Monday, January 27, 2014

The Heart of the Matter

They hold a piece of my heart and yet often they scratch away at the rest so that I feel raw.  My children. That was our week.  That was today. 
A heart pumps life, beats unendingly, and works tirelessly to provide every cell in our body what it needs to survive.  But, what about the heart, the me, that hangs on tightly often simply to make it until bedtime.  My heart hurts.
Issues of the heart rise often in our home.  Choices both to obey and to disobey originate in the heart.  Both anger spewed and encouragement poured begin in the heart.  My children’s actions, my responses, all our life starts with a heart decision. 
God tells me that my heart is deceitful (Jeremiah 17:9).  Above all else I need to guard it (Proverbs 4:23).  It will be a constant battle.  The rub comes when I am in daily skirmishes with the others in my family whose hearts are at war, right versus wrong.
Three children under the age of five exemplify a heart at war.  What emerges in words and actions will drive me to insanity:  yelling, hitting, tantrums, and defiance. 
How can I mold these hearts?  How can I teach a child how to diligently guard what goes into his heart, so that what comes out benefits and not injures others?   Those questions invade my own heart. 
I need to begin with my stance as a sentry.  My conflicts are defined and resolved by my heart motives.  God’s truth needs to surround my heart and permeate every fiber of my being.  When that happens, peace, resolution, grace, and progress surface.  When I allow Satan’s lies (materialism, selfishness, laziness, and impatience) to breach the border of my heart, conflicts are inevitable. 
In my 40+ years, much has happened to mold my heart.  God has had multiple opportunities to refine me and give me training to guard what enters my heart.  My daunting task is to train my children to let God do the same in them. 
I am daily amazed at how much anger, animosity, and meanness is bound in the heart of a child (Proverbs 22:15).  That said, God is calling me to pray that much more for my kids to let God release them from the power of that sin.  But, please Lord, start with me.

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