Thursday, May 6, 2010

Communication and Taking Time

...your sons will be like olive shoots around your table. Psalm 128:3

The righteous will flourish like a palm tree, they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon. Psalm 92:12

They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor. Isaiah 61:3

Well, it seems that I went to bed Sunday night, after our big tea, lost shoe, graduation day, and woke up on Thursday morning. That's how it feels, anyway...where on earth did the week go, and what have I been doing each day? Don't know. Can't remember right now. Ha!

Part of that is due to the fact that we got in bed close to midnight after spending some hours at the ER with EG. She's now got 5 stitches in the top of her foot. Everything is fine, thankfully, and she's now inducted into the Stitches Club at our house. Only one of us isn't in the Club, and that's MK. Hopefully, she'll never have to join!

I've rather suddenly hit a pretty tired spot in this pregnancy and with that has come the inevitable slowdown of everything, including my thinking!

One thing that remains (well, there are many things, actually, of course), regardless of how sharp I feel mentally is this parenting job. Something I've noticed in myself too much recently is great frustration and a lack of satisfaction, even when I believe I've handled things the way the Lord wants me to.

As I prayed over this uptight feeling, God made me realize why I'm having such frustration. It's called impatience. Wanting results yesterday. The Spirit turned my mind toward fruitfulness and to big oak trees. Good fruit is the result of careful cultivation, usually, and of much patience. And, these giant, gnarly oaks I'm always mentioning here? They are so very, very old. It has taken decades for them to grow strong and shady and sturdy. That is what I'm after, though: children who bear fruit for God's glory and who grow into oaks of righteousness. And, the Lord said to me, "You expect this overnight, or in a week or a month?!?" Well, yes, that's what I've been demanding, in my spirit.

What a relief to rest in the reality that not only is the result not the point (my walking in obedience to the Lord in all things is the point), but the desired results will likely take a long time, and that's the way it works.

One thing I've been very convicted about as I read Shepherding regards communication. Tripp points out that good communication is not merely me getting you to understand me. It is me having the skill of listening, and a heart that desires to understand you, your thinking, your ways. This is not my strong point. Not only am I not the world's best listener, I'm also in too much of a hurry as I deal with the children in their conflicts and sin issues.

Upon realizing this, I've begun praying more diligently about it, asking Jesus to grow me into a truly good communicator (to all, but specifically to my girls), and for the grace to s-l-o-w d-o-w-n and take the time it takes to listen to their hearts, understand their minds.

Of course, it did not take long for me to get an opportunity to slow down and listen. Yesterday morning, we had quite a busy barrage of head butting, harsh words, and arguments long before lunchtime (and before we'd started school). In one case, I sat down eye to eye with one of the girls and tried hard and prayerfully to listen better and ask good questions. This particular child of mine also struggles with communication - both in catching the real meaning of what someone says and in getting her own deep thoughts out in words. So, we had our little conversation and I could just feel her appreciating the being listened to (has been too, too rare). After our talk, I sent her to pray about the offense against her sister. When she came back over toward me, she stopped first and apologized to her sister.

!!!  !!!  !!!  !!!  !!!

Can I scream and shout my praise the Lord for this?! I was so, so encouraged by this, because this little one does not apologize, especially without coaxing from a parent. It was a very sweet and refreshing blessing to see this happen! It's not a thing where if I do this, than this behavior will always result...oh, no, definitely not. The next few hours were enough to prove that - many more conflicts and me ending up with that frustrated feeling again. BUT, I fall down, I get up. Persevere. Trust God to change their hearts, and mine. Pray daily, hourly that I'll be faithful in all this.

Well, now. I remember one thing that happened this week: my birthday! Ha! The photo above is of my birthday "cake." BB made homemade peach cobbler for me. Yum-and-a-half.

The other photo is of honeysuckle. So exotic looking, and fresh-smelling. This patch was on a walking path next to our birthing center. Anyone know why/how honeysuckle vines grow two colors of flowers at the same time (white and pale yellowy orange)?

159 the little blonde point of hair on the back of CA's neck, when she has her hair in a ponytail

160 that CA has her arm linked through mine right now as a I type (and they watch a cartoon)

161 another year of life gone by

162 BB taking the kids on a bike ride when school was finished yesterday

163 an unexpected chunk of quiet time in which to catch up on a lot of phone calls

164 that EG really is fine after her injury

165 school is almost over


  1. So glad EG is ok! Wow you would think you had boys or something with all the stitches :)

    Thank you for this post..opening yourself up. I started teaching the boys this morning about the fruits of the spirit. And yes, though I fall too, He graciously picks us up and gives us the much needed strength to endure the next set of arguments, which in our house is usually about 1 min later :)

  2. We counted and that's 8 ER visits for EG, LC, and CA combined (stitches, seizures, dislocated elbows...!)

    Keep persevering w/the boys. I'm excited to hear how you're working with them. God bless you in it!!

  3. Praise the Lord for the work that He did in MK's heart!!!! Your own thoughts on listening remind me of James 1:19-20 -- "My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man's anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires." Certainly this was written specifically for mothers of young children... I think it should say "My dear mothers..." Lord, give us listening ears.