When I look at these photos, it sure makes me count my blessings. Man, I love these children! Even though they drive me crazy or drive me to exhaustion, it is all worth it. I love that both my kids come up to me out of the blue, multiple times a day to tell me they love me. Hailey says, "I love you even when you discipline me." Does it get any better than that?
I praise God He loves me enough to discipline me. I'm getting to a place in my spiritual walk, where I'm wanting Him to keep me on the straight and narrow path. I want to keep in step with Him always. Of course he has to discipline me to do it, but it is worth it to get back under His wing of protection.
I'm seeing glimpses of fruit in my children's lives, especially Josiah right now. I'm starting to see that the hard work of training is worth it. The other day, Josiah's AWANAS teacher told my neighbor that she noticed Josiah was really growing up and becoming a fine young man. Last year, we were getting a bad report every other week. Since he's started the new year, there hasn't been a bad report yet. This is a good reminder to me that every season in parenting is temporary. They really are paying attention and learning. All the training we do does have its benefits.
Even though we still have our intense moments, they are fewer and farther between. So much of that is because of MY willingness to change. God has been working on me big time with my anger and frustration level, especially my natural tendency to yell and be sarcastic. It still happens every now and then, but nothing like it was. As I keep working on this character flaw of mine, I pray that one day (sooner rather than later), it will be gone completely. I want to "Lead with cords of human kindness, with ties of love." Hosea 11:4. I pray that nearly every morning and I will until the day I die if I have to.
I want my home to resemble this river. Calm, yet flowing. Peaceful, yet still moving. Still getting the job done. Still running the race. These cute, active, challenging redheads in my life have made me face myself. My pure selfishness at times. God is using them to refine me in a whole new way. My faith has been stretched sometimes to the breaking point, but still I hold on, even by a thread. When I gain perspective again, I always come out of the difficult situation with my faith stronger than it was. "For God works to the good of those who love him and are called according to His purpose" Roman 8:28 - my life verse.
If you are having a hard season with your children, marriage, employment situation, ministry, etc. I hope this encourages you today. God loves us too much to let us remain stagnant in our faith. Let our faith be like a flowing river instead. Sometimes we'll have calm moments, sometimes we'll have rapids in our lives, but we always need to keep moving towards the prize.