Friday, January 4, 2013

Lessons to be learned

God loves humans. He loves us infinitely. He understands our quirks, our whims, our impulsive decisions, and He loves us for them.

As a parent, I am very thankful that God is not human. Each of us have been given challenges in life to shape and mold us, either to wean us of the control that we tightly grasp onto in our lives (or the illusion of control) or perhaps to use us in the lives of others. It is given us to "Do everything without complaining or arguing" in Philippians 2:14. The NIV text translates "complaining" specifically as "grumbling".

Tonight I want to be allowed to grumble. A particular challenge in my job as a parent is still challenging me. It is something that perhaps is specially catered to me and my own quirks so that it will shape me as I walk through this with my daughter. On a list of things that I cannot control, this one is very high.
I will resist the urge to grumble and instead show you what I think God may be trying to show me.

My daughter is struggling in a matter of self-control and it is not something I can physically or verbally fix for her. There are no rewards or consequences I can present to her that can replace her own free will. In other words, I can do nothing about it.

I don't like that. Not a bit. If there is a problem, I'm the parent and I should be able to help her, and therefore be able to fix it.

God is actually being very generous with me. At the young age of five, He is already showing me that my oldest will not always make the best choices and that she and she alone will have to take responsibility to change. I can provide the best loving, caring environment possible, but I can't control her choices.

She knows I am displeased and I'm doing my best to restrain my tongue from lecturing her. What she needs is another chance, and another, until the day that she "gets it" and no longer has an issue. At issue in my own mind is this: Is it a conscious choice or is there a different underlying problem that I need to examine further?

God cannot force us to make choices, however beneficial to us, because He has given us free will. How I must frustrate Him sometimes! In all of this, He is lending me perspective so that just as I have been forgiven and embraced and loved unconditionally, I will, in turn, present that same forgiveness, embracing and love to others around me--especially my children.

If you have time, read Psalm 103. It really blessed me this morning and expounds on the mercy of God. I'm glad I read it before this evening. It was a fresh lesson in my mind, and though I have a far way to go, perhaps as a future grandmother, I will be able to share this lesson with my own children as they go through their own personal parenting trials.