Our living situation has been nothing but a learning process since the day that I moved in. Some days I am willing to learn and other days I will freely admit that I inwardly turn into a five year old and allow my heart to sit down stubbornly on the floor and pout simply because on some days I find it a million time easier to wallow in my self loathing than I do to be a grown, poised & somewhat together woman. I have shared before my struggle to find contentment lately in this post. Some days seem mildly successful. While other days seem flat out impossible.
Today I spent a few hours at the park with my life-giving, truth-telling friend Heidi. She's one of those people in my life who's willing to give it to me straight. And I am beyond words grateful for her. Today at the park was no exception. She asked how my living situation was going. I told her and you wanna know what she said to me?
Soak it up people, this is good...
She said, "submission is choosing contentedness in the the atmosphere that has been chosen for you."
What atmosphere has been chosen for me? This house!
And of course I came back at her with my cynicism ,
"ya, that's good and all, but how the heck do you actually always "choose" to be content? I can"t muster this contentment stuff up on my own."
And you know what she said in all her spiritual wisdom,
"Nope, you can't."
There's something in me that keeps trying to do it on my own. Whatever "it" is, I find myself continuously coming up short. We just can't do life on our own. We can't teach ourselves our own lessons. God wants to infuse His character into us. The process can often be slow. I know because I am a Mama of MSC, and in so many things with those little rascals, the process is oh so slow.
I have been watching Josiah struggle with his tone of voice lately. He has been whining and crying and generally freaking out when something frustrates him. The problem is a lack of self control over his voice.
We've talked several times a day about his need to choose to talk in a self-controlled, big boy voice. We've talked about how he knows the right thing to do (by expressing what he needs in a self-controlled, kind voice, then if he is not getting what he needs he should come ask Mama for help in a self controlled voice as well), and he needs to choose to do the right thing.
At first I felt like we had talked about it enough so I was disciplining him for it. But yesterday as he was whining for what felt like the fortieth time, I was holding his hand and walking him into the bathroom and something in my heart really softened towards him. I was thinking about my own lack of self control with my voice, (that by now you are all very much aware of.) I may not whine or cry about everything that I feel frustrated about but I have yelled and spoken harshly.
Siah and I were sitting on the bathroom floor together. He had tears streaming down his face. And I was silent as I thought through the ways that the Lord disciplined me as I struggled with my voice. He has always been so tender with me... gracious, and endlessly patient to teach me that all things are possible through him, even self control over my tone. He endlessly repeats himself to me. He asks, "Does that bless your children when you speak with that harsh tone?" And follows up with, "Remember my daughter, "that a soft answer turns away wrath." (Proverbs 15:1).
I looked up at Josiah and I wiped the tears off of his cheek. I gently held his hands and looked into his eyes and asked, "Why are you choosing to whine when you know the right thing to do?"
He replied through his tears, "I don't know mama."
His response struck another cord in me. In all honesty that has been my exact response to God when he has asked me why I continue to choose sin over victory.
I pulled Josiah into my lap and held him close. I explained to him that Mommy sometimes struggles with the same thing and that when I find myself struggling I ask the Holy Spirit to make a change in me that I can't make in myself. Then I asked him if he would like to pray and ask the Lord to help him with his tone and his response when he feels frustrated? Then we prayed.
Throughout the rest of the day there were successful and unsuccessful moments. I lavished praise on him when he was successful, and prayed fervently with him when he wasn't.
It's a process... this life thing is a process... self control is a process... contentedness is the process that I am in now.
There are good days and bad days... In both, the Lord lavishes his love on me.
He is showing me how to find contentment in the atmosphere that he has chosen for me.
Today was a good day and for that I am grateful.