The following is the devotion I wrote and shared at Community Bible Study last week... enjoy!
When my boys were really little, I used to joke that I never actually had babies of my own-- all I did was make clones of my husband. As infants and toddlers, even my in-laws agreed that the boys looked and acted just like R. and his twin brother.
As they've gotten older, and their personalities have become more established, though, it's become clear that J. is, in fact, a clone of his father, but G. is much more like me than I ever would have thought possible.
J. is the fun-loving, easy-going, joke-making, friendly, charming little brother-- so much like his daddy! Let me tell you, that that slight bit of mischief, that little "twinkle" in my husband's eye that was oh, so attractive when we were 20, is much more frustrating to parent in a 4-year-old. He's the kid that makes me fight to keep a straight face as I discipline him, all while I'm counting the seconds it'll take to make it to my closet where I can laugh my head off.
As entertaining and frustrating as it is to parent a 4-year-old version of my husband, it's sometimes heart-breaking to see the least favorite parts of my personality come out in G.
There are so many amazing things about that precious almost 6-year-old little boy. He's a hard-worker, and he takes things very seriously. He's determined, passionate, and very smart. He's kind, empathetic, and sensitive. But along with that hard-working determination, is a fair amount of stubbornness and perfectionism. And because he expects so much out of himself, he expects a lot out of everyone else... and is therefore often disappointed. He does not tolerate change or failure.
I know from painful experience that these personality traits-- be they strengths or weaknesses-- can very easily lead to dis-contentedness and anxiety. I hate the thought that he's going to have to learn the hard way, just as I did, that it takes making a choice every day to find contentment. It won't come naturally.
While studying about Christian living and leadership through Philemon, 1-3 John, Jude, and 1 Timothy, I've been struck over and over by the idea of leading by example.
When Hubby deploys (as he recently did... for the 10th time...), I usually try to find a scripture to "claim" while he's gone. A verse to cling to and meditate on throughout the inevitable ups and downs of every deployment. This time I really didn't find a verse until about a week into the deployment.
After a particularly frustrating Sunday morning 3 weeks ago-- in which neither of my children seemed capable of getting themselves dressed and buckled into their car seats with any speed or efficiency, the first song that played on the way to church was "This is the Day the Lord has Made."
This day. This frustrating, exhausting day in which nothing seems to be going the way I'd like-- God made it. And not only that, He has commanded me to rejoice and be glad in it.
So in the car... on the way to church... feeling convicted by the Donut Man, God called me to lead my son by example, and choose to rejoice in every type of day the Lord has made.