I remember when we only had two kids, our oldest daughter and our first son. Our son was a momma’s boy. Every morning he would crawl up in my lap to drink his bottle of milk and we would have snuggle time. It was our special morning routine. For a little over two years of his life he had most of his momma’s attention. And then his whole world changed. His new baby brother entered the picture. Suddenly a new baby was in momma’s lap and sometimes he had to drink his milk alone. A rivalry began that is still going on to this day. A war to win the most attention from mom and dad, a battle to always be the best or have the best or be in the most control.
Maybe you are fortunate to live in a home where all your children live at peace with one another. But that has not been the case for us. We now have four children and peace is not a word that I would use to describe our home, especially right now. Like all of you, we are adjusting to being at home together…all the time. I work two jobs and am attempting to administer distance learning with four kids. But I would say the most difficult part of all of this is managing the sibling rivalry during the day. I feel like I am the constant peace maker. I am the one every one runs to when they have been injured in a wrestling match or had their feelings hurt when they were called a name. It does not fill me with joy to hear my children screaming at each other and uttering terrible things out of their mouths. And all the while I am trying to work, or help someone with school, or catch up on the housework. It gets exhausting.
I am not about to tell you a step by step plan on how to fix all your problems at home. In fact, when the Kids Ministry team was discussing who should write this blog, I thought I was the least likely person to be able to offer wisdom. I needed someone else to give me advice. I do not know how to make the battle between siblings stop.
But this is what I do know. I know that parents have the power to set the atmosphere in the home. If the chaos that my children are creating causes me to also be chaotic – what is the result? More chaos. But what if I have the ability to remain in control of my emotions and stay calm amidst the chaos? How will that impact the actions and attitudes of those around me?
It might seem impossible to manage such a feat. But Jesus promises us that it is in fact possible.
“ Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” ~John 15:4
And what fruits will we produce when we abide in Jesus?
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. ~Galatians 5:22-23
As parents, we need to be abiding in Jesus everyday…every hour…every minute. When I am not in the Word or on my knees in prayer I notice a huge difference in my attitude towards chaos. My natural response is to end the chaos using whatever means possible. When I react using my own strength I only cause more damage. But when I am leaning into Jesus…He gives me the strength to respond in a way that reflects Him.
Charles Spurgeon said it best:
“How seldom do we ask counsel at the hands of the Lord! How often do we go about our business, without seeking His guidance! In our troubles how constantly do we strive to bear our burdens ourselves, instead of casting them upon the Lord, that He may sustain us!”
The Lord will provide all the resources we need – we just need to ask for them!
This “shelter in place” order has impacted us in all different ways. I heard a quote from Friendship’s Connections Director, Lori McCormick, the other day: “We are all in the same storm, but we are all in different boats.” Some of us have more time on our hands than we have ever had before. For others, we are actually busier. But whatever boat we are in, we all need to prioritize time with Jesus . Let’s not squander this time. Let’s come out of this walking in closer relationship with our family and with Christ.
“The parenting journey that lasts a lifetime is not about doing everything right. Instead, it’s about radical reliance on the grace of the only One who’s ever parented perfectly.” ~Nancy Guthrie
Here are some other great resources from people more knowledgeable than myself:Topics: Family, Parenting, siblings