So, for some reason, I find myself re-evaluating what I may be finding mundane. The dailies. Re-looking at what I have understood to be the "right" way to do things. Re-defining.
In this search for getting the right mindset, I have come across 3 thoughts that are transforming the way I look at my calling as of today... in other words: motherhood.
One thought came to me during a talk at a MOPS meeting a few months ago. As the woman talked about the issue of discipline, I sat on the edge of my seat--pen in hand: "Give me the magic potion, woman!" While she did give some helpful, practical tips for disciplining, what most stood at to me was the instruction to beware of thinking of children as "basically good and perfect". She said, instead of treating them like wonderful little adults who could do no wrong--we should see our relationship more like this:
As in, our kiddos come at us as "un-tame" and wild. It is our job to mold them into respectful, productive members of society with a passionate heart for God and His Kingdom. For some reason, that really was a "shift" in my mind. Now, I did not think of my kids as perfect in any way--but the view that I had been told often that my kid's "sin nature" was causing them to misbehave just never sat right with me. I know it's the truth--but (for me) looking at my kiddos that way made me feel more judging and harsh to them as opposed to loving and nurturing.
So, where to find the balance between harsh, judgmental parenting and over-indulgent, "we are buddies" type parenting?
#1: I am a lion tamer.... not an indulgent peer.
For me, it was sooo helpful to think of this "tamer" image as my role. My kids misbehave because they come to me "untamed". If I think of a mistake, a disobedience, a defiance as just evidence of that-- it is easy for me, as the trainer, to step up and implement the training necessary to "tame" them. It took out the emotional side of their bad behavior.
If I don't expect misbehavior and mistakes along the way, it is easy for me to take each and every one of those either as a direct reflection of my failures as a parent or to jump to anger that they would dare to defy me.
It's neither of those things. Testing the boundaries, messing up, accidents--they are all par for the course in the taming of our kids. If I expect these things to happen, and have a system set in place for getting my little wild things back on track, it really makes the momma load so much easier.
If you have time, you should read about how lions and horses (and any other animal) are tamed. It is so interesting to note the themes of earning respect, patience, repetition and constancy in every training method. It truly is piece by piece, one thing building on another. Children whose hearts have truly been trained to listen and obey to God's voice do not happen overnight.
Some definitions that I loved as I thought about this concept:
Tame: "Changed by man from a naturally wild state into a tractable, domesticated, or cultivated condition. Brought from wildness into a domesticated or tractable state."
1. To coach in or accustom to a mode of behavior or performance.
2. To make proficient with specialized instruction and practice. Synonym: Teach.
3. To prepare physically, as with a regimen: train athletes for track-and-field competition.
4. To cause (a plant or one's hair) to take a desired course or shape, as by manipulating.
5. To focus on or aim at (a goal, mark, or target); direct.
On to my next new mindset:
Sometimes (ok, try every day) it can be easy for all that I do in a day to go unnoticed. Un-praised. Why people don't follow behind me, applauding when I scrub a toilet or twittering when a word of wisdom falls from my lips is beyond me... :-P That's just it. Being a momma is so every day. It's right there in the middle of that 15th sibling squabble and answering "why?" for the 100th time. "Have some ice cream!" "Whhhhhyyyyyy?"
Do you ever feel the need to glamorize things? Or to dramatize them? Or to exaggerate them? I know it's just me--but, sometimes it happens. Our days can seem so routine and unglamorous that we've gotta do something to spice 'em up
That's why a snippet from this great, wonderful, amazing, can't wait-to-read-it-again devotional caught my eye:
#2 I am a servant not a martyr.
Why is that so profound? Because she talked about the fact that, come on whiners: We CHOSE this vocation! No one tied us down and made us have our babies. No one is commanding us to stay home and raise them. No one is holding a gun to our head as we make the meat loaf.
We are choosing it. Why?? (Ah, I sound like my boy!) Because we
We chose to be servants. We chose to pour our lives into our family and be a bedrock of wisdom and love for our home. We chose to make our home a nest where loved ones can feel Jesus. So, instead of internally moaning when no one noticed that I scrubbed out the sink or ironed the clothes--I can thank Jesus for the opportunity to serve where He has called me. The opportunity to show His love in tangible ways.
And that is amazing. That is enough reason to get our weary feet out of bed in the morning!
Mommas: Forgive me. I compare myself to other mothers. I compare my kids to other kids. I compare our discipline methods to other people's discipline methods. I may even feel pressured to imitate what seems to be working for another family. I may even try to line up our priorities with theirs.
While I want to have the heart of a student until the day I die, I loved another mental shift I gained from the devotional I mentioned.
My personality needs a goal to work towards. An image. A reason. And, if it's super clear and concise--I am all over it.
#3: I am a disciple-maker... not a creator of perfection.
In the devotional, the author spoke of how our job is not to create these perfect children, set on a pedestal for all to adore. Nope. My job is to cultivate kids who have the heart of Jesus towards this world. "Disciples who understand their mission and who will contend for God's glory."
What does that mean? That means modeling it! Showing love to the least of these. Serving in unexpected ways. Learning to train your eye for hurt and need--and then seeking to be like Jesus in that situation.
I don't know about you--but those thoughts gave me some serious tunnel vision: I could see it! I could see where I wanted my kids to be as adults! I could see concrete ways to instill that from early on. I could see what to make a big deal of in life (i.e: Praising signs of compassion, tenderheartedness, service) and what to just let be (i.e: Handwriting, physical abilities, perfectionism).
I am trying to, even now, engage my kiddos in discussions. As we slurped on juice boxes at the park: "Did you know that every person you meet is so special? Because God made them!"--and thrill at the way their eyes ponder this, or light up at the connection. "What is a way we can show love?" And the 4-year old answer: "By not hitting." Ahh. Our job is so great.