Have you ever felt like you just wish someone would take over your parenting responsibilities? That’s the kind of week this week has been. Remember how I mentioned last week that the battle was on? And I wasn’t going to give up? Well, I haven’t given up. But I sure am exhausted. Mentally. Physically. Spiritually. Exhausted.

This week was even nuttier than last – the more we are out, the less well-behaved my children become (or seem?) and the less chances I have for good discipline, and the less motivation and energy I have for instruction.

They don’t really mean to make life miserable. But sometimes they do.

I was talking to a dear, dear friend today. And she mentioned how, sometimes, she sits and thinks, “Man, I don’t know if I can BE a parent! This is hard stuff!”. Many times I’ve thought the same way. Every day I realize new areas that I am supposed to be teaching to my children, training them in righteousness (never mind riding a bike, how to pee on the toilet, tie their own shoes, write their name and add numbers!), and I can easily become overwhelmed.

I’ve been at the bottom this week. BUT thank God for his word that encourages us, his Holy Spirit that strengthens us, and godly women who develop bible studies to give us tools for fighting back; and friends who send a note in the middle of the day to say they don’t know why, but we’re on their mind and they’re praying for us.

This week so far in 21 Days of Prayer for Sons we’ve been praying through pride, purity, servant’s heart, and honor. Some tough stuff. Many of our sins are rooted in at least one of these areas.

We watched the Stanley Cup final last night. While I am by no means a Vancouver Canucks fan, I’ve been rooting for them ever since Boston beat my team, the Montreal Canadiens – if only to see the Bruins get their butts whooped :D (Even though I live in Toronto area, I have never been a Leafs fan :D).

The Canucks lost. And the riots on the streets of downtown Vancouver broke out. Cars were flipped over, then lit on fire. Store windows were broken, people running inside and dashing out, arms loaded with pilfered merchandise. People were beaten and stabbed, officers of the law were ignored and abused.

I looked at the images before my eyes and I was shocked. Stunned. Ashamed of Canadians. Angry. Heart broken at what people in a so-called civilized and well-established society are capable of (and this is mild!).

Then I remembered a verse from praying through “purity” – Philippians 2:15 “that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God, without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world.”

We are to be lights in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation – the world around us. The reality? It isn’t going to get better. It’s only going to get worse.

I want to provide my children with the tools they need NOW for the challenges they are going to face in the future. They are going to need to be pure in their hearts and minds. They are going to need to have a servant’s heart to put others’ needs before their own. They are going to need to swallow their pride to minister to others and to really, truly love others.  They need to know how to honour their authorities and submit to them.

In the Ministry of Motherhood study, we’ve been learning about how to “INSPIRE” our children. To point out the areas they are really good at. Notice where they need encouragement and help – but praise them for what they do well. At first I wasn’t really into it, thinking, man, ANOTHER thing I need to do with my kids! Where does it end?!?! (really, it never does :D) Then God started to work in my heart as I encouraged my husband in something God has called him to do.

One of my Love Languages (both giving and receiving) is words of encouragement. And I haven’t really been much of an encourager to my children. They’re so young and vulnerable – they need it more than I do! They need to discover their purpose in life – as God’s children – and their purpose FOR life – what God would have them do for him.

This past week I have been able to pinpoint in my kids what their possible gifts are. I know they’re still young and it can definitely change, but here’s what jumped out at me:

Big Boy – kind, patient, loving, encouraging: especially when it comes to teaching those a lot younger than he is! He has all the patience in the world for Keekers and babies (not so much for JJ…yet) and loves to teach them how to do different things.

JJ – musical, creative, compassionate, dramatic, servant’s heart. He sometimes complains about doing chores, but often he’s quick to change it over to a cheerful “yes mom!”.

Keekers – oh so dramatic. oh so compassionate. physical touch and closeness is definitely a must for her. she’s quick with the kisses if she knows you’re hurt. quick to make things right when she’s done wrong.

The training starts now. The crying, hurt, frustration, hair-pulling, eye-rolling, bad attitudes, disobedience, will continue.

But no matter what, by the grace of God, I’ll be right beside them, praying, offering words of love, encouragement, and sometimes just a shoulder to lean on.

So while this has been a tiring, trying, and discouraging week, I have hope – because it is not through ME that these things will be accomplished. But through their acceptance of the blood of Jesus Christ covering their sins, their submission to God’s authority, and their surrender of their own will to follow his.