Saturday, April 21, 2012

Final Days with Our Boys

Well, our boys went home last week. I'll blog about those details later, but for now, I have a lot of catching up to do, so here goes! This is a post that's been on my mind for a long time. Actually, I thought about it long before the boys were going to go home. My thoughts went something like this...

"When we know the boys are going home, we're going to have the best few days we possibly can! We're going to let everything slide and just have fun! No time outs, no consequences, no rules...just really fun days! I'm sure that's it's going to be such a sweet time that I'll be able to post about how every family should find time once a year or so to live life as though it is the very last day you'll be able to spend with your kids."

I was just convinced that this was one of my greatest ideas yet. Underneath it all, what I was truly saying was that I didn't enjoy disciplining my kids, so in the end I just wanted to be able to enjoy all of the good stuff about parenting. God had a different idea.

The week arrived. We had court on Thursday, April 12, and we had been told that the boys would, most definitely, be going home this time. "Oh boy!" I thought. "This week is going to be so great!!" The problem was, however, that K-man did not have the same understanding that I had about his behavior this week. He didn't understand that he was supposed to be on his very best behavior and we were supposed to spend every day in perfect harmony - playing games, snuggling on the couch, reminiscing about fun times we'd had. No, K-man was operating as usual, which meant that he was great fun but also still needed work on being obedient, kind, and respectful at times. Pretty quickly Monday morning I realized that I was not going to be able to hold up my end of the bargain, and such was the theme for Tuesday and Wednesday as well. I was so wired to respond and discipline his disobedience that I literally could not let it slide when it reared its ugly head.

On Monday evening, as I looked on the shelf and saw all of the toys that had been taken from him and I reflected on the time he had spent in his room stomping and screaming, I felt really disappointed. "This day was supposed to be great, and now it's ruined!" I thought. Tuesday and Wednesday presented several more instances when discipline was required. Again and again, my husband and I found that we were unable to stand back and not respond.

Since the boys are now gone, I've spent a good bit of time reflecting on my time with them, and the Lord has taught me a very significant truth that I'm sure I will return to over and over as I parent - I was entering these final days with the mindset that disciplining my kids was the absolute worst part of being a parent (let's just get on with the wacky fun stuff!), but in reality, disciplining and instructing my kids is the most precious responsibility that the Lord has given me. I look back over the 5 months that these boys were with me, and I see K-man's heart being molded more and more into the image of Christ - learning obedience, humility, confidence, compassion, respect, submission, thankfulness. He is a much different child now than he was 5 months ago. What a joy! What a delight! What an immense blessing to be a part of something so sacred! That's when it hit parents, we shouldn't just endure the drudgery of disciplining our kids and find a few times every year to forget about it and enjoy the "good stuff." Rather, we should understand and appreciate the Truth that disciplining our kids is the good stuff! This is how God intended for us to behave! This was God's design for parenthood!

So yes, we let some things slide in the final days. We didn't battle over cleaning plates at dinner. We stayed out late and got ice cream. We let him do most of the fun things he asked to do...trying to say "no" as little as necessary. We loosened our reigns there, but we did not allow him to be disrespectful, disobedient, or ungrateful in any sense, because more than wanting to simply enjoy the laughter of our children, we would rather have the immense joy of stepping back one day and delighting in their holiness.

"The evil deeds of a wicked man ensnare him; 
the cords of his sin hold him fast. 
He will die for lack of discipline, led astray by his own great folly."
Proverbs 5:22-23 

"For these commands are a lamp, this teaching is a light, 

and the corrections of discipline are the way to life."

Proverbs 6:23 

Monday, April 2, 2012

Easter Baskets

Amazing news!! On Saturday, the boys went to visit their mom and took a special parcel with them. My mom, affectionately known as Bebe, had crocheted their mom a prayer shawl and written a very kind, loving, and intentional letter to accompany it. When the boys returned, they brought with them this note from their mom:

Dear Ms. ________,
Thank you and your family dearly for everything. I put the blanket on K-man's new bed he have. He like it. Do your mom want to make some $$ for a blanket? My favorite colors are black, light pink or dark pink, and grey. Please and thanks.
Thanks for loving B-boy and K-man,
From, ___________

In case I haven't been clear up to this point, we have never heard a single positive word from this woman. I have been told that she hates my husband and me many times. In the beginning, we spent much of our time defending ourselves against her ridiculous accusations. To read these words almost brought me to tears, especially in light of our most recent prayers for the Holy Sporit to minister to her in her brokenness.

In light of this new-found favor we have with their mother, my husband and I have a ministry idea with which we welcome your help!! We are going to be putting together Easter baskets for both of our boys, their 2 older brothers, and their mom. In these baskets, we plan to place intentional items such as bibles for each of their age levels, The Chronicles of Narnia book series, CD's, etc. we are hopeful and excited about the possibilities!

Here are the 2 ways we would love your help:
1. Do you have any great ideas of items to include? The boys are 10 months, 3, 6, and 9.
2. We would like to highlight verses for the boys' mom. Would you please choose a verse or passage (or several) that you would like to highlight? I plan to purchase her a pink/black/and grey NIV Bible this week and would love to be able to draw her attention to key passages which would encourage and challenge her.

Thank you all so much. Please, please pray over these next 2 crucial weeks! God is at work in mighty ways. Pray that we would stay alert and be faithful with the time given us.