Swimming Lessons: Day 2

Well, for some reason today parenting has been a recurring theme. Let me state right away that I am in no way an expert in this topic. I am a novice, a student, an apprentice if you will. Each day of my life since becoming a mother I better understand how great, how far, how high, how deep, and how long God's love for me is. Being a mother has afforded me these precious glimpses of the indescribable love of God. There is just something about our children, and how we relate to them, that comes closest to a human depiction of God's boundless, wonderful love for us, his own children. He is in fact in the business of "child training"!

Day Two of Swimming Lessons
Today Jack practiced the "rocket ship" (swimming straight ahead, arms stretched forward and touching each ear, head down, legs straight and kicking small and fast on top of the water) and then they moved on to work on "the stretch" (same as above except one arm extended the other arm against the side of the body). He did great, Jack was a good listener and an eager student. (He did tell me after the lesson that he needed goggles because the other 5 kids had them and he did not.) Both of the instructors, Ms. Brittany & Mr. Daniel, complimented Jack enthusiastically as he performed each skill just as instructed. I am as proud as a peacock! The trick here for me, is to remember this: "Let him who boasts, boast in the Lord." I Corinthians 1:31 Because, I know from experience, that "When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom." Proverbs 11:2 Does humility come from having children? hmmm

Feeling myself swelling up like the kid in Willy Wonka...I prayed earnestly that I would not credit myself for Jack's goodness. To think it were all my doing, of my own strength and wisdom would be foolishly stupid! I know good and well that it is in surrendering to the authority of Christ, acknowledging His Lordship in our home and over our children, and dying each day to live in Christ that I am able to be the Mother I am commanded and called to be to my precious children. So, thank you very much for complimenting my children on their behavior and dispositions, thanks also for complimenting me...but all praise and honor goes to Jesus!

You know how quick we are to share a good recipe, pass on to a friend what's at Hudsons this week, share coupons, or recommend a great hairstylist...how come we don't do more of that with things that really matter? As if nobody needs any tips or encouragement regarding marriage, friendships, finances, or CHILDREN? Right. The thing is, most of the time I get defensive in my (here comes a church word) flesh when somebody starts making recommendations or giving more advice than I can swallow. However, when I'm not so full of myself, I am actually pretty teachable, and when I'm living completely in Christ's Spirit I seek out and receive and implement godly counsel regardless of the source. How about you? What advice did you last try to shove back down the throat from whence it came?

Well, if you can handle it, I'd like to pass on a great recipe, but this one is for child training. Not that your little angels aren't just precious, they are...they're just precious little sinners just like mine!

Don't Make Me Count to Three!
This is the title of a book written by Ginger Plowman. Don't you love that title? I love the picture too. In her easy to read and relaxed tone, Ginger gives feet to the principles of godly parenting taught by Ted Trip author of Shepherding a Child's Heart as well as those of Dr. James Dobson. Practical application of God's Word to child training; that's it in a nutshell. You will love it regardless of how young or old your children are. Michael and I have found these applications to be easy to learn and implement as well as easy for Jack and Andrew to understand. An added blessing is that God's Word is being sown in their hearts!

She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue." Proverbs 31:26
I would also like to recommend the Wise Words for Moms flip chart.
This is a great tool to have on hand, in the "heat of the moment". I keep mine by the kitchen phone and pull it out as soon as I need it. Here's how it works: The chart lists the child's behavior and to the right of each...heart probing questions, reproof, encouragement, and additional verses that address the issue of the heart you are dealing with. This is a very user friendly and valuable tool that puts God's Word to use in your daily life of child training.

This link will take you to a page on Ginger's website that contains an article she has written for Homelife magazine.

One of the most important things that we deal with on a daily basis is disobedience. Ginger explains in her teachings that God expects us to obey three ways: All the way, right away, and with a happy heart. I agree, however, we taught Jack that God wants us to obey Him: Right away, all the way, and with a happy heart. I switched them around because it makes sense to me that you cannot obey God all the way (completely) until you have obeyed Him right away (immediately).

Don't Give Up!

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Galatians 6:9
In parenting, marriage, your work, whatever it is you are doing for God...don't give up! I have days when my oldest is behaving wonderfully, as if Jesus were physically in the room and he brought Santa with him for the day! I think, "This is great! He's got it! I've accomplished all that I set out to accomplish, Jack is trained for life...I'm done!" Then it happens that the next day, or hour, I'm undone...with myself and with Jack and feel like everything I've taught him has gone in one ear and out the other. So it seems that is how this whole parenting thing will go, the good will come with the not so good. BUT, God's Word will not return void like a bad check! Proverbs 22:6 Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it. Yes, I agree, it is hard but, our children are well worth our diligence, persistence, perseverance, and time. Besides we are given promises to be kept by our Father in Heaven:
I can do all things in Christ who is my strength. Philippians 4:13
His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. 2 Peter 1:3-4

So, today was a good day, in just about everyway. You know, even on the really hard days when I just want to cry because it seems I'm not getting anywhere with
training up my children, and my instruction is not quite so faithful when it rolls off my tongue...God can still reach the heart of my child. Oh how I pray I don't get in His way, but oh how I long to just be the faucet through which he showers His love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control!

What I love about having two boys...
Finding hot wheels in my kitchen drawer, a "Incredibles" sticker book in the pantry, rough and tumble playin', dressing up like super heros, shootin' a bow and arrows, hugs big as Texas, and sloppy wet kisses.