Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Conflict Happens... I'm thankful for grace

This morning I was upstairs doing something in the kitchen when I heard angry noises coming up from the basement and saw a shot from a play doctor's kit go shooting past me very quickly. I knew that the conflict in the basement was not going to resolve itself and I ran downstairs and had everyone sit down in a circle.

There are currently 8 sinners living in this house in a situation that is far from normal for any of us. Some have parents and baby brother far away getting a new sister, some are far from home and far from their dad. The one thing we all know is there is just 3 more sleeps until our situation changes and 4 more people come/ come back to live in this house. We are all excited for that day, for "Mommy and Daddy and Si-Si" to return and to meet Haddy in person. Many of us are also excited for the day not too long after when we will no longer be homesick because we will be home.

We've had a lot of fun and made some fun memories and gotten to know each other in ways we have never had the chance to before. I'm grateful. Our time together has gone well, better than I expected really. These three precious kids have gone through a lot of change in the last few months - a new house, a new baby brother and now their parents have been gone for longer than they have ever been gone before and very soon a new rambunctious 2 year old sister will be living with them. I think of those stress level quizzes and their levels would be off the charts. They have done really well but everyone is getting weary and I figured this last week would get progressively harder on everyone.

This morning was a prime example. It was not the first conflict we have had but it was definitely one of the biggest.

I knew I had a group of sinners, few (if any) who were innocent in the conflict. Rarely is it just one person's fault as we sinners tend to respond sinfully when we are sinned against. After sitting down with the kids in a circle on the floor I gave them the opportunity to confess their sins and ask forgiveness from whomever they had wronged. I started with the oldest. They all admitted what they had done wrong (with some reminder coaching to not use the "but" word because an apology with a "but" in it is blame-casting not a true apology, taking responsibility for wrong done) and asked for forgiveness and forgave. We then moved on to confrontation of any wrongs that were not confessed using OIC (Observation - just the facts, Interpretation - how I view the facts, Confirmation - did I miss anything?) and some things were cleared up that were not clear before. Everyone wasn't completely happy after our confessing/ confronting exercise and some people were still not thrilled that those people didn't want to do the activity that they really wanted them to do with them but things were returned, relationships were restored and play resumed after a quick prayer of thanks for forgiveness.

"Be kind to one another, tender hearted, forgiving one another, even as God, for Christ's sake has forgiven you." Ephesians 4:32 is quoted at my house pretty often. In every conflict people have opportunities to be kind or opportunities to forgive or both.

Being kind and forgiving do not come naturally and I'm thankful for tools that I have been given to use in conflict. Rarely does a day go by that I am not thankful that we didn't get into medical school starting in the fall of '08 (as painful as that was) so we were still in Rochester and going to Northridge for the Fighting Fair series and for all the helpful relationship tools I was introduced to as a result of that series. I am a different person and my family is different because of the perspective we've gained about conflict through that series. If conflict is a part of your everyday life or even if you don't encounter conflict often I highly recommend a listen through either the 2008 or the 2014 version of Fighting Fair. (Yes, it's so good and so important that it was repeated. I listen to it at least once a year.)

I'm thankful for the conflict the kids had this morning. I've had neat conversations with many of them as a result of it and it makes me so thankful for God's grace and forgiveness.

It's funny, as I was starting to write this Abigail saw what I was typing and said, "Mom, you know, I actually didn't even remember about this morning. See? Forgive and forget."

Thank You, Lord, for opportunities to grow through conflict. I love You. Please help these 7 little and not so little ones to grow in their love for You and their love for each other as a result of trials in their lives and may they not become bitter, may they be kind and quick to confess and quick to forgive. Me too. Thank You for forgiving us.
My cute, crazy companions.

Friday, February 05, 2016

Five Minute Friday: Focus

There are lots of distractions around here. From 4 kids to a dog to piles of stuff everywhere to never ending homeschool plans and teaching and questions and grading to this handy little device that I am writing this post on. It's time to eat again already? Squirrel. 

The idea of multi-tasking is a lie but I try. I try to get multiple things done at the same time but it doesn't work. 

The key to effectiveness is focus. I truly need to learn to focus on what is most important but it is so hard. 

"Martha, Martha... one thing is needful. Mary has chosen what is best and it will not be taken from her." Luke 10

Oh Lord, please help me to be more like Mary.