Freedom and What to Do to Redeem Moments Lost in Anger
Russian meadows. Wide, open spaces to fly, to roam...
Raining again! Not much, but consistent. The whole day had been misty, though surprisingly, not dreary. There's something refreshing about rain after a couple of days of pure sunshine and clear, cloudless skies. In fact, it's balmy and soothing. It calms my spirit, inviting me to sit down from all the constant activity and whirling. I feel so relaxed, but not sleepy. Just that--- happy-calm.

Two days ago on June 12th, this is what I wrote...

The skies have cleared up! It is all clean and blue with no cloud in sight. Bright and warm and summery. I can see beach in my mind, complete with a beach umbrella as I stay in one place helping the kids take off one set of clothes into another, and wet clothes into dry ones, and then, again... and again. I can see melting ice cream in kids' hands... and smell salty air and the feel of grainy sand under my bottom. I can hear the kids' shrieks as the waves take up on their challenge to get them wet. This makes me smile.

This is such good news after a wearisome series of rain, when we had to stay home and huddle against the harsh and unrelenting wind.

So right away, we made the most of the day by going out and celebrate with the people of Russia for Russia Day. There was a military band performing, which we missed. But we had fun with what they left behind--- military stuff. We also looked at antique cars--- so stylish that I wish I know how to drive. In another part of the city, there were fire trucks and other utility trucks lined up for people to enjoy and kids to clamber around. I felt the pride and joy of the Russian people--- the freedom that I know was not given to them for free but were protected by the very lives of their forefathers, and the efforts that the people of this age are doing to make everyone's lives better.

And as I look on and celebrate, down in my heart I celebrate as a Filipino, as my country, despite of evil men who are trying to destroy it, see another day to celebrate Philippine Independence Day with freedom, and pride at the courage given and displayed through the lives of men and women who love the country--- then and now. There is nothing more I wish for my beloved Philippines but true independence and freedom to live their God-given lives. 

In fact, this is what I wish for everyone living in this planet Earth.

But as most of us know, freedom comes with a price and a responsibility. And there is nothing truer to this than when Jesus gave up His life to set us free from a life of sin and eventual death. He paid the price for our freedom. And for this, we have a responsibility to stay free. And He alone can do this for us when we give our lives back to Him. "Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed." (John 8:36).

It was for freedom that Christ set us free; 
therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery.
(Galatians 5:1)

* * * * *

Let me type again normally... I have left off on my last blogpost on the subject of parents losing their cool during moments of conflict and have even thought up some measures against totally blowing off. 

But what if we've blown it? Is there anything we can do? Because I sometimes do, try as I might, like the last scene with my daughter, Angelika. 

In moments like these, a mother can...

1. Forgive. Extend grace to the kids and to yourself. Oftentimes, it's harder for me to forgive myself. That's why a mother should stop beating herself up (mentally) and instead pray to redeem the lost moment. Repent. There's no forgiveness when there's no repentance. Then move on to asking God to help you on how to redeem the moment. In Scripture, all correction is redemptive by design--- whether to correct the child or the parent. Nothing is lost on God.

2. Say "Sorry" (and mean it!). Growing up, I've never heard my father apologize to us, his children. And I understand. Because in my parents' time, apologizing was thought up as a way of buckling down under your children and was seen as a quick way to lose their respect. However, being honest to our children shows them that we, parents, are humans and are flawed. Just like them, we make mistakes. In apologizing, we model how we, as humans, may fall several times, but by God's grace can rise up again.

So say it. Ask your kids for forgiveness. Take responsibility for your behavior, that they may also learn to take responsibility with theirs.

3. Tell and Show them you love them. After a tough moment of conflict, a child is emotionally beaten up and scarred. Start the healing right away with words that will remind your child of your love--- unconditionally. This will affirm her worth, because for a child, what matters most is what you think of her. Show affection. Hug. Physical touch zaps our brain into a loving mood, which is necessary after moments of anger.

4. Pray together.  Even when I'm still blowing steam and I can't seem to stop, even as the Holy Spirit is prompting me to, I usually would gather my child or kids together in a hug to pray my emotions out with me. They, in turn, would pray and see God's redeeming way.

In her book Child Guidance, Ellen White talked about the importance of prayer in a moment of crisis, "Reveal the love you have for your erring one. As you bow before God with your child, you will present before the sympathizing Redeemer His own words, “Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not; for of such is the kingdom of God.” (Mark 10:14). That prayer will bring angels to your side. Your child will not forget these experiences, and the blessing of God will rest upon such instruction, leading him to Christ. When children realize that their parents are trying to help them, they will bend their energies in the right direction" (CG, 253).

* * * * *

We are free. We are redeemed. There is no better way to be than to live this powerful truth as God's children and as parents to His little ones.

Alas! We live in an imperfect and sinful body. However, God has provided a way out through His Son. Let's take hold of His hand to give us strength over our weak selves and give us patience. Those who depend on Him  will "go from strength to strength" (Psalm 84:7).  

"Let (all) be taught that every mistake, every fault, every difficulty, conquered, becomes a steppingstone to better and higher things. It is through such experiences that all who have ever made life worth the living have achieved success" (E. White, Education, 295, 296).

And yes, only through Him. It won't be long when we get to sing "Worthy is the Lamb!", to the One who conquers for us.

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