A light saber battle is currently raging in the backyard. The boys have watched Clone Wars, Star Wars, and the Empire Strikes Back this afternoon. Yes, the force is strong around our home today.
May the 4th be with you.
May 4th should be celebrated as a national holiday! And today, for more reasons than ever, I am celebrating. You see, while the plastic sabers still clash around our home, as they did here and here when the boys were young, they are now battling their way into a new season of life. Fewer toddleresque screams come from their play fights. Believe it or not, they often come in happy, not requiring my intervention, and sometimes they even wash their grubby hands when they're called in for dinner. Finally growing up, they are... Mmmmm. As they grow they are turning from the dark-side (some days raising young ones can feel desperately dark) and maturing into Light bearers. I am so thankful for the pieces of scripture I have clung to most desperately during the years battling rebel forves here in our home; scripture I believed and spouted time and again throughout the dark years, when there were many disturbances in the force around our home.
Let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. (Galatians 6:9)
There is a season for constant, hands on bottom wiping, lego sorting reminders, light saber battles that end in tears for all three of them, spilled milk and tired children who shout "No!" though they've been trained to use kind, gentle words; there is a season where this unceasing discipline feels as though it will never end. I know, I know, I know...
But Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 tells us this:
To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.
(Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 )
Mothers of padiwans, there is a season for everything:
A time for sleepless nights, a time of rest;
A time for aching breasts and backs, a time for healing and wholeness;
A time for constant noise, a time for long stretches of quiet;
A time when mom and dad lose sight of one another, and a time to recouple for ten seconds - every day;
A time for countering with truth the lies of neighborhood bullies, and a time when kind words go deep into hearts.
A time for sickness and allergy testing and broken bones and questions, a time for waiting, and a time for answers;
A time for constant correction, and a time when siblings play joyfully together for long stretches everyday:
A time in the backyard swimming pool held in mom's arms, a time for swimming independently;
A time when padawans need constant training, a time to graduate to young Jedi's.
A time to blog about parenting young ones, and a time to transition to new messages about other experiences as a woman in the world and The Word today.
May the 4th is always a day to celebrate here in our Star Wars loving home, but today I am celebrating for others reasons as well. We are stepping over the line separating seasons. My younglings are big and broad and wonderful; still challenging and needy at times, but growing into marvelous good men each day. This site does not contain them, or me in this new season we have entered.
Today I am excited to share that in just three weeks I will be launching a new site to include more aspects of life, love, and parenting. Specifics forthcoming!
May you be blessed as you press on, weary mother of younglings. This season won't last forever.
Love well today!
"Do, or do not... there is no try"
Every time I hear Yoda speak the above words, whether I'm sitting with the boys over a bowl of popcorn or washing dishes in the kitchen behind the couch, this simple charge always grabs me. For how often have I said, or heard another Mama say, "I'm trying to be more patient... I need to try to stay calm and not get so angry with my kids... I try and I try to be more respectful of my husband... I'm trying to not talk on the cell phone when I'm at the park with my children... Trying... Trying... Trying..."
After a certain amount of failed attempts, I think it's time we finally say "ENOUGH!"? But then what? What do we do when all the trying has left us tried out? And the angry words, crying eyes, and selfish ways remain? Remember now, I'm talking about us, not the children. So, what now?
There are two verses I think of and two applications that do not require intense Jedi training. The first charges us to take off the sin we see entangling us as we parent. And the second exhorts us to replace the sin with Godly character. While these are spiritual truths, the action required can be most physical.
!) Take off...
Let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. (Hebrews 12:1b)
2) Put on...
Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. (Colossians 3:12-14)
Ladies, we have talked to God and cried over our "trying" issues long enough. it's time to flex a little Holy muscle.
I am not suggesting that we can be saved by our own efforts in the darkest areas of our character and our parenting problems. I am, however, saying, that Christ in us gives us the strength, self-discipline, and grace we need to stop trying and actually do something about it. We are promised in His Word that we "can do all things through Christ who strengthens (us)" (Philippians 4:13) "That His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness" (1 Peter 1:3) And that "the Spirit helps us in our weakness." (Romans 8:26)
So how do we commit to this redressing, as we set our minds and hearts and muscles with the sole purpose of clothing ourselves with compassion, kindness, gentleness, and patience?
1) Confess -- Admit where you're off and doing wrong. Tell God that you know about it and can't "try" your way out of your bad behavior.
2) Ask -- That God would take our surrendered "Try" and add His mighty "Umph!" That by His Power we might Triumph in these areas of our lives.
3) Make a plan -- How can you logistically clothe yourself with a different response when your triggers are detonated by your children or your husband.
- If you're a yeller, then respond to all stressful situations with a gentle whisper. Or try time-outs (for yourself) when you are ready to blow. If the children are very young, let them know that "Mommy needs a time out because I'm so upset that I can't be kind with my words." Demonstrate what you are doing, so that they can learn how to deal with their own sin-tendencies in a positive way.
- If you're a door slammer... put a stuffed animal in every door frame so that all the doors are slightly ajar. When you're ready to slam 'em shut not only will they be in the way, but let them remind you that you cherish the children who cherish those little toys.
- If you're tendency is to detach yourself from the family in lieu of facebook or email, set boundaries for yourself. Just like your older children have to do their 15 minutes of reading before they get your phone to play "angry birds," do your own reading in God's Word for 15 minutes, and then get down on the floor for puzzle play and legos with the kids before you retreat for a little personal time at the keyboard.
- If all you want every day at 2pm, when the children start to whine, is a handful of chocolate... replace it with some other ritual. Even if the kids are to old to take consistent naps, 2pm (or whenever) can be their quiet playtime in their rooms, or their reading time with Mama in the old rocking chair, or the time of day to take a family walk with a great big water bottle to fill your grumbly tummy that longs for chocolate.
4) Press on.
Not that I have already obtained, or am already made perfect: but I press on, that I may lay hold on that for which also I was laid hold on by Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:12)
The examples above may be silly compared to your own circumstances, but what I'm suggesting is that we DO something, rather than trying and trying and trying to make the evil go away without a plan.
We have The force on our side, Mamas. We do. And with Him... all things are possible for us to DO when He is our Master.
And to Him be the Glory! For we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. (Romans 8:37)
Welcome to those visiting me from Women Living Well!
I waited until my first born was the ripe old age of five before I introduced him to any shows with fighting, swords, blasters, guns, or wild play. What a good Mama, Yes? Of course that means Brody was three when he first saw Star Wars, and Asher (only one at the time) learned to walk with a Light Saber in each of his sweet little hands. We called him General Grievous. So much for sheltering our children from violence. But with older boy cousins and neighbors who all carried a full arsenal of weapons around the cul de sac, I knew we had to give the boys a proper education.
When i finally gave into the the manly rite of passage we know to be Star Wars my brother, sister-in-law, and their two padawans called to share their excitement with us. My Brother said as we said goodbye, "may the force be with you." I had to stop myself from saying "and also with you," cause that just seemed a little sacrilegious somehow.
I know that we all have stories of our boys and their Star Wars fanaticism, for the force is strong with all little boys. But I have to share my favorite recent Star Wars story. It was lunch time and the boys were gathered around the table to pray before we ate. Brody and Asher both wanted to pray and so Brody, being older, went first.
This was his prayer: "Dear Lord, thank you for my mom and my dad, my brothers, and the missionaries who tell people about you."
Next came Asher's prayer, "Thank you God for being God... and for light sabers."
Brody opened his eyes and exclaimed, "You can't pray that!"
"Why not?" My smallest big guy challenged.
"Well, because God's real but light sabers aren't!"
Asher thought about it long and hard and finally shrugged before starting in on his lunch.
I admit it must be confusing. After all he can see the light sabers we have strewn about the house, but God??? Invisible.
Many wonderful conversations about good and evil, anger, hate, goodness and love, the good side and the dark side, and which side they want to be on have filled our home since we embarked upon our quest through this Galaxy Far Far Away... Brody often busts out with his Yoda impersonations at the most apt moments, (which doesn't surprise me since he did wear his Yoda-ears nearly everywhere he went for for an entire year!)
I recall the time Asher was afraid of going into Chick-filet because of "the big cow." Brody said solemnly from within his five-point harness, "Mmmm, I sense fear in you, young padawan... fear leads to anger, and anger leads to hate, and hate leads to the dark side... Mmmm."
We all laughed, but Asher still asked to go through the drive-thru.
Tonight Yoda had to speak those same words to me...
I got so frustrated trying to teach Caleb his Math lesson I had to put myself in time-out in our room. Matt was sitting on our bedroom floor playing Legos with Brody (Star Wars Legos of course,) when I came in and said, "I know I shouldn't be angry, anger isn't a primary emotion, it's usually fear or frustration that we experience as anger. I'm just frustrated." Matt didn't look up from his play, as he quoted Brody's beloved Yoda. "Mmmm yes, fear leads to anger, and anger leads to the dark side."
"I know!" I laughed aloud while Brody keeled over in a fit of giggles, "I've already turned to the dark side... I feel like a Sith Lord!"
"Be careful, or the children know this, they will." Matt smiled and gave me a wink. I went back to Caleb's desk resolved again to teach him with goodness and patience, not anger and frustration. I needed a fresh dose of "the force," I guess.
May the force be with you too, as you teach your younglings well.