God is teaching so much about mothering and myself in this time away. I liken it to the Israelites desert experience in a way. The Israelites were removed from everything they had known in order to focus completely on God and His deliverance for them. I too have been removed from all my familiar surroundings, including family, friends, church, and even familiar events such as grocery shopping in order to learn from him, and to hear His voice. In many ways, He is wooing me here. But in that wooing there are also some hard lessons, mainly about myself.
I'm discovering new, gentler ways to parent my children. I mentioned in a previous post that I had been reading "Heartfelt Discipline" by Clay Clarkson. Through the reading of this book and the reading of daily scripture, I have been convicted of being so controlling in my parenting. My son can get especially beligerant at times. I think I often provoke him to anger in trying to force him to be the way I want him to be. I often worry about how things look on the outside --what will people think of me as a mom if he throws a fit in public? God has pointed out how graceless my parenting can be --a sort of "my way or the highway" approach that I've been taking. And I'm broken hearted over my lack of extended grace. Shouldn't I, of all people, be extending grace to my son when he gets angry. After all, how many times has my Father forgiven me for that same sin?
In her book, "Barefoot in the Kitchen", Alie Stibbe talks about a time when God convicted her in her mothering this way:
"I found that by removing my shoes, being cut down to size and getting in touch with reality (of God's holiness), produced a sense of mourning in me over all the bad attitudes that had accumulated in my life, but God used this to reinforce what He was teaching me: in the Bible people who mourned went about barefoot (2 Sam 15:30). It seemed that part of the process of commitment and finding God on my patch of holy ground involved mourning over the past so that a genuine act of repentance could take place, so that I could know God's forgiveness and be prepared by His Spirit for what lay ahead. When we are truly sorry for our past, the forgiveness we receive in the present is truly comforting."
So, like Alie Stibbe, I've been brought to the desert, to a patch of holy ground. A place in which my Father has wooed my for such a time as this. A place in which He has broken me in a sense over some sins in my mothering including self-centeredness, not extending grace, fits of anger, and other things. A place in which now, after the woundedness has come, the healing can begin.
I'll close with a prayer that Alie shared in the book.
"Yes, God, you have placed me in this situation with these children for however long it is you have planned. I accept the situation I am in. I accept these children you have blessed me with, and I ask that you will help me to be committed to a daily loving relationship with this family for as long as it takes.