This past week has been tough. With all that hangs in the balance regarding our house, the apartment, adoption, and continuing to parent the 3 Brownies living at home and be a wife to my dear husband, I find myself constantly searching for some help!
When I get overwhelmed, I go looking for some kind of "12 steps" that will fix my dilemma. If I'm struggling with worry over the adoption timeline, I go scour ChinaAdoptTalk for rumors. If I'm struggling over our school schedule, I search the Sonlight forums or send out an email to my fabulous HOME group moms. If the kids are being disrespectful and not obeying, I head back to one of Kevin Lehman's books for some ideas.
Last night, during the teaching portion of the women's bible study at The Village Church, Colleen Searcy was guiding a review of the call of Abram in Genesis. Abram (not yet renamed Abraham) looked to the world for help, just as I do. So far, his faux pas has been taking matters into his own hands by lying (I know it wasn't a "technical" lie, but his motive was deceit in order to protect himself, so that's sin, no matter how you want to define a lie.) to the king, leading him to believe Sarai was just his sister, not his wife.
We haven't gotten this far yet, but in future chapters, we'll see Abram do this exact same thing again, then later still, he chooses to not trust God's promise to give him a son and takes matters into his own hands.
It's easy when reading these mess-ups in the span of a few chapters to think Abram must be dense. I mean, he hangs out with God. One verse that snagged me this week was: "[God] took [Abram] outside" to show him the stars. God just, ya know, gave him a bump on the shoulder and said, "C'mon, I wanna show you something." Abram knew God in a way no one else on earth (okay, except Jesus) has. Yet he STILL forgot to consult God before acting. He still mistrusted and doubted God's promises. What a flake.
You know where this is going. Even though God is faithful to fulfill His promises to me, I continue to go to Him as a later resort. I say "later", because He's not my last resort, which makes me feel a little more holy. But He demands first place. Second might as well be last.
For those who aren't followers of God, when I say "go to God", that just means I open up the Bible or use the internet to look up words, phrases and topics in scripture, or pray or all of these things.
Last night, after bible study, I came home and had a particularly difficult moment with the Brownies. It wasn't the first difficult moment of the day. I would see their blatant disrespect and wonder where along the way I lost it. And I also "lost it" with them, raising my voice to a near yell. (Oh believe me, I've yelled...but was able to restrain myself last night at least.)
As I sat down, I decided to put into practice what I had just studied in God's Word. Imagine that. Here is a verse I came across multiple times:
"The LORD is slow to anger, abounding in love and forgiving sin and rebellion. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished."
That shows up several times. Numbers 14, Nahum 1, among other places.
Well, there's my problem right there:
-The LORD is slow to anger. Sarah has been quick to anger (even if I CAN control the volume of my voice.)
-Abounding in love. I think I have that one. I love those Brownies no matter what they do.
-Forgiving sin and rebellion. While I say I have that one covered, I think that, too often, I let things go without resolving or correcting it. That won't bring about true forgiveness, which leads to the next statement:
-Yet He does not leave the guilty unpunished. I have been finding ways to take privileges away from the kids that won't interfere with my life. That means I'm letting them get away with a lot. Of course, they're going to push even harder, knowing they'll get away with it.
I had emailed Ken, asking for his help and confessing that I have not been doing what I should regarding disciplining the kids. We agreed to work on it together and come up with some tangible guidelines for US to follow when the kids disobey.
How hard was that? I searched God's Word and He had an answer perfectly for me. One verse that was a great step-by-step parenting tool. It's not always that cut-and-dry, but for me, last night, God blessed my obedience by giving me a quick answer.
He promised to give wisdom when I ask for it. So, may I be like Abram, see the error of my ways, turn around and trust God, who will not fail!