5.22.2017

I found the answer.

Every Sunday morning my phone alarm wakes me up at 6:45 a.m. with the words of the song "Lord, I Need You" floating through the air. I am not sure why I selected that song out of a playlist of 100+ options, other than the fact that it is one of my favorites, but I did.
I have listened to it week after week (more than once each Sunday since I always hit 'snooze'), but it was not until yesterday that I realized that it is an absolutely perfect song with which to begin each day.

I fail as a parent. Daily. Hourly. And sometimes - before I even get out of bed.
I search Scripture, I pray, I read books on parenting written by godly men and women, and I seek counsel from mature believers in order to discover any blind spots in my parenting so I can be aware of my weaknesses, intentionally "put off" my sin, and replace it with correct thinking, attitudes, and actions.
And yet ...
I find myself banging my head against the same brick wall that I banged it on yesterday. And the day before that.
Why, Lord? What am I missing?!?

Yesterday morning, He answered that question.
The answer is in a line of the song ...
And when I cannot stand I'll fall on You, Jesus, You're my hope and stay.

When I CANNOT STAND.

How easy it is to think we can.
Life experience
Intelligence
Skills
Strengths ...
these fool us into thinking we are self-sufficient. That we can "do it on our own" because we have been successful in the past. Regardless of why we think we can do it on our own, or why we believe we are strong enough, the truth is that we can do nothing without Christ. And anything we can do, any success we have is because it is done through Him. Scripture tells us this in John 15:5. I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.

There is another line in the song that echoes this same thought.
Without You I fall apart, You're the One that guides my heart.

"Without ME you can do NOTHING," Jesus said.
So why do I try?
Without spending any time thinking through the past week I can tell you that I parented with 90% of my own strength. My own abilities. My own intelligence, problem-solving skills, and wisdom. Does the Lord give us these gifts, having created us with a purpose and in His own image? Absolutely! Mankind is able to accomplish great things because of the way the Lord allows our minds and hands to work. Including parenting our children. But we cannot take the credit.
"Rejoice IN THE LORD," Scripture says.
"Every good and perfect gift comes from ABOVE."
"I can do all things THROUGH CHRIST, who gives me strength."
"Trust the LORD with all your heart, and lean NOT on your own understanding."

The brick wall that I continue to bang my forehead against was built with my own pride.
Every time I thought I had the answers, every time I thought knew best, every time I searched through my personal pool of shallow wisdom instead of seeking the Lord ... another brick was added.
Thankfully, the wall has been destroyed many times after the Lord revealed my pride and showed me that I was trying to parent my children my way rather than His. He kicks the first hole in the middle of it and then lets me join Him as we pull the entire thing down to the ground. But slowly, one brick at a time, I always rebuild the wall.
And I am exhausted.

But praise Him - He is a gracious God!
Every time He helps me pull apart the bricks, I look at Him with tears in my eyes and say, "I'm sorry, Lord. Again. I know I cannot do this without You, but still, I try. It's not worth it. I work too hard in my own strength, failing because I went ahead of You, and then waste more time demolishing the very wall that I created with my own hands. When will I learn, Lord? Teach me how to recognize my need for You. I am weary and worn and cannot keep doing things my way."
And that is when He leans down, with His arms stretched wide and says, "Come, Michelle. You are weary and heavy-laden, and I promised I would give you rest. Your burden is heavy and your yoke is choking you, but Mine ... Mine is easy. You can learn from Me because I am a gentle teacher, and you will find the peace and rest you long for."

And the words of this song roll through my mind as I settle in the comfort of His embrace.

Lord, I Need You (← click to listen)

Lord, I come, I confess
Bowing here I find my rest
Without You I fall apart
You're the One that guides my heart

Lord, I need You, oh, I need You
Every hour I need You
My one defense, my righteousness
Oh God, how I need You

Where sin runs deep Your grace is more
Where grace is found is where You are
And where You are, Lord, I am free
Holiness is Christ in me

Lord, I need You, oh, I need You
Every hour I need You
My one defense, my righteousness
Oh God, how I need You

Teach my song to rise to You
When temptation comes my way
And when I cannot stand I'll fall on You
Jesus, You're my hope and stay

Lord, I need You, oh, I need You
Every hour I need You
My one defense, my righteousness
Oh God, how I need You

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