Monday, January 30, 2012

Goldfish Promises

We are now the proud owners of three goldfish.  Technically, Marshall is the proud owner of two goldfish.  Eliza is the proud owner of one betta fish. But, I said we are the proud owners because something tells me Eric and I will be doing the really fun chore of cleaning the fish tank. That deserves part ownership for Mom and Dad too.

Marshall and his two new, yet to be named, goldfish.

Eliza and her new fish, Violet.

Violet is already named because it was easy.  Eliza got exactly what she wanted ... a purple betta fish.  We've been reading The Boxcar Children.  Eliza's favorite character in the books is a little girl named Violet.  Convenient since Eliza got a purple fish. Unfortunately, all of the pretty beta fish are male. But, Eliza insists that her fish is a girl. Thus, we have Violet the boy purple betta fish. 

Detour here but I will get back to the fish . . . I've been convicted in recent weeks about keeping my word, in particular to my children.  It all started with a BSF (Bible Study Fellowship) Home Training Lesson.  Home Training Lessons are a handout, available each week at BSF, with solid biblical parenting wisdom. They are also known at our house as The Best Parenting Book (that isn't really a book) EVER.

[Side note (yes, a side note within the detour): I have been attending BSF since September of 2004.  God used BSF to change my life. He used BSF to change my family's life. That is really a story for another post. But if you are curious, check out their link on the right. They have (uh-mazing) Bible classes all over the world. If you have ever wanted to read the Bible for yourself -- with analytical questions, discussion and lecture -- this is the place to go. And it is totally free. And they have free children's classes at the same time as the adult classes, where your kids learn what you are learning.]

I want my children to trust me and my word. I know that in some ways they will make a connection between their relationship with their parents and their relationship with Jesus.  Obviously, Eric and I will never be perfect and their heavenly Father is perfect! But, I'm learning to trust God's promises and to rely on Him and believe that He will always follow through on those promises. I want my children to have the best example that I can give them of being able to trust the Lord for His promises. 

My kids make a lot of requests throughout the day, some reasonable and some unreasonable. Some are reasonable but still impossible or impractical for me to meet that day (or maybe ever). And, sometimes I am busy and just don't want to take the time to think it through right that second. I often give a "hopeful" answer like "we'll see" "if we have time" "maybe tomorrow or later this week." I've been reminded that my kiddos might take this as a promise and that I need to be more careful in my choice of words!

So, I'm asking Jesus to make me more aware of the promises I make to my children. I'm asking for Holy Spirit power to be able to reflect God's character of trustworthiness and promise keeper. I'm posting Scripture around the house to remind me of God's character, as faithful promise keeper, to remind me of the importance of keeping my word, in particular to these three little babes. 

God is not a man, that he should lie, nor a son of man, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill? (Numbers 23:19)

Above all, my brothers, do not swear -- not by heaven or by earth or by anything else. Let your "Yes" be yes, and your "No," no, or you will be condemned. (James 5:12)

I want to be careful about what promises I make.  I want to think carefully before I let the word "Yes" or "No" roll off of my tongue. Maybe something is too expensive, too dangerous, too far away (like Antarctica to see emperor penguins). Maybe it just cannot fit in our schedule. Or maybe my kids just don't need one more toy or treat at the grocery store, even if it is on the Target dollar aisle. But, I want to explain clearly to them that the answer is "no" from the beginning, even when I don't want to disappoint them.  It guards my integrity before them much better than a promise that would go unkept.

And, I want to be more careful in the way I handle broken promises because sometimes things prevent promises from being fulfilled. I need to explain and ask forgiveness. I can always use the opportunity to turn my kids to the cross. Mommy needs Jesus too.

I felt like this was daunting as the Lord first placed it on my heart. I also felt discouraged when I realized how much work I really need in this area of my parenting. But, then I was reminded that "I can do everything through Him who gives me strength." (Philippians 4:13). And, I'm thankful that He loves me enough that He isn't leaving me the way that I am. He is using His Word to refine me so that I am "being transformed into His likeness," and then I can better reflect His glory to my children. (2 Corinthians 3:18). PTL!

Back to the goldfish ... Over two years ago, Marshall had to have an emergency appendectomy.  It happened to be on the day of his friend's birthday party.  (This just happens to be the girl that he has already decided that he is going to marry. Love. It. ) And, she was giving out real live goldfish as the party favor. Of course Marshall couldn't go party while he was in surgery, but try explaining that to a four year old!  So, in the midst of all the appendectomy craziness, we promised him a goldfish.  

Then we didn't get him one.  But, we kept saying we would.  Oh, he didn't forget.  Every once in awhile he'd remind us of the promised fish.  I don't even really know why we didn't get one for so long.  It just kept being put off.  

As I have asked God to help me to consistently keep my promises He brought the goldfish to mind. So, this weekend we went to Wal-mart to finally keep our promise and get goldfish. They were OUT of goldfish because their tank has a leak. No joke. But, I did get really awesome cheap Valentine's decor -- which was a good reward for braving Super Wally World. Then we went to PetCo at Keizer Station so we could avoid Lancaster. And, their fish were under observation and not for sale.  Yes, seriously. We finally ended up on Lancaster at PetSmart. And left PetSmart with three fish and two incredibly proud fish owners.

Welcome to the family, Violet and ComptonFish#1 and ComptonFish#2!

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