“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.” Philippians 4:8
A dear friend had this word for me today. He said that the kids and I have been on his heart, and he received a message from God he felt compelled to share with me.
It’s always amazing when God puts something or someone on a person’s heart. Several people have come up to me to tell me that I’ve been on their heart. And each time I’ve claimed that I’m fine, but thank you for thinking of me. This time, my friends words hit home and he was very specific. And even though there are times when we wonder about God’s messages, about whether they came from Him or us, this was definitely a message from God.
The basis of his call was to let me know that he’d seen the anger in my son, and especially in the past few months. I almost wish I’d recorded the conversation, because he had so much stuff to say that touched my heart. You see, the kids are about to have a new baby brother next month. A lot of changes have been taking place, and are about to change even more. And in the past couple of months, both the kids have been reacting to these changes. Summer gets angry with me when I go out without her when she’s at my house, even when it’s after her bedtime. And her attitude has tripled. And Lucas has become extra sensitive by crying at the drop of a hat, he’s stopped minding so well, he appears out of control at times, and he’s developed two nervous habits: repeatedly clearing his throat or coughing this small cough, and sucking in his lips so that he has a constant red rash around his mouth. And he has a scary temper that has become more and more evident as he gets older, where he tenses up and he become rigid. Sometimes he’ll smash something on the ground and break it, usually one of his toys. Other times he’ll lash out at the person he’s angry at. He’s never dangerous, but his way of handling his anger is definitely causing alarm in me. And I, having to deal with the kids and their sudden behavioral changes, plus the kids having to skip several weekends with their dad due to his job changes and because of the recent floods, am on mom-burnout. There are times now when I’m just too “busy” to enjoy hands on play time with the kids because I’m just worn out, when we used to do all sorts of things together. Of course, this is only adding to the misbehaviors and attitude problems of my kids.
I was advised to reread the “Chronicles of Narnia” with the kids, especially Lucas, and focus on the character of Edmund. In the story, Edmund is upset about his father being away at war, and then being “abandoned” by his mother. My job is to ask Lucas pointed questions about Edmund: how does it make Edmund feel to not have his father around all the time? Why do you think Edmund is misbehaving? Etc… Lucas can’t really put into words what’s going on inside him, but maybe by explaining what he thinks Edmund is going through, he can also help me understand what HE’S going through, as well as help him understand his own feelings.
But at the end of the conversation, my friend gave me the scripture, and a lot of things came clear. This wasn’t just about my kids, this was about me. And the Lord was speaking through my friend directly to me. “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.” And for my own personal reasons away from the whole kid situation, this scripture spoke directly to my heart. My friend told me to help Lucas apply this to his life, but I also see the need to apply it to my own. Focus on the good, the wonderful, the excellent and praiseworthy. Let go of the negative, the things that drive me crazy and halt me in my steps. Focus on the good, the noble, the pure. Let go of those things that only offer temporary comfort and a lifetime of anguish and confusion.
I came away with a lot of ways to help my kids and be more understanding through their confusing childhood. And after this weekend, and when the kids are back from their dad’s, it’s time to step things up a notch and once again be the mother I want to be. But I will also have a new outlook on life, to achieve a life of focus rather than looking behind me at the things I detest.
And located right before the verse my friend gave me, I found this and it summed it up…
“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:4-7