Friday, December 19, 2008

Moms are Amazing.

I know there are people who talk about Mommy Wars, competition among moms, etc., but that hasn't been my experience at all since becoming a mother. The women I've been blessed to be in company with (either physically or through the internet) are incredible women who love to help each other out on this beautiful, strange journey of motherhood. I see moms who jump to other moms' rescue when they see they are struggling, providing emotional support when needed, as well as providing perspective, empathy, escape, practical advice, prayer, or whatever is needed in that moment. Mom friends are so great. Everyone should have them.

So many of y'all have been so sweet to me this week with comments, email, and phone calls. I am appreciative. I have such a hard time admitting when things get so rough, but God knew I needed encouragement to press on (and to learn some new things) so I have no doubt that he sent you to be that for me. And it has helped! Tremendously! I feel reenergized! So thank you for your kindness.

One particular conversation I had this week was with my friend Kelli, and it was one of those where we were both talking to each other but really God was talking to both of us. It was an incredible moment. Those are the moments when I am overwhelmed with thanks for "heart friends" which I believe are one of the most precious gifts from God. During this phone conversation, I just came face to face with a couple things in my heart that need to be dealt with before I will ever see any kind of progress with how to handle this struggle of rage that Jonah has. I realized it is very hard for me to show mercy. I'm talking about letting a consequence go every once in a while. It's hard for me. See, consistency in disciplining my child hasn't been my problem. What has, however, been a problem is my tendency to overparent. And I think that's been fueling the battles of the will that I seem to be in with my son. Rather, I need to be showing him that we are on the same team! It's not about me versus him. It's all of us fighting a sin nature. And what I say to him and how much I say to him in response to his sin will contribute either to him feeling isolated from me in his sin or it will bring us into easier, more comfortable communication about it. I've been reading in Proverbs and taking note of truths that I believe can really help my response to this particular parenting struggle, and one recurring theme I've been seeing is how wise it is to use less words. I think I try too explain too much about it to Jonah. I overexplain it. I overemphasize it. He needs to be taught truth. Just maybe in smaller doses than what I've been doing. It's just been a little much for him. I can see that now. And as far as the whole mercy thing goes, I've watched some parents of older children put mercy into practice well. I know parents who will, from time to time, tell their children, "What you did was wrong, but you are getting mercy this time instead of a consequence from me." The truth is that God is intentional with his mercy. I believe He withholds what we deserve periodically so as to motivate us to do better. And probably for a whole lot of other reasons too. But mercy is there to correct us, for sure. I've seen this in play in my own life a bazillion times. And most times, I was incredibly slow to learn. I can't believe God kept showing me mercy. (One of those examples has been on my heart for a while to share through this blog, but it will have to be on a different post.) But the point is, God kept showing me mercy. The reason I think I've struggled in implementing the "mercy tactic" in my response to the times Jonah shows his difficult behavior is that I don't see him learning from it. It hasn't yet motivated him to do better. I haven't seen it work yet in his life. And if that doesn't sound like a control freak mommy, then I don't know what does!

Why can't I leave those results up to the Lord? I often tell Jonah that God's Word tells us that our sins will find us out, so that even if mommy or daddy doesn't see something you did wrong, God does and no sin will go without consequence. BUT... my actions give no room for that to happen. I don't leave any room for letting God deal with it. Even if it takes a long time for mercy to teach him and draw him towards the Lord, that's God's job to work out. I just need to be obedient to the times He puts it on my heart to just let it go and choose mercy instead of administering a consequence. And then I need to trust Him with the rest.

Those are a couple of my new revelations this week. Isn't it just like God to reveal stuff about the ugliness in our own hearts before revealing insight into the heart issues in our children?? It's never what I have planned. But it's so good. And needed. I want to open up my heart to His mercy and be enthralled by it more and more so that it's my heart's first inclination to show it to others, especially to my children. I want to grow to where administering the consequence gets to be the harder of the two, where I have to step way out of my nature of mercy to be obedient in disciplining my child. Wouldn't that be nice. These are the things I'm pondering and praying towards this week. Only God can undo some of this overparenting, and I expect Him to do it. I want Him to create in me an attitude and response to Jonah's sins that is not so overbearing that all it does is push Jonah towards the desire to get away with things and be sneaky. Instead, I want to create an environment in my home that facilitates open communication and easier confession.

I marvel at what God does through the friendships of moms. Celebrate it! Have you been blessed by those kinds of mutually-encouraging girlfriendships? Feel free to share what characteristic of those friendships (mom or not), has impacted and blessed you the most!

Oh, and speaking of friends, you can go to Ame's blog to see pictures from last week's cookie exchange.


Kate said...

It sounds like God is giving you some great insights this week! Thanks for sharing. I love when you share what He is teaching you. It encourages me so much.

One thing I was reminded of when you talked about "overparenting" is the verse that tells us, "do not exasperate your children, so that they will not lose heart" (Colossians 3:21). That comes right after the verse in Colossians 3:20 that says, "Children, be obedient to your parents in all things, for this is well-pleasing to the Lord" (Colossians 3:20). We talked in our parenting class (GKGW) we took a while back about this concept of training our children to this standard of obedience, but guarding against exasperating them in that process. As we have parented Brantley, Justin and I have come back to this concept many times. As we are talking through issues we are facing with him, sometimes we have stepped back and asked ourselves, "Are we unnecessarily exasperating our child?" Asking that question has often helped us redirect and make some changes in how we are approaching him and the specific issue at the time.

The Bargain Shopper Lady said...

You have always been a blessing to me Hannah!

Christa said...

Love this post! God is so faithful to teach us and guide us. I love how He is always teaching us more about Him in the process. Thanks for sharing your heart!

chandra said...


Thanks for your comments on my blog. It sounds like God is working in your life. One of my friends came to my house the day I had Lilly and cleaned my house, went to the store to pick up groceries, and did my laundry and she was pregnant and had to drive from Tulsa to Stillwater to come minister to me! Can you believe it. What a blessing.

I agree we need Mom friends to encourage us. Well, Merry Christmas!