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How 12 weeks will change your parenting

Knowing your limits; Dealing with your struggles and Overcoming through love...

Jesus' life as a foot-washing servant would eventually lead to the adoption of humility as a widely admired virtue.

--John Ortberg

Knowing your limits...

I can safely say that the past 12 weeks has changed my parenting. From the spontaneous outbursts in a language that I do not understand to the constant crying of a toddler that simply is overwhelming at times. I can safely say that adoption has not gone as I thought it would. At times it has brought joy that is overwhelming to the soul and at others it has pushed every button and pushed our limits as parents to the verge of insanity.

The past 12 weeks has caused our family to make adjustments on the fly and to make changes to our comfortable American lifestyle. What was normal has taken a backseat to what is reality. What was comfortable has taken a trip to crazy town. What I mean is that everything that we once thought was important has been turned upside down and changed forever. Everything has changed!

Knowing our limits isn't always easy and we must always lean on each other as parents. It takes every bit of our patience to help the other out when there isn't any more patience to give. This has been more of a battle at times than it has a blessing. But when the frustrations settle and the smoke clears - we sit together with our kids asleep on our laps and their little hands grasping onto ours. Knowing your limits takes top priority when dealing with life alternating changes.

I would say that "knowing your limits" is a must for any parent. It is a must for parents dealing with teenagers that are going through changes. It is a must for parents who are dealing with newborns and toddlers. It is a must for any family that is attempting to live at the pace of the world around us.

1 Peter 5:10 New Living Translation (NLT)

In his kindness God called you to share in his eternal glory by means of Christ Jesus. So after you have suffered a little while, he will restore, support, and strengthen you, and he will place you on a firm foundation.

Knowing your limits means that we know when to step away for a moment and breathe!

Knowing our limits means that we know how to deal with our frustrations as parents in a healthy way.

Knowing our limits means that we know how far to take discipline (it also means that we know when we should not discipline and allow the other parent to take over!)

Knowing our limits means that we must in every situation - find our strength in God who provides when we seek Him first.

Dealing with Struggles...

This is the first blog post since both kids have been home and it been almost 6 weeks, but the truth is that it has felt longer than that. When I started with blog I wanted to share with you our journey and I wanted to help restore in you the sense of discipleship that God was restoring in me. The truth is that writing was a chore that I didn't want to do in the midst of the early transition of our adoption.

This transition has been an overwhelming task when coupled with the stress of every day life and the ministry. It's one thing to know that you live in a "glass house" as a minister, but it's another to know that the spotlight is turned up brighter when you step away to focus on your family. It seems that when our family needs time to deal with our needs, the needs of others pile on ever the more.

I'm not complaining at all - this is the calling of my life - and I'm not blaming anyone or any thing for this feeling. But I am illustrating the fact that when our struggles come they don't come at convenient times. Our struggles don't wait for our lives to slow down. Our personal struggles of what ever we fill in the blank with don't wait around for life to get easier. Matter of fact, the opposite is true. Our struggles are compounded with the addition of new realities and new chapters of our lives.

What I've realized is that when we stop focusing on remaining healthy and staying grounded in what God has taught us from the past - we will fall again. Our struggles don't really ever go away. So what do we do!

Philippians 3:13-14 New Living Translation (NLT)

No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.

As parents, as followers of Christ, as busy working people we must understand that we should live in the victory that has already been won. We have not been defeated. We have not been destroyed. Instead we have been set free. Our struggles may be the very thing that keeps us grounded in our faith and without struggle - we may very well turn away from the source of our ultimate joy, strength and courage.

It's not about overcoming our struggles as much as it learning to live in God's grace.

Overcoming through love...

I knew I wasn't perfect as a parent before I began this journey called adoption, but now I've simply been reminded and it is confirmed -- I'm not perfect!

I think most of us would agree that we know we are not perfect, but the reality is that we still live and act as if others should be. We judge based on an insanely, impossible scale. We base our opinions of others on a scale of perfection. We hold others to standards that we know are impossible to reach and we know this because we don't reach those standards in our own lives.

We say we want our kids to better than we were. We want our kids to enjoy things that we couldn't or didn't have. We have our kids lives to be the best that they possibly be and at the end of the day we are driving our families into the ground attempting to be something that we can not sustain.

Sometimes I feel like the best role models and the people you should look up to most are the people who make mistakes because they show you how to overcome them and walk through that mistake with integrity and grace.

I know there are times that we must do the hard things for our kids and each other. I know that we can not always just look the other way or laugh it off - we are too human to do that every time. But what we can do is that at the end of the day when all the dust settles, we take the time to overcome all our failures, all our struggles, all our fears by taking the time to simply quiet our souls, quiet our minds and love each other as Christ has loved us.

He loved us in all our messiness, in all our division, in all our arrogance and pride. He loved us when we didn't know how to love ourselves. He loved us in our sin, in our brokenness and in our unwillingness to change.

I know for my family, and for myself, learning how to love is an every day battle!

Not often won in the most obvious ways, but won in the most impossible ways.

John 16:33 New Living Translation (NLT)

I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”

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