Saturday, June 13, 2009

An Age of Opportunity

That´s the title of a great book by Paul Tripp about navigating the teen years with your child. However the book is not what I want to talk about. I just want to talk about the title. It´s a great title...The Age of Opportunity. I wholeheartedly believe that parenting is an age of opportunity...not for the kiddos, but for us parents. Nothing works to reveal my weaknesses, my flaws and my sin like my family.
I think that God puts us in relationships in order to reveal to ourselves that we can not live the Christian life on our own. We can clearly see that we can´t muster up love, joy, peace, patience, kindness and goodness on our own. We see that we need Him. We need to abide in Him and He will produce that kind of fruit in us. He gives us spouses and children (and brothers and sisters and parents) to show us our rough edges so that we will give Him an opportunity to chisel them away to reveal a clearer image of Himself. I have an opportunity to run to Him and confess my weakness and learn even more dependence on Him. I didn´t know I was the kind of person that would get upset by dear little children asking thousands of questions every waking hour out of sheer curiosity, but God did. So He gave me some dear little ones to show me that I am selfish and lack love. I didn´t know that I was the kind of person that would get upset if my plans were interrupted or did not get accomplished, but God did. So He sent me some little interrupters to thwart my plans. Now I see that I placed more importance on my own agenda and my plans than I did on people. I have been given countless opportunities like these.
God reveals so much weakness in me through my primary relationships with my husband and my children. He has given me an opportunity to see what He already knows...that I have many flaws and areas where I try and do things in my own strength when I really just need to go to Him, rest in Him and let His Spirit work through me. When I get upset over dirty dishes in the sink that my children were supposed to wash, when I am angry that I have to repeat myself 3 or 4 times and even then my children only seem to hear half of what I said, I have been given an opportunity. An opportunity to see my sinful heart for what it really is. I am not saying this flippantly. I actually believe that I am living in an Age of Opportunity. God has given me a daily window where I can view my own soul and it is called my family. God cares that I think I am self-sufficient so He arranges circumstances to show me how much I need Him in my life. He shows me that I can´t handle my life on my own.
I look at people whose children are grown or who are not married or have no children and I feel for their lack of opportunity to see themselves for who they really are. It´s easy to pretend like we are patient when we have nothing or no one to try that patience. It´s easy to think that I can love unconditionally, until someone I love does something that betrays that love. I know that everyone goes through trials and that everyone has opportunities to be bumped and see what comes out, but I believe that for most of us, our families are our biggest bumpers. And so in spite of all the pain, I must say that I am grateful for my little (and big) bumpers that God uses to show me an accurate picture of who I am so I can then run to my Father and ask for the forgiveness granted through His Son and the power of His Spirit to go on.


Kathy W said...

WOW!! This is definitely where I'm coming from right now, although sort of in hind sight. Hailey & Hannah graduated last Monday, we registered Hannah at DBU on Thurs & Fri, and I put Hailey on a plane Fri for a month-long internship/mission trip to Honduras, which wound up taking 2 days for her to get there. All of these things are making me wonder, did I use my "age of opportunity" wisely? Have I prepared them for the next phase of their lives? Then I have to remind myself, that no, I didn't do everything right, and I probably wasted some opportunities, but I did the best I could at the time, and God will honor that and use it to work out his purposes in their lives in HIS timing, not mine! Now I can only be faithful in praying for them, give them Godly counsel when they ask, and trust Him to be true to His promises.
Praying for you and yours,
Kathy Wilshire,
Mansfield, TX

Duane and Carin said...

Wow Denise, I am not sure I wanted to hear this !?!?!
Thanks for letting God talk to me throught your words :-)
I'm off to pray...

Becky said...

Thank you for sharing this. I needed it. God has given us such precious children to care for. I need to remember they are His and not mine.

The Holmans In Bolivia said...

Thanks Kathy, Carin, and Becky for your encouragement. Kathy, I am praying for Hailey. Keep us informed as to how she is doing.

Leyla said...

Denise, this post brought tears to my eyes. I could relate to everything you wrote---and it was written so beautifully. thank you for the reminder and for taking the time to write it. You have blessed so many.

The Holmans In Bolivia said...

Thank you so much for your sweet words Leyla. They really were an encouragement to me. I am looking forward to seeing you on Sunday!!