Monday, March 24, 2014

I Am a Work in Progress

God is so good!  He has given us two children who have turned our world upside-down while filling our cups with laughter, silliness, joy, innocence, dancing, singing, stories, imagination, crumbs, and --yes-- chaos! 

But He has also used them to inspire change within us resulting in more patience, humility, discipline, maturity, conviction, compassion, integrity, trust, and beyond all of that LOVE in our own lives.

Being a parent has convicted me to step up to the plate (or cup) that God has filled brimming full in my life, as I strive be the person I want my children to become. 

Are you following me?  

As a parent I have certainly become more aware of my own shortcomings and the need for the Holy Spirit to be the air I breathe.

Let me explain...

have never needed more patience than with my two eager and rambunctious little people, who have strong wills and ideals of their own.   This should speak for itself.  Can I get an Amen?!

Just as marriage has taught me humility, being a mommy has too.  So very much!  I have to humble myself and say "sorry" when I have messed up.  It happens all too often.  I've raised my voice (too loudly) when I've felt out of control. :(  I have misunderstood the kids and sent the wrong one to time-out...  I am guilty!  When I do these things, I always come and apologize sincerely to them to set an example and let them know mommy needs God's help, too!  I'm all too familiar with the taste of humble pie, and that's ok.  I'm a work in progress!

I not only discipline my children in love when they need correction, but I have had to discipline myself in my schedule and duties as a woman and mommy!  One way I do this is I set the alarm to go off before my kids get up in the morning.  This way I drink my first cup of coffee and talk to God as the sun comes up.  It's not easy, but it's better than waking up to "mommy, mommy!"  and getting quite literally a running start right out of bed.  For me this works better.  We're all different!  :)  I need my time to shake off my sleepy head and wake up.  There are too many examples to say of how a parent sacrifices and disciplines oneself to make sure they are doing what's right for the family.

want my children to see my convictions.  My faith in the Lord is everything, and what I believe He has called for me to do--or not do.  I need to acknowledge what these are as a parent... I'm still learning!  But I seek God to get a clear understanding of what He wants me to stand for and against, what is really important in life, and where my passions are.  Our children watch and listen to us intently--whether we know it or not--and I want to live a life of with intention and conviction.  As they grow older this will become even more important!

I'm learning what compassion is every minute as I'm beckoned to their little "needs".  Little minds can be distraught over such things as a favorite blanket being lost.  A boo boo that needs a prayer, and a kiss before getting back on the tricycle, or a little girl afraid of the wall "flashing" at night.  I'm trying to show compassion when I see my little ones needing me for what seems like nothing at all, because I was a child once.  I remember how sometimes I just needed to extra hug and "it will be ok" from Mom before I could go on.  So many times those things seem to arise at in opportune moments.   Like when I've finally fallen asleep, when they've finally fallen, or when I'm on the phone with the dentist office, but I am working on compassionate tone of voice instead of a harried one in response.  Compassion goes a long way in little hearts.  

am working on being a mama of integrity.  I want to walk the talk.  Even in the small things like if I said I would get all the birthday balloons down so my son could play with them right after he naps, I want to do just that.  If I tell them that we would have bedtime reading and rocking chair time, I want to stay true to my word.   It also applies, if I say that one more time and "you will be in trouble", I stick to my word.  I want them to know what mommy says, they can count on!  I especially believe a person who follows Christ should have integrity if they want anyone to listen what they say.  Integrity is what helps to build ...

Trust.  This has been a big one for us.  Since our children were adopted, Heath and I had to earn their trust, and they've had to earn ours.  This does not happen overnight!  After 10 months, we've established a bond of trust that is now strong, thanks to God answering our many prayers for this!  As you know, trust is a huge component for any healthy relationship, especially between child and parent.  It's almost everything.  I was pretty discouraged in the beginning, because most babies seem to be born trusting their mommies and we didn't have that bond.  God was faithful and gave us the patience and hope we needed to push through the difficulties in the beginning.  Now we know each other and they understand how much we love them!  We follow through with what we say and we've opened our hearts to them fully, so we've come to earn their trust.  It's a beautiful thing!  My trust in God, on the other hand, for the lives of my children is massive and probably another post altogether. 

Our cups runneth over with love for our son and daughter!!  This really can't be explained.  Love is something that I feel is continually growing and because of my great love for them, I seek more patience, humility, discipline, maturity, conviction, compassion, integrity and trust in my life.  

God's love overflows in my own life, and it's that outpouring that runs off and into my marriage and children.  He is the wellspring (of life)!  

I honestly don't think I would be even a good parent at all without Jesus in my life helping!  I'm not kidding!  

While parenting is hard work,  I have the ultimate parent in my father God to learn from!  As parents, we are learning and growing on the inside just as our children are.  I need God just as they do!  The more I see my similarities and my kids', the better I know how to parent.

I am a work in progress!!

As you can see, both our children just celebrated birthdays!  We now have a 3 & 4 year old!  I pray in Jesus name this by far their most joyful year yet!!!


elizabeth said...

I think you're doing an amazing job in the adjustment to instant mommyhood of not one but two little ones. God has been faithful and will continue to be faithful as you lean on Him for wisdom and strength. Here's a link to a great book that I highly recommend to the young parents in our church. I loved reading it myself!

Leslie said...

That's really sweet of you to say, Elizabeth! Yes, God is literally the source of any good out of me at all, and that includes parenting! :) I love reading and appreciate your book suggestion. I'll have to check it our real soon! I hope you and your hubby are doing well. It's good to talk to you!

Ali Phillips said...

Wonderful post Leslie :) I am really happy to hear that the kids are able to trust and you guys will just keep growing and loving as a family. That is wonderful. It also inspires me to be a better, more patient mommy. I really need to remember that (especially the point about how kids get upset over little things, but to them it is important. too often I have been far too harsh and said things like, that is such a silly thing to be upset about! -- I really needed to read this. Thank you!

Michelle said...

Great post. We worked really hard on the balance of discipline and love. They know what mom or dad said would hold true. I always let them know that even if they did something wrong and were disciplined that I still loved them. I am so proud of how they turned out. It makes me smile to hear what great kids I raised. I did it with a lot of Gods help !

Leslie said...

Ali, I'm so glad it blessed you at just the right moment. I don't feel like I have much mommy "wisdom" at all right now, but I do love sharing some of my thoughts on our life with you all!

Michelle, you must be so proud to have such wonderful kids! I'm sure you're an awesome parent. I'm trying to discipline in love, but I have much to learn. It's a daily asking of the Lord for help on my part to get it right. I'm just glad He has given me the opportunity to raise our children! :)

R Annette said...

I just clicked on your blog from "I Take Joy" & read your story! OH MY WORD! I want to meet you! Your story touched me! I was adopted-and not as a baby - my story is a long one! God is faithful! I now have four children by birth - but adoption is in my heart down the road or if GOD leads us down that route sooner! I love love love your story & your spirit with which you write! Thank you!

R Annette said...

I typed a long comment out and I'm not sure where it disappeared to! I clicked on your blog from "I Take Joy" and your story has blessed me tonight! I wish you were nearby because I'd love to meet you!!! I'm adopted myself and not as a baby. My story is a long one and not your typical adoption story but God is faithful isn't he? I'm now married and have four birth children and a heart to adopt down the road. God wrote my story & I'm so glad he did. :-) may he richly bless you in your daily walk of motherhood! Your children are absolutely beautiful!

Leslie said...

Hi there R Annette, it sounds like I've found a kindred spirit!! Oh, I wish we could sit together and talk. Thank you so much for not only visiting my blog but taking the time to leave such a sweet message! I would love to hear your story!! It sounds like God has really done a work in your life, and that's so exciting to know more about. I saw your profile pic and your family is adorable. 4 kids, what a blessing!! I really thank God for planting this desire to adopt in our hearts, and know we couldn't imagine life any other way! :D