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Friday, July 15, 2011

Surprise Mom!

I've never really been one who likes surprises. I guess it interferes with my desire to be in control. But, as a mom, "surprises" are a daily occurrence; like finding out you've been volunteered to bake goodies for school tomorrow and it's 9pm, cleaning out the kid's backpack to find last week's lunch, or (my favorite) finding a sippy cup of milk under the sofa. (Yep, makes you gag just thinking about it, huh!).

Well, our 9 year old loves to surprise us. Sometimes they are sweet, wonderful surprises, like cleaning his bathroom without being asked, vacuuming a room just to be helpful, or making me a cup of my favorite tea when he sees I'm a little stressed. These surprises I LOVE. They warm my heart and remind me of what a sweet, thoughtful son I have. But, although they come from the same sweet spot in his heart, not all of his surprises turn out as planned. Wednesday was one of those nights.

"Surprise Mom!" he said as he came into the backyard. Just the words made me feel a twing of panic. "What surprise?" I asked. "I put the dishes away," he said. Now this wasn't a surprise since I'd asked him 3 times to put the dishes away and had threatened not to take him to the pool tomorrow if I had to ask again. "What do you mean?" I asked. "I put the dishes that were in the sink in the dishwasher after I put everything away." Sounds good so far, right. Oh, just wait...

About 20 minutes later, I came back inside. As I walked past the dishwasher, I noticed a small pool of suds on the floor. My heart sank and I closed my eyes as I opened the door, bracing myself for the inevitable. Yep, you guessed it. He surprised me by washing the dishes in the dishwasher with liquid dish soap!!! Although the dishwasher was filled with suds, only that small amount had leaked onto the floor. As I stared at more bubbles than I knew what to do with, I couldn't help but smile. It was like being in the middle of a sitcom; the only difference was I caught it at the beginning of the wash cycle. The soap dispenser was still completely full of Dawn, only the pre-wash soap had been used!!

As we cleaned up the mess together, and I explained the difference between dish soap and dishwasher detergent, it dawned on me (no pun intended). How often does this happens to us? Our best intentions don't turn out the way we planned all because we failed to simply ask or seek the help we needed. Our 2-year old mentality kicks in and we think we can "do it myself!" God desperately wants to help us, guide us, save us from having to clean up "messes" of our own making. All we have to do is ask! Asking for help isn't a sign of weakness. It's a sign of wisdom!

"Ask and it shall be given unto you, seek and you will find, knock and the door will be opened unto you." Matthew 7:7

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

More Fruit - Gentleness

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a blog about how God spoke to me in a new way regarding the Fruit of the Spirit, especially in regards to parenting my kids. I don't know about you; but, it's been my experience that God always provides ample opportunities to "practice" whatever it is He wants me to work on. In this case, it's being more gentle and less frustrated with my children. Ahhhh, summer break-what better time to work on not being frustrated with my kids. I mean I haven't heard "I'm bored," enough times to make me want to scream!

Well, the first week went fairly well. I really began to notice that as I was more calm in my response to them, the situation defused more quickly and things ran more smoothly. But, as our schedule got busier, my frustration got greater, my temper got shorter and my work on being more gentle got pushed to the side. I never really thought I had a temper (those who really know me...stop laughing!) Ok, so I guess I could have a temper at times, but not on a regular basis. But lately, I'm beginning to see that it's definitely an area of sin in my life that I need to work on.

Today I had began again. It wasn't until late in the day that I thought about my desire to become more gentle with my words. So better late than never, right! At bedtime, I spoke with kindness in my voice. I stuck to the evening routine. And I wasn't tired and exasperated, as usual. I'm still in shock at how smoothly it went. Even the 2 yr old hopped right in bed, without any arguing! See miracles do exist!! :-)

As I sit here, typing away in the quiet of my sleepy home, I'm so thankful that God never gives up on us. No matter how many times we fail. He loves us enough to lift us up, brush us off, and help us start again.

Dear Jesus,
Thank you so much for your forgiveness and grace. Thank you for showing me areas of my life that need to change and helping me make those changes. Please continue to remind me when I need to be more gentle and kind. Help me show the same grace to others that you show to me each day. Make my life and this blog a blessing to someone, I pray. In your precious name, Amen.

"He's still workin' on me, to make me what I ought ta be... How loving and patient He must be. He's still working on me!" ~Sunday school song

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