The following passage about mantises seems analogous to Proverbs 5 (forgive me, Annie Dillard):

Fabre says that, at least in captivity, the female will mate with and devour up to seven males, whether she has laid her egg cases or not.  The mating rites of mantises are well known: a chemical produced in the head of the male insect says, in effect, “No, don’t go near her, you fool, she’ll eat you alive.”  At the same time a chemical in his abdomen says, “Yes, by all means, now and forever yes.”  While the male is making up what passes for his mind, the female tips the balance in her favor by eating his head.  (Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, 59)

The rest is downhill from there, unless, of course, you’re the female mantis.  She won’t stop until the male has been utterly devoured.

For the lips of a forbidden woman drip honey, and her speech is smoother than oil, but in the end she is bitter as wormwood, sharp as a two-edged sword.  Her feet go down to death….  And now, O sons, listen to me, and do not depart from the words of my mouth.  Keep your way from her, and do not go near the door of her house, lest you give your honor to others and your years to the merciless, lest strangers take their fill of your strength, and your labors go to the house of a foreigner, and at the end of your life you groan, when your flesh and body are consumed.  (Proverbs 5: 3-5, 7-11)

 

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Here’s a tease from Paul David Tripp’s parenting resource Getting To The Heart Of Parenting. I’ve already ordered a copy for my family, and hope to share it with some of you via a parenting seminar in the near future. Now, getting to the good stuff, the actual tease.  We sometimes see the many roles we have as parents as interruptions to our lives. We are providers, protectors, referees, mediators, judges, advocates, teachers and more, and reality is that we are often called into action at the most inconvenient times. Our children put their desires in action, which are more often than not sinful, and we are called to respond. These times feel inconvenient because we most often see things from our own narrow perspective, rather than embracing the reality of what God is doing in both the lives of our children and ourselves. Tripp says:

But the reality is different from God’s perspective. The sin, weakness, rebellion, or failure of your children is never an imposition on your parenting. It is never an interruption. It is never a hassle.  It is always grace. God loves your children. He has put them in a family of faith, and in relentless grace he will reveal their need to you again and again so that you can be his tool of awareness, conviction, repentance, faith, and change. And because in these moments he asks you to forsake your agenda for his, this opportunity of grace is not just for your children, it’s for you as well.

Be encouraged. God is not only at work in your family, but if you belong to him as a son or daughter, God is at work in you to bring about His good pleasure in your family. You need only be sensitive to the Spirit that is already striving within you.

Very encouraging and humble prayer by Pastor Scotty Smith.

A Prayer About the Burden-Bearing Love of Jesus

Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. Galatians 6:2

Compassionate Jesus, the call to shoulder-up-under the burdens of friends and family drives me to you today. Otherwise, I would simply turn and walk away, just like the priest and the Levite in the parable of the Good Samaritan. (Luke 10:25-37). Only you know why there’s such an avalanche of broken stories converging on my doorstep at this time. Where else can I go but to you?

It’s only because you bore the burden of the law’s demands and judgment for me… It’s only because you say to me, “Cast all your care upon me, for I care for you” (1 Pet. 5:7)… It’s only because you call to me, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matt. 11:28)… that I will risk bearing the heavy burdens of others.

Jesus, here’s what I ask and need from you today. Help me not to be afraid of the emotional messiness that certain burdens bring. Help me know how to rely on your presence more than I rely on my words. I want to be aware of my limits, for sure… but I want to be even more aware of your limitless mercy, grace, power and peace.

For the woman who just got confirmation that the mass in her breast is malignant… for the dad who just lost, yet another job, in this fragile economy… for the couple whose two-year wait to welcome their adoptive child just ended childlessly… for missionary friends serving in Haiti a year after the earthquake who have to deal with a bottomless world of need with limited resources… for the parents who’ve spent all and who are spent from trying to rescue their daughter from the ravages of an eating disorder

For the friend who preaches a powerful gospel, which bears fruit in everybody’s children but his own… for the friends who are having to pay a great price for a misdiagnosed medical condition… for the couples who are sleeping all alone in the same bed… for the church family that is splintered by graceless pettiness… for those who are telling me, “This is too much, I cannot and will not go on”…

Jesus, I bring all of these friends to your throne of grace, and I will seek to fulfill “the law of Christ”—the law of love… the way of the gospel, as you give me strength, wisdom and grace. So very Amen, I pray, in your persistent and sufficient name.

If you feel exhausted from the impossible task called parenting, you need to read this article from Paul David Tripp.

That night I began to find joy in the impossibility of it all. The task is way bigger than our ability us as parents, but we are not our children’s messiah, and we are not left to the resources of our own character, wisdom, and strength. Our children have a Messiah. He is with them and working in and through us. The wise heavenly Father is working on everybody in the scene, and he will not call us or them to a task without enabling us to do it.