Monday, June 3, 2013

Chutes & Ladders

Remember This Game?

Maybe some of you play this game with your kids.

Personally, I do whatever I possibly can to get OUT OF playing this particular game.

I find it to be the most obnoxious and meaningless game...not to mention FRUSTRATING.  You do a "good thing" and climb up a ladder.  You do a "bad thing" and slide down a chute.  Up, down.  Up, down.  UP, DOWN!  It's a roller-coaster-like experience.  

And what is with the pawn pieces to the game?   Half the time we are trying to get the flimsy things to stay upright. and stay in place. 

Altogether, I find this game to be a means of torture.
No lie, on one occasion when I actually gave in and played it with the boys it literally took us over 30 minutes for one of us to hit the winner square.  

That's 30 minutes of UP, DOWN...UP, DOWN...UP, DOWN.  

That may not seem like a long time to you, but trust me, by minute fifteen I would have rather been doing anything else...even cleaning up tiny pieces of rice scattered all over the kitchen floor (my least favorite mom chore). 

So you better believe that when I recently cleaned out and reorganized our game closet (and yes, I said closet...we have a lot of games), I put Chutes & Ladders FARRRRRRRRR in the back completely out of sight. 

Here's to hoping the boys never, ever find it!

Parenting can feel a bit like Chutes & Ladders. 

We see our kids play for nearly an hour without fighting or biting each other...UP the "They are starting to get it" ladder.  

Only to be stifled by the grandest tantrum of all in the grocery store...DOWN the "They still don't get it" chute

We set aside our To-Do's and play pretend pirate boat ride for an hour...UP the "I'm a great parent" ladder

Only to be stifled by the yelling at your kids like "a chicken with your head cut off" moment because you just spent an hour cleaning one room only to the find the room next door completely destroyed by their pretend pirate boat...DOWN the "I'm the worst parent" chute.

Self-Esteem can also feel a bit like Chutes & Ladders.

One day we feel pretty, maybe even beautiful.  We look in the mirror and see progress or positive attributes.  Our work is fulfilling.  Our strengths are flourishing.  The truth about how God and others see us takes center stage in our minds..UP the "I'm a treasure" ladder. 

Only to be stifled by the "I'm a worthless, ugly cow" day.  We look in the mirror and see every acne scar and each dimpled space of cellulite.  Our work is exhausting and mundane.  Our weaknesses come out in FULL EFFECT, gnawing away at us.  Truth is silenced and the LIES of the devil feed off us...devouring any "good" fruit...DOWN the "I'm a piece of trash" chute.

Friends, I felt like I was playing the Chutes & Ladders board game last week. 

Frankly, I had two separate games going...Parenting & Self-Esteem.

By Friday afternoon, my mind and body were worn out from climbing "success" ladders only to find myself flying head first down numerous "failure" chutes.  
I was weary and wounded.  I was confused and discouraged. 

So, I prayed,
"God help me."

The following words came flooding into my mind,
"Renee, climb back up."

At first my response was, "NO!!!!!!!  I'm done climbing up only to be sent sliding (on my tush) back down.  How about you give me a DIVINE ELEVATOR right to the top!  I want to press a button and poof I'm on the winner sqare of both Parenting & Self-Esteem.

But His tenderness calmed me and I knew what God was telling and teaching me. 

"Renee, there will always be chutes & ladders. 
There will be moments of success and moments of failure. 
These UPS and DOWNS are what refine you, change you, and mold you into the mother and woman I desire for you to be. 
These thorns in your flesh, these weaknesses, these hardships, these insults, these persecutions, and these difficulties make room for ME and MY POWER to rest on you.  In YOUR weakness, I am your strength.  [2 Corinthians 12:7-10] 
So, climb back up fueled by MY love, grace, strength, and support.  The winner square is waiting for you. 
Climb back up."

Friends, whatever game of Chutes & Ladders you are currently playing I say these words also to you..."Climb back up."

And may you be encouraged by this Scipture that brought me so much comfort:

I pray you would "Find rest in God alone.  May your hope come from Him.  For He alone is your rock and your salvation; He is your fortress, you will NOT be shaken.  He is your mighty rock, your refuge.  Friend, may you Trust in Him at all times.  Pour out your heart to Him, for He is your perfect refuge." [Psalm 62:5-8]

Our children will also play many real life games of Chutes & Ladders. 

Join me today and let's pray they have the strength to "Climb back up."

When my children find themselves in a game of Chutes & Ladders, may they have the courage to pour their hearts out to You and find the rest and refuge you so faithfully promise to give.  Be their fortress, their mighty rock.  May they learn to trust You at all times and pour their hearts out to you in the hardest of moments.  Make their hearts and minds open to climbing back up the ladder no matter how far they've sliden.  And equip them with Your power so that even in weakness, they have the fuel to climb back up.  May the many real life games of Chutes & Ladders refine them, change them, and mold them into who You want them to be.


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