It's a new year. Instead of resolutions I threw myself into working on multiple areas of my life. Last year I tried to work on the same areas but tried to take baby steps in hopes of being successful. This year it's all or nothing. Things cannot continue the way they are.
For a little while now I've been struggling with anger issues. I go from okay to raging like a flipped switch. I say and do things I wholeheartedly regret. I hurt those closest to me. I've turned into the parent I never wanted to be.
Well this year I'm putting all that to an end.
I'm taking another step in my walk with God. Last year I set a goal to read a chapter of my Bible every day. I am happy to report I can count on one hand the number of days I missed or forgot. This year I am continuing to read a chapter a day but I am also adding a chapter of Proverbs and Psalm a day as well as writing at least one verse from each chapter in a journal. I'm so excited for the growth I know is to come.
I'm also working on truly surrendering every aspect of my life to God. I've prayed things in the last few weeks that I never thought I would. But I'm also feeling and sensing God in ways I never have before. This life is not my own. My children are not my own. God is the Lord and creator of all and it is time to truly live that out in my day to day. I am a masterpiece created by the most high God. I have to stop taking his promises for granted. I have to stop relying on my strength. It will never be enough. I am only as strong as my relationship to God.
In years past I've made a goal to read a book a month. I have yet to succeed but I'm giving it another go. Due to the anger issues I mentioned above and the desperation to change myself as a parent, the book I chose to read in January is Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids. So far I love it. Instead of focusing on the child(ren), it focuses on what you should be doing as a parent and how to work on yourself. It's exactly what I need. I'm only in the first chapter and I already, with God's guidance and conviction, feel so empowered.
I got to chat with Emberlynn today and have given her permission to call me out if I start to yell or get physical with her. I'm using the Orange Rhino Challenge as inspiration and that will be our safe word. When I start to loose it, she is allowed to say Orange Rhino to me. I can already tell there will be some adjusting. We talked about how I'm no longer allowed to yell at her, smack her hand or spank her. Those moments are times she needs to remind me Orange Rhino. She's pushing to have time out prohibited as well. For now it stays. I will also be making a sticker chart. Instead of it being a behavior chart for the kids, it will be a behavior chart for me. If I do well at controlling my emotions for that day then I get a sticker. The twist? Emberlynn (and Zoe as she gets older) gets to decide if I've earned a sticker for that day. I realize I must sound crazy. Why would I give my child that kind of control over me? It is an idea the book presents and for me it was instant love. I do not believe my role as a parent is a dictatorship. My children are not mine to control. They were given to me as a gift. I am responsible for being a vessel of God's love to them. God does not beat us into submission. He allows us to explore the full realm of our free will. I am responsible for keeping my children safe, to ensure they feel loved and respected, and to let God guide their steps. He created their individual purpose long before they began to grow inside me. I do not want to get in His way. As far as giving my children control, I don't believe I am. Who is a better judge of if I am being a respectful parent than my children? I'm simply giving them the say in their own lives that they need. If they can't communicate to me when I am hurting them, emotionally or physically, how will they learn to communicate that to future friends or boyfriends? I want them to feel secure in themselves enough to stick up for themselves when they are being mistreated, even by me.
I am so thankful that God's mercies are new every morning. Today I am surrendering all. Tomorrow I move forward in my journey. I will make mistakes. There will be days that Emberlynn doesn't feel like I've earned a sticker. Those days will be teaching moments for our family. We will learn from them and move on. We will trust that God is in control.