Saturday, April 16, 2016

If I could turn back time {the two biggest changes I'd make as a mom}

Recently I've been thinking over my most needful lessons in mothering.  There are many, but these two things, if I could turn back time, would be the first things I'd change about how I've loved and led our kiddos.   These two set the stage for bright, melodious joy... and I'm the most grateful mama to find that there's still time to adjust the backdrop for our family stage yet again ... (and to keep adjusting, keep pursuing, keep begging for forgiveness and keep trying again with the Lord's grace to hit the mark here.)  

Speak calmly.  Where else have they learned to fly off the handle, but from me?  Yea, they're kids and this is a fallen world:  real anger gets triggered.  Sometimes there's a deliberate choice against my instructions.  That spark of anger is a valid flare for me to notice, "this needs discipline."   (It's not going to get better with yelling.)  Handle it calmly. Sometimes there's a complex mix of rights and wrongs and I'm going to need wisdom.  Wisdom and calm, firm, loving words, Jill! 

Sometimes a flare of anger strikes up but it's just time for me to swallow the inconvenience, bend low and look into their little eyes and speak patient love in all that I am to all that they are.   Like when she twisted open the soap in the grocery cart and we got to deal with a few foamy handfuls of green apple-scented mess before the bottle was ready to load into the bag?  She had no idea about that twisty lock.  Time for patience.   

Anger in me, I'm finding is probably always a marker that this thing needs either discipline for the kiddo or patience from me.  No situation will be better, nor will I or my kiddos be better off in any way for me to yell or speak harshly.  

Laugh generously.  Laugh about bumps and bruises, and even minor injustices because not every matter needs to be handled like bounty hunters in a court of law.  Love like mercy: glad to see quick forgiveness, not demanding super-human justice and righteousness, not requiring adult comprehension speeds and "how high?" on the way up....  Requiring obedience, yes, ( I do want to train them to live a path of blessing and honor) but obedience mercifully, graciously gained.  Love covers over a multitude of real life together.  Laughter and well chosen humor just might be the best way around things sometimes.   Proverbs 17 calls it "seeking love" to cover over an offense.  

I think it could have made a big difference in my crew if they had seen me choose lighthearted, glad laughter instead of crisp and clear justice-demanding as my way through disagreements and squabbles and frustrations.  Oh for lighthearted, trusting joy!

When the kids see us pursuing each other's joy, when they know that a glad laughter hunt is going to be what we're after again every mealtime, every coming and going, and at every lesson, maybe it will become so thick an expectation, so regular a pattern, that we can all grow up in the shape of this liberating, trusting, gladness   May it be, Lord.   

Like the wise doctor who told us that the couples who stay together are the couples who use humor to lighten the load of stress and difficilty and even disagreement.  Humor is a choice, a trusting-the-other, and even more, a trusting-God choice.  It's a holy weapon for hunting beauty and joy out of gloom and bickering grey.  It's a gift.  And I want to be trained and to train my kids to use it skillfully, and often!   We want to be the ones who are better than the mighty who take a city:  this mom and kids ~ who have learned to rule themselves (Provers 16:32), hold their minds and hearts to what is true and cling tenaciously to the promises of God that He will work even this for His glory and our joy.  

Lord mark us, with your peace and calmness in our storms.  And mark us as celebrants of all of your graces!  Mark us with your JOY!

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