Daily Archives: January 26, 2011

Romance – Part 1

It was a very, very difficult year.  We had spent the year quite directionless with few successes, I had felt isolated from my husband because we both were so depleted that we had nothing to give each other, we had no friends that were peers, and felt hopeless as we watched ourselves fall into a hole financially.  I was being beat down by a neighborhood in which I saw no beauty, that was constantly barraging me with noise, and one in which, while people were pressing in on me, I felt quite alone.

At the end of this dark year, and facing another one that had the potential to play out just like the last one, my husband and I got away for a friend’s wedding.  We made it a long weekend with no kids, and while there, I had a chunk of time to devote to putting words to what I was feeling.  I knew that I wouldn’t be able to tolerate another year doing the same things that we had done the previous one. 

For those of you who have seen the movie Beauty and the Beast, you might remember the scene in which we learn why Beast has to get Belle to fall in love with him.  There is a rose under a domed glass case that is slowly losing its petals.  It doesn’t look in good shape – the last few remaining petals are drooping and sagging, and we hold our breath as one more petal drops.  If he doesn’t get Belle to genuinely love him by the time the last petal drops, he won’t be able to break the magical spell, and he’ll forever be a beast.  You can sense from his extreme protection of the domed case that the situation is desperate, as if Beast’s life itself is dying with the rose. 

That was me.  I knew that at that moment, my insides were the rose and that my sanity, peace, joy, and ability to cope were slowly dying.  I know that this sounds a little over-dramatic, but that scene was the picture that most accurately described where I was at that time.  I had become focused on one primary goal:  keep the rose alive.  I felt that if I didn’t protect my emotional health, no one else would.  I needed to stay functional for my family.

I spent our long drive home talking with my husband about these feelings.  I had a glimmer of hope in an idea that I felt that God had given me, but I needed my husband to be on board with me.

I am not a romantic.  I’d much rather be served with the practical (filling my car up with gas, helping cook a meal, emptying out the trash) than to be showered with lovely words, flowers, love notes, chocolates, etc.  However, my husband is a lovely, thoughtful romantic.  I’d spent the early years of our marriage silencing that side of him – not intentionally, but effectively.

So I approached him on that ride home with the idea of declaring this coming year the Year of Romance.  I told him that I desperately needed all that he had to give me, and that I was open to all of the ways that he was gifted with to love on me and our family.  And I told him that I wanted him to begin the journey of trusting me enough to open up that romantic part of him once more. 

It is with this background that I begin a short series on romance.  Through this dark period, I learned some key principals about how to ignite warmth and fellowship even when going through difficulties.   (In no way am I declaring that I have wrapped up all of the answers in this field – I can just report what worked for me.)   This idea of romance first involved my relationship with God, secondly my relationship with my husband, and a close third, my relationship with my kids.  I hope that you stick with me long enough to hear the happy ending of the story!

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Filed under Family and faith, General thoughts

Parenting Philosophy – Knowing

In a previous post, I discussed the role of obedience in parenting.  One of the elements that goes hand in hand with obedience is intentionally getting to know your kids.  Obviously, I mean a much deeper knowing than just the basics of who they are.  What I’m talking about is the depth of your child’s heart, the motivations, the giftings, the learning styles, the love languages, etc., that are the core of who that child is. 

For some people, this is an intuitive process.  For me, however, it was an intentional process of studying how each child played, interacted, learned, loved and communicated.  I even had notepads out at one point, taking notes on their behavior.  I learned that my elder son loved to set up his wooden trains in elaborate patterns, but then lost interest when it came to playing with the trains on the track.  While my younger son picked up on that process and played for hours on the tracks that his sibling had arranged.  I watched my older daughter play very well with friends, but then need quiet alone time to recharge.  While my younger daughter got jazzed up from interaction with friends, reveling in the ability that she had to lead every moment of play together.  Each of these observations (plus many, many more) gave me puzzle pieces of who they were.

One of the reasons that I feel it is important to intricately know your kids is so that you can fan the flames of the gifts that are within them.  My personal goal is to know Jesus intimately, to know myself and the giftings that I’ve been given, and to love what He loves, stewarding well those gifts in me to help and love others.  That is ultimately what I want for my children, too.  What I want for my children is that they know God personally and intimately, that they know themselves really well, and that they are passionate for others, their decisions being driven by their love to use the gifts within them to serve and care for others.  They can only accomplish this goal if they know their gifts well.

Obviously, it isn’t my place to reveal every gift that my child has, nor is it my job alone to fan the flames of giftings within them.  I completely trust my children and their future to God’s extremely capable hands, and I recognize that He loves them more and knows them better than I ever could.  However, I do believe that I can be a tool used to His purposes if I take the time to know well each child.

During the early years of my parenting, a book I used as a resource in the pursuit of knowing my kids was “Different Children, Different Needs”, by Charles F. Boyd.  It has within it the way to discover your child’s personality style, how to discover your parental personality style, and ways in which those personalities interact.  It has phrases that each personality style loves to hear, and strategies of how to draw out the positives of each style.  It was invaluable to me during those years, and I hope it is to you, too.

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Filed under Family and faith, Parenting