Kinda bored with my old blog theme so decided to give it a change so I can be more motivated updating my blog, other than kinda difficult to find ‘perfect time’ to write as there is no perfect time to do most things with a toddler around (I couldn’t imagine if I had more than one, I guess I am not prepared enough, yet, haha..) Recently I also made one of my dreams come true (baby steps) by setting up small business based on my passion (other than writing): paper crafting! 🙂 I’ve just set up another blog for that, so come visit ColorPopCraft on my beloved blogger engine: WordPress 😛
Enough that chatty chat session and here comes the more serious part of this post… I’m gonna share yet another bitter sweet motherhood journey of mine… Time surely flies super fast, my daughter has turned 2.5 and is turning THREE this September! Definitely funnier, more cheeky than ever (those cute comments as her vocabulary increases rapidly during the last months)… and girl, what an attitude she has! Realizing now she has some sort of power to convey her wills in her own way (does God ever regret giving human a thing called as “free will”…?), I have undergone countless arguments and fights, ending not only in screaming and tears in agony for her side, but as well as stressful tears in my eyes as my head wanted to explode flying to the top of the roof! Anyone who hasn’t got a kid have no idea the depth of this stressful state, anyone who have a ‘calmer angel’ baby may also not relate most excellently with me (although you must face challenges in other ways, I believe so for every moms).
“What should I do, Lord? Arghh I’ve done it again! I let my emotion control me! I am so guilty I can’t give her all the love she needs… If only I could be that patient!” and so on, and so on… Some time I “win” and I am so glad and satisfied. Many other times (if not most) I feel defeated and trying to figure out what should I do or react or response…
Then it all has to come to this end… or, this is more correct, this all has to begin from one thing: PRAYER.
It doesn’t give me an instant solution by changing me into a super patient mom, but I believe and have faith God is able to change me through this process of humbling myself in front of Him…
Then yesterday this book arrived, “Sacred Parenting” by Gary Thomas… It had been sitting for months in my wish-list books and out of “despair” I finally decided this might be the time to really ordering it now and find out more about how this parenting thing is meant to perfecting my holiness…
Reading the first few pages l couldn’t help not to say “that’s how I am and I do exactly!”.. I type some significant paragraphs from the book, parts that I also highlighted in the hard copy, parts that I hope will also inspire, open up, and transform your mind too…
“Once you have children, what motivation drives your parenting?
Some parents bring a child into the world but refuse to make the sacrifices necessary to truly parent that child.
What moves you to get up early in the morning… or to stay up late at night… why do you go without certain things so that your children can have other things… why do you give up some of the things you like to do so that you can stay at home with your kids?”
Up to this point I was asking myself, “why did I give up my career and prefer to stay at home with Aimee?” plus couples more steps back to before everything began.. “why did I decide to have a child?”
I couldn’t think other “holier” answer than, well, I chose to have a child because that is the norm, the standard implied by the society. What is your own reason to have a child?
“We spend so much talking about the ‘how-to’ of parenting that we neglect the equally important ‘why’ of parenting. This is unfortunate, because the ‘why’ eventually drives and even shapes the ‘how-to’. With the wrong ‘why’, our motivations will get skewed, and while the ‘how-to’ may be effective, it’ll be effectively wrong!
Paul gives us a very clear ‘why’ in 2 Corinthians 7:1. At first, this verse may not sound like a parenting verse (and in context it’s not), but it may be the most helpful verse on parenting in the entire New Testament:
“Dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence to God”
Paul first tells us to focus on purifying ourselves, not our children. Many of us are so tempted to focus on purifying our children that we neglect our own spiritual growth”
OK, stop for a while… That is so me! Too busy correcting and ‘purifying’ my daughter I forget I’m wearing shirt as dirty as hers, if not filthier…
So, point 1 of the essence taken, focus and let God purify my own self from everything that contaminates my body and my spirit.
“Paul defines this process as ‘perfecting holiness’. As fallen sinners, we won’t fully mirror the image of Christ until that day in which He appears. In the meantime, we are to rub off the smudges.. letting Christ’s spirit shine through as much as possible. This process of spiritual growth.. is ongoing (“perfecting”, present tense).
Why do we put in such strenuous effort? What motivates us to approach parenting this way? Paul couldn’t be clearer: we do it “out of reverence for God”.
When we are motivated out of reverence for God, we lose 99.9 percent of the excuses that we make in family life.”
Then the author went along giving an example from his experience, one day he just returned from tiring speaking trip and only slept less than five hours yet still managed to wake up early in morning to drive his daughter to school thinking her daughter wouldn’t need to catch bus so she could sleep in a little later and they could talk in the car, only to face the reality turning out that her daughter was not in a mood for any chat and only said a quick thank you when she left the car.
This is what he said:
“If I were a child-centered father, I’d feel resentful… ‘I get up after just a few hours of sleep, and this is how she treats me? Well, she won’t get that chance again! Next week, I’m sleeping in and playing golf!
Child-centered parents act nicely toward their children only when their children act nicely toward them.
A child-centered parent goes out her way as long as her children appreciate her sacrifice.
A child-centered parents bases his or her actions on the kid’s response.
A God-centered parent, on the other hand, acts out of reverence for God. Regardless of how my children treat me, I know that God wills that I move toward my children, to get engaged in their lives, to offer biblical correction and loving support. It doesn’t matter how they respond to me as much as it matters what God has called me to do.
Though I adore my daughter, I don’t get out of bed on just a few hours sleep solely out of love for her, but out of reverence for God.
Do you see the difference?
When God does not supply our motivation, we tend to major in the minors and minor in the majors.
If parenting were only about behavior modification, Jesus would have praised the Pharisees and kicked dirt on the adulterous woman.
… neglected spiritual business inevitably works its way our through our relationships in a negative fashion: we become more demanding, more controlling, more intolerant, more resentful. Our spouses and our children cannot quench the God-given spiritual hunger in our souls.
Christian parenting is truly a sacred journey. It invites us parents to purify ourselves, to use the process of raising kids to perfect holiness, and to do this consistently, every day, out of reverence for God.
So, point 2 is, why we parent our child? Because it is God’s command to ‘be fruitful and multiply’ and we are taking care of them, parenting them, and making sacrifices out of our reverence for our Lord… This clearly signifies and makes a distinction between family who let every members shaped by their faith in God, or merely following “what’s supposed to be”, taught by worldly values…
It all has to start from Him, revolved around Him, be centered upon Him…
and not on my own comfort, my own wills, also not centered on my daughter…
Knowing the truth may not change me instantly, but understanding and applying them gradually will, I believe so. And in doing so I am relying on His power, not mine. Just in the same way He’s answering my prayer of ‘what should I do? what I’ve done wrong?’ through this revelation. He is merciful and faithful, indeed… I’m so glad I stumble upon this book and be blessed by reading it…
Whether you are a mom to a newborn baby, toddler, pre-teens, teens… every moms must make sacrifices. We are demanded to do so, the inseparable word with a “mother” is totally not “comfort”. It is “sacrifice”. It is just inevitable and undeniable. Embrace the duty and privilege joyfully rather than lamenting over the fact that we have lost our freedom and choices to our child.
It’s been a long writing and as I finish it with another paragraph from the book that I also like (so much from only Chapter One!):
“In the good and the bad they mold our heart, shape our souls, and invite us to experience God in newer and deeper ways. Although we may shed many tears along this sacred journey of parenting, numerous blessings await us around every bend in the road”
Just don’t give up. She/he is your own, anyway 🙂