Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Encouragement for a Mother's Heart

So it can seem like many days all I do is correct, reprimand, re-direct, clean up, direct again, etc. All too often, I get into a 'rut' where it seems like all I can see are the negatives - the character flaws I need to help my children overcome - and the task is overwhelming. It is frustrating to see the vision you have for your children and then to see how far they need to go to get there. It can feel like there is no way to get there.

However, then there are those moments when you see a glimpse of the work God is doing in their hearts. It is like sunshine after a week of rainy skies. I have been challenged lately to focus more on the positive moments instead of dwelling on the less than stellar moments. I want to praise my kids publicly when they do something right and privately correct when they choose to do something wrong. I want my children to look back on their childhood as a positive, building, uplifting time, not a time of frustration and negativity. I want the feeling in my house to be sweet, warm, welcoming, encouraging. I want my children to feel safe to open up to me and know that I will not 'air their dirty laundry' to others. I want to show verbal fidelity. Yes, it is easier to dwell on the negative - it is so apparent, but I have been challenged to choose a better focus. That choice benefits my family at the same time as it benefits me.

"Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things." Phil.4:8

Last week, during that stretch of beautiful weather, I was able to take several walks around my neighborhood with my kiddos. The girls would bring their strollers, I would strap on Simeon and away we would go.
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The second or third day, Janaya decided to not bring her stroller. She wanted to just carry her baby. Now, in case you don't know, Janaya's baby is HEAVY! I tried to tell her that she would get tired of carrying her and that I was NOT going to carry her, but she insisted and I decided to let her give it a try (fully knowing the outcome). Sure enough, by the second block, she was tired of carrying baby and tried to put her in Elianna's stroller. Elianna graciously agreed to share the stroller space, but then she decided that her baby was getting too crowded, so Elianna hoisted Janaya's baby onto her hip and pushed the umbrella stroller with one hand (not an easy task :)  
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By the third block, Janaya's baby's weight proved to be too much and Elianna tried to give her back to Janaya - who still didn't want to carry the baby. So, Elianna thought for a moment and then asked Janaya if she would like to push the stroller and Elianna would continue to carry baby. Janaya happily agreed and the walk resumed.

I, however, had just received a gift. An encouragement to my heart. I had just witnessed a 2 year old and a 4 year old solve a problem in a way that would honor each other. They could have been selfish, but they weren't. I could have focused on nagging Janaya with "I told you you should have brought your own stroller", but I didn't. I enjoyed that wonderful bright spot of encouragement. It was just what a mom needs from time to time to remind her that it is worth it. It was also, perhaps, a glimpse of how God feels when he sees us seeking to honor others with our thoughts, words, and actions. May we seek out more opportunities to bless God in our daily interactions - just like this little action blessed me.

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