Our holiday, winter break was truly sweet. Those days are etched in my memory. I didn't want it to end. The most peaceful Advent season we have had in years. We were truly able to keep our eyes on anticipating the Christ child's arrival; marvel at a baby coming to earth to be God with skin on.
To be sure we were intentional with our time, we made a "joy jar", filling it with ideas for quality time and fun excursions to experience around town. We enjoyed movies nestled beneath warm blankets while flames danced in the fireplace. Balsam and fir wafted in the air, while little hands constructed gingerbread houses and arranged sprinkles on cookies.
With the clinic closed, we savored a whole week lounging in PJs and sipping coffee while gazing at twinkling lights on tree. After New Year's, an unexpected gift arrived....SNOW! I delighted in being witness to the first time my kids have felt flakes tickle noses and melt on tongues. The glee of hands scooping cold mounds and hurling through the air pelting sibling. We recounted my own childhood memories of snows in metro Atlanta where their granddad bought us make shift sleds from Ace Hardware. Black concrete mixing tubs gave us hours of rides down our steep driveway. Our southern region had not received snowfall in decades! Isn't that just God? He gives unexpected gifts just because he wants to bless his children. The break truly felt like home sweet home!
Yet, peppered throughout the break were scenes not so picturesque. Squabbles and screams. Jeers and tears. Sharp words that penetrate soul. Loud verbiage, slammed doors. Savage. My kids can turn savage. I am left perplexed as to how this mean chaos happens again and again? If you were to ask me if I teach my kids? If I seek to discipline and disciple my kids? If I probe their sinful hearts and point to their need for Christ? If I get them to examine their behavior in light of God's commands, fruit of the spirit, and love for others? ......My answer is a resounding YES!
As I seek retreat to the master suite to escape for encouragement, I hear conviction and truth through a series of sermons. Rob Rienow's words made my toes and heart ache a bit. Thought I was probing little hearts and steering them in the right direction with great intention. I came to realize, I have been fooling myself. I have been believing lies.
I sat my kids down at our kitchen table with a bag of marshmallows, a cardboard house, and their bibles. Joy reads, Proverbs 14:1......
"The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers downs (brick by brick MSG)."
Then I humbled myself. "I need to ask for your forgiveness. Please forgive me. I have discovered I have been believing two lies. Lies that I have allowed to tear down our house. "
Silence. Amazement sat on faces. "I've been believing, 'Siblings just fight!' When in fact, siblings are God's design to give you an encourager, a prayer partner, and accountability. I've also been lulling myself into thinking your true character is who others say you are outside this house. You are who your teachers, friends, and youth leaders compliment; brag about. When in fact, your true character is who you are in this home. If you want to know what kind of friend you are, it's how your treat your brother. If you want to know what kind of husband you will be, it's how you treat me."
"See this house? This house is a visual representation of our home (pouring in marshmallows) . We can build it up or tear it down! I love you enough to teach you how to make a home, a sweet home. Will you do your part?"
"For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing."
2 Corinthians 2:15
Rob Rienow: Visionary Family, Visionary Marriage