Monday, March 5, 2012

Courageous - Post 1

I recently took my two older sons to see the movie Courageous. I’ve seen it before and I think I cried more this time, was affected much more deeply this time, then when I saw it in October. I also know, for a fact, that I have changed the way I look at my family and at my husband since then, I know for a fact that I am a different person, a person much further in their journey with Christ since I first saw this movie.
I’ve decided that I want to write a series of blog posts on this movie and the way that it has impacted me as a mom, as a wife and as a Christian. First of all though, a brief overview of the movie….
Honor Begins at Home
Four men, one calling: To serve and protect. As law enforcement officers, Adam Mitchell, Nathan Hayes, David Thomson, and Shane Fuller are confident and focused. Yet at the end of the day, they face a challenge that none of them are truly prepared to tackle: fatherhood.
While they consistently give their best on the job, good enough seems to be all they can muster as dads. But they're quickly discovering that their standard is missing the mark.
When tragedy hits home, these men are left wrestling with their hopes, their fears, their faith, and their fathering. Can a newfound urgency help these dads draw closer to God ... and to their children?
Filled with action-packed police drama, COURAGEOUS is the fourth film from Sherwood Pictures, the moviemaking ministry of Sherwood Baptist Church in Albany, Georgia. Viewers will once again find themselves laughing, crying, and cheering as they are challenged and inspired by everyday heroes who long to be the kinds of dads that make a lifelong impact on their children.
Protecting the streets is second nature to these men. Raising their children in a God-honoring way? That will take courage. Courageous ... honor begins at home

The tragedy they mention above is that Adam Mitchell’s daughter, Emily, is killed by a drunk driver. It has, understandably, a huge impact on his family, his view of the world, his journey with Christ. I have much to say about this part of the movie but that will come at another time.
After Adam losses his daughter he begins to realize that he is not who he wants to be, that he falls short of the glory of God (as we all do) most noticeably in the area of fatherhood. And so begins his quest to change, to better himself, to be the father that the Lord wants him to be because…

Adam Mitchell: "I don't want to be a good enough father. We have a few short years to influence our kids. Whatever patterns we set for them in life will be used for their kids, and the generation after that. We have the responsibility to mold a life. And I don't think that should be done casually. Half the fathers in this country are already failing, and I don't want to be one of them. I'm talking about setting the standards that they need to aim for in life"

I think we, those who have kids, especially young kids, need to think hard about this. Are we setting patterns that we don’t want to see repeated. I know I am, I know I hate the things that come out of my mouth at times, hate the lack of patience I have at times. I have been trying to change this for so long but it is so hard to break habits and that is just the lamest excuse EVER!!! I am not using it as an excuse though, I am saying it as it is. I have wanted to change and I have been determined to change. So what went wrong??? Well I didn’t turn to God to help. I didn’t really know I should earlier and then once I did know I just, well, I just didn’t know how.
The first place I looked was the instructional manual for life and I found this…
Proverbs 19:18 Discipline your son, for in that there is hope; do not be a willing party to his death.
Proverbs 22:6 Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.
Proverbs 29:17 Discipline your son, and he will give you peace; he will bring delight to your soul.
Ephesians 6:4 Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.
Colossians 3:21 Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged.

So much to learn on discipline … but how to apply it… how to bring that in to effect is what I am unclear about. I know the reasons for discipline, I see those reasons every day at work with kids who so obviously run the show at home. And when I think about how to teach them, how to instill the skills they need and the characteristics that I want them to have, I realize that the bible is the best teacher. Just reading to them the stories of so many in the bible who didn’t follow the ways of the Lord and what happened to them. Reading them the parables that Jesus used to teach so many amazing lessons on human character. But more than just reading it, I need to live it. I need to set the example and be the role model. And I need to be a positive influence, not nag them to death, not drive them away by controlling their every move, by not giving them any choices but by allowing them to grow in a loving, nurturing, supportive environment.

Deuteronomy 4:9-10 Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them slip from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them. Remember the day you stood before the Lord your God at Horeb, when he said to me, “Assemble the people before me to hear my words so that they may learn to revere me as long as they live in the land and may teach them to their children.”
Deuteronomy 6:6-9 These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 9Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.
Proverbs 12:1 Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but he who hates correction is stupid.
Proverbs 15:10 Stern discipline awaits him who leaves the path; he who hates correction will die.

Something I find in my house that we do too often is to either wait too long to follow through with discipline…therefore causing confusion and misunderstanding…

Ecclesiastes 8:11 When the sentence for a crime is not quickly carried out, the hearts of the people are filled with schemes to do wrong.

Or we over react…therefore again causing confusion and misunderstanding….

2 Corinthians 2:6-8 The punishment inflicted on him by the majority is sufficient for him. Now instead, you ought to forgive and comfort him, so that he will not be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. I urge you, therefore, to reaffirm your love for him.

I know that often it would be so much more affective to not say much at all to my kids when they are acting out but rather to express my disappointment in them…KISS…keep it simple stupid. Unfortunately I think stupid , or atleast stupid mouth, could be my middle name. Learning to stop talking, to say as little as possible, is very hard for me. Learning to be patient and calm…also hard. I think I am repeating what I’ve witnessed so much over the years and breaking that cycle is hard. Learning as an adult seems to be one of the greatest challenges we can give ourselves. And I know that in my weak moments, in my frustrating moments, in my dark moments of parenting I think that it’s just too late, that I am too far gone and that my kids are too far gone. But they aren’t! I am not…I just need to slow down, breath, think and most of all PRAY!
Adam Mitchell said it best… : "I don't feel like I've started well, but I want to finish well. What I want for you is that you seek the Lord. That you trust Him, even if it means your standing alone."

And thankfully I am not standing alone…I have a wonderful husband who wishes the same thing and an amazing community of friends, especially those from church, who are willing to stand beside me and help me along the way.
Changing takes is always easier to take the easy way out and keep things as status quo but I know that God will walk beside me and I him…it’s not too late. I may not have started well, but it’s not too late.
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.
Joshua 1:9

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