The things we do
There is a half melted cat in a box on top of my stove right now.
And as I write this, I'm suddenly reminded of a book I read a while back called "Welcome to the Funny Farm."
But, all joking aside, it is actually a collection of stories from a mom's life with a bit of a biblical message and a lot of laughs. I related as I read, and you might to if you are reading anything I write.
The particular story I recall had something to do with a dehydrated lizard in a bag on top of the woman's fridge, where our treasure is and the things we do for love.
But back to the cat.
The cat is made of wax and is a terrifying candle that was "gifted" to my precious little 2 year old boy. He treasures it and since it's a candle (and he loves fire..) we must keep it; even though I desired to throw away the minute I laid eyes on it. I mean, why? Who in their right mind wants to have a melting cat? I don't like cats much myself(or the idea of pets in general), but even I don't desire to watch one burn and melt into an unrecognizable lump.
Nevertheless, it remains because when it comes down to it, I love my son and I know this time is fleeting. It is really only a tiny inconvenience and ultimately I know it will make its way to the trash... eventually.
It was this wax cat, this inconvenience on my stove, that got me thinking about the things we do out of love. Not all of them are grand gestures and most of them are quite simple but sometimes love requires us to do hard things.
We are entering what is often referred to as "the terrible twos" (though I personally don't prefer the name- they aren't terrible- they are simply testing boundaries, seeking independence and looking for correction.) I'm discovering a part of parenting that requires a lot of doing the hard things for love. My son is in a stage where he is beginning the very challenging work of learning obedience and self-control, and it is my job set limits and enforce them.
There in lies the challenge. Enforcing rules for my sweet baby who has always been such a gentle little guy is hard. But, his little will is strong and when he has wants and desires or uses anger in ways that don't align with his (or the family's) best interest, I have to lay down the law, so to speak. And it's hard.
It is also something that requires obedience from me. God has called me to this role and mission and part of that call is to "train" my children in the way of the Lord. Training them to obey and respond immediately to the call is going to benefit us all. Moreover, it will bring great joy to our lives.
That is is, loving obedience brings joy.
I'll admit, I'm not exactly an image of obedience and I have a strong bent towards questioning authority. But, I'm realizing that, because I love my son, I must train him, and discipline him in order to encourage obedience. This is an act of obedience for me. To follow through, when it would certainly be easier to let things slide. And this stage, this training, is a constant reminder to be listening as God calls so that I may act and obey immediately.
On a practical note, we are finding new things that work and thanks to the help of this blog we have set some concrete rules so that our expectations are clear( for my husband and I and for our son). Our son really appreciated the rules I have put on the fridge, and anytime we quote them to remind him of the rules, it seems to click. Sometimes he will even quote the rules and point to the list on the fridge(he can't read, of course, but he's making connections and getting the concept.)
So, together, we are growing and becoming more obedient. We are growing in love and Joy as a family.
As a final note and comment, I will say that I've been trying to write this for some time now, but have had many obstacles and keep feeling like my writing is disconected and not my best, but here it is, my offering. The message on the importance of obedience out of love is not new, but it does not hurt to speak truth again.