Blessing in starting over…
The last few months we went through a lot of changes as a family. If you are like me, you want things to work smoothly and many times our lives get caught up in what we need to do and when we need to do it. At times I can get so focused on the to-do’s that I then completely miss the everyday opportunities of building character in our children.
After taking a step back, one of the biggest things I’ve learnt during our last few months is that I need to be prepared to start over. Not just once but many times. We can get distracted and off course so easily and then it is so easy to feel that starting over is going to be a waste of time. I mean how many times can one have a ‘starting over’ point…? I often feel that when I fall back into old ways, it is no use trying to do things different anymore as I just go back into old habits anyway… What I have learnt is that even when starting over can be hard, often the ground we think we’ve lost is not all that lost and we can easily build on previous work we’ve done.
The thing is as parents it is part of our ‘job’ to train our children in biblical character. This being said, it is also probably one of the most difficult things we must do. It takes consistency, hard work, planning, and starting over many times.
I love this quote I saw recently ‘One of the things most people don’t tell you about raising children is that while you are busy building their character, they are busy building yours…’
This is true in so many ways. I often tell parents when I do the parenting seminars, ‘Beware… God will probably start working in your heart first and then in your children’s hearts…’ I believe God gave us our specific children with their shortcomings, as He knew He would be able to use those to shape and change our characters as well. It is hard. Realising how much work needs to be done in my own heart often feels like it is a much bigger task than I can or want to bear. The truth is that I need to be able to show the patience, kindness and self-control I am trying to train my children to live out. They watch me closely, and we can talk as much we want. If they cannot see me displaying those qualities, it will be very difficult to get them to show those qualities I so desperately want them to walk in.
So, we need to be prepared to start over many times. Be it starting with ourselves or being more intentional in the training we do with our kids.
I know our lives are busy and many of you probably think, it is great and yes you want to, but it takes too much effort. Yes, it does. A lot of effort. A lot of intentionality. It means less reactive parenting and lot more intentional parenting. It means praying often asking the Holy Spirit to stop you when you are going down old familiar roads again, wanting to tell your kids what to do, instead of sitting back and saying, ‘How can I do this differently’. Many times, I will tell my boys, ‘I need to take a break, or I will say something I am going to regret’. I find that when I do that, I can take a moment to just pray and ask God to show me how to handle a situation differently. And every so often, it is just to calm down, so I won’t yell and damage our relationship. I am still human and there are still times that I yell, and as bad as that is, and I regret it every time. I now use those as teaching times. Showing my kids what happen if I just react, if I don’t take a step back to ask myself what else I can do. Using it to show them adults also need to ask for forgiveness. Reminding them we are not perfect, and we are all in need of a Savior.
A few weeks back things were especially chaotic and stressful as a result of our new homeschool journey. I remember going to my room and actually crying. I had reacted to something the boys did and I felt like a failure. My eldest came into the room and ask me why I was crying. I decided to tell him the truth. I said, many times when things get a bit hectic and I react so easily when things are not going as planned I end up feeling like failure. I explained to him that that is so often how the enemy works, constantly trying to tell us we cannot get things to work. We have a choice though, to sit in self-pity or to ask God to help and guide us. I told my son, I am also new at this. I’ve never homeschooled and as they grow older even just the everyday parenting presents some interesting new challenges. I told him I really want to do things differently and better and that I also need his help to sometimes tell me when I am not being considerate. I was amazed at how he responded after that. I believe confessing to him that many times new situations catch me off guard and I also need direction, made him realise and see mom is also not perfect. We need God’s direction but most important when we make mistakes we can confess, and we can commit to doing things different.
Many of you have attended one of our parenting seminars. I know when I attend a course or learn something new I am often so eager to start, and I do, and for a while it goes really well, but because this is not yet part of my every day routines, it easily falls of my to-do lists. Especially when the ‘novelty’ wears off, the kids show resistance and when my to-do list gets longer, I quickly fall back into old habits. The question I ask myself then, is this really how I want my parenting to stay.? The ideas and principles shared in the workshop is biblical, tested and opens the door for the work of the Holy Spirit. When I think of that, I’d rather start over as often as needed than leaving things as is and trying to work it out on my own.
Are you perhaps in a space of needing to start over? It is OK. The most important thing is that you do. And that you do it as many times as needed.
I want to remind you, that it is not just about what happens in your home and getting things done. If we reach our children’s hearts, we are able to influence not just now, but generations to come. The thing is, we are impacting generations, whether we like it or not. I would much rather take the difficult road and make sure what I do is for the utmost glory of our King…..
I want to bless you with knowing starting over is not a bad thing. It is a blessing to be able to accept our failures and weaknesses and taking the hand of our heavenly Father once more. Remember as in Luke 1:37 “For with God nothing is impossible.” Be blessed as you ‘start over’. Look to God and know the change you so desperately want for your family is NOT impossible with God.