Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Raise your hand if you are quitter!

Diligence: careful and persistent work or effort.

Persistence: firm or obstinate continuance in a course of action in spite of difficulty or opposition.

Obstinate: stubbornly refusing to change one's opinion or chosen course of action, despite attempts to persuade one to do so.


I would like to say that my moma didn't raise a quitter but I would not be telling the truth. Truth is, I have quit just about everything that I have ever started. Especially when I get bored or it gets hard. Diets? I love food and hate denying myself anything so nope...never stuck to one. Exercise? Ha! Refer to the diet issue. Exercise is hard when you are fat. Budget? I mentioned self deprivation isn't my strong point right? Now some of you may say my character is lacking because of my quitter mentality and that is ok with me. Another truth...I beat myself up quite a bit for it so let's just move past that ;)

In a blog post a couple of days ago about kindness I mentioned that I am a part of an online book club over at The Time Warp Wife. The topic this week is diligence.

It is tough being diligent and a quitter at the same time huh? In case you are wondering...the answer is YES!

In this life, in my marriage, in raising my children I am going to have to take on the virtue of diligence. It could possibly become a matter of life and death. I know that sounds a little extreme to some but it is the truth. It is the truth of my heart.

My marriage has so many distractions these days. Cell phones, TV, Internet, "The Man Cave", the budget (or lack of one), TBall practice, supper to cook, a house to clean, 2 jobs, 4 kids, friends, different opinions and the list goes on and on. Without that diligence to make it work we could get so lost. That is so scary to me. It scares me enough to dump that quitter mentality. It scares me enough to realize that we MUST manage those distractions. Is it realistic to board up the man cave, shut off the internet? Of course not, but it is realistic to manage those things. It is realistic to put down the cell phone and miss a basketball game or two in order to look each other in the face and remember why we are here. To love each other...to raise our babies...to instill trust in the fact that WE are the important part of this life..to remind each other that intimacy is a must!

This goes so far beyond the quick I love you with a hug and kiss on the way out the door. It goes beyond the emails and text messages that say "Grab some milk on your way home. Love ya". Beyond the when the kids get older or the one days and some days. This is the right here...right now...before it's too late.

I commit that as a grown up, God loving, married to the greatest man I know woman that I will be diligent. My marriage will come first. YES-even before my 4 littles because when my 4 littles are all grown up I don't want to look at my husband and wonder who he is. Where our life went and when he turned into the man in front of me. I don't want to be looking at a stranger with whom I have nothing in common anymore.

I commit that he will come right after God. He will be the one I pray for first. The one I consider first. He will inspire me.

Because I love him...

Because I am committed to him...

Because I am called by God...

I will be diligent...I will not be distracted...I will not quit!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Wrath, Pride and Gentleness

There really is nothing like a good chastising from God first thing on a Thursday morning now is there? I don't know what you call your interactions with God when he is offering you correction and guidance. I don't know if you refer to it as a whipping, a good talking to or a gentle nudge but regardless of what you call it-it is the sweetest thing because there is a lesson to be learned. Today he used one of my favorite authors, Lysa Turkuerst, to open my heart to some things going on in my life and I must say I am so thankful that he did.

I read a post about conflict resolution (fun right?) and it brought to mind an issue that Emilee and I had a couple of nights ago(if you are knew here Emilee is my sweet 14 year old daughter).

Without going into to much detail, she was struggling with some issues in our everyday family life, school, etc. and was talking to me about them. I reacted with defensiveness and immediately felt the need to prove her wrong and me right. About 10 minutes into this I remembered that this was my gentle, hurt, sweet little girl and I needed to put down my weapons and LISTEN to her and thank God that I did.

The situation was immediately diffused and a great talk resulted but today God is really showing me some other steps that I should have taken with her.

I think back to that night-her tears, her hearts cry and my absent gentleness, my immediate harsh response and it hurts my heart. I don't want to have to regret my reactions. I don't want to have to sit and wonder how much damage I did to our relationship. I should have been the adult and realized the pain that was there. I should have immediately acknowledged her hurt and comforted her with a hug and allowed her to lean on me until she was ready to talk. That is what a moma does right? Parenting is hard y'all and this moma is still learning. Looking back, I don't remember many hugs and touching moments filled with sweet background music when I was growing up. Not that my parents didn't love me because they did (and still do) but we just weren't a huggy, touchy feely family. During times like these I wish it came second nature to me because what my sweet girl needed was her moma's arms around her.

Truth is...what every hurting person needs is someone's arms around them FIRST. First, before the conflict is ever discussed they need to know that no matter what is said or not said that LOVE comes first and LOVE conquers everything.

But that night I failed...that night is a lesson I am learning. That night has lead me here.

In the blog post I referred to earlier, three scriptures were referenced and I hear them all the time. God brings them to my remembrance alot but I choose to shove them back down. Today I am really letting them sink deep into my heart and am tucking them away for the next moment :)

1. Proverbs 15:1 “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” That one is obvious to me. Had my reaction immediately been a gentle answer instead of defensiveness then we both would have avoided some anger and tears but I chose the hard way first. I got it eventually BUT hindsight is 20/20 right?

2. Proverbs 29:23 “Pride brings a person low, but the lowly in spirit gain honor” OUCH...that pride gets us every time huh? I felt that she was attacking my parenting skills, my communication ability, my past decisions and that hurt my pride because truth be told she was exactly right. How humiliating to have a 14 year old air your dirty laundry and faults and be RIGHT about it all.

3. Phillipians 4:5 “Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near” This is what I feel is the most important and the part that God is dealing with me about today. When it comes to conflict resolution with anyone but especially my family, I am not only setting an example for them in the future but I am showing them God in me. If gentleness is not my reaction then what are they learning? What is my example saying about Jesus in me?

I want my immediate response to anyone, especially my family, to be love. I desire an open heart and open arms. My response will be a gentle word, a hug. My desire is that compassion oozes from me first even if I think the hurt is petty and silly. Jesus loves and comforts every situation. Jesus doesn't say "Suck it up. I can't believe you are upset about that." Jesus says for us to come to him if we are burdened and find his rest in him. If Jesus is me and I am him then shouldn't that be my attitude as well?

My response will turn away wrath. I will have a lowly spirit and be a gentle example.

At least that is my hope and with Jesus all things are possible.