Cultivating Peace within the Family
“But blessed is the one who trusts in Me alone; the Eternal will be his confidence. He is like a tree planted by water, sending out its roots beside the stream. It does not fear the heat or even drought. Its leaves stay green and its fruit is dependable, no matter what it faces.”
Jeremiah 17:7-9 the Voice
Hey Mama, how are you today? Are you weary from your parenting journey? Is your soul dry from trying? Trying to be the best mom you can be? Trying to get your family together? Trying to make everyone happy? Trying to live up to the expectations you have set for yourself?
My soul is a bit dry in this season of parenting. I’m more than a little done and there are days when I cry out in frustration. You too? Oh good. I mean, I’m sorry we’re in this together, but it’s nice to know I’m not alone.
Every season of parenting I have thus far experienced has had its moments of hard. Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of good times, moments of joy and times of total endearment, but there are still moments I doubt my effectiveness as a parent, especially a parent of faith. I catch myself listening to the whispers of the enemy “If you were such a good mom and really trusting Jesus with your kids, they wouldn’t be struggling so much in their faith.” Or “A good mom would/wouldn’t let their child do that.” Or even “A good mom would know better how to speak truth into (add your child’s current struggle here) and help her child more.” Are these weeds part of your experience in parenting as well?
Being a mom is not for the faint of heart, is it? There are so many opportunities to mess it all up it’s a wonder we ever choose to have kids in the first place! But that position of defeat, overwhelm, and fear is NOT the pace we have to remain.
He has a way for every parent to experience His peace in parenting, no matter if we are walking through the valley of the shadow of death in this season of parenting or lying in green pastures beside quiet waters. He is our shepherd and we shall not be in want of anything including His guidance in our parenting journey every single step of the way. He is with us, and with our children, and with our families, no matter the circumstance.
I needed that reminder today. How about you?
Cultivating peace within our Families can feel complex, but in this chapter I have tried to simplify it by breaking the process into two categories: Parenting and Family. Each category however is still built up from our foundation in Jesus with the four key parts of relationships: Submission, Respect, Forgiveness and Intimacy.
Here are a few general tips in Cultivating Peace within the Family to remember:
We need God to teach us how to be the mothers our children need. (Page 147) Our own expectations, fears, insecurities and experiences can all be used by God for our good and the good of our children when we choose to allow Him to lead us in developing our role as a mom instead of leaning on our own understanding of that role.
No matter how old our children are at this moment, no matter how filled with chaos our relationships are, they are not beyond God’s love, grace, mercy and healing. (Page 148) It doesn’t matter if your children are adults with children of their own, or infants or somewhere in between, all the mistakes you believe you have made as their mom can be forgiven, healed and peace restored through God’s guidance and timing.
Cultivating the peace we are looking for in our families starts with us. (page 148) That is why it is so important to have a relationship with Jesus. Without Jesus, there is no lasting peace, not just within ourselves and our marriages, but also within the relationships we have with our children.
Cultivating Peace in Parenting:
Control is an illusion (Page 149). We want to be in control. We believe we can be in control, but ultimately only God is in control and when we acknowledge and surrender to that truth peace can enter into our role as mothers. When we continue to fight for control, we open the door for chaos to enter and take over.
Nothing can stop us from becoming the parent God wants us to be for the children He has given us (Page 150-1). All God needs is a heart willing to allow Him to be in control, the rest He will take care of. His peace is greater the more we invite Him into each area of our parenting to lead instead of relying on our own understanding.
The Four Key Principles of Relationships in Parenting:
Submission (page 152): Submission to God as a way of receiving His peace in a chaotic parenting situation centers on believing He can, and will, guide you in how to most effectively parent the children He has given you.
Respect (page 154): Our style of discipline, the instruction we give, and he freedoms we allow our children to have needs to be based upon a genuine desire to reveal the awesome person God created each of our children to be.
Forgiveness (page 157): One of the main responsibilities we have as parents is to model the love of Jesus for them. If He forgives us, but we do not forgive them, we can potentially create a disconnect from the authentic love of Christ that our children need as much as we do.
Intimacy (page 160): Building intimacy with our children involves learning to marvel and delight in who they are right now, in spite of the difficulties we encounter as parents. It is not dependent upon the quantity of time, only the quality of the time we do have with them.
The Four Key Principles of Relationships within the Family:
Submission (page 168): God has a way for you to experience His peace within your family if you will choose to follow Him and His leadership of your family. You can choose to let go of trying to handle it all on your own and ask Him to step in instead.
Respect (Page 169): Respect can be most effectively cultivated when we focus on the family we have right now, instead of the family we had growing up or even the family we hope to have in the future.
Forgiveness (page 171): Forgiveness within the family can be tough not only because situations may be harsh, but because of the number of people involved. Regardless, there is a way to learn to forgive (see the chart on page 132-133) and receive God’s peace into any situation.
Intimacy (page 172): Intimacy is a by-product of working with God through the other principles of relationships, but can be enhanced through effectively developing a family identity with the collective members of the family.
Cultivating peace within the family is a process. While you and I may get frustrated as we long for peace NOW, please remember this: Gd's ever lasting peace is already within you. It isn’t more available when our family is all settled. You can receive His peace in this moment, while things around you are still chaotic. It’s that peace, that presence of the Holy Spirit, that can lead you though whatever chaotic situation you are facing.
I needed that reminder too. How about you?
Here are this week's assignments: (remember: every reply with a question, comment or critique enters you into a drawing for a free Personal Schedule Management Coaching program with me!)
Color-code last weeks Schedule Tracker. Once you do, reflect on the following:
How are you doing with maintaining a regular quiet time?
How are you doing with making the time to get your needs met?
If you are not able to have regular time with God, what do you need to change so that you can?
If you are not making the time to take care of your personal needs, what needs to change so that you can start?
Were you able to make time for your spouse this past week? If you were able to, how did that affect your relationship?
This week, download another Schedule Tracker and plan out your week according to your work schedule and appointments. Then add in daily Quiet Times (remember, these do not have to be at the same time every day) and at least one hour to spend on yourself. Next, block out time to be with your spouse (even if you don't have a plan yet). Last, consider how you are going to spend time with your children this week. A phone call? A visit? A special date night? Where will you place that in your schedule this week?
Do questions 1-5 in chapter 6 of Digging Deeper.
Feedback Friday Question: What has been your toughest experience in parenting? Your most joyous? Join me on my Facebook page for a brief discussion on this (remember, every time you comment on a Feedback Friday post it gives you an entry to a drawing for a FREE Personal Schedule Management coaching program