Thursday, April 24, 2014

ORC Progress Report

I wish I could say these last six days were as great as the first.  They definitely have not been.  It's been a struggle.  I've had moments of anger that got the best of me.  I've tried to apologize and move on knowing that any progress is a success.  However, yesterday God spoke to me.

The military wives Bible study I am part of is currently working through Your Beautiful Purpose by Susie Larson.  As I read Chapter 3 and worked through the study questions I was instructed to write all of my cares on a piece of paper, prayerfully turn them over to the Lord and then burn the paper.  Let's just say it was a long list.  I was writing out all of my frustrations and struggles as a parent and as I wrote "not being listened to" I felt a quickening in my heart.  I could hear God say "And how is that different from what you do?"

It's so true.  I am a child of God.  He is my heavenly father.  He is constantly speaking to me, instructing me, guiding me and lovingly disciplining me.  There are times I don't listen.  I don't follow His instruction.  I do what I want to do.  It doesn't matter why, the point is that I do.  Just like my own children are driven by their instinct to explore and test boundaries.  The difference is when I act out or go my own way, God doesn't lash out at me.  He patiently and lovingly corrects me and guides me or waits with open arms until I am ready to get back on track.

I need to parent more like God parents me.  I don't know why this had never crossed my mind before.  But today is a new day, a day the Lord has made.  I will rejoice and be glad in it.  I will keep my focus on God.  My children need to be able to feel God through my words and actions.

And then this morning I couldn't fall back to sleep after nursing the baby so at 5:30am I decided to get up and do my Holy Yoga.  Oh what a wonderful decision that was.  The meditation I felt led to choose today was titled Perfection.  The verse used was Hebrews 10:17 from The Message version.  It says: It was a perfect sacrifice by a perfect person to perfect some very imperfect people.  The point of the teaching was that instead of striving for perfection, we should strive for connection to the One who is perfect.  Our Savior.  He doesn't want us to be perfect for the sake of our own fulfillment.  He wants us to be in an intimate relationship with Him so that His perfection can pour down on us and through us into others.  He wants to see us live and walk His will and plan for our lives.

I know today that mistakes will happen.  My beautiful young daughters will test me.  They will do things, or not do things, and I will be tempted to get angry or yell.  I need to take each mistake as an opportunity to learn.  For all of us to learn.  I need to be slow to anger and be mindful of the words coming out of my mouth and be sensitive to the moments when I should just be quiet.

Here's to taking the rest of this journey one moment at a time.  Almost halfway and this journey has already been one of the most rewarding of my life.  It was God's timing and calling to walk this journey.  There is no reason to walk it by myself.

Day 12 of 30

Friday, April 18, 2014

ORC Progress Report

As I'm typing this I am sitting in the wee hours of day 6 of the Orange Rhino Challenge.  Both of my precious girls are still sleeping.  Our day has yet to begin.  Although the toddler was up multiple times last night so I'm not sure yesterday ever ended.

Overall this challenge has not been as difficult as I expected.  I give all thanks to God.  I have felt his hand on me through these last six days in a way I've never felt before.  Anytime something happens that would normally send me straight into yelling I hear him whisper in my spirit, "Take a breath.  You can do it."  I pray thanks to Him daily for the peace and self control He has blessed me with during this challenge.

Now that doesn't mean I haven't messed up.  God may be doing wonderful things through me but alas I am still human.  Yesterday was a recipe for disaster.  Overall we had an amazing day as a family but we went shopping for me an Easter outfit.  Honestly, shopping for myself goes so much better without the little ones in tow.  It's probably why it doesn't happen often.  Anyways, I was in the dressing rules and the girls were running around all the other dressing rooms and periodically busting in on me (yay for a door with a broken lock).  I stayed much calmer than I normally would but after them slamming doors over and over again after being politely asked not to, I snapped a little.  I didn't go all out and yell but my voice was a little louder and more agitated than my normal "firm" voice.  At first I was a little disappointed in myself but then I looked at the big picture.  I still didn't go into my crazy yell mode.  The rest of the day was a very nice day despite neither girl getting a good nap.

One little slip in the first six days?  I'll take it and learn from it.  I am still so very thankful to feel God's hand upon me as I make this change.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

I've decided to take on the Orange Rhino Challenge.

What's that you say?  Read about it here and here.  You can read about the inspiration for the name here.

It boils down to a challenge to stop yelling at your children.  Why would I want to go and do something like that?

I've found myself in a tricky spot.  I set out to be a "positive discipline" parent.  I desire to treat my children as the special, little human being they are while disciplining them in a respectful way.  God gave me these precious blessings for a reason.  I want to build them up and instill in them self confidence and the firm belief that they can master anything with God.  Screaming and yelling at them completely contradicts my goals and desires as a mother.  Yelling at them is disrespectful and honestly quite ineffective as a form of discipline.  I've been on the receiving end of a parent that yells.  I can assure you that if my daughters are anything like myself, they are not truly listening while I am exhausting myself yelling at them.  They are processing their hurt, wondering why a parent who loves them would talk to them this way, and preparing for some kind of retaliation.  I can pride myself for not saying hurtful things to them while I am yelling but the act of yelling itself is still hurtful.  I do NOT want that kind of relationship with my children, now or ever.

I believe that we must treat our children in a respectful way if we expect them to respect us.  I'm not saying children shouldn't be disciplined.  I'm not saying children should be allowed to run completely free without restraint or boundaries.  I'm simply striving to internalize and live the verses James 1:19-20, "My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires."  If I'm yelling it is because I am angry.  If I'm yelling I am not listening to God or my children.  My children have their own perspectives that deserve to be heard.  If I'm yelling I am not taking to time to think through the words coming out of my mouth.  It's not easy to admit but it's the truth.

So today I am taking a step of faith to restore my outlook on parenting.  The woman behind the Orange Rhino Challenge chose a goal of 365 days of no yelling.  I have prayerfully decided on 30 days.  It is long enough to push myself and to make this a "habit".  Of course once the 30 days are over I plan to set a new goal but this is the beginning of something great in my life and in my family.  I will be keeping a personal journal during this journey and plan to do weekly check-ins here on the blog.  Prayers are much appreciated as I'm sure this journey will have it's trials.  It is called a "challenge" after all.

Day 1 of 30.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

It's Make or Break Time...

This blog has set very neglected for far too long.  It's time for that to change.  I know I've made similar statements in the past but the time is now.  I'm taking on so many changes in my life right now that I need to get back into the blogging groove.

It's been nearly three months since I updated all of you lovelies.  Here it goes...

December:
Hubby finished his retraining for work and finally got back in his lovely blue uniform.  He also started full time and finished his first semester back in school.
Zoe had surgery to remove her dermoid cyst.  Just when we thought the journey was over she got a staph infection inside the incision and she was hospitalized for four days.  This caused me to spend my first night away from Emberlynn.  We rang in New Years in the hospital.

January:
The new year stirred something in me.  I have decided that enough is enough.  It's time to stop just talking, dreaming and wishing for things to change and time to actually start doing something about it.  I decided 2014 will be a year of purpose and improvement.  I started with a challenge to read a chapter of Proverbs a day in January.  I was successful and have carried the challenge on to the rest of the year.  I already have the entire year of Bible reading planned out and am very excited.  I've also been reconnecting with God.  For some time I put a guard up that had no place in my life.  I was so scared of being vulnerable but the consequences are too much.  I've re-devoted my life and am striving to cut out all of the unneeded in my life and focus on him.  I also began The Respect Dare with my Wives of Faith group.  We are over halfway done and the impact is amazing.

February:
Can't believe we are almost two months into the new year.  This has been a month of internal struggle.  Taking on The Respect Dare opened myself up to attacks from Satan.  As you can imagine, Satan does not want to see my relationship with God restored and my family united.  All I have to say is too bad.  While I am still very much a work in progress, I can feel the stirring of the Lord.  After we are done with The Respect Dare next month I plan to go straight into The Love Dare for Parents.  I've been blessed to be able to be a wife, a mother, and to stay at home with my children.  It's time I appreciate those blessings.

I haven't yet decided what kind of blogging schedule I want to follow.  I need to sit down and work some things out.  It feels good to feel like me again but a better me.