Sunday, February 3, 2008

Learning to Obey

"Because of the LORD's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness."
Lamentations 3:22-23 (NIV)

"If you love me, you will obey what I command.
John 14:15 (NIV)

"Intelligent children listen to their parents; foolish children do their own thing."
Proverbs 13:1 (The Message)

Earlier this week I was feeling frustrated…, defeated…, like the worst parent ever. Do you ever have those days when you feel like you could be a much better parent? I had made a solemn vow to myself that our “getting ready” time was going to run much smoother. “Getting ready time” is that time when you are getting ready to go out the door to some place. Most often for us it’s to church or school. It seemed lately that getting ready to go somewhere had become a circus. So, I started trying to prepare better by doing things like laying out clothes, packing bags, and getting baths the night before.

“I’ll have more patience,” I promised myself. “I won’t be so quick to yell.” However, this was a promise broken. Even with the advance preparation I had so carefully executed to make my morning run more smoothly, I still had to raise my voice to the level of surround sound to get my children to listen and obey. It didn’t seem to matter I had made the request to “brush your teeth” or “get your coat” at least four or five times. They didn’t seem to hear me until I was yelling like a crazy person. My behavior resembled one of those sports fans, mad at a referee for not calling in their team’s favor. And to think, here I was just trying to get them to a place they needed to be. After all, they couldn’t get there on their own.

After the yelling, they finally paid attention and carried out the request I had made. It came with “We’re sorry Mom,” “It won’t happen again, Mommy,” “We’ll listen, we’ll obey, we love you Mommy.” My first thought was to say “You don’t mean it. If you were really sorry, you would change your behavior. You would obey me and not make me raise my voice to get your attention.” But before the words could travel from my head to my mouth, I felt the gentle prod of the Spirit and heard Him say. “If you loved me, you would obey my commands.”

That hit hard. How many times have I myself not obeyed God’s requests even though He has asked me repeatedly? Sometimes I am so busy doing my own thing that I don't do what He has planned for me. And what He has planned is always better than anything I could ever do on my own. He is always trying to get me to a place I need to be, a place I can’t get to on my own. He’s not taking me to school, but to a place where He can teach me something. He’s not taking me to church, but to a place where I can worship Him and experience more of His presence. There are times when I have ignored His requests to the point I no longer hear his still small voice and He has to raise it to get my attention. He raises His voice by allowing circumstances to come into my life to get me to pay attention, to listen more closely to what He has to say.

All of these thoughts passed in just a few seconds, but in those few seconds, I was reminded of how good God is. How patient He is. How merciful He is. How forgiving He is. I cried out in my spirit… “I’m sorry God. It won’t happen again. I’ll obey. I love you. I want to do what you have planned. I want to go where you want to take me.” And then I felt it. Peace and unconditional love. The forgiveness He gives when I ask for it. The thankfulness that His mercies are new every morning flooded my heart.

I stopped what I was doing and looked at my children. I wanted to be sure I had their full attention. I told them I forgave them for their disobedience. I told them I loved them no matter what. I told them we would start over again tomorrow morning… and we would do better. Then I didn’t feel so frustrated… so defeated. I felt good because I know Christ is living in me, perfecting me day by day, forgiving me when I make mistakes, doing whatever it takes to get my attention and teaching me to trust and obey. If I can just pass that along to my children, then maybe I’m not such a bad parent after all.


Cheri said...

I have had that song in my head all day. Trust and Obey! Maybe God is trying to tell me something?

What He says we will do,
Where he sends we will go;
Never fear, only trust and obey.

Moving Right Along. said...

So good. You know I've had the same experiences frustrated God must be with me, too! I'm so glad His love is bigger than my faults.

Carol said...

I love this one. Keep it up!!

Stephanie (Ocean Mommy) said...

Oh, how I've been in the same spot on several mornings!!!

I'm glad He allows do overs.

kmom3 said...

I remember a sweet mentor of mine who reminded me that it would do my children no good if I was a perfect parent. They will never be perfect, and they need to see and learn how to deal weaknesses. I am an excellent display of weakness, let me tell you! :) I am constantly having to go to them and ask them to forgive me. We have to stop and pray for God to help us start our day over a lot!
I am so thankful for God's mercy! We all need it! So don't beat yourself up too much! You are not alone!
Thanks for sharing this!
Kimberly :)

DeAnna said...

It seems like we are living the same life each and every morning. Thanks for the reminder from The Father!