Category Archives: Faith

More Fruit Please

It happened again. The temper lost, voice raised, fingers pointed, sarcasm out. Yes, apologies may have followed, as well as desperate crying once they’re in bed (from me, not them), but can that really erase the fact that I just cannot hold it together when they push my buttons at the moment? There was a time when I seemed to remain calm in the face of it all…not this week.

Yesterday, I actually told one of them to shut up. Like, seriously. I just shouted, “WILL YOU JUST SHUT UP!!” Tonight, it was, “YOU ARE WRONG” and “HOW DARE YOU LOOK AT ME LIKE THAT” (petulant or what 😦 ).

I find myself wondering what’s wrong with me… Why do I get so frustrated? Why can’t I just stay calm? I am the grown up after all, it’s my responsibility to control my emotions. I’ve even googled, ‘How to control my temper’ and wonder if I need to go on some sort of course. I never want to be physically aggressive but I am more and more aware that when I have a short fuse, it is very short. I do not want to be that sort of person. Unpredictable, fly of the handle…please God, no.

Oh yeah, God. Have I given Him any headspace in all this? The One who actually knows the trajectory of these kids’ lives, who can actually change me? The One who sees my heart and all that I’ve thought, said and done, yet loves me and forgives me? Have I cried out to Him in anguish and prayed for His mercy and help? No, no I haven’t.

I’m not saying He’ll ‘fix’ me and make it all better straight away. But the Bible tells me that He will shape and change me to be made in His likeness. God’s Spirit living in us will bear fruit; fruit of the Spirit, not fruit of Me and My Great Efforts. Only He can make me a more loving, joyful, peaceful, patient, good, faithful, gentle, self-controlled person. And He will do that as I live by the Spirit, trusting Him with each day, hour and minute (or, in my case it needs to be seconds…seriously, the fuse is short).

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Hmm not where I thought I’d end up, to be honest. I was fully expecting a woeful, distraught post bemoaning my failures and foibles. Praise the Lord for a much needed change in direction 🙂

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Anxious

Anxiety has been the emotion of the day today. That feeling in the pit of your stomach that just won’t shift, the constant butterflies. Fear of the unknown.

What if we don’t feed them properly? How much food do kids even need? How much sugar is too much?

What about homework – how do you actually get kids to do homework?! How can we engage them in their learning if they literally cannot be bothered?

How are we going to cope with being outnumbered? We have no parenting experience to anchor ourselves with; what if we do things wrong and mess them up for life? What even is therapeutic parenting and what does it look like?

SO MANY WORRIES. Hakuna matata – not so much. These anxieties are all centred around being worried about my/our own capabilities. What if we can’t handle that, how will we sort that out…focusing on ourselves and our own strengths.

In writing it down, I’m gently reminded that actually we can’t do this in our own strength. We will fail. A lot. Daily, hourly. Yes, there will be times when it feels like we’re doing everything right and everyone is eating 10 fruit and veg a day, no sweets in sight, reading books read and homework done, temper isn’t lost and children are feeling super-nurtured. However, there will also be times when tea is a pizza from the freezer, we don’t even contemplate getting the book bag off the hook (or the floor), because all 3 children had a meltdown and now they’re sitting in front of the TV eating chocolate whilst I cry because I shouted at them. Does this mean we’re a failure, no longer fit to be foster parents? I hope not…! Reflect on it, learn from it, tomorrow’s a new day.

Most importantly though, we need to be remembering in whose strength we’re actually doing this.

I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” Philippians 4v13, The Bible

Our strength is from Jesus, not ourselves. We need to always praying, always turning to Him for strength, patience, love, gentleness…for all that we need to do the task set before us.

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Patience

Patience. Patience is a virtue, so they say. And ‘they’ are right, of course.

According to Benjamin Franklin, “He that can have patience can have what he will.” 

A.A. Milne says, “Rivers know this: there is no hurry. We shall get there some day.”

“Patience is bitter, but its fruit is sweet”, says Aristotle.

I know that patience is a multi-faceted characteristic (staying calm in the face of an angry child = patience; waiting until Christmas Day to open the presents = patience), but it is so often associated with waiting. Waiting patiently, implying that we can also wait impatiently.

We’re currently at a time of ‘waiting’. There’s lots to be done during that time, but we’re waiting for a new, wonderfully exhausting chapter of our life to start. In many ways, this is a time to enjoy – time alone just the two of us, a house whose tidiness levels we can control, lie ins at the weekend…and yet I find myself anxious for the next 2 weeks just to be over already.

We’ve been building up to this for such a long time, it feels strange to be so close. I look around the house and think, ‘We are so NOT ready to have kids here!’ (think wires sticking out of walls, stuff EVERYWHERE and tools lying about), but I still want time to hurry along (it would be lovely if the jobs got done too…oh wait, that’s my job at the moment :s) and for our first placement to arrive. I’m not going to kid myself into thinking that it will be sunshine and rainbows – I’m anticipating the opposite.

And yet, excitement (alongside nervous anticipation!) is the overriding emotion. I can’t wait for them to be here!

The challenge, then, is to be waiting patiently. I am yet to figure out what that looks like, but patience will be much needed once they’re here, and so it will be good to have time to be asking God for this particular fruit of the Spirit in abundance 😉

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” Galatians 5v22, The Bible

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