Friday, September 16, 2011

Don't Give Up!

Today, I just want to offer a BIG round of encouragement. 

For those of you that are DARING TO BE DIFFERENT in the way you are raising your family, PLEASE do not give up.  If you happen to be wondering if it really matters.  Let me assure, it ABSOLUTELY does.  If you are tired completely exhausted, keep going.  If you think no one cares about the effort you are putting in and that you aren't really seeing many results, keep going! 

This week everywhere I have turned I've been hit with such harsh reality of how things around us are just spiraling out of control.  I have no doubt that you are seeing it as well.  It takes no stretch of the imagination to see that moral values are degrading at the speed of light.  I won't go in to details, but we've seen it very vividly more this last week than ever before.  Others are commenting often they see it every which direction they go. It's alarming. 

I've been struggling with what I'm seeing.  My heart is breaking and to be honest I'm furious.  I want to grab parents by the neck and tell them to grow up.  I want to ask them if they can't see what they are doing to their kids by being their very best friend instead of a parent.  Don't get me wrong:  I want to be my child's friend, but that role is SECONDARY! 

Yes, my kids have their own fair share of discipline issues.  They are far from perfect.  We battle issues of respect, obedience, selfishness, bad attitudes AROUND THE CLOCK.  They are not immune by any means!  Kids do need grace and they absolutely do need patience and forgiveness just like each of us do.  However, we can't let that be an excuse to not be parents FIRST.  Self-esteem is important.  Knowing their personal value in Christ is absolute!  However, that doesn't mean that we stop disciplining in order to not harm their feelings.  We just have to find a healthy balance! 

It's a rampant problem.  It's ridiculous.  Teachers in traditional classrooms aren't able to teach because they have to spend countless discipline hours on things that should have been taught in the HOME FIRST!  We can't expect them to meet the academic requirements when they can't get more than 5 minutes of actual teaching time!  Even in the church setting it's crazy!  Parents that WANT their children to have a great moral upbringing still refuse to parent at home.

Parents that are trying your best, even if  you feel that you are  failing, do NOT give up.  Every ounce of effort you put into teaching your kids----it is worth it.  Even if you are about to pull your hair out because things aren't going as well as you want, PLEASE stick with it.  Even if you can only change one small behavior at a time!  Celebrate the small victories and let that build for the next one. 

Parents that are seeking to be different in how you guard your child's heart by monitoring their media:  Keep at it!  The parents that are sticking to their guns by not allowing facebook until 13 (the *legal* age ) or older even though peer pressure is insane.  Don't give up!  If you are making diligent effort to protect their hearts and minds from inappropriate TV and media choices.  ABSOLUTELY do not give up!   Even if you feel that you are the ONLY parent in the world, stay on the path. 

This world needs a change.  We can't deny it.  Just turn on the TV, radio, or computer....look out your window.  Moral values are being seen as wrong and sinfulness is being promoted as what is normal.  Don't buy into that lie!

Specifically, homeschool moms:  don't let the wet blankets convince you that the effort that you are putting in is worthless.  Even on those days that you have not an extra ounce of energy left, don't doubt the impact you are making.  It's EXTREMELY easy to get discouraged.  Let me take this moment to say,  God sees you.  He sees you when you toss and turn at night because your list is so long that you can't turn it off.  He sees you when you are so frustrated because you can't balance everything or you feel like you aren't measuring up.  He sees you when someone downplays the sacrifice you are making.  Trust me, HE sees you when you are at the end of your rope and just needing someone to tie another knot on the rope so you can hang on.  Let me be the one to say it:  it's an exhausting, lonely road at times.  Yet, there has been nothing more rewarding or beautiful in my life.  Don't let the nay-sayers (even if it's the lies in your own head!!!!) convince you that what you are doing doesn't matter!

We can't change the hearts of everyone in the world on our own.  What we can do is influence one heart at a time.  That heart can then change another.  God is in the business of taking small things and making them huge.  It starts in our OWN homes.  It starts with how we treat our own spouse.  It starts with how we raise our children.  Small steps.  It's at the dinner table.  It's when way say no to another activity that will pull us away from putting our family first.  It starts when we make steps to be "different". 

Just don't give up.  Let your heart soak in that the little things matter.  Even if in the big picture you don't see it right now, it absolutely matters.  Be encouraged! 

Remember this:  "There is no greater joy than to know that (your) children are walking in the truth."  3 John 1:4  Hold on to that verse!  Let it soak in on those days when you are just literally ZAPPED!  When you feel alone on the journey you are taking....embrace it!  Though school is going phenomenally better than I ever dreamed right now for us, I'm still holding onto this verse.  Tomorrow is a new day and what is working may not work and we may derail faster than lightning. Murphy's law may go into effect before I even finish typing the next word!!!!  When I feel the pressure of failing at something either academically, spiritually, or just in regards to behavior.....I have to hold on to knowing that the seeds have been planted and God will let them grow.  Even if I can't see it happening, IT IS!  Just like in my own heart, God is making changes.  I can't see the full results right now and I don't know the full direction He is leading, but I don't doubt for one second that He is moving.  It's the same with our children, we can't see each and every little change immediately but it is happening!  Just don't give up!

*Just so you know:  this post was written one day after I showed up at PMO without one child's backpack and the other child had on no socks and shoes that were at least 1 size too small and a pair of jeans that were two inches too short.   I had to go back home and retrieve the missing items and get the right shoes and socks. That same morning was one of those days that if it could have gone wrong, it did.  This Mom had to put herself in time-out later in the day because her own heart was carrying the wrong attitude.  It's easy to lay down and give up.  I get it!  Our home is SO far from perfect!  Just know that we all carry baggage and we all feel the sting of failure.  God loves us.  He loved us enough to send His only son to die for us even though we were standing in our own filth.   No one is perfect.  It's impossible of a goal.  Just choose to be the best you can be THROUGH Him and let Him carry the rest!*

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