Psalm 40:16 NLT
16 But may all who search for you
be filled with joy and gladness in you.
May those who love your salvation
repeatedly shout, “The LORD is great!”
All too often, I place the restriction on God that He just is not allowed to give anymore, and that I am bound only to thank, never to ask. This is more than a bit asinine, considering that the times when I most strictly enforce (or lamely attempt to enforce, seeing as how an infinite, Holy and powerful God has no reason to ever stoop to submitting to the likes of me) is when I truly am not enough in my own strength to simply survive through one day. It’s in these times that I just want to wilt. God is calling me to grow, and I outright refuse because I have already asked too much of Him.
In the bad times, God goes into a box so that I can make perfect sense of Him and what He is doing. I feel the need to know that what He is putting me through is truly worth all the pain and strife, and then, at that moment when I finally feel I have reached an epiphany, I consent to grow. The stupid part of this, or rather, perhaps I shouldn’t say stupid, but hilarious in a truly sad sense of the word, is that God doesn’t need for me to wait. He just moves on to plan B and gets me to the end of myself, so I can see the beginning of Him. “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” God. Created. The. Heavens. And. The. Earth. God did. Which means God knows how to make it all work in harmony. I don’t. I. Am. NOT. God.
The hardest realization for me lately is that God can give as much as He wants to. Let’s repeat that for full affect. God can give as much as He wants to. There are no limits on what God can do or be or give. What He expects of us is nothing more than what we are already to give. He wants us to do what is right, love mercy and walk humbly with Him. He promises us in Matthew 11:30 that “my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Why is this? Because God knows we’re not enough on our own. He carries us and it (the burden) through the hard times for us. How is this? “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. “
Sometimes I wish I were deaf and mute. Mostly I just wish I were mute. God made my mouth and my voice right along with every other part of my body, and quite frankly, He did a good job. I’m loud, easy to hear, and I think my laugh is pretty cute, but I don’t always choose to use my mouth for the things God intended them for. Sometimes, in fact, quite often – I use my mouth for not so nice things. This all came clearly into view again this morning as my four-year old, Theresa decided to sass me yet again and say some hurtful things. I’d had enough! This behavior isn’t pleasing to God and it’s certainly not pleasing to me. It needed to be nipped in the bud immediately, but how? I recognize where she got those ugly words from. She got them from me. I’d said them before. Many, many times. So how I can expect her to stop saying them?
The problem with Theresa’s behavior got even worse when I walked into the girls’ room to talk to both of them about their behavior this morning. A Christ-centered approach is certainly the best way, but I was angry. Could I pull it off? I didn’t feel like I could, but I needed to try. Calling on the name of Jesus, I prayed for His words to fill my mouth, His will to be accomplished. As I prayed, then began to speak, their bad behavior continued and even got worse! What to do now? I wanted to yell, spank, call a friend, send them to the corner to think about what they’d done, but I knew that none of that would work.
There’s a much bigger problem brewing here and it comes straight from the heart. There’s no way these girls were going to listen to me. Theresa cowered in fear of punishment. She knew she had done wrong, but for whatever reason, was unable to stop. Looking at her, I pictured myself as a little, broken-hearted girl who was acting out. Why did I do what I did? What did I seek to accomplish? I pulled her close and hugged her, appreciating how small and delicate she is. She’s an amazing kid. I wondered if she knew.
As I pulled away slightly so as to look into her eyes, she glanced nervously around the room. Slowly, quietly, lovingly, I began to lay out all the things about Theresa that are great, explaining that God had given her those likes, dislikes, interests and that made her special. God loves Theresa and I wanted her to know. It was plain to see that as I unfolded the truth of His deep love and concern for her, that this was news to her. Shame on me for not seeing it sooner. Oh, how that hurt. I claim to be a Christian Mom, yet my daughter had no idea of the most fundamental root of Christianity – God loves us. And He adores her. She is special to Him and He will never leave her. I laid out some simple scriptures and biblical promises for her to hold onto and as I did that, her heart opened up. She opened up to me. She engaged with Jesus with me. We worshipped and prayed together.
The more I engage with my kids in the midst of their pain, their trials and challenges, the more clearly I see my need for Christ. As an adult survivor of severe childhood trauma and abuse, I still struggle with a lot of hard heart issues, but I believe (because I have seen the fruit of this faith) that through Christ’s strength, I can do all things and so can my daughters.
- I can do all things through him who strengthens me. +Phillipians 4:13 NLT
- Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it. + Proverbs 22:6 ESV
- He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us. + 2 Corinthians 1:4
What are some things you’ve struggled with and see your kids struggling with now? How can you turn to God and heal it once and for all?