Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Sometimes We Just Need To Get Out of God's Way

If you were to sit down and watch old videos of me as a young girl there is a phrase you will hear the videographer (i.e. my parents) say quite often,  "Get out of the way, Renee."

You see, I had a knack for standing directly in front of the video camera (my back to it) when someone other than me was being taped.  It wasn't on purpose.  I wasn't trying to steal the attention (though I did like attention).  I just simply didn't understand "staging" etiquette.

So it's quite ironic to me that one of the more recent instructions I received from the Lord was the exact instruction my parents used to give me, "Get out of the way, Renee."

You see, I'm a rescuer and I'm a problem solver.  People like me have a tendency to get in God's way.  My intentions are usually good, yet my solutions are limited. 

Over the past few years a dear friend of mine has been trying to get pregnant.  I wrestled within myself again and again, wanting to step in and help her as I saw fit.  I desperately wanted to be part of her problem solving process.  I had some ideas, some thoughts, some opinions, some solutions.  Yet while running and praying one day (these two go hand-in-hand quite often in my life), the Lord spoke directly to my heart.  "Get out of the way, Renee.  Let me.  Trust my plan, it's way better than anything you've determined."  I'll be honest, it wasn't easy stepping aside.  I'm a doer, so I did the only thing I could do...I prayed A TON. 

Grayden, our 7 year old, broke his arm at the beginning of the summer.  His first few days in a cast were tricky having to get acclimated to doing those common everyday tasks with only one arm.  Boy did I want to step in and rescue him as I watched him struggle to put on and take off his shirt, to eat, to write, to buckle his seat belt.  Yet that phrase, "Get out of the way, Renee" came quickly to mind.  This is not to say it isn't okay to help our kids when they need it, but in this case I knew I needed to let Grayden struggle through these somewhat challenging obstacles.  I can't rescue him all the time or else I'll always be in the way of God's building and refining process of his little heart.  And yes, I believe a broken arm can absolutely be a building and refining process of the heart.

Cole, our 5 year old, just recently learned to ride his bike without training wheels.  He got the riding down pat, but the starting and stopping proved to be a greater obstacle for him.  I gave him a few key pointers, even demonstrated the best plan of attack.  But the bottom line is that I knew I needed to let him solve this problem on his own.  He needed to work through it, put in some of his own sweat and tears to get to the point where he mastered the start and stop of bike riding.  Had I held his hand and helicoptered the process obsessively, he wouldn't have learned the value of hard work and determination...both incredibly essential qualities for anyone who follows Jesus these days. So I got out of the way.   

Friends, I believe that sometimes we just need God to give us a good shove to the side so that He can work, especially with our kids.  This is a hard lesson to learn, but one that proves to shape our kids' lives for the better.

And this is a lesson our kids must learn as well.  Will you pray with me and let's ask God to give them the faith to trust His way in all things and thus grow to understand that their best chance at rescuing or solving problems is by getting out of His perfect way.  Let's pray!

Lord Jesus, When our children are afraid for someone, even themselves, and want to step in and rescue or problem solve, teach them to trust in You (Psalm 56:3).  May they trust in You with all their heart, and lean NOT on their own [limited] understanding (Proverbs 3:5).  Gently shove them aside when they are in Your way, but give them eyes to see Your perfect work and plans.  Give them purpose in prayer as they let You work.  And as the God of hope, will you please fill them with your [sweet] joy and [relieving] peace as they trust in You.  May they abound in hope through the power of Your Spirit so that it becomes incredibly easy to get out of Your way. (Romans 15:13) 

And in case any of you were wondering, that dear friend of mind...she's pregnant.  And God's plan was brilliantly perfect.  I love it when He gets flashy with me.  And Grayden mastered those common everyday tasks with a cast in about 2 days, building his endurance and strength to overcome future obstacles.  And Cole, he practically has the starting and stopping of biking riding down.  Sure he got a few scrapes and bruises on the way, even threw a few tantrums.  But he did it all on his own, gaining a greater sense of the value of hard work and determination.  Lesson learned:  When I let go and let God, I am always glad I did.


Tuesday, July 8, 2014

What Do I Pray When My Kid's In A Funk?

My definition of a kid's funk:
Easily Angered
Indifferent and Unresponsive to Discipline

Have you seen this type of funk in your own kid?

All my kids have had these funks.  Some the result of sickness, lack of sleep, developmental changes, difficult circumstances, or a rebellious heart. 

Certain funks have only lasted a day, others have gone on for weeks. 

Regardless of the cause or longevity, they are challenging to parent through. 

As I seek to understand the "why" and help my children, I can become frustrated and frazzled.  There have been quite a few funks that have brought me to my knees with tears of desperation.  And I can recall a few that have even sent me spiraling into my own personal funk.

Our little Cole is currently in one of these funks.  And it's been going on for a few weeks.  I keep waiting for that breakthrough, that ray of sunshine to pierce through the stormy cloud.  Thus far, it hasn't come. 

His funk isn't constant, rather it comes in waves throughout the day.  As a whole, we've had a few more challenges with Cole.  He is a strong willed and stubborn little guy.  Yet, he is also a fun-loving, affectionate, and sweet boy.  When stuck in a funk, though, those latter attributes present themselves less and less.

To be completely honest, I'm ready to tag myself out and let someone else weather this storm with him.  Honestly, I hate that I feel this way.  It's just that I've become weary of disciplining, short on patience, and lacking in wisdom.  I feel very defeated.  I probably sound a bit dramatic, but that's what these funks produce...dramatic emotions that desperately need an abundance of God's grace and a good healthy dose of His truth.

While I may feel defeated, I am determined to not allow the Enemy to defeat me.  As I've been committed to praying for my kids over the past year and a half, I've learned that parenting can be an intense spiritual battle.  A battle that requires great faith and steadfast reliance on the Spirit.   The Enemy wants me to tag out with Cole.  He wants me to focus on the failures.  He wants me to dwell on the negative.  He wants me to get frustrated and frazzled.  Like a roaring lion, He is looking to devour me. 

So today I chose to fight the Enemy the same way I've been fighting him over the past year and a half, I will pray God's Word over myself and over my little toe-head that I love so much.

I'm using Psalm 107:28-31 & Job 33:28 to cry out to the Lord...

"Lord, I cry out to You in my trouble.
Will you bring me out of my distress?
Will you still this storm to a whisper?
Will you hush the waves?
For I will be glad when it grows calm,
because You will guide me to a safe harbor
where I will give You thanks for Your unfailing love
and wonderful deeds.
So Lord, redeem my life from going down to the pit,
may I live to enjoy the light."

And you better believe I am praying the exact same words for Cole...and I invite you to pray them over any child of yours who has a funk of their own.

"Lord, I cry out to You regarding Cole's trouble...this stormy, dark funk.
Will you bring him out of his distress?
Will you still his storm to a whisper?
Will you hush his waves?
And will you fill him with gladness when he grows calm?
Will you guide him to safe harbor?
And may he give you thanks for Your unfailing love for him
and for your wonderful deeds toward him!
Lord, redeem his life from going down to the pit.
May he live to enjoy the light."

I love the imagery of a storm that needs calmed or a dark pit that needs light.

As we've done for a year and a half, and as we will continue to do, let's pray the above prayers full of God's Word over our kids...especially as they (and we) battle those stormy, dark funks.