Continued from PART ONE
Many Christians today know that they are sinners and Jesus died for them. But they miss the best part! We're not just sinners that now have some answers! We are c0-heirs with Christ. We are called sons and daughters, adopted! NOW. This isn't when we "die and go to heaven" this is NOW. This should change every way that we view ourselves.
But instead we are Christians that understand the answer but can't do the equation.
We look at the outside and what we view as "whole" :
"See God?" We say, "See? Look what I'm doing for you. Oh I know, your grace did the work. But 'faith without works is dead', right?" To every one else we make sure our outside says: Look how well I'm doing, look what a great Christian I am.
We can understand salvation. But Jesus didn't die and conquer death to give us a ticket to heaven. He died to connect us back to our Source (Father God). He is the only one who can truly fill us, renew us. He is the only one who can give us every thing we could ever need. And I'm not talking a possessions and creature comforts. This isn't "name it and claim it" I'm talking our position of wh0 we are, redeemed in Christ: LOVED.
Families Where Grace Is in Place talks about marriage. VanVonderen talks about how many couples marry their spouse because they see the diagram above, (or the potential for it) and they are attracted to that.
But it's doomed for failure if there is no power source behind all that "positive". They soon find themselves tired (VanVonderen has a cool acronym for that- read the book!) and disappointed.
He calls these Curse-full relationships (again another helpful and interesting acronym- read it!).
Our children are no different from our spouse...Except they arrive with no + or -..Well some might say a lot of negatives in some ways.
They arrive immature. They grow to be children, still immature. When they are babies our job is to reflect The Source (God) to them. It's fairly easy to do= meet their needs. With my first I found this hard and draining but fairly simple. In my own strength it was hard, but "showing love" was basic. Feed her, hold her, protect her, care for her. but then she grew. It isn't so easy to "show love" when she's melting down and I have a migraine. And then baby #2 arrived. I wasn't plugged to my Source. I understood the ticket situation. But relationship? COMPLICATED. I had a lot of hurts and hang ups. So I girded up my loins (har har) and put more effort into "reflecting The Source" to my children. But its' harder when you have two against one ( I use that loosely). I was in the negatives when it came to any resources I had left.
I was a failure. How was I going to get them through childhood with all the lofty ideals I wanted for them?
I thought, "well I need more tools , of course!" So I read- hey nothing wrong there. I read about the "7 Powers of Self- Control" and the "7 Basic Discipline Skills" I read about Gentle Guidance, Gentle Discipline, "what to do whens", lots and lots and lots of advice from other older Mothers. I read about ways to m eet your needs with out neglecting our baby's. I learned a lot. But that wasn't answering my biggest question: Can. I .do. this?
My conclusion? No.
If my identity is going to be built on how my kids behave, or "turnout". Or how good a parent I am. I will be 1) exhausted and 2) disappointed. Exhausted because of all the things I'm trying to control (that I don't have control of!) and disappointed because control and parenting (or any relationship) always blows up in your face.
Which brings me to where I am now. It does matter what I chose to do The little things do matter. But only if I'm plugged in! Whether I like or not my children are designed to reflect: they'll practice on me. If I'm going to lead them to The Father- I better be plugged into The Source (if you haven't caught on yet, that's The Father!)!
While I reflect I also have to think about their:
Is what I view as a positive really a positive? Or is it what will make me look positive? Is it leading them to the Father? or shaping them to "play the Christian game"?
Because if I train them to look right on the outside. But ignore their need to be filled, their need to learn how to be filled. I've conditioned them to play- and what happens when the people surround them are negative?
Or Positive... some examples: involved, good grades, obedient, respectful, kind, giving back
What message am I sending? When my toddler is crying and disappointed or upset. And I tell her to stop being a cry baby. Crying because you don't get what you want is (weak and) wrong.
I am telling her I don't care about her sadness or her needs. I am driving her away from me- the person who is supposed to be leading her to the source...The reflection of the Source. I am shaming her. Telling her she is defective. Instead of reflecting Light and showing her who she is (or will be) in Christ. I am spreading the cures= "you're not good enough!"
My goal as her parent should be to look at the hidden need, not at the behavior.
I'll address some ways that might happen in Part Three...