Letting go…finding complete surrender during difficult times

” If you look for the bad in people expecting to find it you surely will”  Abraham Lincoln

That quote really strikes me deep this morning.  I have been caught in a growing struggle over the last few weeks.  I am facing some unconventional parenting challenges and this has really been especially difficult for me.  These challenges have really left me looking for the bad in my kids and overlooking to good, how true this quote really is.  Shame on me!

After being with their father for 3 weeks of summer my children come home confused and corrupted.  How can I teach them right from wrong when they go spend time with their other parent and learn that wrong is right?  Where are the articles, books and advice columns on facing this challenge!  This puts a whole new spin on parenting and I feel like I am failing. 

I understand that they will be exposed to things of the world and negative influences through their peers at school and in various situations outside my home, and I am prepared to fight those battles.  But when I look at the situation of my children going into their other parents home and are being taught and shown the opposite of the values and morals I am working to instill it feels like a losing battle and I don’t stand a chance.  Where are the self-help books on raising your kids to know Christ and stay in Christ while learning how to be a bully with a potty mouth and how to not believe in God while spending time with their other parent! 

Of course they love their other parent and look up to their father, that’s natural, they want to do and say things that please their father, so they are being taught to please him they should have a potty mouth and treat people disrespectfully and how fun it is to be sinful and live only for yourself at the same time being criticized and ridiculed for believing in God.

I just feel so stuck, I see all of these negative things coming from my kids and have been so focused on ‘undoing’ what has been done.  But that is proven to be wasted time and effort.  I need to regroup and focus on the positive and what I can do, focus on what power and influence I do have and trust God to fight the battle for me.  I realize I have been hanging on…. have not been able to truly let go of this and give it to God.  I know that I need to trust Him, He knows whats best for my kids and He has a plan for me and for them.  I have been praying over my kids but I have been fighting to keep control and have NOT truly surrendered this to God.  This is so much easier said than done to give up control….Lord give me strength.

Today I need to a reminder that God is in control.  God gave me the privilege of being their mother and stepmother because He made me and knows what I am capable of so obviously He has equipped me and will continue to do so to be the best mother and stepmother I can be for our children. 

1- PRAY-PRAY-PRAY and then PRAY some more, constantly be in prayer for over children, constant communication with God.

2-Instill God’s love and law in their hearts, bury it deep, so that when they are being submerged into worldly ways and sins whether it is with the influence of their other parent or kids at school, God’s love and law will be written in their hearts.  God has control over the rest, it is my role to teach them and plants the seeds deep within them.

3- Reenforce in them with my unconditional love, I don’t want them to think my love is conditional, I will strive for them to know that I will love them no matter what they do or say, my love is unwavering and forever and I will forgive them just as God forgives me, I will love them by example, I will strive to be an example of Christ’s love in how I show my love to our children.

4-Do my best to gently and firmly correct their negative behavior, feedback and attitude without dwelling on it.  Try and focus on the positive attitudes, rewarding the good behaviors.

5- More consistent and intentional family devotion and prayer, continue to instill God’s words and love into their hearts.

6- PRAY-PRAY-PRAY and then PRAY some more, constantly be in prayer for over children, constant communication with God.

7-When I start to feel defeated, like giving up, discouraged and like I am failing as a mother, to stop and remind myself, this is not my battle, this is God’s He is fighting it for me, I need to trust Him, GOD IS GOOD ALL THE TIME, ALL THE TIME GOD IS GOOD!!!!  He is there in every situation, He will always be with my children, when I am feeling discouraged I need to remind my self to let go and trust in God, one of my favorite verses is a great reminder of this- “Have I not commanded you?  Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9

8-Don’t dwell on my past mistakes or failures, move on and learn from them, stop criticizing myself and stay positive.

9- Concentrate on where we do have influence over my children, in our home and conversation and activities, let God’s love and light shine bright enough in our home and hearts that it outshines the darkness they encounter everywhere else.

I feel like the Lord’s Prayer is very appropriate and fitting today…

“Our Father, which art in heaven,
Hallowed be thy Name.
Thy Kingdom come.
Thy will be done in earth,
As it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
As we forgive them that trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
But deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,

The power, and the glory,

For ever and ever.

Amen.”</

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Above ALL else- love, trust & honor the Lord your God- he is #1

Exodus 20:2
“I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.”

Commandment #1- I am the Lord your God, there is one God and He comes first, we must trust and fear God, love Him above ALL things.

I have really been challenged by this commandment this week.  I feel like my mind is  running laps around this commandment and after each lap I end finding fault in myself and what I am doing wrong.  I am having to stop myself from criticizing myself for all the ways I am not adhering to this incredibly important law of God.  I keep envisioning myself in such a negative light.  I was being filled with frustration and disappointment with these thoughts.

So instead of focusing on all the ways I am not successfully following this super significant commandment I am going to concentrate on a various ways I can revise and modify my heart, mind, soul and actions to be more intentionally obedient to God’s law.  Some small steps I can take to trust and love God above all things, to strengthen my relationship with Him and work towards keeping God # 1 in my life and my family’s life.  To work on transforming myself from inside to outside to be an example to my children on how to be obedient to commandment # 1.

After careful consideration here is what I have come up with;

First- I am going to make it intentional to start my day with the Lord. I have asked my amazing husband to join me in this effort, we are going to wake up 30 minutes early each morning and share in prayer, reading scripture and devotionals together. I will work diligently to start every day putting God 1st.

Second- will be a fast from Facebook for two weeks, I will start this on Sunday July 20, 2014, I will refrain from using Facebook. And to take this effort further anytime I would be reaching to a device to look on Facebook I will stop and spend a few minutes in prayer, I will be replacing all of the minutes of Facebook time with minutes given to God. After this two weeks I will be much more restricted with the time I give to Facebook and more intentional with minutes in prayer and with God. I have asked my incredible husband to join me in this step as well.

Third- I will make more of an effort and be more intentional in prayer time with my children outside of mealtime blessing and bedtime prayer, work to find the best way way can establish a time each day for family devotions.

 

John 3:30     “He must increase, but I must decrease.”

Matthew 6:33 “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added to you.”

Proverbs 16:3   “Commit your works to the Lord, And your thoughts will be established.”

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“Heavenly Father,

Thank You for this wonderful day.  Thank You for so many blessings, most of all my family, for Matt my amazing husband, for blessing me with the honor of being a mother and a stepmother.  You are so AWESOME!  Thank You for Your mercy and grace on our lives, thank You for the sacrifice of Your son for our Sin.  We are so undeserving yet Your love and blessing pour into our lives.

I come to you tonight and pray for strength, wisdom and guidance.  Please lead Matt and I as a couple and as parents.  I pray we above all else keep You in the center of all we do.  If our actions or words do not please You or honor You please let us stop, I pray each day brings us closer to You.

In Jesus Name ~ Amen.”