Wednesday, January 12, 2011

A Fresh Start

"I've had to adopt my kids two times," she said with a smile. I looked at this mom a little confused, trying to think how she adopted them twice and why. As if to answer my questions she said, "I thought about how God has adopted us with our past and He starts working on things right where we are. He doesn't expect us to be perfect, but He takes us as we are. He doesn't give up on us."

She continued, "I realized that I was worrying about what I hadn't done raising my kids and was feeling horrible about it. So I called a family meeting, and I told them how I was going to follow God's lead--take them under my wing again at this stage of life and begin the parenting process afresh. I explained, 'If I adopted you today at your current ages, I would get you with all of your past--the good and the bad. I would do my best, starting now on the day of adoption. So starting now, I adopt you again, and these are the things I want to do differently from this point on.' This seemed to be the perfect solution to getting past my feelings of failure about the job I had been doing with them up to that point."

It's easy to fall into habits that eventually become a part of your family. Maybe the kids constantly interrupt your conversation or you've heard yourself speaking in ways that the children aren't allowed to speak. Maybe you are doing all the work without any help from your family, or you're all eating out constantly, running from here to there. Whatever your scenario, there are traps that all of us fall into, and sometimes we need a fresh start.

Instead of yelling and complaining, try restarting your family. That mom was letting her kids know that she was still glad to be their mom and hadn't given up on them. She was saying to them, "If I had to choose today, I'd still choose you."

Do you need to start over with your family? Do you feel like you could give up on them? (If so, don't worry--you're normal!) Maybe you need to get away by yourself or with your husband to think clearly about the trends in your family. When you get back, call a family meeting to introduce the new rules and new freedoms or to ask forgiveness for past mistakes. Then adopt them. Start over, with all of the past in the past. Today is a new day!

Lord, You were gracious beyond measure to adopt us into Your family. You didn't ask us to clean up our act and then come to You, but You have taken us as we are. Thank You for giving us second, third, and fourth chances....Help us do the same with our children. Show us things that we are allowing (or aren't allowing) in our home that we should change. Help us know when we should be more careful and when we should lighten up. Help us accept our kids just as they are. Refocus our minds. Restart us, Lord. We pray this in Jesus' Name as Your grateful adopted kids. Amen.

from Laurie and Sharon's book Hold You, Mommy

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