Friday, October 19, 2007

Thoughts on God

Israel is 9 weeks old now. Time has flown by. It's strange, even though I wouldn't say it's been easy I was *so* afraid of how things would be with Eve, but now I see there was no reason to fear, or simply God has given me peace about it.

Eve doesn't seem jealous at all. And Peanut has been such an easy baby, I have plenty of time to spend with her. Yes, there are definitely behavioral challenges, but those are par for the course, I think, with or without a new little brother.

I've had a much better week in parenting than I was having when I last posted. I was feeling so angry and even hateful (I hate to admit it) toward Eve, and every little thing she did, even very innocent things, seemed to push all my buttons. The thoughts I had were really awful, 180 degrees from loving and gentle. As I mentioned last time, I have totally been, simply put, just too busy to spend much time with God, and doing so seemed like such a...well, waste of time when I have so many projects and responsibilities that require productivity. But, after that last post, I faced the fact that I was suffering for it, and so was my family.

So, over the past week I've been reading Amos, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and John. I'm reading Amos because that's what our Pastor is preaching on. Proverbs, because I can just choose the chapter based on the date of the month, so it's easy. Ecclesiastes on a whim, and John, because it's the gospel with which I am least familiar. I find my days simply go better, and I have more Patience and peace when I start my day relating with God before I face the challenges of parenting (and, erm...wifing?). Tom's been great in trying to give me a somewhat uninterrupted time in which to read, drink my tea, and eat breakfast.

I'm not doing any deep study, just reading and reflecting. I notice that Solomon, or whoever wrote Ecclesiastes is bitter. The great wisdom he had didn't bring him happiness or peace. Contrast this with King David, his father, and this "man after God's heart" shows that Love is better than wisdom. I am a knowledge seeker...and this, combined with some other reading I've been doing, convicted me that I need to seek God more and rely on his spirit when parenting, and that will serve me much better, not to mention my children. I can't be the parent I need to be under my own power, and when I try I feel defeated and frustrated, and my goal of having a deep and loving relationship with my children is hindered by my behavior and reactions.

Praying for guidance in parenting is not a new idea, and I've frequently in the past realized I needed to do it, and then failed to follow through, a total un-piphany.

I've also been reading Heartfelt Discipline. It's not new to me to read a different perspective on the "Rod" verses in Proverbs, but it was a fuller explanation than I'd previously had. Common Christian belief about these verses is that they constitute a Christian imperative to spank and punish our young children. One really interesting point the author made is that the word for Rod is not a symbolic word, so if you're going to implement it biblically, you're talking a big heavy stick, used to beat slaves and animals. Additionally, the age group that is being addressed, contextually in Proverbs, is young men and fathers of young men, who need to be guided to the path of life and light--not to young children.

The book reminded me, again, to seek God for guidance in parenting, and to be led by the holy spirit. It also has some practical guidelines for relating to our children. So far it's covered having sympathy for our children, and encouraging them biblically. I especially like one idea for encouragement that points back to the stone monuments in the Old Testament, which father's were supposed to point out to their children to tell them about God's faithfulness. The author suggests as a family reflecting on God's faithfulness over the past year, month, whatever, and then drawing pictures to represent those instances of God's work in our lives, and collecting those in a notebook that can be reviewed whenever we need encouragement or are facing tough times. Seems like a good Thanksgiving activity.