<body><script type="text/javascript"> function setAttributeOnload(object, attribute, val) { if(window.addEventListener) { window.addEventListener('load', function(){ object[attribute] = val; }, false); } else { window.attachEvent('onload', function(){ object[attribute] = val; }); } } </script> <div id="navbar-iframe-container"></div> <script type="text/javascript" src="https://apis.google.com/js/plusone.js"></script> <script type="text/javascript"> gapi.load("gapi.iframes:gapi.iframes.style.bubble", function() { if (gapi.iframes && gapi.iframes.getContext) { gapi.iframes.getContext().openChild({ url: 'https://www.blogger.com/navbar.g?targetBlogID\x3d15269165\x26blogName\x3dMusings+of+the+Dings\x26publishMode\x3dPUBLISH_MODE_BLOGSPOT\x26navbarType\x3dTAN\x26layoutType\x3dCLASSIC\x26searchRoot\x3dhttp://dinghome.blogspot.com/search\x26blogLocale\x3den_US\x26v\x3d2\x26homepageUrl\x3dhttp://dinghome.blogspot.com/\x26vt\x3d6645860395718618596', where: document.getElementById("navbar-iframe-container"), id: "navbar-iframe" }); } }); </script>

My blog has moved! Redirecting...

You should be automatically redirected. If not, visit http://dinghome.net/ and update your bookmarks.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Reflecting on parenting: patience and giving

This past week we celebrated the birthdays of our oldest two children, now 4 and 2 years old respectively. This has been a trying season for us as parents, with a new addition to our family (our adopted daughter from China, aged 14 months) and another girl to be born to us in just five weeks. A couple of thoughts come to mind as I reflect on the past few days.

On patience: As much as God has given our oldest child a joyful spirit, so too he has "inherited" my energetic personality. And though we've worked very hard to train and mold him, there remains much work. In other words, he can sometimes be very helpful, yet equally so he can be very unhelpful. And in this, we, his parents, have been tested. I've found myself on occasion feeling less than "in love with" this boy of ours—especially in his more selfish and/or self-centered moments.

More than once, though, I have been helped by thinking of the "gospel patience" of our God toward not only his enemies but his own adopted children. J.C. Ryle summed this up beautifully in his thoughts on John 13:1-5 (emphasis mine):
That He should bear with all their countless infirmities from conversion until death,—that He should never be tired of their endless inconsistencies and petty provocations,—that He should go on forgiving and forgetting incessantly, and never be provoked to cast them off and give them up,—all this is marvellous indeed! No mother watching over the waywardness of her feeble babe, in the days of its infancy [or childhood!], has her patience so thoroughly tried, as the patience of Christ is tried by Christians. Yet His longsuffering is infinite. His compassions are a well that is never exhausted.
Just when I'm at the end of myself and have lost patience and I'm about to tell my son that he doesn't deserve to receive all the blessings of being in this family, I recall that even today, I have done things which should merit my being cast out from the family of the redeemed! Ryle continues in that vein, and this helps me to re-orient my heart (to the gospel no less!):
This loving Saviour is One who delights to “receive sinners.” (Luke 15:2). Let no man be afraid of going on with Christ, after he has once come to Him and believed. Let him not fancy that Christ will cast him off because of failures and dismiss him into his former hopelessness on account of infirmities. ... Jesus will never reject any servant because of feeble service and weak performance. Those whom He receives He always keeps. Those whom He loves at first He loves at last.
And then my heart is strengthened by my Saviour's love. Not only to love my child but to show Him such love as Christ shows His own, so that my children may long to know Him as their Savior as well. After all, I am not merely called to try to order my children's behavior. More than that, I am to present to them by word and example Christ in such a way that they too might entrust their souls to Him.

On giving: We hadn't intended any particular birthday gifts for the boys, but managed to find some toys on clearance the day after Easter. Seeing the delight in my boys' faces upon receiving these simple gifts—and delighting in their delight—made me think that our Father too must take delight in giving gifts His children. Our Lord, I think, confirmed this idea when he said in Matthew 7:7-11:
Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!
And again, I'm brought to the reality that everything I do as a parent is an opportunity to reveal the character of my Father in Heaven to my children and lead them to Him. What a kind and generous Father we have through our Lord Jesus Christ!