Ryan and I have five kids. Five kids that couldn't be any different. From the way they look to their personalities, they are all each so completely different. We have learned that there is only so much you can cultivate with their personalities. There truly is truth to the fact that they are born certain ways with certain traits and characteristics. The dynamics in our home is all over the board. Morgan is our oldest and she is shy with those she doesn't know but oh so confident once she does know you and she has no problem speaking her mind. She has this need to feel needed and of value. She tries to earn her keep so to speak and she is best served if you allow her to work. I know, it sounds weird right?! But Ryan and I had felt guilty, like we were "working" her too hard because she is the oldest of five kids five and under so we purposely refused to let her "work" or "help" us and boy was that a mistake! She felt completely betrayed by us and we began having a lot of discipline problems with her. A wise older woman spoke some truth into me and let me know that Morgan is wired to "help" and maybe we should let her do what she was created to do. So we did, and sure enough, I got my kid back. Then there is Levi. He's our evangelist. He eats up the Gospel and you often find him listening to worship music with his hands raised. He prays for the world and for people to be saved daily. When I pray for him at night, he thanks for me doing that for him. He's just got a heart for God that is unmatched by many adults we know. And he's 4. Then there is Matt. He's completely oblivious to pretty much anything. He's a true middle child. I often say "where is Matt". He's just a very quiet and sweet little boy who often gets in trouble because he has two older sibllings that like to have him do things for them that they know they aren't allowed to do :) He's my kid that doesn't say anything, but he'll come and hold my hand when he needs to be comforted. He's the kid that doesn't give us any problems, he's so compliant. Then I have Luci. If you know Luci, that's all I need to say. She's loud, opinionated, and bossy. I have no idea where this kid came from because she is not like any of us. She's so girly and prefers to be in a dress any day of the week. She is everybody's favorite and as a guy at the gym says "Luci has swag". I do not have to worry about Luci. She's confident, she's self assured, and she tells us often she's "Beautiful." She's only two! Then we have Kate. My sweet Kate. She is my cuddle bug. She prefers to be on my hip than anywhere else. She has this sweet little smirk that she gives when she knows she's doing something that she shouldn't be. She looks just like Matt and Morgan and her mannerisms remind me so much of Morgan it's eery.
I tell you all of these things about my kids because I have learned two important things about the honor of parenting. One, what we cannot parent into them we can pray into them. Often times Ryan and I are at a loss of what to do, or how to handle a child but what we always have is prayer. God can move in their little hearts and work in ways that Ryan and I never could. Secondly, we have learned that the goal of the family, our role as parents is the replication of the image of God and not to just create a happy home. We want our kids to respond the appropiate way not because it makes us all happy, but because that's how God desires them to respond or how to behave. I often hear my kids correcting each other and I hear things like "that is not God honoring". And I love that about them. As parents, we can never get these days back. Their minds are so impressionable and the sooner we understand that and honor what God has trusted us with, the better off your home will be. Not to mention, I often like to think about how we will be impacting future generations with the way that we raise our crew. Pretty humbling to condsider honestly. I know that there are curses that my family has struggled with that has been passed on from generation to generation and my heart felt prayer is that I as parent my kids the way that God has intended, that those curses go into the ground with me. And by the grace of God they will.
Wednesday, January 9, 2013
Where was God?
That is a question I get often in leading women through a journey of healing who were once victims of a sexual assault. Sexual assault, whether through rape, sexual abuse or incest is a devastating event that happens to far too many men and women, boys and girls. Victims of sexual assault also experience effects such as physical, psychological, and emotional scars and the abuse often manifests itself in responses such as denial, guilt, shame, distorted self-image, anger, and PTSD. The feelings that victims have I could never adequately put into words.
Praxis Community Church offers a support group for women who have been victimized. The group is centered around Jesus, His grace, and His healing hand. The reality is, no one on this side of the grave will ever truly understand what you went through. Sexual assualt harms people in different ways to different degrees. What I hope you find in our support group is a group of women who understand that you are hurting, who respect where you are in the process and never push you to go faster than your heart can bare. Sometimes, women come and they just listen. We never know their story. Some women come and just cry. Some come and scream and yell. People’s reactions are all over the board, and we welcome that and we honor where you are at. We don’t expect you to go through the class and come out as if nothing ever happened to you. Our hope and prayer is that you will begin the process to allow God to remove the guilt and shame and the effects that it has created in your life. I pray that women who enter the group with us learn that God is familiar with the pain you’ve been going through and more importantly that He mourns with you and that he is angrier than you are for the sins committed against you. So where was God? Come join us and let’s answer that question.