Friday, October 21, 2011

My Love Dare

Wow-I can tell I'm a mom of two young children with not a lot of time (or energy) for the computer these days.  It's been almost 2 months since I've written my last and first blog!  Part of me wonders how much to share on here and the other parts wants to share it all!

I love what the Lord is doing in my life even though it's hard at times.  But it's where I am and doesn't the Lord love us right where we are?  Doesn't he meet us right where we are?  In order for us to grow we need to be honest with him and ourselves about what's going on in our hearts.  Of course, he already knows but do we?  That's why I love meeting with the Lord.  For one, he's not afraid to tell me whether it be gentle, firm, or direct-depends on how soft my heart is towards him.  :)  And I'll be honest he's used all three of those on me.   I want to share with you part of my journey right now.  It's kind of a continuing story from my last blog...

About a month or so ago I had a friend ask if we could grab coffee one evening.  I REALLY enjoy this friend and think very highly of her and so I was thrilled when she asked.  I also love one on one time with other ladies, coffee, time away from the kids...I could go on.  So we met one evening at Barnes and Noble and meandered around the store for a while then found ourselves in the bakery area sitting and talking about family, kids, etc.

I was caught off guard when my friend had tears in her eyes with concern for me.  I wasn't sure how to respond so I just listened.  I listened to her say that she's heard me talk about my anger, my hardships with my oldest son, my frustrations with being a mom, etc.  She asked "what will it take to make a change?  What is going to break you so that you understand the damage it's creating for you and your family.  I'm concerned for you b/c I know you don't want your kids to grow up in that environment.  I want to help you overcome this so you don't pass it on to your kids."

Wow-she was right.  Remember from the last blog how I talked about getting weary of doing what I want to do or know to do is right?  That's the wall I keep hitting up against.  I cried, she cried and we talked about how I can change nothing about my situation but everything about myself; how I respond, how I act, what I say, etc.  I want to blame others for my actions, circumstances, frustrations but only I am to blame b/c only I am in charge of me. 

So since that night the Lord has really brought me through some days of seeing progress and days of being on my knees out of frustration.  The Lord and I have had some really hard conversations as well as encouraging ones.  I have begun to implement some parenting styles I have read about that have helped take the emotion out of parenting...which if you have kids you understand is HARD!  But I have seen success and it's very freeing.  I have also written out what I call a Love Dare for my kids.  I have yet to start it officially but it has been on my mind and I have found myself living some of them out already.  I will share that at the end if anyone wants to do their own or go along with me.  I will be starting it Monday October 24.  (this gives me accountability!)

Most of all I have learned to rely on the Lord for my actions.  Learning that it's not about me but it's about Christ being perfected in me-which I know will not be complete until the day I am joined with him forever.  I am learning that discipling my kids is about leading them to Christ not teaching them to act the way I want them to.  It's all about the heart and their heart.

This is just a small snapshot of what the Lord is doing but the kids are waking up and so I must wrap it up but if you think of me please pray for me as I do this Love Dare for me and my kids.  I got the idea from the movie FireProof-if you haven't seen it I encourage you to.  It's about saving a marriage relationship but at this point in my life it's about saving my relationship with my kids.  I will do one a day and add on each day.

Jesus bless you in your journey wherever you are with Him!

My Love Dare
1.      Stop telling Charlie to “be quiet”.  (I do this a lot even when Brett ISN’T sleeping)

2.      Say yes to as much as possible-not maybe, we’ll see, or later but YES with enthusiasm. (I see Patrick do this a lot and miss out on the joy Charlie spills b/c of a simple yes)

3.      Physically take a step (or two) back and cover my mouth when I’m angry/frustrated/mad so as not to spill my anger onto my kids

4.      Take 20 minutes each day with each kid alone and play/read books/color/bake-but have it focused on what THEY want to do (even if I don’t feel like that activity)

5.      Reread through the proverbs and continue underlining (in pink) scriptures that speak to my life as of now

6.      Say nothing negative to or about my kids

7.      Say one thing you like about Charlie and Brett to them once a day

8.      Stop trying to control them

9.      Make a list of positive things about each of their characters

10. Even when Charlie wakes up grumpy from a nap or wants Daddy in the morning I will not let that affect my love for him or my mood for the day

11. Surprise them with things they enjoy (candy, doughnut, movie, playdate, etc.)

12. Write them notes (even though they can’t read) about why I love them

13. Pray for three specific areas in each childs life

14. Take Charlie on “mommy/son” dates once a month

15. Find scripture verses specifically for them

16. Evaluate how you are doing…maybe ask Patrick what he has seen-good and bad

17. Learn to put a name to their feelings and let them feel it (you seem happy, you seem angry, looks like you might be frustrated with that toy, etc.)

18. LISTEN…don’t always feel the need to jump in and correct.  Let them try and figure it out themselves as they talk-give them the chance to be proud of themselves!

19. Learn to walk them through their feelings if they aren’t satisfied with just putting a name to them (It would taste good to have a banana right now, that would be fun if we could fix that toy, that would be a great if it was summer time all the time, etc.)

20.  Letting go of my perfectionist attitude.

Now some of these things will be daily, some weekly, some monthly, and some one time.  And I haven't decided yet if I want to go in the order I've typed's just how they came to me.  I'll try and blog about how I'm doing-good or bad!  :)  Until then...continue letting the Lord meet you where you are!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Something flipped a switch

Last week was a full but great week.  Maybe it's because I went into it knowing I was going to be logging in a LOT of hours with my kids while Patrick (who works with Cru) started up on campus logging in a LOT of hours with our student leaders, reaching out to freshman and the campus as a whole.

For the first time in a while I felt alive and refreshed I think because I was allowing the Spirit to lead me. I felt like a whole new person.  Today, however, I woke up and it was like last week was just a dream.  I felt like I was back to my old ways of finding myself frustrated with my children and husband over little things that didn't seem to bother me last week.

I couldn't stop thinking about what was going on with me.  I felt like something inside me had flipped a switch and I was no longer loving, joyful, peaceful, patient, kind, good, full of faith, gentle, or controlled.  Literally over night I had gone back to the mom and wife that I was a week ago.  That seemed to add to the disappointment and frustration I was already feeling! 

Why is it so hard to live by the Spirit and be giving?  Patrick very graciously gave me some time this morning to sort out what was going on.  I walked away with a few verses in my head but my attitude was still not up to par.  As I write this I'm realizing that I can do anything for a short amount of time.  I think I did fine last week because even though I do believe in and give credit to the Spirit for leading me, in the back of my mind I was thinking this will only last about a week.  My body came off the adrenaline I was running on to get me through the week and I slid right back into the selfish pit I used to live in.

Hebrews 12: 1-2 says "Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily hinders our progress.  And let us RUN with ENDURANCE the race that God has set before us.  We do this by keeping our eyes on JESUS on whom our faith depends from START to FINISH."

This is one thing I know I struggle with:  getting weary of doing good.  My "crowd of witnesses" are my kids and husband.  They are my main ministry right now and I'm failing left and right!  I can't even count how many times I have had a conversation with Patrick that ended with I will work on it.  And I do, but after about a week or so I get weary of doing it.  How frustrating for me and him to find ourselves right back where we were with a very similar conversation. 

In the verse I wrote above it clearly says that it's keeping our eyes on Jesus and staying faithful that gets us from start to finish.  I can only make it a week out of my life span which sounds about right in my human nature.  But with God I can run the race with endurance the race HE has set before me. 

I'm going to jump back in the race.  I am going to place Hebrews 12 in various places in my house.  I know I will mess up and make unwise choices but my hope and prayer is the gap between my actions and my repentance will get smaller and smaller!  And instead of something flipping a switch inside I will live an emotionally steady life led by the Holy Spirit!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

A little about me...

My name is Tricia Schleper. My husband is Patrick Schleper and we have two boys-Charlie (3) and Brett (10 months). Since being married 4 years ago life has been quite the whirl wind.

In the past 4 years I got married, moved half way across the country, essentially started a new job, got pregnant, moved into our first house, had our first baby, lost 4 grandparents between the two of us, been to Australia (with a 2 year old and 18 weeks pregnant I might add), and had our second baby! Whew-lets just say I've had lots of emotions through it all!

I decided to start a blog because I love sharing what the Lord is doing in my life-the good and the hard, it's kind of therapeutic. I enjoy being real about life and encouraging others. My hope is that this gives me life as I pour out my life. I also want to use this as a way to journal about our life as a family.

Jesus is my Lord and Savior and I will probably be talking about my faith walk a lot as I am on a journey with the Lord to be more like Christ. It's not always pretty and I don't always enjoy the way the Lord sharpens me but as I've experienced many times it's well worth it to be able to live in freedom.