This past week, I started reading the book "Sacred Parenting: How Raising Children Shapes Our Souls" by Gary Thomas. I'm also still reading the book "MASTERY". Its amazing how the two are lining up to teach me one great concept.
My focus should never be on me or this world.
"If God's attitude toward me is suffering Love, my attitude toward others will be suffering love."
I put my kids names where it says "others". Not that parenting is always suffering, but definitely at times it can be. I always hit this slump after big social outings where there are a lot of people who I would love to hang out and talk to. For example, our church picnic Sunday night. Tons of people, a huge park, free food...it should all equal a great time, right?
And when I look at it in perspective, it does equal a great time, just not the type of "great time" I would choose. See we had to wake Justus to go which meant I pushed the stroller and walked in a circle around the playground equipment to try to get him to stop crying and go back to sleep. Then I got food ready for the girls to eat. Then I shoveled down my own food so I could feed Elliana because she won't eat when there's so much going on. I guess I could have let her starve but I knew we would get home late and I didn't want to have to feed her once we got home. Then I sat at "the edge of the village" so I could nurse Justus. Only to finish nursing in time to clean up the blanket and chairs and head home because it was past everyone's bedtime. Definitely not the "great time" I envisioned for myself.
Sometimes I just want to play irresponsibly. I want to talk and be able to focus on the conversation without looking in five directions to keep my eyes on all the kids. I want to sign up for a volleyball tournament, run in the field and play soccer, go hit a few balls on the softball field, or even just finish a glass of water, but that is not my reality right now.
Which is why I put my kids names in the "others" category when I think about Christ's suffering love towards me. Sometimes I get down about the fact that I seem to be on hold. My dreams, my passions, my desires, all seem to be on hold. And there are times, like Sunday night, where I want to take it out on my kids. I want to yell at them when they start to whine that they didn't get to play long enough or that they didn't get enough food, or that they need more to drink. I want to yell "have you noticed your mom hasn't eaten or drank anything since we've gotten here? Have you noticed I haven't gotten to play at all? Have you noticed what I've sacrificed to make sure you've had a good time?"
But then I take a deep breath and remember what Christ has called us to. He's called me to become holy like He is holy. Life is a refining fire to draw me into holiness. My aim and focus should be on that and everything else is just icing on the cake. When my focus shifts to put fun and my own personal desires ahead of the desire to be holy, then the dissatisfaction comes into play.
Gary Thomas says, "Most of us are inherently selfish when it comes to raising children. We're hoping for some benefit to come our way, and when we wake up to the truth that children can be embarrassing as well as exemplary, we become resentful and bitter, and a foul spiritual climate can soon take over the home...When we realize that having children isn't about us but is rather about God, then the trials and sacrifices of parenting are more easily borne. We see the purpose behind the difficulty, and we remind ourselves, "this isn't about me; it's about him.' The ultimate issue is no longer how proud my children make me, but how faithful I've been to discharge the duties God has given me. "(Sacred Parenting)
I started reading "Sacred Parenting" expecting to find some great tools to instill godliness in my kids. I've quickly realized that God is using this book, as well as "Mastery" to instill godliness in myself. I guess He figures that is the quickest way to instill godliness in my kids as well =)