Good Morning Sweet Friend,
So today’s topic is children? I am in the thick of children right now my dear, seven of them to be exact. I am in the throws of teens and hormones (theirs and mine!), preteens, elementary age, and a new toddler. I am not a parenting expert sweetie, but really, is there a such thing? I will tell you this, I try…and I fail. And when I fail, I say I’m sorry–to God and my children. Here’s a recent example.
A year or so ago, I repeated to my children what I had heard from family and read everywhere, “I am here to be your parent, not your friend.” I didn’t feel quite right about those words dear. But it’s the truth…right? There are even quotables on Pinterest declaring this truth. But something just didn’t seem right, saying those words.
First piece of friendly advice, if something does not sit right with you, please find out why. It very well may be the still, small voice of God trying to teach you one of His truths.
Let’s fast forward a year. Recently, I was pondering the relationship between my oldest daughter, now 15, and myself. In all honesty dear, I was wondering how we got off track in some areas and trying to figure out how to heal those areas. My fervent prayer since I became a mother was to have and maintain a close relationship with my children. This is something non-existent in my own life as a daughter. Do you see why this would be so important to me?
Second piece of friendly advice, do not ask and seek in the world or from the world. When you have life questions, go to the Author of life. Ask your questions, spill your heart…and then listen, intently.
One day I was pondering friendship. Too bad pondering doesn’t burn calories huh? Anyway, I was thinking about my friendships–how they look in the light of day to day, week to week, month to month, year to year. What makes them a “friendship.” Well, obviously I spend time with my friends. We try to get together occasionally to relax and talk over chips and salsa. We share our hearts, laugh, reminisce and dream with each other. We encourage each other, correct and pray with each other.
Ka-Pow! Enter the Holy
“What do you do with your children every.single.day, Jenny? You share your hearts, laugh, reminisce, dream. You encourage, correct and pray with each other, every.single.day.” Girl you know there were big ‘ol tears getting ready to wash my face and clean my heart.
As I drove my daughter to piano that afternoon, I apologized. I asked if she remembered the conversation a year ago where I said I was not here to be her friend. She didn’t remember it exactly, but had remembered me saying those words. And really, they are pretty memorable words aren’t they? I told her of my ponderings and the “Come to Jesus meeting” the Holy Spirit had recently invited me to. I apologized and asked for her forgiveness, and staring straight ahead, she said she forgave me. I understand that, I really do.
While my daughter was at her piano lesson, I sat in the car enjoying some “me and God” time. I had brought my Bible and when I’m not really sure where to start reading, I always go to the chapter of Proverbs that corresponds with the date.[ref] There are 31 chapters of Proverbs, so if it were the 10th of the month, I would flip to Proverbs chapter 10. I also do this with the Psalms. Since there are more Psalms I do them a little differently. Today is the 25th, so I would read Psalm 25. Then, if I can, I would read Psalm 35, 45, 55, 65, 75, 85, 95, 105, 115, 125, 135.[/ref]
Ka-Pow! Enter the Holy
2×4 Spirit again.
“Read John, chapter 15.” When I got to John 15, I recognize it as the “Abide” chapter. So I begin reading the familiar words, only they meant something entirely different this time.
1 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser.
2 Every branch of mine that bears no fruit, he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit.
3 You are already made clean by the word which I have spoken to you.
4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.
5 I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in me, and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.
6 If a man does not abide in me, he is cast forth as a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire and burned.
7 If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you will, and it shall be done for you.
8 By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be my disciples.
9 As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you; abide in my love.
10 If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love.
11 These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.
12 “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.
13 Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.
14 You are my friends if you do what I command you.
15 No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.
Oh.my.goodness! God, my Father, calls me His friend.
God…my Father…calls me friend.
You know I was cryin’ in that car.
Dear sister, I’m going to share something else I gleaned from that passage. God keeps me in close friendship with Him, so He can teach me. Apart from Him, I can do nothing. It’s the same with our children. They need to be in close friendship with us so we can teach them about themselves, the world and ultimately God. Apart from me, apart from their family, where will they learn these things? I know, that thought makes me shudder as well.
I had already made my apology to my daughter and now I apologized to God. I regretted saying those hurtful words to my children and I pray for the grace to heal those wounds. I also went home and apologized to my other children.
Now, I do understand the intent behind the words…but I do not agree with the spirit behind them. Yes, we are the parent and yes, we are in authority over our children…we’re not supposed to hang out at the tattoo parlor with them or the bars…please God our children are not and will not do that anyway, but you know what I mean. But we can and honestly, must be their friend as well. We need to be their safe place. We need to be the ones they turn to to share their hearts–their fears and dreams. The ones they laugh with and learn from. The ones they ask, “What do you think about this shirt, song, eye-shadow color, boy…If not us…then who? Another shudder.
My third, fourth and fifth pieces of friendly advice…be careful about your words to your children, be willing and ready to make a sincere apology and be their friend–in imitation of your holy friendship with God the Father.
Have a wonderful day my sweet friend. Remember your friendship with God is a living example to your children.