*sighing*. Being a mom and parenting in the context of urban ministry is so frustrating. You always have to go through the draining question of "how are your kids handling everything?" or " I don't know how you do it, I would be so scared for my kids to have to be exposed to what you all do everyday" . Once a sweet lady said, "oh, I know that must be hard for your daughter to be around "those kids"! At the end of many of these conversations I am questioning whether or not what we are doing is the right thing. I mean, just how much time around "those kids" and outside the home should I really allow my child to engage in? What do I do with my child when she is having some character issues that may have a lot to do with what she hears and sees through out the day or week?? One of my biggest fears ( uh and I have lot of those I must say) is that I will fail in my parenting and over expose my daughter too much. She will just become one of the most wildest children you could ever meet and it will be all my fault.
What bondage that is. After a long conversation with a dear friends as well as my husband tonight. I am walking away with this perspective....
For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith. - Romans 12:3
According to the grace and faith that could only come through Jesus Christ Kevin and I must remain humble and be confident in that we are fulfilling Gods calling for our family. It will not look like what others are doing, and as a friend reminded me tonight that is so okay. God has different plans for us all and according to what is in our hearts, he is chisling us in different ways. Just because we are not all doing the same thing does not mean one is in error. What we all do should be DONE IN FAITH. Anything not done in faith is a sin.
But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. - James 1:5
God has promised Kevin and I that He will give us wisdom, when we dependently rely on Him for it. That means we MUST ASK HIM. He promises to fulfill His promises. So when I find myself doubting and leaning on my own understand and strength of things... I can remember that God promises to give me wisdom, to give us wisdom in knowing how to handle our child being around "those kids".
Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they keep watch over your souls as those who will give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with grief, for this would be unprofitable for you. -Hebrews 13:17
As wife God calls me to submit myself under my husband loving protection. One way for me to find out quickly if I am over stepping my boundaries is to ask Him. But, in my asking, I must not be manipulative, fearful, or deceitful. I must ask with all honesty, humility and respect. One of the reason is because if what I am asking him about is something I really want to do, the temptation would be for me to convince him that what we should do as a family. I want him to lead me. If I am praying for him as the leader of our home then I can trust the Lord will use Him to give me wise counsel in what I(we) am doing.
I don't have all the answers. But I know the One who does. I know I am going to fail in my parenting. I must accept that. But, that's why I need Jesus. Jesus knew I would not get it right, he knows the mistakes I will make, and He covered those things for me, past, present and future. Last night my husband says as hard as it is, I must do this thing knowing that it will give us more opportunities to see Jesus and train our daughter. Practically what that looks like is I must always be on guard to make sure she is with me at all times. (i.e. not allowing her to go all free willy with whomever she wants) After three years we are still trying to figure this out. The crazy part .....we will still be doing this for years to come. We wont ever have it all figured out, there will be other things we have not thought of come up. I am so glad I know the LORD who is so wise, gracious and generous.
As far as my child being around "these kids". That's not how I look at them. Every little girl (or boy) that comes into my home is looked at as my own. I will definitely train them in the same way I am training my own. Its work, but its worth it!!!
I would love to hear the thoughts of those of you who are in full time ministry. What ways have you been in encouraged in your parenting while ministring to those around you?