I have learned -again- that I am indeed a sinner that is prone to wander no matter the circumstances. It is exhausting when I try to live in my own strength. I just cannot do it. Well...graciously...really - it's just a train wreck.
I have learned that my best feature is my faith. Believe it or not - though my faith is weak - I tend to believe things that many doubt. This faith that is given to me, and to every human on this earth is a gift from God. My faith has been placed in many wrong things over the years, causing me to falter and fall. I have placed my faith in friends, money, my own abilities - and every single one of those things have let me down at one point or another. I have let it cause me to be bitter and drag around a burden that was not meant for me to carry.
God has something better.
I have learned that my boys - all three of them - in spite of me, have grown into young men that I am incredibly proud of. How did this happen? The grace of God. There is nothing in me that can make these boys be what they need to be. Can I help? Yes. And I should. Am I perfect? Sadly no. But if you read all of the articles that are posted on Facebook and circulating the web, you would think it was all up to us and the amount of TV and sugar and devices we do or don't let our kids indulge in. But it is not.
Of course there are things we need to do to raise our children well and we try to give them the tools they need to be successful. In the end though my trust has to be in God and not in anything I can give them. They are a work of the divine hand of God working through me to make them what He needs them to be.
I have learned that kids are kids. They are not always a reflection of what I am, or what I have taught them...and yet - they are. One of the most encouraging things I have come to understand over the years is that kids will grow out of the stupid things they say. The first set of students I discipled said and did some stupid things sometimes. I didn't worry about it at the time - #1 they weren't my children #2 I was also very young. But I heard adults that were leaders in the church say some things that I found wounded me, and would certainly hurt these kids we worked so hard to support in their journey to know God. What I have come to understand as an adult is that I cannot allow myself to think less of these kids because of what they say now. I have thought the same things as an adult about my own children, and other students I work with, that if voiced out loud could be hurtful. But God has allowed me to see those kids I disciple 20 + years ago that said stupid things, grow up into amazing adults that have poured themselves into other students and their own children - full of the GRACE of God. These kids I work with at the high school now (my own babies included) will grow up and start doing and saying stupid things less. I say less because I still say and do stupid things. I will not judge. When I think, "What a bonehead", I immediately follow it up with, "thank God they will grow out of it". And I mean it. And most of them will - due to God's grace and maybe even God's grace through me - so it causes me to "not grow weary in well doing" (Gal. 6:9).
I have learned that I can trust God each day to take care of my needs. When I purposefully make the decision to...and I have to do it minute by minute on some days, because my control fer-REAK ways want to run in and do what I think is best. God has protected me from myself...sometimes in ways that actually scared me more for a night as I wrestled over why this way wouldn't work. I woke up with faith that GOD had this. I had been given the solution to my worries and that was to trust God day by day, moment by moment.
And I will need this. I will have to remind myself of this - over and over again this year because...I have twin boys that are seniors and they are uncertain where they want to go. And I want to know now. I want the finances ironed out now and I want not to have to think about it anymore.
But that is not how God has chosen to work this scenario out...so wait I must.
Isaiah 40:31 [Full Chapter]
But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.
I am counting on this.