Looking back through photos this time last year and needless to say, they're scarce. Few and far between. This is one of the only ones that I could discover.
I can only think that the reason I put my camera away beginning in August, except for jobs, was because I knew it was the start of the end. Steve and I both knew, after 12 years of being together, we were over and beyond repair. I've stayed mostly quiet to everyone except a few close friends. Divorce is never something that is designed to happen. God did not create marriage to only end in devastation. I never saw my marriage as something that was "optional." However, a marriage, as hard as we all know it is, takes TWO willing people and God gave us free will. Fast forward a year + later and it's finally coming to an end. Huge changes are happening and Noah is, to say the least, affected. He's my sensitive one and the one I knew would have the most heartbreak. He's confused, he's sad, he's mad, he's everything a 5 year old shouldn't be and it breaks my heart. I've had no time to grieve for myself because of having to help him grieve for himself. Patience doesn't even come close. Then as I was reading my Wednesday devotional by Paul Tripp (who by the way if you haven't followed, do it, now). His Gospel based insights to parenting are so dead on. MERCY. It's something none of us deserve. God is our heavenly father and we break His heart daily, frustrate him, make him cringe, and yet He has SO much mercy. We should be thanking Him all day every day. I find myself today, humbled, realizing I need to have more mercy for my children. Not let up, just be merciful in everything. Being merciful doesn't mean you allow anything and everything to just happen and it's ok. It means you forgive, it means you discipline in LOVE, it means you get down on their level and hug them and tell them you understand because that's what God does.
Here we are today, pj's, dirty hair, and surviving, and most of all, loved by the Creator of the Heavens and Earth, and are so thankful. Enjoy this devotional, apply it to your parenting. Happy Wednesday everyone... from Paul Tripp, www.paultripp.com
"One of the biggest errors Christian parents make is to forget. Not forgetting the baby's diaper bag. Not forgetting to pack the school lunch. Not forgetting to pick the teenager up after practice.
No, there's something much bigger that we forget.
When we, as earthly mothers and fathers, forget the daily mercies we've received from the Heavenly Father's hands, mercies we could have never earned, deserved, or achieved, it becomes much easier for us not to parent our children with mercy.
What is mercy? Mercy is tenderheartedness and compassion toward someone in need.
Our children are just that — needy. They need guidance and protection, they need help and rescue, they need wisdom and instruction, they need confrontation and discipline, they need patience and grace, they need love and compassion, they need support and provision, and they need to see God and themselves with accuracy.
There's never been a day when your children haven't needed mercy. We've been called to parent precisely because of their sin, weakness, and failures. Every moment of the foolishness and failure of our children should remind us why the Heavenly Father provided children with parents. Because of this, your primary calling as a parent is not first to represent God’s judgment, but rather to constantly deliver his mercy.
You see, parenting is all about being God's ambassadors in the lives of our children. It's about faithfully representing his message, his methods, and his character. It's about working to make the invisible mercy of God visible as we respond with mercy toward our kids.
That's an incredibly high and holy calling, but it will also prove to be perhaps your most difficult calling. I don't know about you, but mercy simply isn't natural for me. It's natural for me to be harsh. It's natural for me to be demanding and impatient. It's natural for me to be a bit irritated that I have to repeat myself.
That's why I need to remember, and I suspect you do too. We need to remember all the mercies that our Heavenly Father has showered on us so we in turn can shower our children with mercy.
No parent gives mercy better than the one who is reminded how much they desperately need mercy themselves. So write these verses down. They are 8 of my favorite reminders about God's mercy: Psalm 23:6, 28:6, 40:11, 103:4, 145:9, Isaiah 30:18, Ephesians 2:4, and Hebrews 4:16.
Parents, allow yourself to reflect on how much you need God's mercy now, reflect on how much you needed the mercy of your parents as you grew up, and let sympathy grow in your heart. Mercy means that every action, reaction, and response toward your children is tempered and shaped by tenderness, understanding, compassion, and love.
Parenting is a life-long mission of humbly, joyfully, and willingly giving mercy."