journey.

I went in to raising my kids intending to parent, much like I had been parented.  Clear boundaries and swift consequences with love.  Only it wasn't so simple.  Disciplining my son turned him into a shut down little robot and my daughter became defiant.  I parented the same for both and felt like I was creating a spiral of destruction in my wake.

I've tried countless parenting options and work very hard to teach myself about what children need based on whatever expert is speaking at the moment.

Until I came to a place of absolute discouragement and unrest.  Nothing I did seemed to work, I was overwhelmed and ineffective.

Then I started pursuing the hearts of my children and in essence this has become the building block of how I parent.  It is more important to me to have connection than perfection.  These little beings are not my puppets, they very rarely bow willingly to my control.

I once felt very proud when I snapped my fingers and my two year old obeyed instantly.

But, I lost a vital connection and it has taken me years to rebuild and reform it.

We don't operate with a lack of discipline, we simply maintain a strong connection to the emotional well being of our babies.

It has completely transformed our home and our relationships with one another.  There is a sweet closeness that was lacking in our rules and demands.

Things are a bit more messy and heart connection takes precedence over obedience.  We still expect  obedience.  However, it is no longer a lack of understanding that guides, but a listening to relationship and following the pathway that grows before as we connect and nurture our children.

If you pursue love and consistency you will be successful as a parent.  This doesn't mean you'll have perfect robots or your kids will necessarily be what you expect, it just means they'll best grow to safely trust and love you.  They'll long to please you as  you long to hear and know them.

I see often the hearts of children overlooked in the demand for perfection and I watch as it breeds rebellion and discord.  I am not a parenting expert and my babies are still young.  But, if you feel as if you're missing something in your connection, I would argue strive for the relationship before the discipline.

Good luck out their Mamas.  You're doing a better job than you think.

Friday, August 8, 2014

A Lesson In Faith.

The last few years have been a bit of adventure, more than a struggle, a wandering, a gypsy like existence that has taken us all around northern California and landed us back where we started.  It's easy to say that I want to understand life and our driftings.  It seems more than natural to want clarity, to want the why, when things aren't understood.  

It takes time to build a community, a home and each time I feel settled into one, I find myself pulled out, and thrust into another.  It's kept me entirely off balance and desperately questioning why we can't seem to take root.  

About a year ago I felt beyond my strength, trying to find the point.  Trying to clearly see God's plan, wondering if there was a greater one.  I felt abandoned, rejected, lost.  I had become completely separated from hope and needed answers.  

Nothing came. 

I simply began to understand that this - this is faith.  This not knowing, but pursuing.  Faithfulness when nothing seems to make sense.  Honor when everything feels dishonorable.  Belief when doubt swirls through my mind.

It is in the daily perseverance, of love, nurture, grace, joy, delight, hope that we define ourselves.  It is not in our friend groups, achievements, or perfections that we are refined.  It is the breaking of life's waves against our shores and being rooted on so great a foundation that we are unmoved.  We lift our heads to feel the spray and we trust, that the Great I Am who formed us, who breathed into our lungs, who called us out, has a plan that he is working through our lives.  He is the potter and we are the clay.  

But who are you, a human being, to talk back to God? "Shall what is formed say to the one who formed it, 'Why did you make me like this?'"  -Romans 9:20 NIV

I am often shaking my fist at the heavens, "Why God, why?"  More often on my lips than praise.

I seek answers and God seeks faith. 

And that breaks me every time.  I am not always given his reasons, I'm simply asked to trust and obey.  To walk by faith and not by sight.

I want to be that person, one who is led by God's voice.  I want to be faithful to the call, to follow the path that he has set before me.  I want to be whatever vessel he chooses to create in me.  

This requires the most difficult part, not just trust, but rejoicing in every season of life.  That what we can't see is as valuable, often more, than what we can.

I'm reminded of my longings to understand, as I reflect on our life, and the paths we've taken.  They haven't always been the one I would choose and often I feel pulled against my will.  Trying to be faithful and go where we're called, even when my heart is somewhere else.

In all of this, I am amazed at God's goodness, his faithfulness.  Doubt only robs the joy that comes through trust.

I don't have any answers to all the places we've journeyed, the trials we've overcome, the pain we've endured.  I only know that we are being refined by a great craftsman and if we continue to submit we will see the beauty of his finished work.

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.  -Hebrews 11:1 KJV

At the end of this may my life be marked by faith, a joyful trust.