2 for gaining wisdom and instruction;
for understanding words of insight;
3 for receiving instruction in prudent behaviour,
doing what is right and just and fair;
4 for giving prudence to those who are simple,
knowledge and discretion to the young –
5 let the wise listen and add to their learning,
and let the discerning get guidance –
6 for understanding proverbs and parables,
the sayings and riddles of the wise.
7 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge,
but fools despise wisdom and instruction.
You see, while I love my kids with all my heart, I was strict in some areas. One of those areas was when it came to disciplining them to sway more towards acts of love rather than disobedience - such as 'No fighting with your siblings'. When I gave them the heads up on something, pulling them up for misbehaving, as far as I was concerned, that was the first warning. So if they disobeyed, rather than saying "one" upon counting to three, I would start with, "two". I never said one.
Again, the first warning was the "one", as far as I was concerned. And it didn't take long before my kids knew that I didn't say three, either. Upon three, they would receive the consequences of their choices. So I find starting here, on '2', really cute - knowing my kids would laugh at it, also.
For those of you who don't know, my family looks like this:
His: 2 daughters, Brooke and Amy - born 1980 and 1982.
Hers: 1 daughter, Amanda - born 1984
Ours: 2 sons and 1 daughter - Timothy (jr), Matthew and Kathleen - born 1993, 1994, 1996
We were two broken families brought together with the hope of being transformed into one... and we had our challenges.
When Tim and I married in 1992, I went from being a single mother of one, for several years, to sharing a 2 bedroom home with 3 near-strangers. You see, Tim and I met in July, had our first date in August, were engaged by September, and we were married the following April - and that a month after his divorce was finalised - which, I will add, was not my fault lol. Needless to say, there was a lot of baggage brought with all of us into the relationship, and it was all forced into a small 2 bedroom home.
Tim (jr), Matt and Kathleen, were born within the first three years of our marriage. And no, they weren't triplets, nor were there twins. (Oh,my aching back! ;) )
By the time Kathleen needed somewhere to lay her head, the three older girls shared one room and the rest of us shared the other. It was crowded, there was baggage and post-natal depression, and a rush to figure out where everyone fit in, and times where I wanted out - as I am sure many of us did. But I look back at those days now (with my youngest now 17) and smile while praising God for these precious souls and the transformation and healing He brought into our home.
Honestly, without the wisdom of God to guide me, to guide all of us, I wouldn't have made it. When it comes to giving up and walking out, I'm an expert. In my own strength, I would've ended my marriage years ago, and not because I didn't love my husband, but because I didn't need the struggle, or the extra baggage in my home, or the ex in the picture, and for a number of other reasons that my sinful, selfish nature couldn't cope with.
Now, 21 years on, I sit and look at my kids (three of whom - 17, 18, and 20 - just spent the weekend away with us) and I thank God for His hand, heart, presence and word in my life.
Did I always listen to Him? Oh, no, I've had my struggles over the years. Did I trust Him at all times? No, I did not - especially during those struggles. Did I rebel against 'loving as He loves' and doing it His way? Oh, yes, many times...! And many times I questioned God's sanity. But He carried us through. Over hills we thought were impossible to climb, through valleys we believed we'd never get out of, we went, and we made it each time, better for it, solely because of God's love, patience, and wisdom.
~ John 1 ~
1 In the beginning was the Word,
and the Word was with God,
and the Word was God.
2 He was with God in the beginning.
3 Through him all things were made;
without him nothing was made that has been made.
4 In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.
5 The light shines in the darkness,
and the darkness has not overcome it.
Sitting on the veranda of my Government-owned home one night, I looked up at the full moon and thought, "Wouldn't that be wonderful if it was the face of God watching over us..." then prayed, "God, if You're there, I've had enough of this BS. Help."
That night, not knowing it was the thing to do - even though I had found love in Jesus when I was a young child, many years earlier - I asked Jesus that He would speak to God for me. :) Not knowing who God was at the time, believing He was this angry task-master in the sky, I asked Jesus to intercede for me.
Not knowing it was the thing to do, but needing to do it, I repented for all my sins. I asked that God would forgive me for all the wrong I'd done to Him and to others, and asked that He would also forgive those who had sinned against me. I asked that God would wipe my slate clean and help me start again...then promptly cried myself to sleep.
Two days later I ran into the only Christian I knew but hadn't seen in many months, in a dead-end street, at the back of the hall I attended Sunday School twenty years prior to that day. God had heard my cry and had come to rescue me, and would go on to reveal to me the symbolism of this day. For example, by arranging for me to "run into" the only Christian I knew, on that particular spot, God was showing me, "I never left you; you left Me..." (Which I'll talk more on another time.)
Nearly 22 years later - married and with 6 children - I know, without doubt, God heard me that night...and He sent His One and Only Son, His Word, to save me, to help me, to heal me, to raise me up, dust me off, and help me start again. He took my ashes and traded them for beauty (Isaiah 61:3). He took my brokenness and traded it for love. He took my grief and traded it for hope. He took me and bonded His heart to mine...and because He first loved me, I was then able to be set free of the bondages of old, and the baggage, and love the children He placed into my care.
I know - by knowing who I am, being aware of my limits and patience when functioning in my own strength...or lack therefore of - that without the Word of God, without His wisdom and instruction, the family I have, and am blessed with 'today', would not be.