Sometimes I write about challenges I am facing…sometimes what I am writing about issues me a new challenge. My topic now is the Family Workshop, how families can build their house upon the rock of God’s Word. At a writer’s conference I attended, they said writer’s often face spiritual attack in their topic area (i.e write about marriage – experience new troubles in marriage, write about family – see increased strife in the family, etc.). Well for many reasons, I am experiencing increased strife in my family. The LORD is showing me again and again how these are really opportunities for me to grow. I have seen how I need to grow personally, so that my responses would be more godly, and I have written about that plenty here. This week I am seeing how our family as a whole needs to shore things up.
The proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back came Monday. This year marks the first successful attempt to decorate a store-bought, pre-fab gingerbread house for Christmas. One year we bought one and never had time to do it. Last year we put it together and it just kept falling apart. So this year, I used a crafter’s best friend – hot glue! And it lasted less than twelve hours. My Sweet Girl and I finished the house at just-past-bedtime on Sunday night and it was so cute! It became the centerpiece of our homeschool table…where apparently it tempted my Sweet Boy beyond his ability to resist. Suffice it to say that the gingerbread house turned into the most elaborate snack he has ever been served and then, he had a very hard time admitting what he had done… Can I tell you I was mortified? And angry? And hurt? And he was too, once he saw how upset we all were! Yesterday he said, “I didn’t understand that it was so special to you.” So this may be, in part, a man thing??? 😉 Truthfully, I was terribly dismayed because this sort of behavior is out of character for him; in general, he really is a sweet boy!
Through it all I kept hearing the LORD say, this is an opportunity to show him Who I AM. And I would say, I know, I know but this one is really hard, LORD. So when my Sweet Boy asked, with tear-stained face and trembling lips, for forgiveness, I remembered this:
The Lord is merciful and gracious,
slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
He will not always chide,
nor will He keep his anger forever.
He does not deal with us according to our sins,
nor repay us according to our iniquities.
For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
so great is His steadfast love toward those who fear Him;
as far as the east is from the west,
so far does He remove our transgressions from us.
As a father shows compassion to His children,
so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear Him (Psalm 103:8-14).
Yet, even as I remembered the scripture, I struggled to forgive, to get over it quickly. My sinful nature felt sorry for itself! I fought an old foe then…the urge to pout! My children saw the struggle and I knew I was not showing them the way the LORD responds to me. In this way, I did not give them an accurate picture of Him – I did not glorify Him.
But the LORD was working in me too. He showed me that my response was more important in this situation than anything else. It took longer then it should have, but I was able to wholeheartedly forgive, to use the Word to correct, and to see the eternal significance of something so temporary as a gingerbread house. I had to asked forgiveness of both children too, for failing to demonstrate the character of the LORD to them.
In the end, we had a really great discussion about sanctification, the necessary process for all of us to grow more Christlike. The LORD confirmed in me that He is doing a good work; because the “old me” would be holding on to my anger, even today. As for my son, he is experiencing a few “consequences” to his behavior. Some are immediate, some more drawn out. And I see how he is able to bear it better, accepting responsibility and seeing his own sin, now that he has real forgiveness, and now that my sin, of holding onto anger, has been taken out of the picture.
Yesterday, we decided to start a Family Project (more on that another time) of searching the scriptures to specifically learn more about the character of Jehovah God, based upon the desire to be a family after God’s own heart. After removing Saul, He made David their king. God testified concerning him: ‘˜I have found David son of Jesse, a man after my own heart; he will do everything I want him to do’ (Acts 13:22). As we learn more about Who He is, we can see more of what we should be, and we can learn how to live a life more pleasing to Him.
justAgirl…just like you!
P.S. Of course, I could not fail to see the irony that, though we are a family who is trying to build our “house” upon the rock, the gingerbread house bit the dust. Today, both children will join me in rebuilding the little house, and I will be thinking of this scripture: Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it, labor in vain (Psalm 127:1).