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When things aren't as they should be - Issue 225
November 11, 2011
Hi there! ....

This week we know for sure that the wet season has started in our little part of the world. It has started with a bang this year, even though it is a little early. As I write here on Friday evening, there is a huge storm – lightening, thunder and heavy rains. (We live in semi-tropics so the monsoonal type rains, and thunder/lightning storms are normal for us – but it still impresses every year.)

We also live in a farming community. This year the Christian farmers called a prayer meeting to commit their crops to God and they asked Him to hold off the rains till after the harvest. They invited all farmers – regardless of their own personal faith – to come along. I remember it being said, that praying that afternoon wasn’t like rubbing a magic lamp for a genie and our wish would be his command. Praying isn’t a magic formula and everything will be okay. I believe some crops have been harvested before the rains, and some crops haven’t. It has rained on the Christian and the unbelievers alike. The difference? Believing that God is in control. We can take the same heart message when we consider our families. Praying for our children is no magic formula – but it does recognise that God is in control.

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When things aren't as they should be

Have you ever had something happen that makes you realise things around your house aren’t as they should be?
  • Kids aren’t relating to each other as you’d like
  • House isn’t as clean and tidy as you would have dreamed
  • School assignments aren’t as completed as you’d planned
  • You aren’t as slim as you’d pictured
The list could go on and on…

At this point, what can we do? As I see it, we have one of two choices

  1. Be anxious, frustrated, disappointed and full of regret which tends to immobilise us
  2. Or…
  3. Accept it and move on! Do something about it.

There is a tendency when we suddenly find ourselves where we don’t want to be to look back over our shoulder and regret. And with that regret comes a load of self-judgement. But that is not helpful at all. I remember feeling disappointed in myself because it took sooo long to wean Josh off the bottle as a toddler. My mum reminded me that I needed to remember the circumstances which surrounded our family each time he was close to being weaned. At the time it seemed reasonable to let him keep having it. Five years down the track I had forgotten those circumstances, and just remembered the ideal and how I fell short. Do you see this pattern happening in your life?

This week I started to do a short study between the idea of judging someone and discerning something. I think we tend to judge ourselves, where we should really discern our situation.

When we judge someone we come to a decision that something wrong has been done. And in a legal situation this would often require a punishment.

Whereas when we discern we can see the situation for what it is and decide what needs to be done about it. There is no judgement of the person involved.

This is an important distinction even when we are considering our own self. Judgement brings a punishment. Discernment brings a solution.

So when we see that things are not as we would wish we can feel guilty, bad, inadequate, failures who don’t deserve anything good – or we can take stock of the situation and with God’s help find creative solutions.

One of the things that is so central to being an intentional parent is to have a goal. A goal though is only helpful if we review it regularly. Reviewing our goals is only helpful if we tweak them when we see discrepancies in what we planned and where we really are. If we set a goal, and never revisit, never see how we are going, then we will never be able to catch ourselves when we veer off course in enough time to make any difference. Ultimately we will not land near our goal. On the other hand when we review, and tweak our path we can arrive pretty close to the desired destination.

This reminds me of a story of a pilot who put his plane on auto pilot and fell asleep, never checking his instruments or map as he flew along. He woke up over an ocean. That wasn’t where he expected to be. He had to quickly turn around and hope that he still had enough fuel to get back to land – wherever that was. He didn’t know where he was, so he just hoped for the best. Just for the record this pilot wasn’t Peter and he did make it back to tell his story!! But we need to learn from this. Our family will not function on autopilot. We need to set the course and be involved, we need to check our co-ordinates, know where we are, and more importantly know how to get back on track should we veer off.

Veering off isn’t such a big deal when you are up in the sky – the highway is huge so to speak. But if you veer off your intended path for too long without making the relevant corrections then you will never make your expected destination. We shouldn’t feel bad for veering off, or not being where we want to be, what we should feel stirred up about is if we never even noticed!

Do you know the current issues you need to address in each of your children’s lives? Do you know how you are a going to address that issue? It needs to be more than a lecture or telling off, that isn’t a very successful way to change our children’s hearts. Think through these thoughts so that in the course of your day you will be prepared to speak into your child’s life:

  • What scriptures could you use to teach into your child’s heart? (Not lecture your child with, or preach from but share and build on because the Word of God is important to you.)
  • What family activity, story, movie will create a teachable moment?
  • What character trait is needed in this situation?
  • How can you change family life, in order to create opportunity for your child to practice making a good choice in this area?
  • What are the consequences you could use if necessary?
  • How will you know that your child’s heart has changed?

So if you’ve noticed some things around you aren’t what you would have liked, don’t be disheartened – instead accept that is where you are at, and make a plan for moving on. Accept the past mistakes maybe even slackness, acknowledge it, apologise if you have to but don’t stay there. I’m reminded of that little saying:

If you keep doing what you are doing
You will keep getting what you are getting

Now is a good time to take stock and make a plan and see the lives in your family grow.

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Until next week

Belinda Letchford
Living life with her kids in Australia!

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