Monday, April 25, 2011

Tough Love

Blessed is the one
who does not walk in step with the wicked
or stand in the way that sinners take
or sit in the company of mockers,
but whose delight is in the law of the LORD,
and who meditates on his law day and night.
That person is like a tree planted by streams of water,
which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither—
whatever they do prospers. (Psalm 1:1-3)

They will be called oaks of righteousness,
a planting of the LORD
for the display of his splendor. (Isaiah 61:3)

Watching our children wade through the murky waters of teens is difficult. They are not perfect, nor am I. They are searching for purpose, direction, and identity in a sea of peers, expectations, new experiences, youthful desires. Their thinking is not always logical. Their decisions are impulsive. Their emotions run ahead of them.

What do I do when what initially appeared to be a childish decision has become a consistent part of their character? Am I to blame for not being persistent or jumping on it sooner? Could I have pursued another route or have I failed to see the heart of the problem too late?

If they were a toddler, the answer seems obvious. Immediate consequences. Restoration. Try again. With some young children the lesson is quickly learned. With others the reinforcement day after day is required, but with consistency and unconditional love it is received in time.

I am not willing to let our teenagers raise themselves. The world would be more than willing to scoop them up and carry them along. But I will face the conflict and the hurtful looks if that is what it takes. I will be the bearer of unwanted discipline and wipe away the tears if that is what is required. I will stay up all night and pray and repent of my own sin as it glares back at me. I will trust and stand of God's promises of fruitfulness, peace and life for those who follow Him.

Christ did not leave me in my sin to please myself. He reached down. Called me. Saved me from myself. Walks with me through this life. Molds me. Shapes me. Disciplines me as only a Loving Father can. Restores. Redeems. Rejoices over me.

That's tough love. That's what I'm living.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Another Update

Someday I WILL write again. I think that someday is soon since we are headed into our last two weeks of school! I will reflect on that when it's actually over. For now we are doing a year end review. I've never done this before and I'm not quite sure why since it has been a huge hit with the kids. I am pleased with what they have retained. I am also finding that with this review time some missing pieces are falling into place. I have big plans for opening our time capsules and one last surprise field trip.

Here's a wrap up since I last wrote a post:

1. As of this week, Hannah passed her concussion test and has re-entered the world of active 14 year olds. We are thankful each and every day for God's care over her life and this recovery process. I find myself thinking a lot about our soldiers and the thousands each year who sustain traumatic brain injuries of various degrees. There is so much more to the healing processes for patients and families than I ever imagined.

2. Though things at work remain slow for me, my sister and I are blazing a new trail. We have started our own consignment sale business. Our first event is in a few short weeks! Our prayer is that we will be able to serve our community and bless our families in the process. We are still in the beginning phases in so many areas, but I have very much enjoyed the process and look forward to growing our business.

3. Since I last wrote, Joseph turned 8! How could this be? As is the tradition in our family, he had his first sleepover party. He chose a Star Wars Lego theme. Being that this was our first boy party, let me just say that we weren't at all prepared for all the noise and activity. It was SO much fun.

4. I've been reading here and there when I can. The books by my bed are always an indication of what is on my mind and stirring in my heart.

Organizing from the Inside Out
Still Alice
Hamlet's Blackberry
Lots of books about Word Press (which have not helped me much)
Lots of books about small business
Friendship for Grownups
Do Hard Thing: A Teenage Rebellion Against Low Expectations

5. Raising teens reveals to me a lot about myself. More that ever I have to ask for moment by moment wisdom not to be reactionary, but to be intentional in the words I chose to speak. I fail more than succeed in that. My tendency is to avoid conflict, but when I realize we are in the last stretch of parenting at home this it is not an option. There have been many difficult, late night conversations as of late. That is all I want to say about that.

6. We are anticipating an early summer family vacation. The day after graduation we are headed off to Florida for three weeks. We've spent this entire year saving our change, working extra jobs, setting aside gift cards/gift money, selling what we don't use/need to make this happen. We aren't going there for a big adventure (though I'm sure some will present themselves), but rather just to be together as a family and enjoy one another. After this summer we'll always have children in high school and we suspect that an extended time away might never happen again. The younger two have little to no recollection of our last time in Florida, so they are especially thrilled to be going to the ocean. We are returning to Cape Canaveral beach and staying in the same house as we did three years ago.

7. Last, but not least, with encouragement from my neighbor I started the 17 day diet back in February and for the first time since John has been born (4 1/2 years) I have been losing weight! She loaned me the book. I read it in one day and have been losing weight slowly but steadily ever since. For whatever reason this diet speaks to my body in such a way that it is actually cooperating. True, there is discipline involved on my part. Let me say, though, that it is ALOT easier to be disciplined when there's a reward at the end.