We spent the afternoon at one of our favorite coffee shops the other day. I'm learning that I can only get to about 46 1/2 hours of the same thing until I need a change of environment otherwise, I'm not the nicest person. Things start to bug me more than they should. I start to lose patience. I start to get lazy. I start to hear lies about myself that I know aren't true, yet somehow they still get to me. Our time here in Germany has brought more out of me than I ever imagined. I think, because, in many ways we are out of our comfort zone and it seems to be that when your limits are pushed stuff that needs to be worked on always comes to the surface.
I read this today:
"Biblically, all authority roles are for the benefit of those that are influenced by that role, whether that is a husband or a mother or an elder or a boss or a king. The motivation in pursuing power is self-benefit, no matter how well we mask it. The motivation in receiving power-from God- is other people's benefit, and that cannot come without humility. The mature own their influence in choosing to benefit with their team and community. The humble benefit with their team, not at the expense of their team or apart from their team."
I know that raising these little ones is a gracious gift we've been given. I've been trusted with these hearts to mold and shape them into who they are meant to be. I've been trusted with this authority. Its a heavy thing to think about, but so incredibly precious at the same time. As I read that quote above I realized that the authority I've been given is not mine to gain, but an opportunity for me to receive. To receive help when I'm overwhelmed. To receive words when I don't know how to teach. To receive patience when I'm feeling frustrated. And not to receive for myself, but only so others may become better because of it.
I have a choice in many areas of my life to take advantage of the authority or influence I've been given. I can easily power up when I want to be right or feel significant. I can become a dictator telling my kids what to do just "because I said so." I can use this blog and social media to make my life seem better than it actually is. I can use my role as a mom to make other moms feel like I'm doing it "right" and they've got it "wrong"…or maybe just "not as right". But none of that would put others in a place where they feel safe. None of it would make others feel like they are a part of this journey with me. None of it would allow them an opportunity to grow into who they really are. None of it would truly benefit them at all.
I want to own my influence and know that it is a gift. I want others to feel safe with me and feel like they have someone to relate to in all areas of life, even if our lives may look completely different. I want others to know that I'm human too, that I screw up and feel pain and get annoyed and so on. I want my kids to know that they have a mom that can say "I'm sorry" and that they have a voice in our relationship to teach me how to grow up too. I want to live out my role as a mom, a wife, a sister, a friend, for the benefit of others. Because that's when life truly happens. That's when relationships are changed. That's when trust is built. That's when people (on both sides of the relationship) get to grow into who they really are.
I don't take the authority role of "mom" lightly. I know I'm not perfect and I don't strive to be. I know that there will be many more times where I'll feel frustrated and my limits will be pushed. I'm learning to take those moments and know that there is something worth learning about myself in the midst of it. And I only pray that as those moments come I will be humble enough to receive and learn as I parent these precious little ones so that they may become better because of it.
And next time we've been in the same place for more than 48 hours, I know that coffee shops are always healing too.