Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Parenting From the Overflow: Day 2

Overflowing Joy

My Thoughts:

How well could you relate to the scenario given of the 5 PM crazy-time rush when complete chaos strikes?  Do you have a certain time of day when it's time to keep a joyful heart?  Maybe for you it is getting out the door for work and school (or even for church), or maybe your stressful crunch comes at bedtime.  I have to agree that it is often easier to find joy and peace in life's more difficult moments than it is in the day-to-day stresses.

How would Phillippians 4:12-13 look if you were to stick your life in there?  What is the every-day joy that you can grasp hold of?  When it feels like the house is falling apart, you can't find your keys, dinner has been burned, and the kids need straightjackets while you retreat to a padded cell, stopping to find the joy in those moments feels near impossible (at least for me it does.)

But I really liked what she pointed out.  Here's the key... are you ready?

It is CHOICE followed by ACTION.

First of all things, stop and pray!!  Invite the Holy Spirit to give you wisdom and creativity in that moment, to bring about joy for the whole household.  Instead of flipping out on the family for being such slobs, get out the sheets and make a fort and just play with your kiddos for a while since it's a mess anyway.  Then when your'e done, play the "everyone pick up 5 things on your way to your room" game.  You can clean up the rest when they go to bed (you know its futile to try when they are running around like little tornadoes.)
If dinner has burned, whip out some PB&J and have a picnic outside for dinner.  Watch the sunset and talk of God's majesty while you enjoy creation.
If the kids are going crazy, let it all go (I KNOW... you CAN do it... you really can), stop and just hug on them, then grab a book and help them get quiet instead of just hollering at them to "SETTLE DOWN!"

It really does start with choice, followed by action.  You may not be in control of the circumstances around you, but you are in control of your response.  And you are teaching your children by your response.  I am ashamed to say that one freak-out too many has effected my fretful daughter.  She has a very negative perspective sometimes.  How important it is for me to follow this wise advice and take hold of the stressful moments to show her that response is a choice.

"The greatest joy-stealer in our lives is being discontent."¹

Put up this verse in the place that your usual "mad moment" takes place, and remind yourself that the secret is contentment.  Rejoice in the Lord!

Just For Moms:

1. What time of day do you find it most difficult to express joy, to live joyfully? What are the practical things you have tried to manage that time? Take a minute and make a list of what makes that time most difficult.     
For me, it's bedtime.  It seems that once the third kiddo came along, all the romance is gone from our evening routine.  We've got a system in place, but its not the dreamy end of the day I'd prefer.  If anyone diverts from the routine it can throw the end of the day off for the rest of us.  When that happens I can feel the joy drain from me.  Guilt often ensues, as I hate ending the day negatively.  No matter what, though we always end with prayer, hugs and kisses.  When Daddy is able to help, sometimes the big girls get a story while I nurse the baby.  I have to remind myself often that this is a season... already the little one is starting to shift into going to bed with the big girls.

My list:
- Dinnertime Dishes
- Littles that need help
- Messes that need to be cleaned up
- One little one that gets super chatty at the end of the day
- A tired husband who isn't always available in the way I would like him to be
- Accomplishing evening grooming for 3 little girls (baths, brushing teeth, clean pajamas, potty, brush hair, drink of water...)

2.  Look over your list and ask God to show you a bit of joy in each item. 
My List from a Joy Perspective:
- We have food to eat, and enjoy family dinnertime almost daily.
- The mere fact that I have the little ones to need me.
- Messes mean that life is lived... my children live in an enviroment when they can create and imagine and enjoy playing.  They have clothes to wear, and shoes for their feet.
- My chatty little one loves to tell me things and wants a relationship.
- My husband is tired because he is hardworking and gives so much of himself to provide for his family.
- We have clean running water to use so we can go to bed clean at the end of the day.

3.  Will you begin counting gifts? Ann Voskamp's webpage, "A Holy Experience" is so lovely.  Sometimes I just turn it on for the peaceful music.  But very often her words bring tears to my eyes.  If you don't already have a "1000 Gifts" list going, grab a journal... write down three things each day... look for them in the little things... a child who takes your hand, a sweet note from a friend, a songbird out your window... and praise and thank God for these sweet little reminders of his love for you.  There is even an app you can download to keep track of them on your iphone.

Underwood, Teri Lynne (2012-10-05). Parenting from the Overflow (p. 10).  . Kindle Edition.

A few moms over at the Polishing Rubies Facebook Page are going through the book "Parenting From the Overflow."  Feel free to grab the book and jump in with us, or share your comments below.

<3 Johnna

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