Friday, May 1, 2015

For the Days When I Make Life More Complicated Than It Needs To Be.....

Growing up, I was the kind of gal that wanted to completely understand the assignment before doing the work.
I wanted the rules laid out, the theory understood, and a step-by-step approach given before I felt comfortable with anything new.
The day I stood in front of a classroom full of 4th graders as a student teacher I was terrified.
I didn't have a list of all the things I had to know.
The teacher I was responsible to kept telling me that I'd learn as I went.
Me??? No way. I was not that kind of thinker.

When the principal's son stole the bacon off his buddy's cheeseburger in the lunch room, and I ordered him to give it back, and he looked at me sweetly and told me "no", and I was dumb enough to ask why, and he sweetly said, "because I ate it!" just to get a rise out of the student teacher, and I stood there with my mouth hanging open, mind completely blank, knowing I'd never had a class on Bacon Stealing........
Yep, that was me.
If I had to fill out a job application and it asked about creative thinking skills I'd have to check the box that said "None."

When I moved home to begin teaching, I asked everyone who knew anything about teaching what I needed to know, and they all said the same things:
Be teachable.
Ask God for wisdom.

The day I had my wedding shower and ladies began to give advice, I was ready for lists and charts and rules about how to make this marriage thing work.
And most of them said about the same thing:
Love your husband.
Be teachable.
Ask God for wisdom.

As John and I traveled on deputation I'd ask every veteran missionary lady I'd meet what I needed to know about going to the missionfield.
What did I need to pack?
What did I need to learn before going?
How could I be better prepared?
One lady was really excited about sharing what should be packed. She was a missionary in Africa, to boot! I pulled out my pen and notebook, ready to glean all the wisdom she could give me.......
and she said the most important thing she packed every time she was headed back to the field was....
wait for it.........
a frozen turkey wrapped in dry ice.

The rest of the dear ladies said things like, "I can't tell you anything specific as I've never been to your field."
Be teachable.
Ask God for wisdom.

We moved to Ghana.
We very quickly learned that the only way we could do what God had called us to was to apply those same keys for anything new in life: be teachable and ask God for wisdom.

So why do I make this parenting thing so hard at times?
Why do I constantly search for lists and charts and "the one tip that will make me the perfect mother"?
Obviously I'm not the only one thinking this way.
Go to Pinterest and search "How to Be a Good Mom".
Good grief!
To remember all that I'd have to walk around with my bag loaded with a notebook full of this stuff to tell me everything I'm supposed to be doing, or not supposed to be doing, or how I'm supposed to be acting, or how to be cool, or how to be strict, or how to be calm, or better, or happier, or, or, infinitum.
Better yet, I could just have my Smart Phone right there so I could look up the perfect article for every situation!
Or maybe not.

Maybe what I really need to remember in the midst of all this mothering is those same keys for anything new in life.
Be teachable ~ Psalm 27:11 Teach me thy way, O Lord, and lead me in a plain path...
Ask God for wisdom ~ James 1:5 If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God....

It seems simple, possibly too simple.
Is it really too simple, though, to seek the wisdom of God who created me and my children?
To let God teach me His way through whatever circumstances He chooses?
To continue learning and growing and becoming more of Who He wants me to be by surrendering to His way?
To just request that which He has already promised is mine for the asking?
To believe that a meek spirit and His wisdom are enough to do this job?

Parenting is hard, there is no denying that.
Some days it breaks me, other days it humbles me, some days it fills me with joy, but every day it points me back to my need for Jesus.


  1. Great article, and great thoughts! Cheering you on from France! Thanks for opening your heart up in your posts!

    1. Thanks for the encouragement, Susan!

  2. Oh Patty! So wonderfully written: Be Teachable, Ask God for Wisdom. YES!!!! (I think we are kindred spirits. I hope we can meet someday.)

    1. Ha! Lou Ann, my hubby just said to me the other, "You need to meet Mrs Keiser ~ sounds like you are two peas in a pod!" Hmmmmm....a trip to Spain.....that sounds like a good idea!

  3. All I can say is "Amen!" We complicate things when God wants it simple. He simply says, "Trust Me" and "Follow Me." We say, "But there has to be something else, some other way." We search when He wants us to rest. We fight when He wants us to be still, and know that He is God. We think we understand His mind, His ways, His thoughts, and we simply do not.

    Trust and reliance on an amazing, all-powerful, all-knowing, everywhere present God is the hardest simple thing we have to do simply because we are too incapable of understanding that we are not bigger than He is. We put Him in a box - and it's one that would not contain him. Like a child trying to fit a basketball inside a pinhole. They fuss, they cry, and they simply don't understand why it doesn't fit. We laugh, and try to console, but there is nothing we can do until they realize that the basketball was meant for more, and will never fit inside the one thing the child is insistent the basketball fit into, nor will it do the thing the child thinks it should.

    I wonder if God sees us like that - ignorant, but teachable - if we wish to be. He loves us, and smiles at our attempts, and waits for us to ask...

    Thanks for sharing, Patty. I understand your need for lists and instructions - I love them, too. I'm glad that God gives us His instructions via the Bible, though they aren't as black and white as I'd like. :) Love our neighbors sounds easy, but in practice it can be much harder. All we need to know is in the Bible, and we have to trust the Author of that Book to help us understand it.

  4. Thanks for the reminder! This was a great post. I really enjoy reading your blog. You described me and my life; just the details are different:) Thanks for the reminder to be teachable even when I am uncomfortable . God Bless!