|One of Alaska's first signs the the sun has returned for spring.|
At around 4 o'clock yesterday morning, I was sitting in the recliner next to Maddox's bed, nursing him back to sleep, when I heard the most beautiful noise that I haven't heard in a very long time. No, it wasn't quiet, silly. It was the sound of birds greeting the morning sun with song. As I sat there listening to them sing their praises, I realized I couldn't remember the last time I had heard the birds sing. When I step outside our door at 8:30 in the morning, the glorious song of four hours earlier is gone. Possibly the abundant noise of a busy house overwhelms the sweet music of the birds during the day. I've also never noticed much singing during the frigid months of winter. Maybe they're too busy surviving in their little bodies to worry much about song, or maybe we don't have enough nests around our place for us to hear them during the winter? Maybe it's too much darkness for them to sing brightly?
That beautiful music got me to thinking. What else have I been missing because I've been sleeping? What had God been wanting to shine on me, but I've been too focused on the things pleasing to man (i.e. mom) rather than God? Since starting this whole autonomous experiment thing, I've spent a lot of time researching education, it's purpose and what I'd like my children to grow up experiencing. I'm becoming more and more convinced that allowing children to choose their own direction in their everyday learning will give them the skills and passion necessary to be an adult who chases their dreams rather than settling for the norm.
With that, I'm going to completely honest with you...I struggle with this mom-business. In Ephesians 5:1 and 2, God tells us to "be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God." I love my children intensely. I love being able to stay home with them and experience life with them. But do I imitate God in my interactions with them? So many times during the day I hear myself speaking to one of them in a voice that's harsh or impatient. I find myself wanting them to immediately act the way I'm expecting them to act and listen to what I'm saying to them, then not truly listen when they are talking to me. I don't think Jesus would've talked to the disciples with sarcasm or impatience when He had to, once again, explain what He was talking about to them.
I've definitely improved in my attitude and interactions with my children. We are no longer bogged down and stressed with the unnecessary deadlines and guidelines that came with curriculum-based learning. We've had much more fun, hugs and kisses, exploring new and exciting things, and having deep (and not-so-deep) conversations about everything and nothing. But I want more. I believe God wants more for our family as well.
Ephesians 5:8-9 says "for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true.)" I feel like the birds as the sun is rising wanting to sing out in praises, but I also know there is still darkness I been reluctant to let God shine upon. Or maybe it's more that God is gentle and merciful in His exposure of our darknesses. Maybe He's more like the sun that rises slowly on the horizon. It's not one minute dark and the next bright. The sun is a gradual, patient yet strong force, searching and seeking out the darkness until it's chased it all away, pushing it over the edge of the earth. That's what I pray God does to me. That He continually and mercifully and patiently reveals my darkness to me, so that I might "discern what is pleasing to the Lord" and take "no part in the unfruitful works of darkness."
You know, the Bible says in Ephesians 6 that chidden are to "obey your parents... for this is right." I wonder if it'd be easier on our children to obey, if as parents, instead of focusing on the verses in chapter 6 about children, we focused on chapter 5's message that we are to "walk in love." What would happen within our families if we took the directions in verses 19-21 to heart and "address(ed) one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ." (emphasis mine). Now I'm not saying we should go around singing everything like we are in an opera (though we had a few hours we did that one day and had loads of giggles). However, think about when you are worshipping God, really truly calling out to Him in song, whether out loud or in your head. For me, when I sing to my Lord, He fills me with joy and peace and love and acceptance. What if we took that attitude, that feeling God infuses into our spirit and, through His guidance, interact with each other in the same manner? If we uplifted one another, gave thanks for one another and mutually submitted to each other, parents and children alike, out of our love and respect for each other and God? What would that do to our families? I'm telling you...the light just reached over the horizon and exploded into that dark part of my soul, creating a paradigm shift within me that I'm not sure how to follow. But I'm up for the challenge, one step at a time, as I walk as a child of the Light. Will you take the challenge with me? Until next time:
"Awake, O sleeper,
and arise from the dead,
and Christ will shine on you."