Tuesday, February 06, 2007

You Are Not The Mama

We have a saying in our home that goes something like this, "You are NOT the Mama." It is said nearly every day, and usually multiple times every day. We say it to Leah when she is scolding Mary. We say it to Caleb when he makes choices for himself contrary to our rules. We say it to Bethany when her rule-making takes on an air of superiority over her siblings. But we mostly say it to Hannah because, while she is my most responsible child, she is also my most self-righteous and autocratic child. She mimics my tone and word usage in explaining offenses to smaller children. She has a tendency to "take care of" little things that crop up between her siblings, and when you add this penchant to a somewhat high-strung personality (our next favorite phrase for her is, "Settle down Hannah, it is going to be fine.") it makes for an exasperating combination - both for me AND her younger brother and sisters.

One of our primary tools for explaining the issue behind her actions (and motivation) is that God did not give her the authority over her siblings that she tries to claim. I do not have the right to tell my children what to do because I am arbitrarily older. There are several adults I can think of right now that have no business commanding my children (or any children, for that matter). No, my authority was given to me by God, in His word. Ephesians 6:1 says, Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. And in Colossians 3:20 we are told again, Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord. The Bible does not say, Children, obey your older sister, for she is always right. Thankfully it doesn't say parents are always right either! *wink*

Well, the other day I was once again reminding a little person that they, "were not the Mama" when it struck me that a spiritual parallel can be drawn in my own life. How many times do I make decisions based on what I want and not according to God's rules (Caleb)? How many times do I scold the younger, weaker believer (Leah)? What about the rule-making I impose on my family because it needs to be done "my way" (Bethany)? But mostly I think of the countless times I claim authority over situations, people, and decisions which I do not have any right too (Hannah). Yep, God is saying to me, "Trisha, you ain't the Mama."

The Bible says in 2 Samuel 22:28 "You save the humble, but your eyes are on the proud to bring them low." Ouch. I find myself asking God, "Do you really mean you will bring them low? How low? Like low enough to recognize my, err I mean their mistake? Or low like all the way down?" He answers with this in Leviticus 26:19, "I will break down your stubborn pride and make the sky above you like iron and the ground beneath you like bronze." Um, okay. I think I may be seeing a pattern here. So what you mean is that if I continue to walk in pride, assuming that I know all the answers, making all the rules according to my understanding and ways, taking glory and honor that are due to you for myself, then you will need to discipline me, bring me low, and make my circumstances difficult to remind me that, "I am not the Mama." Revelation 3:19, "Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent." I think I may be getting it.

Psalm 32:5, "I acknowledged my sin to you, and I did not cover my iniquity; I said, 'I will confess my transgressions to the LORD,' and you forgave the iniquity of my sin." God is SO good. I don't deserve to be loved by Him, and yet I am! Perfectly, wonderfully, completely accepted by The Creator. And yet, He loves me too much to allow me to continue wallowing in unhealthy attitudes and behaviors. Can I hear an amen?!

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