… to be like you

Our creator is brilliant isn’t he?

I mean, he specifically created creations to worship him. Nature (sun, moon, ocean, our gut health + its impact on our overall health) and the our very nature causes us to know him and to worship him. God is relational and because we are made in his image, we deeply crave relationships, as well. And, him being his all knowing self and so dang on intentional about us getting him, he allowed two relationships to demonstrate his deep, unending love for us:

1. marriage
2. parenting

These relationships are both rooted within the family… a unit based on what is supposed to be the forever commitment between a husband and a wife that mirrors God’s forever commitment to us, the relationship between Christ and the church first within their home, then those mirrors shared with their world. That husband and wife unit are to mirror the role of Heavenly Father to their children. Those two roles are heavy and hard in their impact and duty, but God’s grace is sufficient and his forgiveness is efficient and forever (because we need it that way, amen?) to enable us to carry out that model.

One of the ways the Lord has revealed himself to me over the past few months is in how he is a father, and he has challenged me greatly as a mama and as his daughter. Who we are as individuals and how we respond to our children as earthly parents will absolutely dictate how our children think about and relate to the world and Lord. Does our abundant way of thought teach our children that the Lord truly has good things stored up for them and is willing to… delights in.. blessing them in abundance, with overflow? Do we teach them that they have worth simply because of who & whose they are and not for what they do? or how they behave? Do we teach them that they deserve good things? Do we pour positive affirmations and belief in them that’s rooted in the Word and tells them that they can do all things and excel? Do we show them that we delight in giving to them just as the Lord delights in us or do our actions tell them not to ask for anything? Do we model listening and hearing the way we tell them the Lord does? ugh. Do we freely give or does scarcity in thought keep our fists clinched and calendar schedules and when/what we give centered around our own wants and conveniences because we don’t believe there is enough time, enough money, enough ____ to share with others?

Y’all, it’s hard. It’s heavy. And, this is where I’ve been challenged.
It sucks because I have plenty of reasons why I can’t, don’t, shouldn’t have to, etc.
But, gracious it has been so fulfilling and beneficial and sweet.

Parenting is as much fun as it is hard. Some days it’s a lot more fun, yet some days you’ve got to force some fun to shake off the hard. But, if there’s nothing else that teaches us about the overwhelming burst our heart, protect to death sort of love the Lord has for us it is parenting.

The way we love our children should show us the depth & recklessness of his love for us and and observing the way our children respond to us is the most incredible example of  how trusting we ought to be of Him. I mean, can we talk about how natural those two acts are? Without a second thought as parents we give and forgive, surprise and plan well, provide and protect, correct and guide.

If you then, evil as you are, know how to give good and advantageous gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven (as perfect as he is) give good and advantageous things to those who keep on asking Him? 
Matthew 7:11 AMP

And, our children… especially our babies… are the best examples of how we should engage and interact with God. I mean, do they literally not open their mouths every time we move anything towards their face? And, do they not grab for whatever it is we have? They have no idea what it is we are feeding them, but they know that if we have it, it is also theirs and it is good for them (usually, ahem). But they have a natural instinct to receive what is offered to them…  until they are full. Then, they look for us again with expectation that their needs will be met when they’re hungry again. Is that not the must trusting act? They know that when they have a need there is someone they can go to who always provides for them without question. whoa. Without question, they trust us that much. They search for us, cling, when something is pulling us away from them they protest with a ferocity that breaks our hearts. They want us. The way that we should search for and protest about separation from our God…….

sweet right? Ugh, yea. Warms your heart.

….. Until we talk about how we receive them when they come looking. Not at pick up from school, that’s cute and sweet. But, when we’re at the park and siblings are fighting… or when they are pumped about showing us something after a really long day and we just want to get in the house! … or the bed. Are we pointing them to Jesus in our responses?

Parenting these little people who initially can do nothing for themselves who then grow into these small people who say (repeat!) the sassiest things is mind blowing … it’s even crazier that the Lord gave us (entrusted us) with the responsibility to mold and shape these little people who mirror us to be little mirrors of Him. So deep.

They come as blank little white boards and we are these markers that write info on them. We give them our limits, our mindsets, our triggers, our responses.. from the moment they are conceived we are writing on their hearts……. from the moment they’re born, we’re giving them a foundation and beliefs they will stand on for years and years to come. But, not with good, fresh out of the pack Expo markers… with awful where-did-you-get-these markers that don’t fully erase. No matter how hard we try to erase or what we spray on that board… it’s not coming off. Who we are, how we think, how we live out what we say we believe is written on those little boards.

I have been so blessed to make the sweetest friend and we talk regularly though motherhood and lifehood…. and all the things. And, in our convo it is like we have our arms around each other, facing Jesus. Supporting, sharing, empathizing, sharing scripture, and videos with each other as we look to Jesus. And, it has been incredible. She and our relationship has been the real life “grace is sufficient” during this AH-HA, real life lesson of real-life learning another attribute of who the Lord is and who he is calling me to be in my home. We were chatting late into night a few days ago, both of us in the throws of exhaustion but up late because we’re working while simultaneously trying to get some quiet alone time as it’s the ONLY time we have to ourselves, and after she communicates my heart in how she’s feeling she says, “We were given all of these commands [to love, serve, care for our families etc] and it’s so hard…. but we can be so focused on the command that we lose sight of The Commander.” MIC DROP. Whoa, right?

The Lord has commanded us to love, forgive, seek justice, love mercy, walk humbly, to give,  develop fruits of the Spirit… but he never expected us to do any of these things in our own strength. He never expected us to work so hard doing anything he told us to do that it makes us miserable and our homes to display the complete opposite of who he is…. he never wanted us to focus so tough on the commands that we stop focusing on Him. That focus reminds us to cast our cares, gives us the ability to endure, teaches us how to do the things he’s called you to do, discloses wisdom and discernment, allows us to forgive… The work is still difficult, but we are no longer hustling for an outcome or trying to obey the command. We are focused on Christ, walking in freedom and faith as our relationship with him changes us so that we are fulfilling the commands by being, not doing.  We aren’t trying to make an unforgiving heart speak kindly to someone. Nope. Not focused on the common and checking off a box.  But, we are giving our hard hearts and hurts to Jesus, he heals and softens it and then we are able to act in love and kindness because of the changes Christ is making within us.

“Dwell in me, and I will dwell in you. Just as no branch can bear fruit of itself without abiding in (being vitally united to) the vine, neither can you bear fruit unless you abide in Me. I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much (abundant) fruit. However, apart from me (cut off from vital union with Me) you can do nothing.”
John 15:4-5 AMP

Tough road, but blessed. So sweet and fulfilling.

What has the Lord been teaching you recently?


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