Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Shepherding with Kindness

As the days get more and more full I'm trying to curate more carefully how I spend my online time.  There are a few blogs that I regularly check and am built up and blessed.  And, I must always live confessionally before you and disclose that Pinterest continues to grab me.  But, I try to keep to a routine of just a quick check in the beginning, middle, and end of the day for email and Facebook.  (And my children will remind me that this is still very much a work in progress...I'm often "caught" at the computer hardly even knowing how I got there!) By extension this applies to any time spent on a personal blog.
All that to say that during my morning quiet, as the Lord once again required my early attention, I decided to read this, and then found myself surprised by the compulsion to reply.  Although I read online alot, I am willing but ashamed to say I offer very little feedback by way of commenting. (Sorry fellow bloggers...I know how precious feedback is). But, this morning I found myself chiming in.
It occurs to me that there are likely several of you who visit me here and see only a portion of what I choose to reveal.  And, that you have no way to know that my journey to gratitude and contentment has been forged in the depths of confusion, loss, depression, disorders, sin, and utter brokenness. And, that out of that hopeless mess God made all things new.
So, I've copied my comment below.  I want in a distilled fashion to give a tiny glimpse of something other than the idyllic and blessed farm life, and invite you to know that all is not rosy here.  But all is covered by grace, and thankfully for this NOT early bird, His mercies are new every morning. 
Even though she was our fifth child, nothing prepared us for the breathtaking parenting journey she would take us on. By God’s amazing grace I “got” her-except for one thing. I expected “traditional” discipline methods to work. Oh how desperately wrong I was, and I was unaware of any other ways to train her wild spirit. But, the scriptures are always enough, aren't they? Although I desperately delighted in her and joined in her dance each day, I often failed her in her greatest need-the protection of appropriate discipline when her crazy train jumped the track. Until the Lord reminded me that it was His kindness that led me to repentance (Romans 2:4). Radical-at her worst I gave her my best-tenderness, forgiveness, gentle words, love, love, love- patience, compassion, kindness, love, love, love. And her heart (which had been growing cold and hard from regular “episodes”) softened, and I could shepherd her.
We are only eight years into this glorious adventure with her and there are many more layers of our experience, But, TAKE HEART- there is great joy in this sanctification of parents and children.
And, perhaps more importantly, as God makes us and our children strain, struggle, and sometimes succeed in our days, we can praise His name for the many times he rescues us and give Him glory when he offers us victory.
Hmmm- weird highlighting on this post?  Don't know what to do about that except ask for your forbearance...

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