Friday, August 30, 2013

Today, LOVE.

You are at your wit’s end. You’re hanging on by a thread. You’re questioning everything. Gone is that great confidence you once had about raising and schooling your children without professional help. The house is a mess. Your oldest has developed an attitude problem the size of Texas. Your toddlers woke up believing they were trying out for a mixed martial arts bit in the town talent competition. You watched your middle kid purposefully knock over his drink just so he can hear you say his name. When your husband left for work, you almost asked him if he was planning on coming home. You can’t remember the last time you crossed off your to-do list, the doorbell is ringing and you’re not sure if you brushed your hair today. 

What do you do on the days you simply don’t enjoy being locked in the house with your children?

Where does your strength and conviction come from when the warm and fuzzies wear off?

How do you do the right thing for one more day when you’re mad at those you’re doing the right thing for?

I could give you volumes of “tricks” to try that might help you schedule your day, clean your house, tend to each child, grant immediate consequence for disrespect, build family morale, please your husband, lower your stress level, and check off that to-do list, but that’s not what our hearts need to hear. We’ve had it with good advice. What we need is someone to speak to that woman inside us who worries that she’s “messing up” her family. To that woman, I want to speak a gentle reminder:

You can clean the house later. You can address the disobedience when your head is on straight. You can sit down with a notebook and a pencil with your husband and make some necessary changes tonight. You can treat yourself to a blow out at the salon tomorrow. Plan your family meeting, but not today.
Today, let that truth settle in your heart. LOVE covers a multitude of sins. Love, not rules, covers a multitude, not just a couple, of sins. 
Remember the last time you were in full blown rebellion? Tell me, was it yelling and screaming that brought you back? Was it threats? Was it a set of bold-faced rules plastered to the fridge? Or was it love? Was it the gentle love of the Father that broke through your spirit and called you back? Was it the sweet love of an honest friend who hugged you and cried with you and talked with you until you remembered your first love? Was it the faithful, loving prayers of your husband who didn’t know what you needed, but was intimate with who you needed? 

I am not saying ignore what you see. And I am not saying that your oldest, youngest, middle, husband and self don’t need to make changes before the actions get better. But I am saying, for today, go hug that teenager when he rolls his eyes at you. Today, run your fingers through your ten year-old’s hair and laugh about the spilled milk. Get in the floor and wrestle with those preschoolers. Clean the living room. Cook your man’s favorite dinner. Just for today, LOVE. Remind your family what they’re fighting for before you make them fight. 


Monday, August 26, 2013

All of Thee Above

We live in a multiple-choice society. We're raising kids that don't understand what it means to choose. Gone are the days that people had a singular favorite genre of music or one best friend or even a solitary home in which they raise their family. Drive-Thru windows, cable television packages that offer hundreds of channels, the scan button on our car stereos, and the frozen food section of our grocery stores have trained us well. So well, in fact, that anything that requires an actual "choice" confuses our senses and offends us to the core. 

Face it: We don't like to make choices. 

It's worse than that. We have such a heartfelt vehemence towards making solid, 100%, til-death-do-us-part choices that when someone hints that a definite choice is required, we raise a banner of defensiveness and start blogging our brains out about the "audacity" of people that require us to choose.
Don't believe me? Tell me our society doesn't have a hard time choosing a diet, choosing a friend, choosing a zip code, choosing a spouse, choosing a car, choosing a style, choosing a name for their cat. We struggle against the ink of anything that whispers of "forever" or "line in the sand." We have learned to eloquently dance around questions that require a definite answer. 
And sadly, our children are watching. I can tell they are because they are acting just like us. They can't choose a genre, a gender, a game plan or a god. They desperately want to be just enough of everything to fit in anywhere and not offend anyone or ever be backed in a corner and asked to make a choice that might alienate them from anyone. Anywhere. Ever. 

And yet, a single, solitary choice stands ready to define their absolute existence. 

I, I am the Lord, and besides me there is no savior. (Isaiah 43:11)

Let that sink in. No savior. I can't fathom that for my children. Simply typing the words takes my breath away. 

No savior.

We must stop raising politically correct kids. We must show our children how to alienate themselves from crowds when it's called for. We must teach our children that it's okay to be the only kid in the room that says "no." We must teach our children that it really is okay to say, "I'm sorry, but you're wrong." If they are ever going to grow up to be adults that say, "As for my house..." then they absolutely must, as children, practice saying, "That's not what the Bible says." 

Will it make them lose friends? Absolutely.

Will they be called judgmental? You betcha'!

Will it get them into arguments that cause them to question their convictions? It will.

Will it mean that not everyone everywhere will agree with your child all the time? Yes. 

But it will also mean that the next generation won't sell the souls of their children for the thrill of popular opinion. It will also mean that the parents who raise our grandchildren won't be afraid to define the difference between right and wrong. It will also mean that our kids will know the difference in absolute truth and cultural relevance. And it will also mean that when given the choice of "savior" or "no savior," our children won't forfeit their forever while they wait on a multiple choice.