Tuesday, April 23, 2013

I'm Back!

I have forsaken the old blog for far too long and the cobwebs in my brain are building up.  I don't care for that feeling.  I'm just the kind of girl that has to get things out on a regular basis.  Keeps me sane.  Facebook has been a poor substitute because if I tell how I really feel, I sometimes cause a lot of grief.  Other times, I receive a lot of grief.  Either way, not a win. 

Today, I have many thoughts running around in the old noggin about being a victim.  It is so easy to do.  Instant attention.  If I casually say, "I'm so fat.", someone will say, "No you're not!" and the attention banter will commence.  Fill in the blank with the first response, the dance steps remain the same. "I wish I was pretty.", "I don't have any friends.", "No one ever asks me out.", etc.  So many kids do this on a regular basis.  Sadly, the attention is fickle.  You've got them for the moment, they want to FIX you.  They want to tell you what you want to hear so they never have to hear that awkward statement again!  About the third or fourth time they hear it, they make a mental note: this kid is not fun to be around...I don't want to spend every conversation assuring her/him that she/he is okay...I just want to talk about how amazing my prom dress is and complain about homework.

Self deprecation is the worst 'cation of all.  If your doing it to fish up a compliment, it won't ring true to your brain and it will make you crave compliments even more.  AND...Sadly, it is a self fulfilling prophesy.  If I tell myself I am a bad wife, my brain won't even allow me to try to be a good one-because I am so obviously bad.  If I say my husband is a jerk, all I will notice about him are the jerky things he does.  If I make up my mind I HATE someone, everything they do will reinforce it.  The same is true if I make up my mind I LOVE someone,  everything they do will endear them to me.

People are so funny, we hear things that describe us and we live up to it.  That means if I tell myself I am pretty, I will dress like a pretty girl.  I will fix my hair and wear make up and not choose to wear sweat pants and a stained t-shirt. (Not that there are not wonderful times to wear aforementioned clothing...like now for me.)  If I believe I am a good mom, I will be a better mom than if I just give up.  If I believe it, I will see signs all around that affirm my goodness. 

This is why encouragement is soooooooo important.  Tell your loved ones you love them.  Give them an honest compliment.  Believe good things about them.  'Photoshop' their behavior...edit it and picture them better than they are.  In fact, do this with everyone...but most importantly with yourself.  No one is ever drawn to someone who complains they are a loser...so just stop it.  Be a winner, think like a winner.  Proverbs 23:7 " For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he."  True words.  (Also, totally out of context, but it is still true.  Go on-read the whole chapter, it is a  warning against people who are not sincere.)

Now another scripture reminds me that life is hard and I need to be an encourager, a helper, and a kind person.  I need to speak goodness and love over everyone, but most especially me.  If I don't like me, it's pretty hard to like anyone.  This one is not out of context and it is my favorite verse in the Bible.

Hebrews 3:13 "But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness."

Monday, April 22, 2013

Doing It Wrong

Long, long ago in a galaxy far, far away, I was a homeschooling mom.  Every day there was a plan and every day, a percentage of those plans was thwarted. Some days a little, some days were completely overthrown.  Those complete overthrow days were usually a great success in other ways though.  A beautiful day when going outside to get the mail would create a longing to be outside so strong that it could not be ignored.  A day when a friend invited us over and we left our lessons undone.  A knock on the door that resulted in a surprise visit.  Planned field trips that added unplanned field trips.  Each one of these brought with it a sense of spontaneity and delight that the planned lesson could not compete with.  Many times, I felt off-track because of those days.  I did not always embrace the changes, but I did usually try to 'roll with it'.  I'm so thankful.  Years later, those are some of our favorite memories. 

I have a somewhat rigid schedule these days.  There isn't much time for veering off-course.  I miss it.  And I don't.  I hope my children learn that in life, there is a deep-seated need for both.  We are creatures of habit...but we are also creatures that delight in surprise.

In homeschool, doing it wrong was probably my biggest fear.  I worried about these things:  leaving something out, leaving gaps in my kid's education, letting them slip behind, pushing too hard, not pushing hard enough, missing an educational 'marker' that would leave them at a disadvantage, developing poor study skills, messing them up.  Those things and 100 others.  I played the comparison game with other homeschoolers; won some of those, lost some. 

Now that my kids are established in public school, I feel more confident in who they are as learners.  They are smart.  They make good grades.  They still hate busy work more than anything in the world.  They love the teachers that challenge them to think.  They are often very shocking in how LITTLE their beliefs resemble my beliefs and other times they are mini-mes.  I feel pretty good that school won't burn them out on learning-but inspire them to learn.  I laugh at the me that put way too much pressure on myself.  I feel bad that I did not trust God to fill in the gaps while I homeschooled.  I know I did a good job in some areas, a terrible job in others and God gave me people and places that smoothed out the rough spots.  The end result was more than just what I put into them.  I. DID. IT. WRONG.  God made it all right.

AND YET, here I am.  Today, it isn't the school work paralyzing me with fears.  It is the character development that scares me.  I'm not spending enough time praying, studying the Bible, and micromanaging their decisions.  I'm trying so hard to teach them time management, discernment and financial principles.  I'm trying to help them be kind and Christlike even when people don't deserve it.  I'm trying to model grace and mercy AND standing up for yourself.  I feel the time is running out and I have a lifetime of things I haven't gotten to.  We have a sex/abstinence/purity talk almost every day.  I push them to care about grades and not procrastinate.  I listen and advise even when it isn't asked for.  I. AM. CONVINCED. I. AM. DOING. IT. WRONG. AND, in so many ways, I am.  I yell a lot.  I sweat the small stuff.  I forget things.  I make snap judgements that are wrong.  I over-react.  I under-react.  I'm too strict.  I'm too permissive.  I make crude jokes.  I laugh at their crude jokes.  I mess up at least once every day.  I cry and freak out.  I apologize and feel inferior to other moms.  I feel superior to other moms and pass judgement.

The good news, and the point of this post: God has my back.  Romans 8:28- And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

WE belong to HIM.  HE is in control.  I can't make a mistake that He can't use for His own glory.  He WILL use me and my kids to further HIS kingdom EVEN THOUGH WE ARE NOT DOING EVERYTHING RIGHT.  When I am weak, He is strong. 

I am praising the Lord that He is in control and I am not.  The rest of you probably should be too.