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Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Mom Boot Camp

When I got serious about God, as a 22 year old college senior, I thought I was a genius. I thought that Jesus had saved me just to increase the over-all IQ of heaven. I thought I'd tackle the Christian life as brilliantly (oh brother!) as everything else I'd attempted up to that point. I just had so much to add to the Kingdom . . . . Could I have been any more clueless?


It took a while, but eventually I began to figure out that the Kingdom of God, here on THIS planet, does not function in agreement with Darnelle's “Big Book of How Things Ought to Be”. And just to make sure I would firmly grasp this concept, God gave me kids – 5 of them.


First of all, let me say that I know that people can be childless and still be giants of faith. The Apostle Paul and Mother Theresa come to mind. But God knew what He was doing when He enrolled me in “Mom Boot Camp”. It would prove to be the best way to get certain truths from my head into my heart.


For example, I know what the Bible says about God's forgiveness of us.


As far as the east is from the west, so far have I removed your transgressions from you." (Psalms 103:12) and


". . .He is faithful and just to forgive us our sin and cleanse us
from all unrighteousness
.
" (1 John 1:9).


How much clearer could He be?

And yet, there have been times when even after I repented and thanked God for His forgiveness, I couldn't seem to shake that little cloud of condemnation. Then I would spend a few days unable to look God in the eye. It used to take a while for me to warm up to Him again and enjoy His presence. Kids don't do that. Once they get caught, apologize, pay the piper, and then get the “all clear” signal, it's over for them. They'll jump in your lap, ask for ice cream and start a long-winded story about a bag of rocks they used to have. Done. After watching that scenario with my kids for years, it finally occurred to me that maybe, just maybe, God wanted me to trust His word the same way my kids trusted mine. When I say “I forgive you” to them, they say “Cool!” and move on with life. They don't mope around the house for days mulling over how they have grieved their saintly mother. Forgiveness healed them and un-shackled them from the transgression. I tell them it is over and . . . they just believe me. What a concept! That one will set you free!


God also says in His word that He doesn't have favorites among His children.


There is now no distinction, neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is not male and female; for you are ALL one in Christ Jesus.” (Galations 3:28)

Yet when I used to see or meet or hear about any Christian whose life seemed more blessed than mine, I secretly believed that God loved them more than He loved me. But after having 5 children, I now know that it isn't possible to actually favor one child over another. They are each so different. Each brings a totally different personality to the table and unless one of those personalities surprises me with Starbucks, I love and value him/her as much as I do his/her brothers and sisters. There is plenty of love to go around. Because I know that God is even better at this parenting thing than I am, I finally realized that His capacity to love me and be totally committed to my well being isn't threatened by the fact that he has billions of other kids. I am special just because I'm His. It's enough.


But, my newest, most favorite thing to have learned from “Mom Boot Camp” has been realizing how much God just loves hearing from me. I'd never given it much thought before. I had always prayed because I needed help. I would sometimes get alone with God because I wanted to hear from Him but mostly my interaction with God had always been about my needs. Then I had teenagers. They live at the speed of light and communication with them has to be scheduled. (My sister-in-law says, “We're expecting a 'sighting' some time Wednesday!”)

Recently my 18 year old was across the Atlantic on a missions trip. Out of the blue he called from his cell phone and said, “Listen!” The sound was a little distorted, having traveled a few thousand miles, but I could tell it was music. He had stopped on a street where a few musicians were casually playing some local tune and he decided to call just so I could hear it. I couldn't stop smiling. I kept thinking, “He's across the ocean, working on things he feels passionate about, with a group of people he loves, in an incredible city, he has money in his pocket, and no parents around . . . and he called us just to share a fun moment.” How cool is that? I wouldn't have been hurt if he hadn't called, but it was so awesome that he did.


I realized that most of the time, I deprive God of those moments. I have gotten into the habit of only “bothering” God with the big issues. Without realizing it, I treated Him only as a problem solver. He definitely is that, but I sometimes forget that He is a parent, too. He loves it when I “call” just to say I'm thinking of Him. He loves it when I stop long enough to recognize and then thank Him for a small blessing. He is blessed when I take the time to ask what He thinks about anything. Like any parent, He wants to be included in his kids' lives. We tend to think, “God already knows what I'm doing. He's looking right at me!” Most of the time, I know what my kids are doing too. I know that one of them is sitting in class right now (probably begging God for a meteor to hit somewhere on campus because he does not love taking tests). But if he calls me after class to tell me that he aced his test (or whatever is the opposite of 'aced'), I love it. For a moment, he ignores the things that are demanding his attention (incoming texts, email, job #1, job #2, school, Jack-in-the-Box) and calls to fill me in on the latest in his life. Very recently, he shared with me that he had just hit an armadillo while driving. Yes.


Anyway, God knows exactly how I feel about Him even if I never open my mouth. But for reasons even WE don't understand, it makes us smile when our offspring slow down enough to let us know what's going on in their lives. It's a good thing.


So today, God gets to hear it all. I've already told him about the water bill that didn't come in the mail, the flowers that my husband brought home yesterday, the new Gene Edwards book I bought for 75 cents, and chapter 51 in the Algebra book that I have to teach this morning. I'm saving the armadillo for last!


In Him…..



Visit Darnelle at her personal blog:
All Things Work Together . . .



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9 Comments:

Blogger lori said...

Welcome to the team!!!
First of all...what an appropriate post..I am living the "MOM BOOT CAMP!:)"
I really got it all!!
Especially the part where the kids apologize and "move on" no record of wrong doing...I see it all the time around here, with me and with each other..and I look sometimes smile..."Just HOW do they do that?" I am learning!!
HE is EXACTLY the same way!
~ I loved it, I related to it...
how wonderful to meet you Darnelle!
lori

November 6, 2007 at 8:43 PM  
Blogger Amy Grant Bayliss said...

Girl, you are awesome!! That was good.. and very timely for me! This is all so very true.

You know you have a caring child when he ignores texts to call his mom. That is love. And of course I know your kids so I know how great they are which is a direct reflection of their awesome parents.

I'm so glad you are on the team! Welcome!

November 6, 2007 at 9:22 PM  
Blogger Angie said...

I LOVED that! Yes God loves it when we call just to say we are "thinking" about Him and recognize Him in every area of our lives---daily!
What a blessing this post was to me!
Thanks!!!
Have a blessed day!

November 6, 2007 at 9:50 PM  
Blogger Denise said...

Such a great post, thank you.

November 7, 2007 at 12:13 AM  
Anonymous Lynn said...

Darnele,

Fantastic article and girl, did I need to read it. I am so inspired I am heading out for a walk and I am going to just delight the Lord with parts of my day.
THANK YOU!!!

I am so glad you joined in the fun here. Can't wait to read more. Love and hugs, Lynn

November 7, 2007 at 9:03 AM  
Blogger Chris @ Come to the Table said...

What a great post and boy did I need to read this. I am in the midst of "mom boot camp" with my own five and I can so relate to those little things that my kids share that I just treasure.

I am going to being doing alot of talking today.

Great post and welcome to the blog team.

November 7, 2007 at 11:11 AM  
Blogger Tammy said...

Welcome! Thanks for a timely word well written! Great post!

November 8, 2007 at 8:36 AM  
Anonymous Adrian said...

I, too, SO relate to this post and how God gives us our children to grow and change and teach us so much more than we think He gave them to us for us to teach!! Beautifully written. Looking forward to reading from you next time. Thank you for sharing.

November 8, 2007 at 7:36 PM  
Blogger Susan said...

Hi Darnelle,

Great word, I really enjoyed this and could totally relate!

How exciting to have your child call you on his mission trip!

What a life-changing experience!

Blessings to you!

Susan

November 8, 2007 at 9:54 PM  

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It is good to hear from you... thank you so very much for leaving a note on the table. That makes us smile!

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