Life would be so much simpler if our strengths and our weaknesses were totally different areas. But more often than not our greatest strength is also our greatest weakness.
Most families have at least one natural-born leader in their midst. You know that child who loves to plan, organize and oversee projects. The one who can see what needs to be done and does it with little or no prompting. This person is very intelligent and is an extremely hard worker and takes pride in a job well done. We would all love to have three or four children just like this, right?!
I happened to be one of those children. School came easily for me. I remember a classmate begging me to pretend I was still completing my studies because the teacher had increased our workload tremendously trying to challenge me academically. I would finish a six page test and double check it in a matter of minutes, making a perfect score. Needless to say, the other students breathed a sigh of relief when the school board decided to let me skip a grade.
Planning youth get-togethers and activities were my cup-o-tea. Friends came from numerous states to attend the weekend retreats, complete with food, hay-rides, sleeping accommodations and a minister.
By nature, I thrived on order, cleanliness and neatness. Parents loved it when I watched their kids because they would come home to happy children AND a clean house.
But, you know what? My talents were also my greatest weakness. How on earth, could those talents be considered a weakness, you ask? That very same strength of being able to see what needed to be done allowed me to see the faults in others. The ability to do things quickly caused me to be impatient with those who were not as quick as I felt they should be. My intelligence caused me to look down on others who had not applied themselves to their studies. My bent for neatness caused me to value a clean house over the needs and feelings of people. The ability to plan and organize caused me to think my ideas were better than those of others and numerous times I was viewed as being bossy and controlling.
On the other hand, my sister was the exact opposite of me in every way possible. She was gifted musically and had an amazing ability to organize her thoughts into beautifully written pros and songs. She loved to sit and listen to peoples problems, and had the gift of encouragement. She was very patient, taking her time to think through her responses. She has the ability to see beauty in people and things of little value. Her home is an expression of her beautiful soul. She has created a work of art in each room.
How could any of those gifts be a weakness? She needed to think things through, thoroughly, so making snap decisions or seeing what needed to be done immediately was not her strength. She was very patient...in other words, the work would still be there in an hour or two, wouldn't it? She struggled with procrastination. That ability to feel so deeply caused her to be very sensitive to the words and feelings of others resulting in hurt feelings.
My husband and his brother were very much like my sister and me and I've noticed that most families have one or two children who are complete opposites. So, as a mom, how do you encourage your child to be who God created her to be, praising and appreciating her strengths and yet training her to minimize her weaknesses? Is there a way for children to learn to appreciate each other's strengths while extending grace to one another?
First and foremost we need to pray earnestly that God will help our children to recognize that their strengths can also be a weakness and to turn to Him for help in overcoming them. Only God can change a person. We love and appreciate that talent in each life. We just want to minimize the ill effects of the over-abundant characteristic.
Each child needs to want to change and overcome her weaknesses on her own. (I'm speaking of children who are in their teens.) Obviously, she has to acknowledge that there is a problem before she can seek a solution. She needs to realize that her hasty words are hurtful to others causing pain and that she needs to consider other people's wishes when making her plans. Another child needs to make a conscious effort to complete her chores in a timely manner and not wear her feelings on her shoulders.
Our number one enemy is not other people. Our flesh is our greatest enemy. Paul said, "I die daily". If Christ is to be displayed to a dying world, then our flesh must be crucified; sacrificed on the altar every, single day. That may mean taking the time to listen to someone else's idea and implementing it, even though (I thought) my solution was more efficient. It may mean taking a child on my lap and reading a story when there is a sink full of dishes that needs to be washed. It may mean holding my tongue instead of saying that cutting remark.
As moms, we need to verbalize our admiration for their talents and affirm who they are. We should appreciate their efforts and explain how wise God was in making them the way He did. He has a specific plan for each life and every talent and gift is to be used to bring glory and honor to God.
We need to discuss how the over-abundance of a good character trait can be detrimental, but only after praying for wisdom in dealing with the situation. The child needs to know that I am her ally and friend and my hearts desire is for her good. I want her to know that I will love her whether she overcomes this or not, but that God can and will do it through her if she will yield her flesh to Him. And then I have to believe that God will deal with her heart and she will surrender that strength to Him.
I've just went through the experience with my Rebekah. See? Just commit it
God. When she got
be a little "teeannie," and she was going with some girl when we first went out there, going--run over
some girl's house taking music lessons... And this girl... I come by one day, and here this girl was setting there at the piano playing rock-and-roll. Well,
was just enough for me. So I told her stay away from over there. See? And then she said, "Well, it's the only place I got
take music." (You know how "teeannies" get.)
And I said... Every kid has to go through that. Practically everyone goes through that age. You did; I did. And we got to think their thoughts.
So then, a few days after that her mother got after her for something, and she sassed her. Now, that's not Rebekah at all. Took off and slammed the door, almost, and knocked the things off the wall, went to school.
Now, I ought to have, seemingly, just taken my belt off, and followed her out there in the yard, and brought her back with warps around her. See? But I thought, "Wait a minute; I got to think eighteen year old thoughts." See? "Now," I said, "Mother, I know that..." She started crying, Meda. I said, "I know you done all you can do; I done all I can do. Now, if it's out of our hands, we have to take the next step."
As some lady sweetly wrote the other day (It's in one of these questions here.), said, "Brother Branham, you're not the Messiah, are you?"
I said, "No, ma'am."
She said, "We believe you to be our shepherd, but you're always pointing us to the Great Shepherd."
I said, "That's right (See?); that's right." See?
I said, "Well look, honey, now, you've got to listen to me. It's hard for you to do this; I'm your husband. But people drive across the nations and around for just a few words of advice. Now, if you... I talked to her the other day, and she just walked away from me."
Now, Becky never did do that to me. See? And when her mother said something about it, she slammed the door and say, "You expect me to set here and be a wallflower all my life?" And blammy, she slammed the door and went out. That was the devil.
I remember, the first two years of her life she cried. We'd go into a restaurant and eat; I'd walk her on the street while Meda eat, and then she'd walk her while I eat. Just cried and cried. And one day up here in Canada, cried all night, and I couldn't rest and everything, me standing there... Now. And Something said to me, "It's the devil getting at your ministry."
I said, "Hand me that baby." I said, "Satan, in the Name of Jesus Christ, you take your hands off of her." She stopped right then and never cried no more. She's the quietest kid I got. From that very hour it was gone. You have to get that... You have to have that in you though, before you can do it.
And then when she--and then that--she started that. And I took Meda about a hour. I said, "Meda, take your hands off."
"Me? That's my kid."
I said, "Isn't it mine too?" All right. I said, "If she was dying this morning, you'd have to commit her to God for her eternal destination. Why can't we commit her to God now for her earthly journey?"
And she said, "Well, that's my kid."
I said, "It's mine too."
I said, "Now, can you take your..."
"Me not say nothing to her?"
I said, "I never said that. We'll quit scolding her, just advise her. She needs a buddy, and you're the one to be her buddy, you and I. We're her parents."
These kids today needs a buddy. If they had a mother and father would stay home and take care of them, instead of out here in a barroom running around all night and things like that, wouldn't have--wouldn't have a juvenile delinquency. See?
They got away from the Bible; they all went to church and made bunco games and things like that and... See? You're trying to polish up like Satan's ground out Hollywood. You could never bring Hollywood into the church; you've got to--I mean bring the church into Hollywood, you've got to bring Hollywood to your grounds. See? Not go on their grounds, let them come over here. We got something they know nothing about.
So we there got down on our knees and committed it to God. I said, "I know she's eighteen years old, will be in a few days, and she and a girl that age will think about boyfriends, and we've kept her in." I said, "I--I never wanted to see her get married. I want to put her in the office here, do the work. I want to see her filled with the Spirit and--and--and live like that. "
And she... Well, we all wanted that. She said, "Well, we can't do that." Said, "She just won't listen to it."
I said, "Wait a minute. We've raised her all we can, now put her in the hands of God: commit her." And I said, "Then when she does anything say, 'Becky, darling, mother don't want you to do that, but I'm your pal; I'll stick by you.' See? Let her know that you love her. She's going to get somebody to love her, and it might be the wrong woman." See? I said, "You be the woman does the loving." I said, "Honey, that sounds kind of crude, but people come everywhere, and set on personal interviews, and things." I said, "I'm so common; we're common to one another, because we're husband and wife, but we never let that happen. You must remember, this is the Name of the Lord."
So she said, "All right."
We got down and committed it to God. Said we'd take our hands off it. That afternoon she come in; she said, "Well, I guess you're still saying I ain't going over there."
Meda said, "No, I never said nothing about it." Said, "You know, mother don't want you to do that; and you know it liked to killed your daddy when he heard you up there playing that boogie-woogie music, ever what it was, with that girl." Said, "Now, he didn't want you to do that, and we don't want you to do that, Becky, but we just committed it to the Lord. I want you to know we love you. Whatever you do, we still love you."
She hollered, said, "I'm going anyhow."
Said, "All right, dear." So went ahead. Said, "All right, I'll have supper ready when you get back." She never did go. No, she's never went since. See?
Not long after that she met George; George is a Christian. That--that settled it then.
She's trying to tell Mrs. Wood about it the other day. She said, "Oh, I got awful wild." Said, she just... Said, "Daddy and mother committed me to the Lord." Said, "Awful wild..." But that--that was wild to us; we don't want to get any wilder than that. See? Just let it go like that. All right. ~Wm. Branham