Friday, January 30, 2015

Day 30: Prayer again

As I wrap up this challenge, I'm struck again by the most important
way to parent toward Jesus: praying. Praying with her, praying in
front of her, praying for her.

I pray daily for my daughter but this month I'm going to organize that
a bit. I'm a big believer that prayer can be both spontaneous and
planned- it doesn't have to always be one or the other. I've done a
lot of the former this month and next month I'm going to focus on the
latter.

What are some things I really want to pray for for her? That I don't
want to miss, I don't want to forget because I get busy? I'm going to
put those prayers in my calendar, one for each day. Overkill?
Probably. Worth it? Definitely. I'm excited. Thanks for journeying
with me through these past 30 days!

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Day 29: Beauty

Beauty. It's not exactly a fruit of the spirit but it reminds me of goodness, and you can't help but notice it if you are out in God's creation. It's a part of God's character, and therefore a part of Jesus. Sally Clarkson in her blog, itakejoy.blogspot.com, really nails the importance of beauty in our daily lives. What do you think?

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Day 28: Meeting Kids Where They Are

The ministry I work for talks a lot about "meeting kids where they are" and not expecting them to be anything they aren't. In meeting them with unconditional love and without an agenda, we find that that tends to make them more likely to consider exploring who Jesus is and whether he could be a part of their lives. On the other hand, expecting them to be further along in faith than they are and wanting their behavior to change before their heart does really doesn't seem to work -- that's why we don't approach it that way.

I was thinking this morning... how well do I do in meeting my child where she is in my parenting? I think there are a lot of layers to that - expecting developmentally appropriate and age appropriate behavior, which means not expecting her to act like an adult yet, something I unfortunately so easily fall into. I think it also means really knowing her personality type and encouraging her in that - expecting her to be who she is and not someone different, and helping draw out the strengths of the way she is created to be.

The best description of my daughter's personality I've ever heard is in the book "The Highly Sensitive Child" by Elaine Aron. It's not all about emotional sensitivity as the title might make it sound, but rather more about different ways of sensory awareness and processing, and that some kids truly observe and perceive more than others. They are wired differently and might notice that the kid two seats over at school is having a bad day, that their dog has a hurt toe, and that somebody wore muddy shoes in the front room even though you can just barely tell. Their ability to notice is heightened, and their ability to feel deeply is also heightened. There's a keen awareness to everything around them, which as you imagine, might be a blessing or a curse for them.

Last week I treated it like a curse. When things impacted her deeply or profoundly (like her sock being uncomfortable in her shoe), I got annoyed. I forgot to notice all the ways this helps her and us - the way she's there for me if I have a bad day ("why does your face look sad, mom?"), the way she cares deeply about pets and people and even her dolls, and the way she listens and focuses so intently when we ask her to important things.

I'm switching gears this week, and it has been awesome for both of us. I'm meeting her where she is and I'm reminded of how awesome that is. I'm grateful for who she is and am going to focus on that.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Day 27: Starting Over

Grace is so integral to the character of Jesus. He gives us the opportunity for a fresh start. I'm not very good at starting over though.

This morning started in the garbage.

Literally.

I cleaned up some orange peel from the kitchen table and accidentally wiped Bailey's favorite ring right into the trash with it. She was horrified!
I offered to try to dig it out. And I was incredibly grossed out. It was buried in there with things like orange peel and egg shells and really quite disgusting. And somehow, in an amazing act that seemed to defy the laws of physics, it was on the very bottom, underneath everything, even though it was the most recent thing to go in there.

I got it out. But I was in a terrible mood at that point. And I wasn't very good at starting over.

What would it look like to start over on a day like that? I know people who when they think they "wake up on the wrong side of bed" will literally go back to bed and re-enact getting up to reset their brain and I think that sounds so silly, but maybe that's exactly what I need to do.

Or to step away, take a few deep breaths, distract myself, or pray for peace in the midst of a rough start. I'm not sure. But I'm going to ponder about it today and see if I can figure that out. If I can get a fresh start. I think that's a part of leading my kid toward Jesus.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Day 26: Communing

I remember the day I learned that communion with God wasn't just bread
and wine. That it could also be defined as communing with God all day
long. Talking to Him as we go through the day. Walking with Him as we
go through the day. Loving Him and soaking in His love. Am I doing
that daily? Am I leading my child toward Christ with my example of
communing with Him?

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Day 25: Compassion

HOW did God continue to consistently show love to his people when they walked away time and time again?

I believe the answer was his compassion. It allowed him to keep coming back to his love for them, no matter what they did, no matter how many times. His faithfulness, his RELENTLESSNESS even, was more unrelenting and determined than their sin.

Am I showing compassion toward my daughter? I want to pay more attention to this today!

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Day 24: Consistency

Ever notice the consistency of God?

I notice it not only in the character of Christ (which is impeccably consistent) but also in the Old Testament. God reminds His people over and over again. He responds to them with the same patterns over and over again. He offers them second chances over and over again. He was faithful to them, even when they did wrong. I've been spending time in I & II Kings and I & II Chronicles lately and am just amazed by this. He continues to stay faithful to them, and consistent in His love, no matter what they do. It doesn't change.

I think sometimes as parents we feel like when our kids do wrong in some way, we no longer need to hold up our end of the bargain. But that belief couldn't be further from the truth. Our consistency and our response is all the more important when our kids act up or act out. How we respond is crucial. And I believe we are called to respond with grace, boundaries, teaching and praying. But so often we feel "excused" from acting in those important ways because our child messed up in some way (maybe they aren't responding to us how we think they should or are treating us unfairly) and it's like suddenly we throw out our responsibility to treat them in this way.

But again, it is so crucial that we don't respond that way. That we teach them someone can act in a way we don't like, or even in a way that's not right, and that that doesn't give us an excuse to suddenly treat them like garbage. We can teach them boundaries and how to enforce them (a skill they'll use their whole lives) - and even how to enforce them with the fruits of the spirit (like kindness, gentleness, self-control, patience, you name it - all the things we feel the least when we feel attacked or wronged by someone). It's go time and I'm deciding to work on that this month as a part of parenting toward Jesus. The times I LEAST want to act like Jesus I'm going to actively choose to MOST try to and maybe more importantly to MOST pray to...