I’m just amazed and thankful today, and I want to write about it here.
My first child was born in 2005 (then 2007, 2012, & 2014), and for years, it really bothered me that I didn’t really experience warm, fuzzy lovey-dovey feelings for my kids. I figured I was just emotionally a bit defunct in this way, but heigh-ho, on we go, and God can fix it if He ever wants. But it did bother me at time, sometimes a lot. I think I’ve even prayed about this, too.
Being my analytical self, I analyzed about this. Like, I had “negative” loving feelings— I could worry about them. And I knew I would be terribly sad if one of them ever died.
But I didn’t feel what I imagined most moms have- warm, happy lovey feelings.
But you know what? After 10.5 years of parenting …. Today I did. Today my heart felt positive, happy love. It feels warm and big. Inside. It’s like a consciousness of a real happy-type love feeling. A fullness. Warm and big. Inside. In the seat of my emotions. It’s physical.
And I want to record a bit of the path the Lord’s led me on in order to develop this.
The early stages of parenting, I was pretty good at. I’ve been reading about pregnancy, birth, breastfeeding, co-sleeping, etc., since I was about 15 years old. Piece of cake. (I just didn’t realize how much it was a piece of cake because I had studied it so much prior!)
But yikes. Actual childrearing?
I don’t think I’d read even one book about it! The one parenting book I started parenting with was Ted Tripp’s book– a friend mailed it to me.
I will merely say, at this moment, that people have various reactions to this book’s content. I react to it by becoming strict and demanding, and as he teaches only spanking as the means of teaching a child (and words), I was woefully inadequate and just unaware of what else existed as far as childrearing was concerned.
The assumptions or foundation that this book is laid upon is that children are sinners and have hearts that need to be turned to God (through punishment/spanking and words).
What if I had never turned from digging down that path? What if …. ? What would my heart be today towards my children? (Not, what would be every single parent’s heart who’s read that book and liked it… just my heart.)
God sent other Christians my way, in the form of books and friendships. Ross Campbell is one– I highly recommend Relational Parenting. Clay and Sally Clarkson were others. Clay Clarkson is the author of a book called Heartfelt Discipline.
Some of his main assumptions or foundations are these: That children are designed by God to be especially dependent upon their parents, and they are designed by God to be especially open to the teaching and influence of their parents.
At the time I read this, I was so struck by it. By the enormity of my role in the lives of my kids. Those are such positive and life-opening perspectives! It made all their (heretofore irritating) dependency upon me have a great spiritual purpose! They are so designed to be dependent and it correlates with their openness to my influence!
And I didn’t realize until recently, when I went back and reviewed that book, how much those assumptions had taken root in my heart. And they have grown and grown.
And then Ross Campbell’s teachings about communicating unconditional love to my kids, and how, exactly, to do that….
And all the other books I have since studied that have given me tools to work with my kids in teaching them … character, behavior, how to be in relationships, etc. The books explaining their stages of development (and I was just reviewing the 3-Year-Olds book, as Andre is in the 3 and a 1/2 stage of negativity… and how to go through it gracefully and full of love).
And also, in all this process of learning to parent, seeking not to just become used to the irritations (and just accept them on that level), but to actually follow Christ and become a transformed person, a person who, by the Spirit, is actually more patient, gentle, meek, kind, self-controlled, etc.
And …. So today, I was tasting some of the fruit of these good years of my discipline–my hard exercise of learning to do something difficult. The fruit is this big, warm feeling of love in my heart. Finally.
Finally. When I had even stopped really thinking about it.
And I still have miles to go!
And thank You, God! It is Your will that I go on, in Christ, growing into His love and Person.
Thank you, God…. I want to remember. I am remembering now what You have done all these years!