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I really do not know that anything has ever been more exciting than diagramming sentences. Gertrude Stein

26 August 2008

...until Christ is formed in me.

Parenting is undoubtedly a sacrifice. The sacrifice I loathe to offer the most is my time. Time that used to be used to browse and peruse my favorite stores without any concern for time or what to cook for supper or if I needed to buy more pull-ups. What is required of me as a mom is taxing. It is somewhat reminiscent of being pecked to death by small chickens.

That's not even the hardest part. Really, it is nothing compared to being formed into the kind of parent that models grace and teaches spiritual truth to my kids, more by my actions, and less my mouth. I read once that change starts with the parent, then goes to the child.


If there was anything I'd have liked to have settled before I had kids it'd be this issue. I'd have liked to have mastered long-suffering, and how to not yell when I'm frustrated and over-stressed. Also, how to be both firm and gentle at the same time. How to discipline and give grace instead of punish and exasperate. How to answer my kids' hard questions about what God's voice sounds like and why they never hear it. I'd have liked to reach a certain spiritual level where I don't hurt my children because of my ignorance or lack of victory in many areas. I would have liked to have been more free. So that I could love them better. Instead of working it out in front of them. Instead of failing them so much.

I'm finding out though, that God's way of victory is through my failing. Death to my flesh. So that I reach the end of self-reliance and I come face to face with what I am. I am painfully flawed. A real mess that regularly hurts the people I love, and I am completely incapable of doing anything to fix it. But I am also His daughter, "accepted in the Beloved". And I praise Him for that.

In myself, I absolutely lack any power to change, which has been evidenced over and over by my striving and trying and purposing to be different, better, nicer, more hospitable, (fill in the blank)...

I want lasting change.
If I could, I would go ahead and get it done instantly instead of with all of this failing along the way and death to my flesh stuff, which makes my life messy and untidy. It is a difficult thing for me to watch myself make a mess of things as a way of preparation for victory over bondage. But I will say this. If failing and death in my flesh is the answer, I want to be the Phelps of failure, until Christ is formed in me.

Lasting change comes by Christ alone. Christ alone. Not Christ assisted. "Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord Almighty." Zech 4:6

"And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you,
will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns."
Phil 1:6

[Not in your own strength] for it is God Who is all the while effectually at work in you [energizing and creating in you the power and desire] both to will and to work for His good pleasure and satisfaction and delight.
Phil 2:13 (Amplified)

God is working in you to make you willing and able to obey him.
Phil 2:13 (Contemporary English Version)

8 people love me:

Sarah@Life in the Parsonage said...

This is beautiful...and I relate to it is so many ways.

Especially the "being pecked to death by small chickens" part :)


Becoming Me said...

Wheew...excellent points..convicting

harts4Him said...

Know that you don't walk alone. Many mothers feel this way! You have helped put the anguish into words--encouraging words. There is no use beating ourselves up, but encouraging one another on to good works. Thank you for doing that in your post. You are a "word-girl" and a "Word-girl"! Thanks for that Word!
God Bless!

Jackie @ Our Moments Our Memories said...

Oh, this is so challenging to me, Jodie. Why is it so hard for me to realize sometimes that it is NOT me, but Christ working through me?

Good stuff to ponder...as always.

Amy Comeaux said...

Wow, Jodie, what a great post. You put in words what I think every Mom feels, especially me. I would love for grace to flow freely through me, especially with my kids. We are all a work in progress and thank God for his unconditional love!!

Tonja said...

well said...completely understood! COMPLETELY!!

i agree with "harts4him" that you're a "Word-girl"! Amen!

Chel's Leaving a Legacy said...

Well, I tried to quote some things that really touched me, but I ended up quoting most of the whole post.

You have literally opened my heart and peered inside. I have had so many conversations with our Lord about this very thing in me...why He would call me to stay home with my sweet kids only to have me "working it out in front of them." (...stinging eyes...)

I have realized (though I quickly forget again) that He had no opportunity to work it out of me without using them to "peck me to death like small chickens."

Thank you for your transparency, truly. A Phelps of failure...I love that.

And "Christ alone, not Christ assisted." Bingo.

Love always,
Another Painfully Flawed

bren j. said...

hmmm...i had big plans to become some sort of spiritual stalwart too before the LG came along....too bad sanctification is a process....