I am a note taker. I scribble things down in random ledger pads, index cards, post-its, apps on my phone, etc., often never to be seen again. My mind has a tendency to wander, so most of the note taking process is really just an attempt to keep me focused in the moment. While most of my notes are unceremoniously trashed or forgotten, I am periodically given the gift of discovering a verse or quote long forgotten.
Frequently, God uses old words in my very own handwriting to meet me right where I am and smack me in the face with truth. Such is the case with an index card I found while cleaning out an office drawer. I can't completely place how old it is, or why it was so meaningful at the time, but my best guess is that it was written 13 years ago before I was even engaged to be married.
In this season of my life, this preaches a sermon to me about parenting.
I have spent hours around the pool with other parents this Summer noting how often we discuss our concerns about the weaknesses of our children. This is not from hearts that intend to insult and is never in earshot of the kids, but more an acknowledgement of our worry about where those personality traits/struggles may lead.
I am reminded that if someone followed me around all day with the type of scorecard many of us use to evaluate the growth/maturity of our children I'd fail miserably:
"Did you hear Jennifer's tone?" "We have got to work on her impatience." "Why is Jen so defensive? I wish she could just listen." "She tends to hide behind a book sometimes instead of playing with others." "I just wish she'd treat others the way she would like to be treated." "She tends to forget things easily." "Ugh! When is she going to learn to get everything she needs before she gets in the car?" "She's an impulsive girl. I wish she'd stop and think through things before just hurrying to get it done."
This would just be my evaluation this morning! And not to make light of these disorders, but as my children have been diagnosed with ADHD and Sensory Integration Disorder I've become convinced I likely qualify too. We all have our quirks! I'm not perfect. They're not perfect. Perfection should not be the standard or goal.
I am a loving Mama. My heart's desire is to raise my people up surrounded by laughter, love, adventure and the belief that God has a plan for them. But, honestly, I can go way too far down the road sometimes with a nine year old behavior...instead of dealing with it in the here and now I overreact based on what I fear it could look like at 29.
Looking ahead, making decisions soberly with an eyes for the future is considered wisdom...but I find there to be a slippery slope between thinking ahead and worrying ahead. Decisions made out of fear instead of current reality and future faith are generally foolish. Why not pray to and trust the One who sees the big picture instead of making up my own version in my head?
I have no intention of taking my eyes off the ball...but instead to focus them on what is real and true. I pray I can remember to treat undesirable nine year old behavior as just that...nine year old, immature, working it all out, behavior --not 16 year old juvenile delinquency. God is at work in these little hearts, just as He is in mine.
The yellow card written years ago has been removed from the office desk drawer and placed prominently on my bathroom window. I need all the reminders I can get.
May we walk this road of parenting (or whatever season you are in) in faith, not fear. God give us the courage to be in the reality of here not the fiction of there.