Monday, December 31, 2007

Who's Lord in my home?

I remember reading Lou Priolo's book, The Heart of Anger. I only got through the first few chapters (typical of me), but that was enough to teach me a very important lesson. In the book, the author points out how insecure we make our kids when they become the center of our universe, instead of God. When we have a "child-centered home" instead of a "God-centered home," our kids learn that the world can and should revolve around them. They begin to feel insecure with our parenting. In fact, Priolo says this clearly provokes children to wrath.

I believe I have really seen this principle in my home. One of my children in particular, is very angry and even cruel, at times. But in all honesty, I can understand why. We have danced around his every need for many years, and now, he hates us for it. He knows we love God, but also believe he has the power to make us set aside our faith or relationship with Jesus long enough to appease him. It's a shameful thing to have to admit, but I believe our past is riddled with these truths.

On the flip side, I also believe that we've learned a valuable lesson in all this, and we're no longer willing to set aside our beliefs just to make him happy. My revelation some weeks ago that my commitment to the Lord includes raising my children, not necessarily making them love/like me, has given me so much peace and direction. The reigns are a bit tighter in our home, but this has provided a safer environment for our kids. And I believe my oldest is responding well to that, even if he'd never admit it.

So, as I look forward to a new year, I'd have to say that my word (something I got from the FIAR website) would have to be...LORD.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Why do teenagers just not get this?!

I can't believe some of the things that come out of my teenage son's mouth sometimes. Not just potty humor things or insulting his siblings, but offensive things to other people. He thinks it's funny and it's just NOT! When I was a teenager, I was so repentant when I'd hurt someone else with my words. It was always an accident, but my son is not like that. I'm being told that it's a teenage boy thing, but I'm not buying that.

So now he's said something to offend one of the ladies who lives in the ministry complex, and I told her to go to the director with it. He needs to see that his words have meaning, and that they WILL get him into trouble with others in authority if he doesn't watch it. This was a major offense. His mentor will be called in (we provide all of our residents with a staff mentor, even the kids in staff families) and they'll all discuss it together. He won't be disciplined by me or his dad. This offense is bigger than that.

Lord, my heart is broken over my son's inability to see the power of words, and his lack of compassion for the people he offends. Please show him that Your ways are so much better, and that he actually CAN control his tongue. I'm surrendering him to You, Lord. And that's so hard for me to do...but he's not listening to us...please, whatever it takes to cause him to finally listen to You. Amen.

Edit: The director of our facility and his mentor have spoken, and his side of the story paints a much better picture. I believe him, and that this gal was not innocent in her part, either. Thanking God for working things out.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Well, we're making progress, but boy does it hurt!

I realized last week that I would be seen as my son's greatest nemesis when I decided to push him to the limit and make him do the school work needed to get him into high school in Jan. But, wow!

He's very frustrated, for one thing. And I know he's grappling with a lot of issues. He' realizing that he waited way too long to kick it into gear. The lessons take an hour a piece, or more, and he's got more than 20 lessons to go. Plus, he's going to be required to do a ton of paper work. Book reports, essays, a power point presentation...things that he should have started two months ago, when I told him to. Do you know how hard it is for me NOT to say, "See? I told you so!" :-P But I haven't done that. Well,...when he's been very short tempered with me, and even given me a "Whatever," I have said something about him making this mess, so he's got to deal with it.

Some of his school work takes 10 or 11 hours a day, and I'm still not completely sure he's going to get everything done. His teacher/director at the learning center is willing to help grade his work over the Christmas break, too...which is so much more grace than he deserves. I can't imagine him not realizing how "on his side" we all are, but he seems to be blind to it.

So, we've got at least ten more days of hell before the deadline. I'm not even sure that the school is going to accept all his work, b/c if they look at the time it's taken him, they could decide he just has to wait until next fall, and even though he should be a junior (willing to be a sophomore), he'll have to enroll as a freshman. He'll be devastated, but I'm hoping he'll learn his lesson. If he fails, my prayer is he cries out to God. If he succeeds, I know he'll have lots of learning opportunities in his new school setting. As much as I love schooling them at home, I have so much peace about him enrolling in the public school. A first for us...and him!

Lord help us all ride through this season and remain standing on the other side. Amen!

Monday, December 10, 2007

R.W. Griffin wrote...

"We did not break into His light. He crashed into our darkness."

And, holy epiphany, Batman...that was the case for me this weekend.

I have struggled for a couple of years now with our oldest son. He's a typical "know-it-all" teenager, for the most part. And although he claims to know the Lord, he doesn't walk "in the Light" most of the time. He does claim to have a conscience, though, so Woo, Hoo!! ;)

Anyway, he decided last year that he wanted to enter public school so he could participate in sports. He's a natural athlete, and we're at a point with him where we believe it would be good for him to find out that he needs to answer to other authorities in life...namely right now, coaches and teachers. I hate sending him to p/s, but it's not about me. :P

So, about eight weeks ago, he began doing the course work that the school wanted him to do before he could enter the p/s. They aren't counting anything I did with him last year (which is totally bogus, imho, but if it's what he wants and what they require, oh well) so he's cramming an entire semesters worth of Algebra I, English and World History into those eight weeks.

I pretty much laid this in his lap. I decided that if this is what he wants, he needs to do the work necessary to reach his goals. However, this is where I've been struggling.

I've not been certain that I have done all I could do to make sure he's really equipped to reach his goals. In fact, I'm certain that I didn't learn how to manage a project of this size until I was about 24 or 25yo. It was about that time that I learned how to break a goal down into manageable chunks that I could reach daily, weekly, monthly, etc. However, I'm pretty sure I haven't done a good job of teaching him how to do that.

So what have I done when he's avoided doing his daily work? I've nagged him. I've told him I doubted that he was going to make it. But I haven't facilitated an environment to help him get his work done (eliminated facebook or youtube, movies with friends) because I really wanted it to be his decision.

But yesterday, the Lord revealed to me (Ecc. 5:4-7) that I have vowed to raise these kids. They are not my own...they are only loaned to me long enough for me to parent them. It's not my job to make them love me, make them love God or make them smart. I did, however, vow to parent them, love them, care for their needs, instruct them in the ways of righteousness.

And I have avoided fulfilling that vow b/c I wanted to make sure my kids loved me, more than I've wanted to actually parent them. It's been a Spirit-filled 2x4 over my head showing me this.

And the other thing He's shown me is that I have not been allowing my gentleness to be evident to my children, those we minister to, nor my friends. I've been anxious and I know that's shown a lack of trust in the Lord. Shame ON ME! I've been doing the very things that are driving my son to produce the wrong things in his life. And, I've avoided teaching him the necessities needed to reach his goals.

So, today we start fresh. He completes the tasks I give him before getting any "free time" on the internet, any movies time with friends, any phone time, etc.

I can't tell you the freedom I know have. It's like a huge emotional garbage bag has been lifted from my hands. I see clearly for the first time in weeks.

And when I sat my 15yos down and told him (in less than 2 minutes, btw) that I felt like I was confusing him, and that all that was going to stop, he almost acted like "'s about time." It was like he knew he needed more boundaries than I was providing, but he didn't want to admit it, kwim?

So, in the last 48 hours he's completed 12 lessons (just 32 + projects to go) and we're in boot camp mode. ;-)

God is good, and now...let's get this season over with! ;)

Saturday, December 1, 2007

An exhausting week

I am so tired, and yet, my head and heart are so full right now, that I feel like I have to at least get this stuff out of my head and down on "paper."

First off, I decided several weeks ago to slow my business building to a dead stop. Originally, it was because I really felt like the kids were at a place where they needed more of my attention. Then, as I began praying about it, I realized that the Lord has been convicting me for quite some time about how much I don't really trust Him when it comes to money. Maybe it's a lack of trust in my dh also, and that bothers me, too. I know it's wrong to feel like that.

But on top of all of that, I have been feeling called to be more involved in our ministry for quite some time, too. I been sorta just coasting along for the most part, helping people here from time to time, but not really investing in praying for them, or helping them draw closer to the Lord, ya know?

So, this week has been crazy.

1. The ministry decided to send a holiday letter to the churches and to our donors, but all of those had to be printed, folded, stuffed in brochures and delivered to the area churches. So, the kids and I spent a couple of days working on that with some of our sojourners and other staffers.

2. Today is foodbank day, like every Saturday. But as soon as we were done with that, 20+ college students came to help with various volunteer projects that needed to be done on the property; moving some of our sojourners from one apartment to another, painting a couple of rooms, painting some shelving, cleaning the foodbank, etc. And, the staff (including me) had to prepare for and supervise each project. It took us until about 5pm, so it was just a very long day today.

3. A couple of our sojourners have really needed some one-on-one attention this past week, too. Our apartment is right inside the front door of the facility, so my doorbell has been busy all week. I want to be helpful, but I seldom know where to draw the line so that my home doesn't have a revolving door. And my husband is also tired of not happy about there never being a quiet moment. Now, he's never been as quick to let people "in" as I have, but working in this ministry is really pushing his limits. And it's not like I'm not tired and feel like we need a break more's just that I think I look at these "visits" differently, ya know? I mean, many of our sojourners really have no place to go for wise counsel, and many of them also are not very sure how to run to the Lord. It's a tough spot, for sure.

4. And, to top off the week, my dh and son are really having trouble communicating. To be honest, I feel like my son is handling the whole thing much better than dh is. Frustrates the tar out of me!!! So, I don't know what I can do about it. I try way to hard to "fix things," I know. And that's not good. But, it's exhausting, and is just wearing me out. :-/

Well, it feels good to unload a little. 15yos is doing his schooling daily, but there are lots of roadblocks, including the internet being down, and him getting distracted so easily. But I'm convinced that he's going to reach his goals. He doesn't have a choice. :-)

The other two kids are just awesome. One of our sojourners told me this week while I was decorating our front door, that she sees a huge difference in the kids since I decided to take a break from working. She also said that I seem far less stressful, too. I was glad to hear that. To be truthful, I really didn't know how unapproachable I was when I was working so much. Shame on me.

It's late, and I'm struggling with some late night anger towards my dh, so need to spend some time in prayer before sleeping.

Lord, You have been so good to me. My gratitude seems so small considering how great You are. Forgive me for being fearful. Forgive me for getting short tempered and being so prideful. Show me how to make a difference in our home that will matter. I'm trusting You, Jesus.