When discipline is hard…

Can I just have a moment today to share some honesty on the homefront?  We’ve been having some trouble keeping up with our chores around our home.  My kids like to go, go, go.  They like to play, play, play.  They love to have fun, and their joy is contagious and brings me so much joy in return.  But they don’t like to clean, clean, clean.   I mean, look at how rough it is to just organize some stuffed animals… 🙂

 

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No matter how many chore charts I’ve tried, reminders I give, or – let’s face it – nagging that comes out of my mouth, nothing seems to help some days.  It becomes a frustration for me because I know the investment I’ve made into this house, the costs it takes to replace things that are broken or worn down, and the results of negligence.  They don’t.  And try as I might, they just don’t get it.

So, once again, for what seems like the 25th time, I’ve been trying to find a better system where they take better responsibility for their things.  We’ve had several chats lately about stepping up to help more, now that they are older and capable of more than they realize.  I’ve made new lists for them to try to keep themselves more accountable. I keep hoping and praying they grasp it one of these days.

But then, I take a breath and remember… I’m still learning some of these same lessons myself in other ways.

Discipline.  It’s not fun.  Not the discipline that seems to mean “consequence” for one’s actions, of course.  But not the discipline that means commitment either.  That “stick to it” ness that usually needs to happen before success is obtained.  For example…

I desire to complete a 200-mile running challenge and obtain my medal.  But it will be a long time before I see the reward, so I’ve often felt like moving on to a different kind of exercise long before I’m anywhere near close to accomplishing this goal.

I desire to write a book, but when I have time to write, it often sounds more fun to meet a friend for coffee, or go window shop at a favorite store.

I desire to eat a salad each day for lunch, but that gets boring, and some other food that’s a lot less healthy often looks more appealing.

I desire to spend more time in prayer before starting my day, but a rough night of little sleep the night before makes sleeping in a little longer seem a little more important. 

 

We all have our own areas where discipline is so very challenging.  I wish I could see the bigger perspective that God sees.  Wouldn’t that be nice?  It would help bring so much encouragement to keep on going as we see the end results seeming more worth it.  Yet, we walk and move by faith, and that means pressing on even when we can’t see what lies ahead.  It means trusting that He will complete the work that He started in us.  It means knowing what we’ve been called to, and that we have the daily choice as to whether to continue living out that call.

And that call requires discipline.  But it also means a lot of His grace.  Our Father knows that we are weak and won’t follow through on things in our own human strength.  He forgives, loves, and encourages us in small ways to keep on pressing on.

So I’m also choosing some grace with my kids today, knowing that each one of us will probably struggle with discipline in some way, because we live on this earth full of distractions and lesser important things that tend to pull at us.

Oh, and by the way – I’m four miles away from finally completing that 200-mile challenge.  So be encouraged, my friends.   In whatever you are trying to accomplish right now, the discipline is so worth it!

Now, to get working on that book…

christydsiggy2013

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When birthdays become life lessons…

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Calling all the mamas out there today… Yes, you, with the child you feel like you are constantly disciplining for the same old reason.  The one who wears you out with the way you have to stay on top of them with a balance of discipline and love, wishing you could just love without the discipline for just one day.  Isn’t disciplining so exhausting?  It wears me out and makes me long for a day at the beach.  Anyone with me?

And yet, I know it’s so important, not only for the child… but for me.  Through parenting, and in those hard disciplining moments, I continue to learn so much about my relationship with my Heavenly Father.  Awhile back, I had a child – who will remain nameless, of course – whose birthday was coming up.  I was so excited to celebrate with my sweet child, and in typical mom form, was eager to give my child some really fun gifts I had purchased and knew he/she was longing for.  I get so much more excited about giving gifts these days than getting them.

As the time grew closer, however, I started to struggle with whether I should be giving more “stuff” to this child who had so much already and wasn’t acting so appreciative of what they already had.   I was tripping over toys, giving out way too many reminders to clean up, and just feeling really frustrated with the way he/she was taking care of their current belongings.  Is it really in my child’s best interests, I wondered, to be given more right now?  Perhaps some stewardship needed to be learned first.  And definitely some gratitude.

And then it hit me that sometimes, God may think the same thoughts about me as well.   Here I am praying for more, asking for more, and longing for God to do more in my life – when He just wants me to be content right now with what He’s already given me.  It doesn’t mean that I should stop longing or asking when He’s put desires in my heart.  But it does mean that I need to learn to be grateful for what I have now and steward what I have well,  so that I will appreciate and better handle the bigger gifts and responsibilities to come.  I have no idea what He’s got planned for me, or the timing of when those plans may come to fruition.

But I do know all that He’s called me to today.

The gifts He’s given me to cherish.

The responsibilities that I need to take ownership of.

And I have to believe, based on so many life stories of the people in Scripture,  that faithfulness to today’s responsibilities and gifts will result in greater fruitfulness tomorrow.

As for my child – well, we are still learning around here.  But I’m happy to report that the situation did improve before the birthday came around.  The birthday celebration was a happy time, and the birthday child ended up receiving way more than he/she deserved.  Because isn’t that how God is with us too?  So many gifts of grace.  Unmerited.  Undeserved.  Freely given in love.  But definitely delegated in His sovereign timing with the responsibility to steward them well.

My children will keep working on their gratitude and stewardship around here, and through it all, I’ll be reminded too.  Be grateful for today. Be hopeful for tomorrow.

But most of all, be content with His timing – convinced that Father really does know best.

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A call to gratitude (and a book review)

My least favorite time of year, when it comes to parenting my kids, is when the toy catalogs come out.  Right around when the holiday decorations start being seen around town, our mailbox starts overflowing with its own décor – catalogs galore.  And not just any catalogs, but catalogs that appeal to little people with big eyes.  Eyes that are prone to see all that they don’t have, that their friends do. We are blessed … {…Read More}

Book Review – Prayers that Changed History

Every once in awhile, the Lord connects somewhere I’m being challenged with a similar concept on a level my kids can relate to.  Lately, I’ve been convicted a lot about prayer… the importance of it, the power of it, and my need to do more of it.  I’ve been challenged to make prayer such a priority in my family that it becomes a habit my children see as vitally important in their own lives.  So when … {…Read More}

When it’s the heart of the matter…

Parenting sure can humble us sometimes, can’t it?  These little people that need so much direction and guidance, yet love so freely with such patience and forgiveness… well, they sure know how to bring out some truths I need to learn without their even realizing it.  If you are a parent, I’m sure you can relate. We had one of those moments yesterday when I took my kiddos to a local fun place filled with … {…Read More}

Back to school time!

It’s been a whirlwind of activity around here lately as we try to adjust to a new school year, and a new routine of school and extracurricular activities.  My kids are still a part of a wonderful hybrid classical school, where they attend three days a week and are home schooled two days a week.  This year, I joined them in going back to school… as a teacher there one day a week!  I’m greatly … {…Read More}

And so it begins…

It’s been a good summer… but a long one. I love my littles dearly, but summer now means I have to be intentional about having adult conversations. I think the combination of the heat, the length, and just a lot of overall hard going on all around us – well, it’s had me quiet and a bit discouraged.  This world can do that, I’ve learned, and I think that’s ok.  Those hardships help us to … {…Read More}

On Father’s Day…

Last week, I found myself sick and waiting for a half hour to see the PA at the CVS clinic near me… and this is what I had to look at.  It was hard.  Really hard.  I felt as bad emotionally after that as I felt physically, and maybe even worse.   It’s that time of the year that we used to love that we now dread… Father’s Day is nearing.  We used to love Father’s … {…Read More}

So they’ll always know…

One thing that has helped me tremendously in my grief over losing B, is all of the cards and letters he has written me throughout the years.  This man was a writer through and through, and from the time we first started dating, he charmed me pretty quickly with his way with words.  Compliments, encouragement, love letters… he wrote them all.    Of course now, all of those written words are even more treasured.  They … {…Read More}

I am not enough.

I am sure you’ve heard the saying that “it takes a village.” I’d be the first one to raise my hand in agreement. But I’d also be quick to go a step further and assure you that it also takes an Almighty God directing that village. At least that is how it’s looked pretty clearly in my life lately. And I don’t know if I could function a full day without that truth. I am … {…Read More}