Wednesday, May 23, 2012

So Proud of My Boy

Boy Wonder has not always been an easy child to mother. God wired him a certain way that has been a challenge since day one. There have been many times when I have questioned why the Man Upstairs felt I was qualified to raise him. Patience is not always one of my strong points and parenting Boy Wonder requires by the truckload. 

From being kicked out of preschool on the first day, to countless trips to the Principal's office before we chose to home school ... I have often wondered what God had planned for the boy. I still remember the day a school administrator told me my child would probably end up a juvenile delinquent by the time he reached his teens. I refused to believe that was true and made the decision to never give up on the boy so many others had written off as a problem child.  (Incidentally, he had never done anything much worse in school than acting up in class and being somewhat awkward socially, so where the "delinquent prediction" came from never made sense to me at all.  We switched churches shortly after the "potential delinquent" label was pasted on him and he was able to begin again with a clean slate as far as others opinions of him were concerned.)

With God leading the way, I have done my best to make my son believe in himself. I have worked hard to make him see that he is truly a "Boy Wonder" and that God has great plans for him. On this past Sunday I was finally able to see a glimpse of what might lie ahead in Boy Wonder's future.  I was blessed with the chance to finally enjoy a bit of payoff for years of parenting struggles.  
Boy Wonder was confirmed at our church last Sunday. It was the culmination of two-plus years of instruction and exploration of faith. As a final project, he was asked to write a Statement of Faith detailing what his faith means to him. He, and three other young women (out of a class of eighteen), were chosen to share their statements in front of the church congregation on Sunday during the service.  I am not just saying this because I'm his mama ... he was AMAZING! You had to be there to fully appreciate it, but the boy delivered his statement flawlessly. He engaged people, got a few laughs and made a definite impact with his words. I cannot tell you the number of people that came up to me afterword and commented on how moved they were by his witness. 
He has also had (for lack of better words) a major personality shift since Sunday.  It's like the whole rite of confirmation literally changed who he is inside and out.  I told him I love how he is acting not only with me, but with his sister.  The constant nitpicking and bickering has all but vanished.  I know it's only been a few days, but this is the longest it has been so peaceful in our home.  Today he told me the reason behind his new attitude.  He said that he felt it was time to stop being a hypocrite.  He said all the people telling him how proud they were of him made him realize that the person others see is not the person he is at home most of the time.  He said his faith makes him want to be a better brother and son.  Wow! If I ever doubted the power of prayer, I don't now!

Praise God!  My boy, my little troublesome boy has become a Man of God and I couldn't be prouder to call him my son.

With his permission, I share with you Boy Wonder's "Statement of Faith":
What does my faith mean to me?  I could paraphrase the Apostle’s Creed and say that I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth and in Jesus Christ, His only Son who died and rose again.  And that I believe in the Holy Spirit and the life everlasting.   And I do believe all of that to be true but, I’d like to take the opportunity to put what my faith means to me in my own words.

Like most people, I am not perfect. Shocking, eh? You might not know this about me but I am a control freak.  I like know just how things are gonna go.  Lots of things. Not just big things, but little things, and  important things, and even things that are not important at all.  Just ask my parents, it drives them nuts.  You could say I try to give God a hand with His job, all the time. 
My faith reminds me that God loves me just the way I am … broken and all.  He is faithful to me and more powerful than I could ever be.  Like Jeremiah 29:11 (I’m quoting The Message translation here) says:
I know what I'm doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for. 
The first time I read that passage I thought, “Wow. Plans. God has plans for me? Really?  Now we’re talking. That’s a promise I can live with.”  I know it’s gonna take some time, and a lot of patience on my part, something I may have some trouble with (okay something I do have trouble with) but I think I am on my way.  I have started to let go a little bit.  As my faith has grown and continues to I am trusting in God more.  Proverbs 3:5-6 says:

Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don’t try to figure out everything on your own.  Listen  for God's voice in everything you do, everywhere you go;  He's the one who will keep you on track.  Don't assume that you know it all.
I have to be honest, trust is not an easy thing for me.  It might very well be something I think I will struggle with all my life.  It’s just a part of who I am … but being a Christian is also a part of who I am.  My faith makes me want to try to do better.  I want to be a witness to others and maybe my brokenness is what God has given me to work with.   He just might use my less-than-perfect life to show others how great He is by helping a control freak like me to (like my mother always says) let go and let God.

The bottom line is nobody’s perfect, especially me.  It’s all a part of being human.  But God is working in me through the power of the Holy Spirit and the gift of faith to make me holy again.  The truth is I have a long way to go.  I won’t be all the way there until I am with Him forever in heaven.  I know I am still going to struggle with my need to control things between now and then, but knowing He loves me enough to sacrifice His own Son gives me the strength to do my best to let Him be God.  It also makes me want to share with others just how great my God is.
And that is what my faith in God means to me.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Sometimes It's OK to Say No

Half of the troubles of this life can be traced to saying yes too quickly and not saying no soon enough
Josh Billings

My plate is full.  With three chicklets and my parents depending on me to meet so many of their daily needs, I have little time to do anything else.  It's tough, but it's a choice I made with lots of time in prayer and I know I can do this 'cause God's "got my back." 

The Geek and I were recently asked to lead a parenting Bible study group at our church.  We were praised for how we have nurtured our chicklets faith in our own home and encouraged to step up and share our experiences with others.  My first reaction was to do it, but it was quickly followed by panic and then ultimately, guilt.  It's hard for me to say no, especially when it feels like I am saying no to God.  I prayerfully considered the request though, and realized I just can't take on the responsibility of leading others at this time.  God has placed me in the role of caretaker for my immediate family and it is a full time job with little to no time off for good behavior.  To take on the additional charge of nurturing others --- even though it is a very worthy thing to do --- is just not something I can commit to right now.   I have a "guilt gene" that works overtime, but I know in my heart that sometimes it's OK to say no --- and I just have to accept that this is one of those times.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Making Time

I have always had a tendency to put myself last.  I wouldn't call myself a martyr, just stupid actually.  Not making time for myself has gotten me in a heap o' trouble on more than one occasion. I do and say things that I'm not too proud of when I am under a load of stress.  I am slightly embarrassed to admit that I have even wound up in the hospital because of my failure to make rest a top priority in my life.

I am pretty darn sure we are all familiar with the "oxygen mask analogy" --- you need to put on your own first in order to be able to effectively help others with theirs --- but seriously, am I the only one who doesn't always do this in real life?  Surely someone else out there runs around like a chicken with its head cut off like yours truly, trying to get done all that needs to get done.  Why is it so hard to remember that taking the time to relax would make me even more productive.

Take rest; a field that has rested gives a bountiful crop.

The arrival of my parents and the additional demands of taking care of two more people has brought my need to "put on my own oxygen mask first" to the forefront. I can no longer afford to be neglectful of my own needs.  I realize that a case of the "grumpies" is the least of what could happen if I fail to take care of myself.  My health and my life will be in jeopardy if I don't pay heed and make making room for downtime a part of my everyday routine. 

The time to relax is when you don't have time for it.
Sydney J. Harris

It isn't going to always be convenient.  With six people in the house (not to mention outside obligations) clamoring for my attention, it's easy to put myself last.  But what is easy, is not good in the long run for myself or those who lean on me for support.

God didn't do it all in one day. What makes me think I can?
Author Unknown