The kids are growing around here.
The way that we handle sin-struggles is changing too.
My Siah's got thoughts and opinions now. He's only six, but he is gaining more and more knowledge and understanding each day.
And he's in a life-stage of needing to learn a bit of self-control over his emotions, choosing a soft answer when everything in him feels like lashing out harsh words, & going through those inevitable growing pains of being held responsible for more mature actions, knowing that maturity rarely comes with ease.
He's quite an obedient kid. His heart wants to listen and obey but his busy six-year-old mind and body is working overtime against him in the department of diligence and attentiveness. His strength is in his heart of repentance... once he's realized his wrong he is quick to apologize and make it right.
So, we're working on things...
And we're doing it together... because the thing about being a parent of many small children is that I too am very much in the learning phase and I'm not always confident in exactly what it is I'm supposed to be doing to encourage my kids towards righteousness. I need God's help, moment by moment. I want the Lord to train me in being proactive and help me to overcome my tendency of being so reactive, as I interact with my kids.
Thus, The Sweet Spot...
I've thought to make a space in our home where anyone in need of Him (me first :) might be able to go throughout our days, at any time, for any reason. There are a lot of folks that live under this roof and sometimes we all just need a little space, a little quiet, a little Jesus to remind us that we are loved, that we are blessed, & that we really can do all things through Christ who gives us strength.
So for us, The Sweet Spot has become a hastily painted, old, barn-wood bench tucked away in a far corner of an unfinished sunroom.
On it rests a couple of Bibles (one for the treasures, and one for the Mama.)
There's a notepad and a pen to draw pictures and write, a way for our little artist to pour her heart out.
There's a small, green bowl holding a cup of flour... we slide our fingers through and script our struggles... Then we wipe them away with a swoop of our palm and thank our Jesus for his great act of forgiveness.
And last but not least, there's a round brown bowl that holds a handful of homemade reminder bracelets, card stock covered in His truth.
There are moments in ours days when one (or more) of the kids and I walk hand in hand to thatsweet spot in our home. It's not a place of punishment, but a place of restoration. It's a place of making all things new. A place of trying again.
We plop down on the bricks below the bench and chat about our hearts... try to discover a root of some sort. Sometimes we can, and sometimes we can't. But either way, togetherness at the foot of a prayer bench seems to be working for us.
Sometimes we find one of those homemade bracelets with just the right words on it and turn into a constant reminder of how we wanna treat each other as a family. Because I find that we are all so forgetful around here and when I asked the Lord just how we might remember He led me to this. So now, we tie.
Sometimes we write in the sand. Sometimes we just sit quietly and let the other person think a bit. Sometimes we cry. Sometimes we end up in laughter. But the goal is to leave that sweet spot with a new sense of hope. Hope that we're in process. Hope that He is faithful to mold us into whatever He wants us to be for His glory. Some days we only go there once or twice. Some days it seems that we should add a sleeping bag to the sweet spot and make it a bit more comfortable.
It's not a perfect solution to all things parenting... The kids still get discouraged, still give attitude, and aren't always as eager about the sweet spot as I had dreamed they would be, but it's helping us to discover more about each other. It's slowing us down and causing us to ask, to seek, to knock. And that little sweet spot is opening up a new door, a new way of delighting in family through a new life-phase with many small children.
And besides all that, it's often a snack bar for the littlest one. :)
A place to go and try again with my treasures,
New ideas to lead my kiddos to Him,
A piece of gum, and early morning run, and a beautiful hand picked bouquet of wild flowers,
A slow gathering of school supplies,
A Papaw being a horse around the living room with two giggling girls riding tall,
A boy and his bike.
Being a listening ear,
Friendship and living life together...