Repost: Learning Not to Compare Myself

I originally wrote this almost 6 years ago. It was a great lesson that the Lord taught me. It is one that I remind myself of often._______________________________________
It is so easy to fall into Satan’s trap sometimes. It is so easy to look at your friends and think that they have everything figured out, that they always have a clean house, always fix fresh healthy food for dinner, have well-behaved, well-mannered children everyday.We all have strengths and weaknesses. Where one Mom struggles another succeeds. However, Satan pulls at us in those weak areas. He makes us think that we aren’t doing a good job as a Mom. He makes us feel guilty becuase we don’t do it like Mom over there. He makes us feel like Mom over there does everything better than us and has everything figured out.This summer I have spent a lot of time with two wonderful Moms in the same season of life as me. We all have children born within months of eachother. What I have realized is that we all have different strengths and weaknesses. What has been incredible is that God has placed us together to teach each of us how to overcome the guilt of our weaknesses. We can help each other recognize Satan’s powers. We can offer advice on how we are able to do the things we are good at. God does not intend for us to go through life with daily guilt.I have also realized that the things that are important for the day get done. Each Mom’s focus on what is important for the day is different. Each Mom has different circumstances with their children. For instance, I have been going through a terrible battle with Karate Kid and his allergies which provoke behavioral problems. It is very hard to get much done when you have a child that is needy. I haven’t been able to journal like I wanted to, take pictures of Little Bit like I wanted to. What was important for many months was taking care of Karate Kid and trying to figure out what was making him sick. Now that things are getting better I can focus on other things. I need to stop allowing Satan to make me feel guilty about not accomplishing everything.
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A Child’s Weaknesses and Moses

Every child has areas of their life that are strong and some that are weak. As a parent we tend to focus on their weaknesses. We want to help them overcome their weaknesses. We look for programs to “fix” them and curriculum that helps them.

I believe God designed and purposed each and every one of us. Can God use a weak vessel? Absolutely!! In fact I think God prefers to use us in areas that we are weak or that we have always struggled.

Why wouldn’t God use our strong areas?

Philippians 4:13 says “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” And Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to [His] purpose.”

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God knows our weaknesses. But He can use that weakness by giving us strength to accomplish his purpose.

One illustration that comes to mind is the story of Moses. God called Moses to a life of public speaking. Moses resists this calling as he has suffered with a speech impediment all his life. But God knows Moses and knows this weakness. God calls Moses because of his weakness. God gave Moses the strength he needed to go in front of Pharaoh and the Israelites to proclaim God’s words. All who knew Moses knew that he could not have completed this without the help of God. Therefore, God was glorified.

If Moses had been a naturally gifted speaker God would not have gotten the credit for giving him the strength. People would have proclaimed that it was Moses, the gifted speaker who convinced Pharaoh to let his people go. God may have chosen someone else for the purpose that he called Moses. And Moses would not have experienced the rich life of experiencing God work through him.

I am always hearing stories of children who are physically weak who are used in big ways by God. So why do we mourn a weakness in our child. It is only through the weaknesses that God can use you to glorify his purpose in you. So we need to change our perspective. A weakness is an area that God will possibly use our children to be glorified. Of course God gives us natural giftings as well and can use those. However, I think it is harder for us as humans to acknowledge God through those strengths. It seems to us as those these are things we do ourselves apart from God. However, if we see it that way we fail to see that only God gave us that strength and natural ability.

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For God knows your child, He knows each and every one of their weaknesses. And God has a purpose for your child. And He can and will even use their weaknesses to accomplish His purpose. We as human we parents can only do so much to help them overcome those weaknesses. It’s still important to help them strengthen the weaknesses. But it’s not important to accomplish it overnight or to stress over the fact that it isn’t fixed by a normal age. It isn’t important that your child doesn’t perform everything at normal age range. Only God can give you strength in an instant that you need it.

Despite Earthly Failure I Have Two Kindergarten Graduates

There were several times this school year that I felt like a failure. I had so many ideas of what I wanted to accomplish. I certainly have not accomplished/finished them all. However, at the beginning of the school year I set two goals. I wanted to teach Gymnast how to read and I wanted her to enjoy being read to. The second of which I thought was vital to her lifelong ability to learn. Before this fall Gymnast wasn’t really interested in being read to. She was 3 before she would even sit still long enough to listen to a short board book. It was my Mom who eventually won her over at 3 with A Dog For Suzie. Little Bit and Karate Kid were quite different and loved for me to read books to them.

So, when we started school this fall Gymnast was 5 and Karate Kid was nearing 4. Academically Karate Kid was keeping up with all the concepts that Gymnast was learning (except for writing). So I planned to teach Karate Kid everything Gymnast was learning. What was my plan. I set out to read, read, read to them. In addition I bought a Math program, keyboard program(Kinderbach) and lots of workbooks. My hope was to keep them occupied in a rich learning environment. I wanted to keep them from fighting and getting bored. Two things that aren’t very common in our house. Fighting does occur when Little Bit is in the mix though. Gymnast and Karate Kid would happily play dress up and pretend for hours on end all day.

So as I sit today and type I didn’t get done nearly what I wanted to get done. We are 10 lessons away from finishing our Math book. We aren’t quite through the recommended Language Arts book. We are a few lessons shy of completing 1 semesters worth of Kinderbach. And half of the worksheets that I started with in the fall aren’t complete and the workbooks I bought in December have hardly been touched. But all that being said I feel like Gymnast has successfully completed Kindergarten. If I don’t do anymore school this spring I think we were successful.

This is what Gymnast has learned this year:

1 – She will sit for an hour or longer for me to read to her picture books as well as chapter books.

2 – She is reading three letter words. Knows what a syllable is. Knows about 50 of the 72 phonograms.

3 – She can write all of her letters, copy entire paragraphs, and is starting to spell words when called out to her.

4 – She knows how to add, count by 2’s, count by 10’s and is starting to grasp place value.

5 – She has learned how to keep rhythm through Kinderbach. She has also learned where C, D and E are on the keyboard. She can read the music for and play a simple song on the keyboard.

6 – She colors beautifully and enjoys doing so. She can often be found sitting at her desk coloring in one of her books. She has also drawn me some pretty artwork that adorns my fridge and bulletin board.

7 – She can unload the dishwasher, put the dishes away in cabinets, change the clothes from washer to dryer, start the dryer, put clothes in the washer, fold towels and her clothes, clean windows, feed her cat, and run the vacuum. Some of these things of which she figured out on her own. For instance, I never told her she had to start the dryer. After putting her second load into it she asked me where to turn the dial to start it.

8 – She knows what the American flag is, knows that there are other countries in the world, knows that animals are classified into five basic groups (fur, fins, feathers, scales and skin).

9 – She has learned many positive character traits. She has learned that God created the Earth and everything in it and that he sent his son to die for us so that we could live forever. She has learned how to pray.

What has Karate Kid learned? Technically if he was in school he would have been in a three year old program. However, I believe he has also successfully graduated Kindergarten. I’m not really sure what is expected in a three year old preschool class. Karate Kid is reading three letter words, can write his name, has kept up with Gymnast in the Math book, knows where C, D and E are on the keyboard but isn’t all that interested in playing songs, he loves for me to read to him, he is capable of doing all the same chores as Gymnast except folding, he can write his name.

All this and we took off from Nov 1 – Jan 3. The weeks we did do school we only worked about 2-3 days a week. Except for our reading time. Just about every day after breakfast and morning chores we sit down on the sofa and read for at least 30 minutes. So what’s my plan for the next few weeks? To relax.. We will do Math maybe a couple of times a week to try to finish. I plan on having them practice reading to me. And I plan on continuing to read many of our wonderful books. Most of all I am going to continue to love teaching my kids and stop sweating the “but I didn’t finish… or I had planned to…”. God has given me the grace to not sweat those things. His grace has shown me to stop and see all that we have accomplished and not feel guilty about the things that I didn’t follow through on. His plan was carried out. He was the one that gave me my goals for this year and I accomplished them. In my own strength and pride I put those other things in our life. Those other things brought guilt. Not any longer. I have peace that I have succeeded in schooling three kids this year. And His grace allows me to let go of all the other plans that I had.

I have some great ideas for next year. I am cautious though to not go overboard in what I want to do. I will certainly pray about it and let the Lord direct me in what he wants for my family next year. After all He creates each family uniquely for His unique purpose.

Learning Not to Compare Myself

Sunday, July 30, 2006
It is so easy to fall into Satan’s trap sometimes. It is so easy to look at your friends and think that they have everything figured out, that they always have a clean house, always fix fresh healthy food for dinner, have well-behaved, well-mannered children everyday.We all have strengths and weaknesses. Where one Mom struggles another succeeds. However, Satan pulls at us in those weak areas. He makes us think that we aren’t doing a good job as a Mom. He makes us feel guilty becuase we don’t do it like Mom over there. He makes us feel like Mom over there does everything better than us and has everything figured out.

This summer I have spent a lot of time with two wonderful Moms in the same season of life as me. We all have children born within months of eachother. What I have realized is that we all have different strengths and weaknesses. What has been incredible is that God has placed us together to teach each of us how to overcome the guilt of our weaknesses. We can help each other recognize Satan’s powers. We can offer advice on how we are able to do the things we are good at. God does not intend for us to go through life with daily guilt.

I have also realized that the things that are important for the day get done. Each Mom’s focus on what is important for the day is different. Each Mom has different circumstances with their children. For instance, I have been going through a terrible battle with Karate Kid and his allergies which provoke behavioral problems. It is very hard to get much done when you have a child that is needy. I haven’t been able to journal like I wanted to, take pictures of Little Bit like I wanted to. What was important for many months was taking care of Eli and trying to figure out what was making him sick. Now that things are getting better I can focus on other things. I need to stop allowing Satan to make me feel guilty about not accomplishing everything.