Since my daughter's birthday is this month, I thought it only appropriate to mention some of the beautiful things God is doing in her heart.
Understanding the merit of avoiding a child-centered home, this post isn't to put my daughter on a pedestal. Rather, I write to tribute God's mighty hand. Some may say, "She's only six." And yes, that's true. Her growing-up years are far from over, and I realize we may have rebellious days ahead of us. But as I continue to pray over her, I thank the Lord for pulling her close to His heart. Aaron and I prayed over her last night and reminded her that God is already growing fruit in her spirit.
For further evidence, let's go back a few years. We joke now about our daughter being demon-possessed--horrible, I know--but most nights Aaron and I would slump exhausted shoulders and stare at each other with confused wonder. What were we going to do? Never have I seen such devastating rage, defiance, and rebellious syntax come out of one so young. We seriously felt like we were raising an angry teenager. Daily, I heard words like "I hate you. I don't want to live here." I had to hold her, find creative new ways to discipline and train, and love her through the pain. Honestly, I had little clue what I was doing. I'd often cry in frustration over my daughter's spirit and my own weak responses. I wanted to love her rightly and help her become the woman she needed to be.
But, of course, I was insufficient to the task.
Only God could make her be the woman of His plan and purpose. I lead and train and encourage, but I can't change her heart.
And then Jesus entered the picture, more fully and more real for her than He'd been. And she started to change the pace of her steps. Her words changed, her attitude morphed, her spirit blossomed.
Recently, my kids and I read an article in their Clubhouse Jr. magazine that inspired us to start painting pictures to raise money for children in Africa to have clean water. We titled it "Watercolor for Wells" and the final count isn't in, but I'm confident we raised over $500. You should have seen the excitement when she opened each card with a check--not because she was getting anything for herself but because we were going to be able to give more than she'd ever imagined.
Now, before you think my life is all roses and my children are angels, let me assure you of reality. While I was typing, I had to stop to help my daughter through a frustrating situation where she let her anger rule her. Control is a biggie for her (ahem, I don't have any idea what that's like...hmm). My two older kids fight without ceasing and my youngest is a rebellious screamer. But all their stubborn disobedience and outbursts remind me, "You are not capable of doing this well on your own. They need Me. You need Me." So, I get back to prayer, lifting my children up to God, seeking His power over their lives. His is the only power to change.
And I remind myself yet again that He loves her more than I ever could. He understands her because He created her. Nothing is beyond Him. He is more than enough to carry her through to the end.
Here's a sampling of our paintings: