Sunday, March 30, 2014

Be Who God Called You To Be

So here we the end of the 31 day series... turned 2 years.
If you read along, you might be thinking I have it altogether.  I can assure you, nothing could be further from the truth! I could easily write 31 days of Mistakes I've Made as a Parent, but I choose not to dwell on the past and instead be proactive on moving ahead in a better direction.  
This is a topic I am passionate about because I long to be the best mom and wife to my children and husband.  I want my children to see Christ reflected in me and in the decisions I make.  This is a journal of sorts to remind me of the values that are important to me and of the things we've done (even if it was only once) and should do more of.

It hurts my heart to see families falling apart and children growing up missing the comfort that God designed for them to find in Him through the safety net of the family structure.

So now what? Assuming you've read the past posts, where do you go from here?  I ask this question because I too wonder the same thing. I know for a fact that I will mess up, get irritable and forget to put into practice even the simplest of these at times.  So for all of you wondering the same thing, I want to comfort you in knowing that it's OK. Just be who God called you to be.  

You are exactly who your family needs.  Now believe it! God doesn't make mistakes and although many times we feel less than, we are not!! We don't need job titles or fancy labels to define us. We were children of the Living Almighty God to do His will in our family.  

This blog is based on me and my family. I hope you will be inspired by it and connect with what I write so that it gets you thinking and you can build on some ideas and make it even better.  In your family, your situation, God has a plan.  I pray that you kneel before the throne of grace, at His feet, and let Him lead you to guide your family in drawing closer together.


Sacrifice For Each Other

If I had to wrap up this 31 days series into one post, it would come down to this...sacrifice for each other. Where there is sacrifice there is selflessness and where there is selflessness there is love.
Where there is love, there lies the heart of God.                

There is no greater example of sacrifice than that of our Lord Jesus. It cost Him everything so that we could receive what cost us nothing. Wow! That one truth is so powerful that even though I know it, I have to stop and think about it, over and over again.

Yet as crazy as that sounds, as a parent, I understand. I would give my life for my kids... and I know you would to, and we do when we give up daily and make the choice to put their needs before our own.

Its amazing what happens once we become parents. What we thought was important, takes second place to this tiny life that we are responsible for.  Thats a good thing. It's a God thing.  It's through Jesus life and sacrifice that we recognize his love for us. He didn't just talk about and live a commendable life as an example, He gave everything because He loved us.

Carl and I both have amazing parents who are great examples of sacrificing for their families. My dad will often say when we thank him for something he's done for us, "It's the circle of life, you'll do the same for your kids."  In other words, pay it forward. It's a good thing because we could never repay all the love, time, effort, sweat, blood, and tears, its taken to raise us. What we can do is to pass that blessing forward by doing the same for our family.

Jesus sacrificed, we follow His example and it teaches our kids to do the same.

In what ways does your family sacrifice for each other?

Show You Are Committed

Home, sweet, home.  What makes that saying true? Home is a place that brings comfort and a sense of belonging.  What makes home so sweet is what we find within the people who live there.   Home should be a safe haven where we find love, forgiveness, honesty, and people who are committed to one another.

Everyday we have a chance to show our family that we are committed to them.
Do our families know that no matter what, we are there and that they come first?
No matter how much we may be losing it today, can they count on us to get up tomorrow and do it all over again?
Do our children see our dedication towards our spouse, for better or for worse?
Are we devoted to family matters more than outside commitments?

Growing up, the most important thing to me, when I was in a ballet recital, was to look up and see my parents sitting in the crowd.  All else was background.  It was the love I felt in knowing that they were there for me.

Today, whether it's a recital, play, game, or working together through a math problem, I want to be there, committed to celebrating the highlights and cheering them on during their struggles.  I want them to know that they can count on me because I am devoted to them.  

What a beautiful picture of God we paint when we commit to one another. It says,  "I love you no matter what." In doing so we live out the message of God's love and provide that safe haven we all desire.

How committed are you to your family and their needs?

No Secrets from the family

When my kids were younger we made a rule: no secrets from the family.
Unless, we were keeping a surprise.

We came up with this rule because we wanted to eliminate secrets that made siblings feel left out.  As a team we would work together, not against each other.  

It was a simple rule with a positive impact. It helped us to be open with one another, stopped anyone from talking behind someone's back and its a rule we would often hear our kids repeating to one another.

Knowing that secrets weren't being kept from each other was something that was important to us. We wanted our children to feel intimate enough with each other that they could talk things through during rough patches, instead of talking behind one another's back.

Starting this rule when the kids were young also had other benefits.  It helped create a bond within the family that was cemented even when we were around others.  For example, it taught them to be inclusive in situations when friends wanted to be secretive and push their sibling(s) aside.

Sometimes simplicity is all it takes to create a sense of closeness. Overall our rule of no secrets from the family has underscored the value of putting family first and has helped create unity among our children.