Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Changing Hearts Series #2

The second dvd in the series is called, "Changing the Heart of a Rebel".  This is the core dvd, that you are supposed to watch multiple times and used as a reference when needed.  It contains the 14 steps to change the heart of a rebel and it was made clear that you need to do ALL 14 steps.  You can not pick and choose.  I have to say, from experience, he is absolutely right.  We were living some of the steps as outlined in the series, but we were just going down hill month after month. 

I think the biggest idea to take away from this dvd was the fact that anger kills a relationship.  I am not talking about someone who lives in anger on a daily basis either.  If you only have occasional outbursts you are in the same danger of losing your children.  There are things in life that you know you can not murder, or steal.  The bottom line is you need to add 'anger' to the list of absolute no-no's.  You just DON'T do it.  Period.  At all.  Even a little bit.  I think you get the idea :-)  To take it even further I have listened to one of his sermons on getting rid of the *spirit* of anger.  Even if you keep an even tone, but have anger in your eyes it will be harmful.  One thing our children are very good at is "reading" us.  Kind of scary actually.  This just brings me to my knees with the magnitude of it all. 

A great lesson can be learned from how David dealt with Absalom, which I think can be found in first or second Kings.  David lost Absalom's heart.  The scriptures then show how Absalom won over the men of Israel and led a rebellion.  Those same actions can be used to win over you child.  They are:
1. Listen
2. Say nice things
3. Touch

By listening he wasn't just talking about hearing what your child has to say, but to understand what your child is saying.  If it is important to your child, it needs to be important to you.  I have definitely seen this to be true.  Our children know when we are just giving an ear, but not *really* listening to their heart.  There are things that I really don't deem all too important in the scheme of things, but my children see those same things as almost life giving!  That's an extreme, but I hope you see what I mean.  I will give a real example.  I have a daughter who loves animals.  Dogs in particular.  Me?  Not so much.  Not much at all really.  To me, our dogs are just noisy, stinky, dollar draining mutts.  I seriously am hoping they are earning their keep by keeping predators away!  If I didn't have that hope I would have seriously gotten rid of them long ago.  But my daughter doesn't see them that way.  I realized a few months ago that my disdain of them was causing an issue with my relationship with my daughter.  Not because we can't hold different views, but because whenever she wanted to talk about them I was shooting down her ideas/feelings about the dogs.  I was always threatening to give them away.  This just led my daughter to feel like it was me against her, we were always at odds.  I've made it a point to stop complaining about the dogs (I know I haven't been perfect in this, but it has been a purposeful goal of mine).  This daughter also wants to have her own dog sitting service, or dog kennel one day.  So, instead of saying things like, "Well, you can do that whenever you want when you have your own house..."  I have instead encouraged her to learn all she can with books, and then 'practice' on our dogs.  Jeremiah has also told her we would make a small kennel in the back for her to try her hand a it.  I can't tell you how much this alone has changed things.  Taking care of animals in not a sin, so there isn't any reason why we should deny her this desire.  There are many things she can learn from it as well.  But my own disdain for the creatures was ruining our relationship.  I assure you that wasn't the only issue we were having, but this was a big one.  Just like in our efforts to expand our garden this year.  It was our girls' desire to grow more things.  They want to save up food, and they want to try their hand at having a little farm market stand to sell any extras.  We kept shooting them down with that idea.  Why? I don't even remember now.  But why shouldn't they give it a try?  Yes, it will cost us some money, and some time, but it is SAVING our relationship. 

The 'say nice things' point can be hard to do when you find yourself in a pit with your children.  It's a vicious catch 22.  I have had to be very mindful of finding and picking out good things to say to my children.  Not that I never said good things about them to them, but it was more common than not that I didn't.  When you factor in that every time you say something negative, you need to say 10 good things to make up for it...well we were certainly in the negative.  By praising the even the smallest things we have seen big improvements.  Now I am trying to get them to see that they need to think about praising their siblings.  This will take constant encouragement and training, but I'm working on it

The last point was touch. You need to be hugging, giving a pat on the back, stroking their hair, etc, even for your teens.  It is easy for me to love on my littles.  But as they got bigger, there was less cuddling going on.  I really had to pray on how to implement this.  Yes, silly I know, but it just seemed odd to go up and start hugging my 14 year old when it wasn't the norm. But God is *great* and not two or three days after praying all of my children started to want to sit next to me, or hug me, or put their head on my lap, or give me a kiss, or...well you get the idea.  I have even my big kids holding my hand when we are out and about.  This has been easy to reciprocate and to initiate now that it has become more common.  It really has been amazing.

I know that some of these things can seem so overwhelming. I think I started praying in earnest that we would reach our childrens's hearts this past summer.  The very next day I broke my knee.  From there it seemed just more and more bad things kept piling on top of us.  But I can look at those things and realize that they helped to set us up to seek Him more.  When a bunch of our bad habits just got 10 times worse with me being layed up, it was a wake up moment.  This led us to start questioning what we were doing.  We kept living life the same way, but expecting a different result.  It proved time to change the way we were living! 

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