GIVING OUR CHILDREN AND EACH OTHER SPACE TO GROW
The difference between forced conformity and EXPECTANT LIVING.
I want to trip inside your head
Spend the day there…
To hear the things you haven’t said
And see what you might see
I want to hear you when you call
Do you feel anything at all?
I want to see your thoughts take shape
And walk right out
Freedom has a scent
Like the top of a new born baby’s head
The songs are in your eyes
I see them when you smile
Oh, what could be possible for each and everyone of us, if we found freedom from the things that distort the invitation to the life God has made possible for us?
I thought of this bit from a U2 song the other day when I had the pleasure of seeing my youngest daughter have a moment of discovery.
It comes at a time, of what I like to call, a most beautiful change in our family. Through a very painful and scary experience with our oldest daughter, God pulled the cover back in my life, and the control I was using on everybody and was living under myself was exposed. The unwinding of alot of this mess, has brought a wonderful change in the atmosphere in our home.
I've learned that trying to teach my children not to act in controlling manipulative ways by using those very things on them is a dead end road. I was frustrated, they were frustrated and we were stuck. The whole family. My family was not out of control in the way you might look at our society. My wife is great, we really love each other very much, my daughters are high achievers in many things. They are lovely kids. We all love God and are pursuing Him. It was just very messy with a great big dose of CONTROL AND MANIPULATION coming from everyone. Our view of God wasn't working well in this area of parenting or life for that matter. Through many years He had been at work unraveling much of the confusion Religion had left us in, but the control issue had not been exposed. God will use whatever he has to, to get our attention.
Things have been turned upside down, or maybe closer to right side up through this experience. I feel in my enthusiasm many years ago when I came back to Christianity ( I use that term intentually here ) I missed out on a big part of the Cross of Christ, the part that gets at the core of the Natural Man. Isn't that the point of the cross for us. That Natural Man stuff is what keeps us from moving from our state of death to new life in Him. If we then don't let God sort out in us the tangled mess this life of independance has created in our minds and hearts we really remain in the mess. It take a lifetime for Him to help sort it out in us. It's a journey.
I believe this is why the Traditional Institutional Church as a whole has been diminished to not much more than a social bless me club. I lived in control, or so I thought, of everything and at the core of it all, tried to even control God. He is having his way finally. A trip back to the Cross was necessary. For me to boast about this happening is just laughable. I wanted Him to fix everybody around me and my messed up circumstances they were responsible for. I know that is ugly but that is what it was. He didn't seemed to be interested it that at all. I am learning, FINALLY, I can't fix anyone, not even myself. But I can learn to love and He can teach me how to live in honorable relations with everyone around me. Yes, this is how He even wants me to live with my children. I want to stop exploiting people for my gain. I've learned that this one runs deep and hides itself very well. Here's some more good news, He knows what He is doing. He can get at this stuff and set us free. I want to get out of His way. He knows the dreams he has for my children, He is the potter, I am not. He is the Author and finisher of our faith.
So, I will end with my daughter Sam's discovery. There was an issue that had raged between her and her two older sisters for years. It was very frustrating and the fix was easy for me to see. For some reason they didn't seem to get it. It would drive me to fits and just about every evening would end with this battle. I would enter the battle, setting a terrible example and compounding the problem. I couldn't seem to see that, or at least stop myself. After the work of God really started to change me and my wife, we were able to let alot of this stuff go. Things started to change for us. Their conflict went on for awhile longer. And I'm dreaming, if I think there won't be more up ahead. That's life!!!!
Sam came up to me the other day and said, Dad, we have figured out a solution to the fights we have been having before bedtime. I said, really Sam, what is it? With this big grin on her shining face, she said, we have been rotating, taking turns, it's working really well. I said, Sam, that is really cool. What a great idea. I'm proud of you. She turned and ran off. It was the thing I had been screaming at them all that time to no avail, but she wasn't even thinking about that at all. This was her discovery and I was not about to take it from her. I then realized, I had not even noticed that they hadn't been arguing about it any more.
I remember hearing a brother , who had been such a big help to me in that time of, let's say my painful discovery, he said this, love will always take us places law never can. Oh, has that ever turned out to be true.
From the minute they come out of their mom's womb, they are leaving us. That is the way it is suppose to be. God designed it that way. I want to be a support in His training of them, not a hindrance.