What Two Lovers Dreamed Up Over Date Night

IMG_20160731_210159Wasn’t it just Friday night we were dreaming about making a place where everyone truly belongs?

Where we don’t absorb each other’s funk.

Where opinions are welcomed, truth is offered, and grace prevails.

Weren’t we having a glorious rendezvous over turkey bacon burgers, peach cobbler, and wine? Just you and me, my love. We were doing the important work of uniting our personal goals into a family mission statement. It was the stuff of really important, godly, spiritual legacy-making, stuff-that-matters work.

But we starry-eyed lovers come down from our dreams, long after we pick up cranky, sleepy heads from the babysitter, cleverly disguised as Kids’ Night Out.

Sunday was a twenty-four hour complaining spree doled out by both kids. Monday morning started with a kid’s dramatic sigh and belly-flop on the couch, the let down after the high. The rest of the week will bring the nitty gritty field work of living our grandiose designs out in the flesh.

Why is this so dang hard?

This morning I looked at a child who skillfully pushed buttons I didn’t even know I had. The blanket covered this kid’s body like a burrito.IMG_20160728_190913 IMG_20160729_184736 IMG_20160729_181412

I was trying to have a quiet prayer time, when I was so rudely interrupted. (Cue: the funk.)

Half-open eyes under a mop of hair peeked out at me to see what my next strategic move would be. Oh, testing, I rue you with a passion.

I felt my defenses succumbing to that sickening, maddening feeling of being manipulated again. It’s really nothing, just a dramatic kid tortilla. 

The fire in my chest rises for a minute, but didn’t you say something about making our home a place of grace? Didn’t the word compassion pass over your lips?

We are facing the hardest kid phase yet: drama, over-exaggeration, and near-constant fighting. It takes it’s toll. But we are together, aren’t we? When I am crazy, you are sane. Somehow we are mystically joined in this solid knowledge: God loves us no matter what we feel, despite what we do, and definitely besides what we don’t.

If only we love, through a word, a hug, or a glare timely ignored. If only we aim for heaven and not settle for the passive past or a controlling future, but rather, feet carried forth in the realization that is new every day: we are loved. We go forth in peace, secure in ourselves, surrendering the funk every time it rears it’s ugly head to the One who gives us the power to say to the child burrito, “You are loved. Grace is yours. Now get up, and get moving.”

We cannot carry any burden the future will not hold.

No stink eye will deter us from the vision, will it, my love? Let’s write it down in the thickest ink, post it over the places we fight, make love, and mend our broken selves in forgiveness. Let’s promise to make every Friday as holy as that one so we remember this is where we belong.

Three Resources for Infusing More Grace and Vision into Your Tribe

  • Develop a family mission statement. This is a fabulous template Tsh Oxenreider developed, and it’s the one we are using. It’s taking us a few sessions (and we’re not done yet), but so far, it’s been worth it.
  • Check out Grace-based Parenting by Tim Kimmel. One of my annual parenting reads.
  • The Happiness Dare by Jennifer Dukes Lee.
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August 23, 2016