"What are the actions you are having trouble incorporating into your life? What attitudes about your identity are contributing to this?"
These are the question I read early this morning that precipitated a long twisted train of thought that ceased at patience (and the lack thereof) when it comes to parenting my kids. Although I've made so many strides in the last six months, and I am smack-dab in the middle of an amazing season of growth and transformation, almost on a daily basis I feel disappointed or regretful or humbled by some of the ways in which I handle myself with my children.
Why are my weaknesses so great and SO glaring when it comes to parenting my kiddos?
Maybe because we spend SO much time together. Maybe because I'm the mom, and I'm the one that has to be the grown-up and have it all together. Maybe because I am a planner, a perfectionist and the quintessential type A personality. Maybe because someone on Oprah (during the 15 minutes last week when I happened to be watching) said something to the effect that our children - in all their flavor and fury - are reflections of their parents, which means of course, that those little and enormous things that absolutely grate, my children probably learned from me. Maybe because ultimately, I am responsible; I am to steward, shape and shepherd these little lives, and I will be the one to give an account for the condition of their hearts and souls and minds in these pivotal and precious years and the many more to come.
Now, I'm not saying I'm an awful parent. I'm not, and I know it. My children are loved, honored, cherished, respected and most importantly, they know it. But I AM saying, that I could be better - that we could be better. I'm saying that I want more for them. I want to be better.
"Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing, my brethren, these things ought not to be so..." James spoke to me this morning. Indeed.
Paul and I watched this movie last night: Babel. It's been on the brain since it ended. It was unsettling, intriguing, challenging, provocative and one of the best films I've seen in a long time. Although my reality is so far from each of its characters, as a parent - as a human - it resoundingly spoke to my life and experience. Drifting in and out of sleep last night, and again, as I was stirring from it this morning, I pondered the heart - the statement - of this film. What was it that these disparate, yet so brilliantly intertwined individuals shared in common? What was it that resonated so deeply within me? Was it their passion? Their shortcomings? Their desperation for more?
It was a story about "the necessity and impossibility of human communication," someone at Netflix boiled it down so eloquently. The necessity and impossibility of human communication.
Isn't this the truth?
Every fight. Every war. Every divorce. Every estrangement... each a relationship slowly unraveled with the toxic thread of miscommunication. So often we speak in languages that those around us fail to understand. Perhaps we don't even understand. Eventually, we feel angry, disappointed, hurt, misunderstood, frustrated... inept.
I know I am not sufficient to love how I want to love. I am human. I KNOW that HUMAN communication is absolutely necessary, yet utterly impossible. Reality is that in this life, I will hurt and I will be hurt. Jesus Christ himself, said that in this world YOU WILL HAVE TROUBLE, but then he said to take heart and to be of good cheer. He is sufficient. He is God. He is wise and able, and He has overcome the humanness of this world. He is the fruitful, unifying, empowering, impenetrable thread of perfect communication.
So what do I do with that when the reality remains that I will make mistakes and frankly, sometimes I will make choices as a parent - as a human - that just suck.
This is where He left me this morning...
"Who is wise (or able, or sufficient, or godly) among you? Let him show by good conduct that his works are done in the meekness of wisdom. But if you have bitter envy and self-seeking in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth. This wisdom does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic (and human). For where envy and self-seeking (and suckiness) exist, confusion (and miscommunication) and every evil thing are there. But the wisdom (and hope and life and PERFECT communication) that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy. Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace." ~James 3:13-18
Be true. Be meek. Be pure. Be wise. Be merciful. Make peace.