Thursday, July 15, 2010

Practicing a New Song

We were picking up around the house before rushing out the door to piano lessons, and having a sudden  realization that between camping and recovering from camping, both kids hadn't practiced all week, I asked them to quick run through their lessons. We had a few minutes. Enough time to just play through once.

Mitchell reacted, said it would take too long, and fussed that he'd had the same song for a month. Hmmmmm. I wonder why. Could be the lack of practice, possibly?

But he didn't think of it that way. He tends to have a disconnect with reality and what is required to excel. He expects immediate proficiency with little effort.
He fumed, claimed to have practiced and failed, convinced his incompetence was not because of his lack of practice. But, I knew for a fact he hadn't practice his new song. And regardless of what he thinks, good intentions are not the same as actual practice time. And practicing what he's already mastered isn't going to help him with his new lesson. Not at all.

He reluctantly made it through his new song once, and we piled into the van. As the kids began to argue about who knows what, I reacted like I always do: I turned the radio to our local Christian station. This is often a great way to distract the kids from their bad attitudes. They begin to sing, or listen, and words of truth fill the vehicle. Like David playing for King Saul, they are soothed. (When my little trick doesn't work, I just turn the volume up and sing along myself, drowning out their bickering.)

Anyway, Josh Wilson's song, Before the Morning came on. I've found God often sends just the right song across the airwaves to speak truth to current situations. This was no different. On the surface, the conflict and attitude toward piano may seem insignificant, but I recognize a pattern of hopelessness in my son that concerns me, so I used the words of the song to encourage him. To help him see the bigger picture.

"Mitchell, are you listening to this song?"

I turned the volume up.

all those things are happening
to bring a better ending
some day, some how, you'll see, you'll see.

"Did you hear that? I think God is speaking to you."

would you dare, would you dare to believe,
that you still have a reason to sing,
'cause the pain that you've been feeling,
can't compare to the joy that's coming

I looked at him through the review mirror and smiled encouragingly.

"Do you believe? Joy is coming!"

I could tell he was listening, and thinking. He's growing up so fast, and I so badly want to prepare him for the turbulent waters ahead. This life is an arduous journey, not a well paved freeway. I want him to have realistic expectations without stomping on his dreams. Because those dreams will take hard work.

press on, just fight the good fight

"Press on, Mitchell. You can do it, it just takes perseverance. Practice. Don't give up on yourself."

and hold on, 'cause there's good for those who love God,
life is not a snapshot, it might take a little time,
but you'll see the bigger picture.

He cracked a smile, accepting my words of hope.

And then God whispered my name. (Not out loud, but in my heart.) How often am I frustrated at life and  expect maturity to come naturally, even quickly, and feel deep failure as a Christian mom and wife?  Oh, I know I've grown in real ways these last few years, but my idealism never rests and I feel I'm not making any progress toward godliness.

It's like I keep practicing the same song. I can't keep getting by on spiritual fumes. The thought of prayer is not enough. A few words whispered are better than nothing, but this journey takes actual prayer. The kind where my knees are sore and my heart is emptied at His feet. It is a fight. I can't keep playing the song I've mastered. I've got to practice a new song, begin a new discipline.

Today, I hold on tight to Jesus. I pray words of faith and hope for myself and my son and my girls and my husband. I practice the presence of God in new ways. It's hard work, but I press on and move forward in this journey. I fumble out the notes and my fingers find a new song.

Because I know joy is coming.

My friend, you know how this all ends
and you know where you're going,
you just don't know how you'll get there
so say a prayer.
and hold on, 'cause there's good for those who love God,
But life is not a snapshot, it might take a little time,
but you'll see the bigger picture

Share your bigger picture today at Peanut Butter in My Hair.