"Now the body is not made up of one part but many."
"God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be."
I Corinthians 12: 14, 18
This week I have been reminded of the beauty of the "parts of the body" working together. The Spirit has been gently reminding me how important it is that we all possess different strengths and weaknesses. It is the great balancing act of community. Although it has been activities/committees outside the home that have served as my reminder, this morning I was struck that this is true inside my home as well. Our families are miniature versions of "the body." Everyone has their role(s).
God gave these three little people to our family for a reason. Their strengths are here to spur us on and their weaknesses are here to round out our rough edges as iron sharpens iron. It is the principle of Sacred Parenting: God uses our children to accomplish works in us just as much as He uses us to accomplish great works in our children.
I have been thinking a lot about the conventional wisdom of not labelling your children vs. the practical matter of knowing your children's strengths and weaknesses well enough to encourage their growth and maturity. Today I feel challenged to recognize who they are (strengths and weaknesses) and how those unique characteristics challenge and encourage me and the rest of the family.
I am thankful for K's kind heart that pleasantly surprises me, her compassion for most anything (including dying plants) and her silliness that makes me laugh. She is a great example to me of owning up to the mistakes she makes. She is quick to apologize and seek reconciliation. Interestingly, I also thank God for her sassiness, her spunk and the way she is always "pushing buttons." Although those parts of her personality try me, they also remind me of some of my own weaknesses and how they may be experienced by others.
I am thankful for R's seriousness as he goes about tasks. He is responsible, law-abiding and exact. He thrives on praise and is eager to please. He is quite hard to please, but when he is happy, there is no match for the genuineness and sensitivity of his expressed affection. R is my justice guy and keeps me on my toes in regard to fairness. Likewise, he is a reminder to me of what happens when justice goes too far and the importance of grace. Helping him learn to manage his emotions (without getting so frustrated that I model a lack of control that matches his) keeps me seeking the Lord.
I am thankful for P's dawdling and curiosity because they slow me down. Each time I am tempted to rush him, I am challenged to think about the necessity of hurrying. I am a pusher. P's pokiness causes me to ponder: Is hurrying for my convenience, due to a lack of planning or truly necessary? P likes to fully experience his surroundings by touching, tasting, looking and trying things out. He makes big messes and gets into his share of mischief, but watching him reminds me of the wonder of the world. He asks lots of questions, which can be quite trying at times, but his love for learning new things is refreshing. His expressive affection also serves as a reminder to tell and show the people in my life that they are important.
I am thankful for my husband's quiet, kind spirit. He works harder than anyone I know, shoulders incredible responsibilities and truly cares for those around him without being demanding or concerned with "tooting his own horn." He is careful and thoughtful, devoted and good. Even when he is exhausted or frustrated with circumstances at work, he refuses to allow that to effect our home life. His patience with me is unending. He is a servant leader and the best friend I could ever hope for.
It is so easy to pick people apart--to concentrate on all that they are not or what you wish they would do differently. I think this is especially true of those we live with and/or love the most. It is challenging as a parent who wants their children to "be the best them they can be" to pause and consider the unique way God uses our loved ones even (especially) in their weaknesses to bless our lives.
God gave us to each other warts and all. May we learn to love each other by appreciating each other.