Thursday, January 6, 2011

the unforced rhythms of grace in parenting

In my signature neurotic, conscientious way, I worry about how much sleep each child is getting.  I have the pediatric sleep chart memorized for each age range.  Yeah, I know.  That's really neurotic.

I know the folly of letting a child get over-tired and wired.  I know the value of predictable bedtime routines, which ease a child into sleep.

When each child awakes in the morning, I note the time on the clock and count backwards to the time they fell asleep the night before.  Did they get their required hours?

Despite my Herculean efforts, bedtime doesn't always go smoothly around here.  Sometimes, in fact, it goes so horrendously, I wonder why the heck these silly rules are even written!

When I first started parenting, I bought the line that if you just show 'em who's boss, everything will go smoothly.  They'll fall in line like faithful soldiers.

Now, I see their little hearts.  I look into their eyes and want to know them. Sometimes they feel good and want to please me.  Other times, they don't know why, but they just can't fall in line.  They're off somehow.

How often does that happen to adults, in regards to Heavenly Father's wishes?  How often do we fail to fall in line?

Mary was off at bedtime tonight.  She whined, fought, felt sorry, then hugged me.  Then she struggled again, with some disrespect spilling from her angst-ridden face.  She cried, grabbed my neck, hugged me wild.

Was she over-tired?  Getting sick?

Instead of discipline, GRACE.  Not always, and God will lead the way in this......if we seek His face.

Things often don't go as formulas--like sleep charts--would have us believe.

Because we're raising up souls, not soldiers.

I want to be a haven of rest for them.  The face of Christ, above all.

Matthew 11:28-30 The Message (Peterson, 1993)
"Are you tired?  Worn out?  Burned out on religion?  Come to me.  Get away with me and you'll recover your life.  I'll show you how to take a real rest.  Walk with me and work with me--watch how I do it.  Learn the unforced rhythms of grace.  I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you.  Keep company with me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly."

Matthew 11:28-30 King James Version
"Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart; and ye shall find rest unto your souls.  For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."

1 comment:

Steph said...

Ah, bedtime. It used to be my most favourite time of the day - for snuggling, singing, reading - a gentle, quiet time.

Now that the kids are older it is much more stressful. They stall, they push buttons, they generally resist going to bed - because they are kids. Still, those quieter times were so sweet....
Happy New Year to you!