John is away for work. He may be away for approximately 10 weeks out of the next 16 weeks. We will miss him like crazy…and I just hope and pray that nothing too technical breaks down on our servers, but we’ll manage. I’m not particularly fazed or scared about him being away so much.
Except in one area. Those who know me in real life, or have followed my blog for awhile may guess as to my area of concern…which also led to my previous post where I voiced this concern about parenting from grace or law. Not that the two can be separated (imbalance is always the result) but my concern is the daily living. The practical reality of everyday life when it is not perfect or ideal.
My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
There was a time when I was verbally and physically abrasive. I despised that about myself. I also inherited those traits as learned behaviour and I wanted to break that vicious cycle. So, I set about identifying my triggers. Once identified I became proactive in ordering my lifestyle and habits so as to avoid these triggers as much as possible. Yes sadly, I still need to be controlled by externals in some areas of my life. However, by the grace of God, He is doing a work in me and the things He has taught me have helped me to avoid being abusive toward the ones I love. The problem with external controls is that when they are removed or not in place for various reasons, then self control must take over or all hell breaks loose. I live with a situation that is a huge trigger for me. Much of it is allayed by the fact that I am under my husband’s authority and so he handles much of the situation which is a trigger for me. But when he goes away, he trusts me and delegates full authority to me.
I am not scared of the person. I’m scared of myself. I have seen myself in action and it is not pretty. It is harmful. It can be devastating. I am weak. I will be clinging to 2 Cor 12:9-10
Getting back to my previous post: I like to set fairly rigid rules for our family to live by when John isn’t at home. Problem is, we don’t have too many rules normally. As an example, sometimes, I’ll send the children to bed at 9.30pm and other times it will be midnight. There is never any fuss- this is part of how we practically live by grace. But one child cannot live that way. This child needs a concrete line drawn in the sand. Without it, the child simply will not go to bed at all. Even when the line is drawn, they will push, and push and push- nagging, whining, yelling, screaming: doing anything necessary to *win* (as seen in their eyes).
We parent using natural consequences. If one would like to wear clean clothes on Tuesday, then one will need to wash on Monday. Right? Fair enough? If one does not put them in the laundry or wash them for themselves, then they will not be ready. No, I will NOT run down to the store and buy some brand new socks! No, you may not use my socks. You will have to live with the consequences of your own actions. Harsh? maybe…but fair. However, there is one child who refuses to accept this way of life. Simply and point blank refuses.
So with John not home, the only way I know how to cope is to set firm rules and we all live by them. However, it is really quite draining and hard to live by rules all the time. I find it sucks the very life-joy from me. I know not everyone feels this way but in this situation, I do. We have lived by our Family Ways before and most of us can do it…but it’s wearing. It’s wearing because there is only one who sets out to make it very difficult. Hence my dilemma of what to do and who to do it. I do not want to be broken to the point where I resort to past behaviour. I am weak. I am not strong, like some women have mistakenly believed about me. In fact, I’m not even nice. I can be horrible. I need God’s grace. I need His peace. And I need Him to be very real in my life throughout the coming months.
I know God will help me. I know He will be with me. With all my pro activeness and practising of self control, can I, without God, do that which is commanded of me? Can I submit my flesh, to God? Will I ever be at the point where this ‘thorn in my flesh’ will be able to be used for my own good…let alone God’s glory?