Saturday, April 25, 2009

Family Matters - Chapter 5

I'm slowly catching up on my posts for Tuesday's Yes to God Book Study. I'm actually in the same week as the chapter. Next week I will hopefully be closer to on time. So if this is your first visit to my blog. Welcome. Yes to God is hosted by Lelia at Write From the Heart, you can cruise over to her blog and see other's thoughts on the book too. The book you may have guessed is An Untroubled Heart by Micca Campbell you can stop by her sight as well.

So let's start this chapter addressed our fears as it relates to our family. Okay I know I say I find tons in every chapter, but this one I think Micca wrote it for me. In the beginning she shares a prayer she wrote in her journal asking God to care and protect her children, and she expresses her great love for her children, a love she didn't know was possible to have. I remember when Brinn was a new born in the hospital with me. I had to stay 4 nights how I would just stare at her in wonder and amazement of how much I loved her. I was content to just hold her and watch her sleep. I was a one month old Christian, and I remember praying for God to protect us, provide for us, and to show me how to be the mother that would please him.

Micca shared a quote from Bible teacher Adrian Rogers that just completely soothed my fearful heart. "The Holy Spirit finds the desire of God and puts that desire in our hearts. When we pray for what's been laid on our hearts, it goes right back to heaven in agreement with God's will." When Brinn was born, I was a new mom, and as I've shared before about to become a single mom, and a newborn myself in Christ. I didn't know really how to pray, but I knew my desire was to raise Brinn to know Jesus and to raise her in according to how God would want me to. I only knew one scripture verse by heart. "For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11. This was what I would repeat over and over, and I've clung to this verse ever since. God is constantly answering my prayer, the same prayer I still pray today. Teach me to be the mother (and now wife) you want me to be, so people will see you in me and in my family.

Micca asks us do we parent out of fear or faith? I thought about this for a long time. I will be honest most of the time it's been fear, but I'm learning more and more how to parent on faith. Micca said (and I can't phrase it better than this) "A mom's most precious treasure is her family. I know. I'm a wife and a mother. I can't think of anything in this world that I love more or would fight for more than my family." Speak the truth sister. "The battle is on" Micca says as we go up against the many outside influences that seek to steal our children's hearts and minds. This world is scary and dangerous and with out a firm foundation for our children a place of safety and comfort from the evil ruler in this world who wants to succeed in pulling our children away from us and Jesus.

God though is our "Master Builder" Psalm 127 "provides us with the tools we need to build a home that is protected, peaceful, prosperous, and pleasing to the Lord: Unless the Lord builds the house it's builders labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchmen stand guard in vain."
We need to give our families and our home to the Lord, so that we don't get in God's way with our ideas of how to build a secure and safe home. Without God what we build is really just a facade like on the back of an old movie lot. Looks great from the outside, but when you walk through the door, there is no house just a false front put up to look good. "We let our anxieties about family get in the way of God's building work." There is no safety from the storms, no walls to keep the things that you want to stay out away, just a false sense of a home. "When we let fear get in the way, it's like trying to build without the correct materials. It's only when we place our rusty hammers and saws in God's hands that He is able to do what we fail to do in our best human efforts."
I remember when Brinn was small I had fears. Those fears were easily removed because she was little and she fully dependent on me. You are their protector and their comfort. Everything you say is right, their opinions are minimal mostly to their foods, and they love to hug you. Brinn would give me these hugs with her whole little body. She'd wrap her legs around my rib cage, her arms around my neck and squeeze with all her might. It was such a sweet loving way of expressing how much she loved me. At this age it was so much easier to keep the ugly of the world out.
(she was a little chunk of love)
Now though she's headed for preteen. Brinn will be 10 in June, and is full of questions, opinions, and even though she goes to a small private Christian School is still exposed to the draws of the worlds. She also is a great observer, she watches and listens to everyone around her, including us. Brinn has experienced much in her short 10 years, she's sees her mama go through extreme health issues, she's lost to divorce first a father, then a step mom, 1/2 brother, and step sister, who she misses. I got remarried, and we went from the two of us to the three of us. She went through Brett's addiction as well as his recovery and watched his redemption, and then her adoption by Brett. Through this whole time she was watching me and Brett and how we handle things, what did we teach her?
"We teach our children fear instead of faith when we try to live in our own strength instead of depending on God's ability." Honestly through most of the last 10 years I believe that she has seen more faith than fear. I find it easier to give my problems and desperate times over to God, but when it comes to giving control over to my Heavenly Father of Brinn I falter.
Where my fear comes in that God has been working on is wanting to protect Brinn from the pain I felt as a child and mistakes I made growing up. I Fear Junior High School, and all the changes that come with it. Let's face it she's not my little chunky monkey she was in the picture above. This is Brinn just a few weeks ago.

She picks her own clothes (she has full leggins on though) has her own taste in music, and her own ideas and intrests. I see a lot of me in her, and that SCARES me. This is where I must turn all of my fears over to the Lord, and God is teaching me that He will walk with my daughter. Remember those bodyguards from the last chapter Goodness and Mercy, well God's given Brinn those bodyguards to.

Paul writes "If God is for us, who can be against us? -- Romans 8:31, then Micca reminds us if we claim this verse we must live it out, in all things. "Our children shouldn't see fear in us. We can't say with our mouths that we trust God and contradict that trust with our actions."

So now I'm adding to my simple prayer, asking God to teach me when "to guard and not to guard, when to protect and not to protect, and when to trade fear for faith" and to continue to help me teach her in your ways. I love Micca's advice about teaching our children "how to use God's Word as a handbook for decision making." Teaching Brinn Philippians 4:8 is already been set in motion.

It was a hard for me when I realized that going to public school in Jr. High was part of God's plan for Brinn. I had wanted her to go to a private Christian Jr. High and High school. I pushed that on her which put a lot of pressure on her regarding school, and on us financially. I was afraid of the environment, afraid of the agendas being pushed out here. Then God reminded me "Carol I'm bigger than the public school agendas and systems" oh yes, my God is Big, and Goodness and Mercy are with my Brinn. Yes Brinn , will feel lonely the first few weeks of school, because she won't know anyone then she'll have fights with her friends, and encounter "sandpaper people". I won't know every teacher in the school or every child that she spends her day with, but God will and I know He loves Brinn more deeply than I ever can imagine. She will come home with ideas and wants that we'll disagree over, but that's part of her growing and part of me learning to let her become the person God needs her to be.

Lord I love you, and I'm grateful for the way you live with us in our home everyday. I know that you walk with us, and ahead of us wherever we go and wherever we are headed. Lord give the strength and courage not to try and take control of your work. I want you as my Master Builder, you as the rock our family and faith is built upon. I know that you have a plan for each member of my family, and your plans are always for your glory, and what is right for us. Thank you Father. Amen




Tina said...

I am so late!! I just now posted on chapter five! I'm hoping to catch up this weekend.

"I see a lot of me in her, and that SCARES me."

I feel you on that one! You are on the right road though, asking God to teach you when to guard, when to protect and not to protect....

As far as the public school thing, I came to know Christ because a friend at my public school invited me to church. If all christians were to keep there kids out of public school there would be so many lost opportunities. God knows what each child needs and some probably really need to be in a christian school. I am thankful that Bobbie Bigham's parents had her in my public school back in 1979!

You have the gift of mercy, you reached out to me when I so needed a touch from our savior. If you see a lot of yourself in Brinn I'm sure that is a good thing! For you have a heart for God that is tender to others.

In His Perfect Love,

Michelle said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog. I'm trying to catch up on reading posts also. I can relate to many of your thoughts. We just have to keep praying.