Thursday, May 10, 2012

The Fear of Parenting

Last Tuesday was a rough day...  

We all woke up late (alarm on silent) and I awoke just feeling generally crotchety. My kids woke up in fine form as well...  instant bickering and just pushing their limits. Ugh.

Welcome "The Bickersons".

For some reason or another, the season of facing my past has come, and I am having to uncover and deal with a lot of my past emotional baggage lately.

Quite frankly, IT STUNK.

I am remembering and thinking through things that happened EONS ago.  It's been a struggle as I air my own dirty laundry to myself and lay it before God. Honesty, true and brutal, it's ugly... I'm unwinding the threads of my past, breaking down the walls of resistance, taking responsibility for my life and forgiving wounds I bear that haven't been forgotten yet.


Back to Tumultuous Tuesday

I reacted and opened my mouth, spewing out some pretty acrid words and tones. Afterwards, I felt that all too familiar rock settle into the pit of my stomach.

Quickly amends were made, tears shed, arms and hands intertwined as we hugged and "made up", we each prayed, asking forgiveness and walked out the door, feeling like we were "OK".

Still, that rock remained in my stomach.

As I dropped the kids off, watched them walk inside that giant building with their little feet pattering, heads bobbing as they chattered, backpacks thumping on small bent backs, I felt like crying.

Driving home I fought tears.

When I got home, I gave in, sat in my "prayer" chair and let it go. I cried, reasons unknown, and just let the tears flow. As I sat, nestled in the corner of our giant chair, I expressed to God how hard parenting is. Parenting is THE hardest and most complex job on the planet. It's even more cumbersome when you carry your own emotional battles into the realm of parenthood. Parenting is imperfect because WE are imperfect.

I fear being a poor parent.  Making mistakes and scarring my kids for the rest of their lives. Repeating hurts and patterns that I myself endured throughout my childhood.  I fear this... I fear that...

Some of my blog reading has included a serious set of "super-moms"...  Those kind of moms that are "perfect" and seemingly have no such things as a dirty toilet, heaven forbid that they should leave dishes in their sink after dinner, they never let their highlights grow out because they forgot to schedule their hair appointment, their children don't fight, they never snap at their husbands, they have memorized the Book of Proverbs and use it daily in conversation with their perfectly groomed children (see my version of the Proverbs 31 woman)...


I am not one of those.  I will admit it.  Yes, I missed my hair appointment 6 weeks ago and keep forgetting to call to reschedule (Just call me Mama Skunk). No, I will not allow you to see my kids bathroom, partly because its the only bathroom in the house that I chose not to be in charge of, and because my son peed on the floor, apparently shooting down a "giant flying spider" (I am waiting for him to get home from school to pick it up himself).

 I am not perfect.  And I realized sitting in that big chair, that I am NOT called to be that kind of mother to my kids.  I am called to be ME to my children.  I am not to be a parent like my sister, aunt, mother, neighbor, best friend, or fellow saint to my kids.   I am called to bring the qualities and giftings the Lord gave to ME into the lives of my kids.  And I am to raise them according to their bent, not mine or my self imposed set of fears.

Parenting is a naked, ugly, somewhat earth-shattering mirror into our souls.  There are times, I hear myself or see myself when I am dealing with my precious children, that I can see the horrible stain of the sinfulness I carry.  Stains of un-forgiveness.  Impatience.  Lack of love. Loneliness. Comparison. Shards of anger.  Pride. Fear. Shame. Anxiety.

I can't hang onto it any more.  This journey is too arduous to carry all that baggage.  I can feel its time to lay it down and move forward.  I am learning to embrace the Grace of Jesus Christ, learning to let go of my control... and learning that I am perfectly imperfect.

Today, (I am saying this aloud as I type) I chose to overcome my sinfulness as a parent.  I chose to let go of my past.  I chose to be different.  To respond differently.  To seek the fruit of the Spirit in my own life so that it will spill seed onto my family.  I will offer myself some grace.  When I fail, I will make it right and mend those fences. I won't let guilt rule me or my actions.

And I choose to believe this verse when I feel like a failure as a parent...

Is. 41: 10, 13

10. Don’t be afraid, for I am with you.
    Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you.
    I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.
13.For I hold you by your right hand—
    I, the Lord your God.
And I say to you,
    ‘Don’t be afraid. I am here to help you.
(I love that the title of Chapter 41 in the Message version is entitled "Do you feel like a lowly worm?") Man, somedays I really do...  =)

It makes me feel so much better, that even today, when I got onto my son and then felt like a Schmuck when he went off to school, that the Lord is there, holding my hand, telling me not to be afraid...  He'll be right along side me as I journey through this parenting thing...  Instructing, loving, and holding me. 

Much love to you all, 
Mrs. Learning Not to be Afraid of Fear

What is your fear in parenting?  How do you overcome it?  What verses do you cling too as you travel the road of parenting? 

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Step 1

We had a lady named, Bonnie Miller speak at my church on Sunday.  She wasn't the atypical speaker that I was used to listening too, but man, when I honed into what she was saying...  her words really touched my heart and I knew that this tied into what I was hoping to accomplish with this blog.  If you have 30 min, check out her teaching here.  (if its not there yet, it will be loaded later today)  Like it or not, the words that we speak aloud are sown into our spirits...  or even more ...  the spirits of others...  and the scriptures say, "that which we sow we will reap..."

I've been convicted when I stop to listen to myself speak. In the past few days I heard myself say... "It will never happen!"  "You're driving my crazy!"  When my husband told me I was beautiful, I shook my head "No" at him,  "I'll never get it done in time..." "I'm no good at this..." "What if it never happens?"  

Whoa.  Is it any surprise that I struggle with self esteem, patience, inadequacy and worry?  That's all I'm used to speaking aloud.  To myself.  About myself.  Its almost as though on autopilot I say these things aloud and sow seeds of nagging worry, despair, anxiety, impatience and low self esteem into my spirit.  And what are my words sowing into the lives of my precious children?  My wonderful husband?  

Its easy to compliment others, "You look so pretty today!"  "Thanks for your help!"  "You're important" "I really liked what you had to say..."  but WHY, oh Why, is it so hard to say those things to the very people who live in close quarters with me and share the same DNA as I???  

I've worked very hard the past few days saying things to my family like, "Wow, I really like your perseverance, but the answer is still NO!" as opposed to "Are you deaf?  I said N.O.!!!!!"  "Thank you for your help, I really appreciate it, even if that butter glass did get broken..." Instead of, "What do you think you're doing!  Look what you did!!"  "Thank you for cleaning the kitchen!  What a help you've been to me today" instead of, "Oh, you forgot to do...." "I think you're wonderful."  "I'll always love you." "I can do this!"  "Thank you God for helping me!"  

Its been hard.  My gut instinct is to vomit out my negative projectiles and shoot down those closest to me and to continue to maim my own spirit.  But, I can imagine, just as it is with anything, practice makes perfect.  If I can instinctively sow positive thoughts and promises and statements from the Word of God into my life and the lives of those around me...  Why, I think it would change my entire universe.  

So.  I'm kicking my mental butt into gear...  

If you see me muttering to myself down the aisles of Target, don't pull out a straight jacket and incarcerate me yet...  I'm just re-booting myself.  

The Real Woman's Journey Through the Valley Of Fear

I never would have made a good pastors wife. I tried for a few years, but my mouth got me in trouble.  I talked too openly or said too freely what I was thinking - politically correct or not... I once was told by a Pastor that my husband and I needed to "not be so transparent, to retain an air of "mystery" in our ministry to be successful."

Erm.  I am many things, but mysterious is not one of them.  Seriously.

At the time, so hungry for investment into my life and ministry I blindly took that comment and went forth.   What a bungling mess I made, and the end result of it was, trying blindly to hold on to an image of perfection and "mystery", I stopped talking.  I stopped being true and real.  Relatable.  Relevant. Myself.  

In the past years since then, I hunger for realness.  I am drawn to those in ministry who are real, who talk about their experiences through life via their trial and errors.  I like those who speak candidly. Those who find the humor in their life circumstances and can point to God with a smile, even in the middle of a dung pile and laugh about it. I am turned off by speakers who talk in generalities and never really say anything at all, or those who give no personal examples of triumph or failure.  I like it raw.  I like it real and I like it to be practical.  

Don't get me wrong, sometimes those conversations are the ones we shy away from.  It can hurt to be real.  Its vulnerable to be raw and open.  But when we are real and open with others about our struggles, our victory, our pain, our happiness, we can share the true meaning and message of Jesus Christ himself.  Look at the scriptures...  When Jesus walked on the earth, He was so terribly real that He threw the Pharisees into a tizzy... They didn't want Jesus to talk to their people about prayer, a Savior, how to treat their neighbors, how to avoid sin, or list the deplorable acts of sinful behavior of the people and then tell them how to be forgiven...  No, they would rather He stay "mysterious" and "unattainable" much like their version of a Savior - a royal King, sitting on a throne in a far off land, clothed in silks, jewels and finery, and surrounded by body guards... 

Now, I'm DEFINITELY not Jesus.... HA!  But I am taking a cue from Him.  I want to be real.  

I am a real woman.  I argue with my husband sometimes.  I yell at my kids occasionally. I have piles of dirty laundry that I procrastinate in doing. I feel like a failure at times. Sometimes dishes sit in my sink for a while.  Sometimes I only clean the top of the toilet seat when I'm in a hurry.  I wear a hat to cover up the fact that my hair is greasy.  I get pimples.  I cry.  I compare myself to others and struggle with inadequacy.  I desire to pray every day, but sometimes get so bogged down with life (aka laundry and toilets) that I don't have the energy. I get afraid of lots of things. I get lonely.  I really want to know the Lord better and struggle with the enormity of that thought at times. 

Enter "The Real Woman's Guide Through the Valley of Fear" aka my self titled blogging about fear.  

Not gonna lie.  I'm scared to even begin blogging about fear.  Who am I to do this?  What if I mess it up?  What if I take something out of context?  Mrs. __________ could do it a lot better than I.  What if i give up in the middle and you all think I am a loser?  What if? What if?  

 But we should want to openly journey through fear together and hope that somewhere along the way, we stop being afraid of fear.