Random ramblings of a Rose…

Posts tagged ‘Prayer’

“I Can’t Control It!”

I know it’s been far too long since I’ve written anything, so I won’t even try to cover everything I’ve missed. But I was inspired to write tonight, so here I am.
This is Squishy:

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Yes, he’s changed quite a bit since the last picture I posted, but he’s still the same crazy little boy he always was. He’s five years old now and in kindergarten. Loves mud and mess-making, being wild and rambunctious, babbles constantly and can’t keep his hands to himself. He can read and write well enough that it scares me a little, lol, and he’s passionate about singing and creating art (typically abstract, but that’s just his style.) He’s also incredibly sensitive, empathetic and intuitive, feels deeply, and understands concepts sometimes beyond his years. (For example, he knew *SPOILER ALERT* Tadashi was dead in Big Hero 6 even though I had to explain it to Jose.)

Squishy wants EVERYONE to be loved, even villains. He feels badly when they are hurt or destroyed, and just wants everyone to be happy. His favorite character in Frozen was Marshmallow – the big snow monster – and it made him happy for DAYS that Marshmallow found Elsa’s crown at the end of the credits. (Conversely, he was NOT happy when Marshmallow was melted by Regina on Once Upon a Time – I told him Elsa could just remake him another time…) When I asked him last October if he thought the actor Pablo Schreiber was a bad man (I happened to be reading an article where Pablo stated that he was currently the most hated man on TV, after season 1 of OITNB, and given his role at the time on Law & Order: SVU), Squishy looked at Pablo’s picture and deliberated for a few moments before announcing, “No. He’s my friend. I like him.” Since then, he has communicated with him several times through YouTube, Twitter and Instagram, even defending him against naysayers by reminding them that it’s just pretend and Pablo would never hurt anyone. Squishy loves EVERYONE and wants them to know it. And he wants everyone to love each other as well.

But sometimes Squishy forgets to love himself. And tonight was one of those nights. Earlier in the evening, he’d made a not so great choice when he was asked to clean up. He took the box of Lego creations Jose and he had made, that had been set in there carefully so as to not be destroyed before they could work on them on the future, and shook it back-and-forth as hard as he could because he was angry that Jose had taken the other box and left him with this one. In the process, of course, he destroyed most of what was in there – everything will have to be re-created and rebuilt. But we moved on with our evening without any great mishap. We had baths and dinner, watched Once Upon a Time, and the boys went to bed.

It wasn’t until about an hour after he gone to bed that I realized Squishy was crying. And this wasn’t “look at me! look at me!” crying, this was deep, heartfelt, sorrowful tears of regret. I went in and got in bed with him and asked him what was wrong. And he just held me and cried and said that he couldn’t stop thinking about the Lego creations he had ruined when he shook the box back-and-forth. He told me that he was just so upset because he knew that Jose would’ve been careful with that box but Jose didn’t listen when he asked him to take it. So he shook the box on purpose to show that he couldn’t be trusted with things that break. And now he felt terrible. He sobbed into my shoulder and said, “I couldn’t control my anger mommy. It’s just too quick and I can’t stop it!”

Oh, my little man. He does so break my heart sometimes! I stayed with him for awhile, and we talked. I shared a story of a time I was his age and I let my anger get the best of me. I wanted to show him that he wasn’t alone. Squishy calmed down while we talked, and he asked if he could say a prayer with me. He prayed for help with his anger, and that he wouldn’t ruin his Lego things next time. He hugged me and held on for what seemed like forever, and we told each other over and over that we loved one another, and finally he was ready to let go. Then he went to sleep within five minutes of me leaving the room.

And this just made me think tonight, that we all need to stop sometimes and listen. Listen for the cries of another who needs to talk, even if they’re not actually making any noise. Reach out to someone if you can see that they’re hurting. If they’ve changed recently and you’re not sure why, just see if they need a friend. Sometimes people simply want to know that they’re not alone. They need to be reminded that they’re loved. Yes, Squishy could’ve come out of his room and asked to talk with me, but sometimes that’s a really hard thing to do. I’m sure he was afraid if he got out of bed that he would be in trouble. Just like we are so often afraid of a negative reaction if we reach out to those around us when we desperately need to talk to someone.

If I had been listening to music or watching a show with my headphones on tonight (as I so often do in the evenings) and not heard him crying, who knows how long Squishy would’ve laid in there, sobbing tears of anguish and broken-heartedness before he cried himself to sleep?? I wouldn’t have gotten the chance to know his heart a little more and see what he was feeling. I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to share a part of me with him. There’s certainly nothing wrong with me listening to music or watching a show, but because I was present and able, I was there for him in exactly the way he needed.

So my prayer for all of you as you read this, is that you, too, might have the chance to stop what you’re doing and listen, and see if you can help another. And if you are the one who needs help, needs to be listened to, needs a shoulder to cry on and an understanding heart, my prayer is that someone will do just that for you. And to everyone: PLEASE REMEMBER TO LOVE YOURSELVES. You are worth it.

Happy first Sunday of Advent, 2014. Blessings, peace, and love to all of you.

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Dying From 10,000 Papercuts

“When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal.  Or take ships as an example.  Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants it to go.  Likewise, the tongues is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts.  Consider what a great forest is set on a fire by a small spark.  The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body.  It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.

All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and sea creatures are being tamed and have been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue.  It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.

With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness.  Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing.  My brothers and sisters, this should not be.” ~James 3:3-10

I have been embarrassed, humiliated, and saddened by things that have come out of my mouth – and this all under normal life circumstances.  When I pair my lack of self-control over my mouth with a stressful day, a cranky or unwieldy child, lack of sleep, fatigued husband, or any number of other situations that can be burdensome, the results are…  well…  extraordinarily shameful, to say the least.  As a parent, adult, teacher, leader, and caregiver I know right from wrong, how I should act/what I should say, and the consequences that can come when I fail to live according to the will and plan of God.  I am held to a higher standard and come under greater scrutiny before the Lord because of the influence I hold in my various roles and the fact that, simply put, I know better.  As someone who has been a Christian for two decades, my level of maturity (i.e. my ability to control my tongue) really ought to be higher than it is.

My tongue can direct, destroy, or bless.  Through the grace of God, I can claim to be someone who has a pretty good handle on using my tongue for appropriate direction of those under my influence and for blessing pretty much everyone in my life, in one way or another.  However, the destruction my tongue brings – especially to Jose and Squishy – all but outweighs the benefits it brings.  And this is terribly distressing to me because it is out of the overflow of the heart that the mouth speaks (Matthew 12:34, Luke 6:45.)  Knowing that, if angry, hurtful, inconsiderate, cutting, bitter, biting, rude, careless, condescending, cold, insincere, unfair, and selfish garbage is what comes out of my mouth more than anything else, what does that mean about the content of my heart??  What is pouring into my heart and mind – the wisdom of the world, which comes from Satan himself, or the wisdom of God?

A single spark can set an entire forest on fire.  In the same way, little remarks, insults, words of disapproval, etc. are like tiny little papercuts to my children.  And I am killing them with 10,000 papercuts – the words from my mouth.  Do I make Jose and Squishy safe, worthwhile, and valuable through my words?  Or am I reckless?  Piercing them with words like swords?  What kind of effect are my words having on my children?  Yes!  I make sure there is no doubt in their minds that I love them.  I tell them daily, I show them through my actions, I praise and thank them, I build them up, I teach them the Word, I guide, direct, instruct, help, comfort, edify, and soothe them.  But when they lay down at night, is it the, “I love you”s and “You are so special!”s they remember?  Or is it the, “Don’t act so stupid!”s, the “Why are you so naughty??”s, and the “Would you just shut up!!”s????  I know for myself that I hold onto the negatives in life far longer than the positives – why would my children be any different?  I can’t dismiss the backlash my words have on others just because I am a woman and women are known for being harpies, bitches, gossipers, shrews, etc.  It’s not an excuse and it is not in line with God’s will.

So, what can I do?  I can pray, be in the Word, study alone and in groups, pray, seek the council of fellow Christians, upright leaders, and the Spirit, align myself with God, pray, and above all, pray!  Pray for heavenly wisdom – wisdom that is pure, clean, wholesome, selfless, peace-loving, considerate of others, deliberate and careful to take other’s thoughts and feelings into account, submissive (having a readiness and willingness to yield to others where I can when it is not against God), compassionate and merciful, empathetic, sympathetic, fair, sincere, and which reaps a harvest of righteousness.

“Is anyone among you in trouble?  Let them pray.  Is anyone happy?  Let them sing songs of praise.  Is anyone among you sick?  Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with the oil in the name of the Lord.  And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up.  If they have sinned, they will be forgiven.  Therefore, confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.  The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.”  ~James 5:13-16

A prayer life is the mark of a mature Christian, just as is control over the tongue.  And if I pray earnestly for the will of God (not just trying to get him to do what I want, when I want), he will work on my behalf.  The passage says that it is prayers of the righteous that are powerful and effective.  The problem is that the Bible also tells us that there is none righteous – no, not one! (Romans 3:10)  So how can my prayers change anything?  What is all that praying about my tongue situation really going to accomplish?  Where can I get the righteousness I need?  From Christ himself.  At the moment of my salvation, His righteousness was transferred to me – I need to pray on the basis of HIS righteousness.  God is not required or forced to do anything as a result of my prayer, but the earnest prayer of a righteous woman immediately causes God to act on her (my!) behalf.

So does this mean that if I pray through Christ for self-control regarding my tongue, I will immediately be given the ability to never again speak in anger, frustration, bitterness, etc?  Probably not.  Yes, God could do that for me, if it was His will.  But it is more likely that this will be a process.  I may not get exactly what I want, but God will move in new and fresh ways to bring about His will in my life – a will that includes heavenly wisdom in speaking to others, especially Jose and Squishy.  If I want to mature in my faith and gain control over my tongue, I must pray on the basis of Christ’s righteousness and patiently wait on the compassionate and sovereign God to move on my behalf.  I can’t run ahead of God’s time-table, despite my suffering for the things I’ve said and the pain I’ve caused (and will likely still cause) in the lives of my children, and others.  I must not give up on prayer – or use prayer to beat up on God – when I feel He doesn’t respond “quickly enough.”  God knows what He’s doing, He is pursuing the best for me, and I have to trust the work He’s doing behind the scenes.

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