The Sunday after Christmas we were driving across the lovely state of Michigan to celebrate Christmas one more time. We planned on streaming our church's sermon but it wasn't cooperating, so we listened to the one from North Point Community Church (Andy Stanley's church). Well, it turns out that their whole church shuts down on the last Sunday of the year so it was a re-play of last year's New Year's sermon. In the sermon, Stanley suggested you focus on one thing for the New Year. Not ten things, not five things, one thing. As he spoke, he said, "I bet you already have an idea of what that one thing is." And he was right. I knew.
The way I mother, needs improving. God knows it. I know it. My kids know it. That was my one thing. I wanted a word to go with it. A focus. One word to say in a nutshell how I'd like to view my mothering at this time next year. This is where it gets a little embarrassing, maybe. I thought of calm, then I thought steady, and as I pondered more, I was led to "unflappable."
That feels audacious to me. That God could mold my mothering skill-set into something unflappable in twelve months time. Because if I'm being honest with you, I am super flappable. Super. Flappable. Hello, my name is "easily flapped." You know what I am saying?
I have a short fuse. And two toddlers. That combination isn't lovely very often. Not to fear, my ugliness has been evenly distributed to each of the boys. Bless them. I am ever grateful for the words, "I'm sorry," and for their patient, forgiving hearts. But deep in my soul, I knew this was the place where I needed to invite God in to do the work.
I think it took me more than a week before I could admit that "unflappable" was my word. I was still finishing reading "Unglued: Making Wise Choices in the Midst of Raw Emotions" by Lysa Terkeurst and wondering about buying "Desperate: Hope for the Mom Who Needs to Breath" by Sarah Mae + Sally Clarkson. How do you proclaim unflappable in that place? And God keeps reminding me, its not really about me, its really about Him. He is faithful. Even to the easily flapped. He is. Always.
He led me to the scripture in the picture above. Its the kind of unflappable I want to be. I want to be like a tree planted by streams of water. Nourished by roots that run deep, without fear of heat or drought. The kind of tree that can still be green and produce fruit even in adverse circumstances.
Not too long ago, Brad was telling us about more of Andy Stanley's podcast series for 2013's New Year called Breathing Room. Brad was explaining "margin" to the boys and telling them how important it is to have it in your life. I gave Walker an example of when we left a little late for his basketball game and how if we had left earlier we would've had "margin." We wouldn't have been watching the clock all the way to the game to see if he would make it on time. You could see that he understood the concept with that illustration.
He then looks at me, with that sweet, little face and says, "I know where you need to add margin, mom!"
"Oh, where do you think?" I ask, rather curious.
He points his index finger up as he declares his brilliant suggestion, "Your temper! You know because you always lose your temper!"
Ouch! And that is when I shared "unflappable" with the boys. And I wasn't angry about it. Humbled, yes. Angry, no. It was actually pretty fun to let them in on it. I think they were pretty happy to hear it too.
I'm certain God is going to do a great work. As embarassing as it is to admit the work needs to be done, its at least doubly freeing to stop trying hide it.
There is nothing out of God's scope of possible. There is not one thing that He would say, "oh, well that, no, that is a little too much to try and improve." Not. One. Thing.
Do you have a thing? If you didn't make a new year's goal, has this got you thinking about making one? I'd be happy to pray with you about your one thing. And I'd be honored if you'd pray for me throughout this year!
"Blessed is the man who trusts the Lord, and whose trust is the Lord. For he will be like a tree planted by streams of water, that extends its roots by a stream, and will not fear when the heat comes; but its leaves will be green, and it will not be anxious in a year of drought nor cease to yield fruit." Jeremiah 17:7-8
*photo credit :: Scott Harding circa 2005, Algonquin Provincial Park