Category Archives: Parenting

Mommy and the terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad morning…..

Standard

Did you read Alexander and the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day  when you were young? Have your children read it? Poor Alexander starts off his day with a very rough morning and things continue downhill all day. 

Have you ever had a morning like that? If you have children, I KNOW that you have, at least, had a terrible, horrible no-good very bad morning. I’ve had some. (Understatement of the year!!) Actually, I’ve had a lot. Some mornings all I seem to be doing is raising my voice, putting out fires of strife, cleaning up spills, and constantly reminding little people that we are on the clock! “Get dressed already! Who let the dogs in? Why are you just NOW telling me that you need a pioneer costume for TOMORROW?!” 

In the following post, Lysa TerKeurst gives voice to some of the very frustrations that we all face. No mom is perfect. No mom has it all together.  The mom who looks perfectly calm on the outside is probably full of doubt about her ability to parent on the inside. She is probably beating herself up because she yelled at the children this morning. Don’t let a bad morning steal your joy and victory in Christ. Read this encouraging message from Lysa TerKeurst and be blessed today!

The Day I Lost My Smile by Lysa TerKeurst

“She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come.” Proverbs 31:25 (NIV)

I looked at my schedule and an overwhelming sense of dread started creeping into my heart. “What’s wrong with me? Why am I always running late, running behind, and running after my people who all seem to compound this issue?”
Because time refused to stand still while I pondered, it was necessary to jump right into task mode. There were lunches to pack, permission forms to sign, and tangles that needed gathering up into ponytails. I put one foot in front of the other and kicked into automatic, mentally crossing off one thing after another on my morning routine checklist.
I gathered up backpacks and lunchboxes and started announcing from the front door that we had to leave right this minute. And then I said it again. And then I yelled it in a tone that finally got my kids to appear. I quickly checked to make sure we didn’t repeat yesterday’s mistake of letting one leave with no shoes on. Then I marched out of the house while tossing out a stern reminder to please shut the door quickly so the dog didn’t get out.
But the dog did get out.
As I slipped the car in drive, the dog darted right out in front of me causing me to simultaneously slam on the brakes and spill both cups of orange juice I had gingerly perched between my purse and the little stacks of toast.
I jumped out to usher the dog back into the house and let hot tears just have their way. The green numbers of the dashboard clock seemed to simultaneously mock and remind me I had no time to sit and cry it all out.
I handed my kids their soggy toast and in a rare moment of silence, they took it without protest.
We pulled into the carpool line at school and I stared at the long line of cars ahead of me. I imagined all the wonderful smiling mothers who were doing this better than me. They probably had organized systems for packing lunches the night before and making sure their kids kept up with their shoes. They probably did family devotions each morning, ate breakfast at the table, and sang songs all the way to school.
I compared all that to the realities of my morning and came to one heart-sinking conclusion: “I stink at this.”
Almost at that exact moment my phone buzzed with a text message from a friend: “I had a really hard morning with my kids today. I’d love to have coffee some time and learn how you do it all so well.”
I couldn’t believe it. I half sighed and half chuckled at the irony.
I turned around to my kids in the back and said, “Hey guys, I’m really sorry Mommy was such a grump this morning. I think I misplaced my smile. So I just want you to know while you’re at school today I’m going to do everything I can to find it.”
After I dropped them off, I called that friend and told her what a gift it was to get her text.
I shared with her. She shared with me.
Together, we brainstormed better ways to prepare for these morning pitfalls we both kept finding ourselves in.
Together, we gave ourselves the permission to admit how hard motherhood can sometimes be and that it’s okay to feel caught off guard by the endless demands.
Together, we listed reasons to be so very thankful.
Together, we found strength.
Together, we regained our sense of dignity.
And it wasn’t too long until we both found ourselves laughing together.
It reminds me of our key verse, Proverbs 31:25, “She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come.” But sometimes it takes a friend to bring us back to the place where we can live this verse.
We need each other. The key word that day I processed life with my friend and gained a better perspective was, “together.” It’s such a powerful word and the exact reason I wrote this devotion today.
You are not alone.
Oh, how easy it is to lose our smiles and forget to laugh at the craziness of our lives. I need reminders. Just recently, I bought a necklace with a gold pendant that reads, “She laughs.” (See below in related resources for more information.) When I see the reflection of this necklace in the mirror I remember laughing is one of the best ways to show those I love that I enjoy them and I like doing life with them. What a gift for them to have memories of me laughing.
I imagine, though the circumstances might be different for you, you know that place where I was. And maybe you need a reminder to laugh too. We all have times where we feel like failures. We feel like others are doing life so much better. We feel so very alone in our struggles and issues and chaotic emotions. And we look up one day and feel like it was a lifetime ago since we laughed.
So, I slip this little devotion into your life and whisper, you’re not alone. You’re doing this so much better than you think you are. God has entrusted you with your life, your loved ones, your unique challenges because you are perfectly equipped for it all.
Just don’t lose your smile. And if you run into me today looking a little worn out, might you remind me of this as well?

Dear Lord, help me not to lose my smile today. I want to find my joy in You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Advertisements

The mom I thought I would be vs the mom I am.

Video

http://mylifesuckers.com/new-video-the-mom-i-thought-i-would-be-vs-the-mom-i-am/

A friend posted this video on Facebook this morning. It’s short but to the point. I admit that when I first became a mom, I thought that my child and I would be running through fields of daisies, smiling and laughing. She would be perfectly on time and obedient. Now, I have 4 beautiful IMPERFECT children being raised by IMPERFECT parents. I lose my temper, apologize often, burn dinner, serve pop-tarts for breakfast (and on occasion, pie), and I am never caught up with the laundry. My kids disobey, don’t listen, need a billion reminders to GET DRESSED, fight with each other, and make messes. It’s awesome.

No!

Standard

No - 3d textRecently I read an article on the Huff Post Parents page. The article was entitled “Let Her Say No” by Stephanie Giese.  In the article, she recounts an incident where her husband was trying to convince their daughter to go on a ride at the county fair. Here is a quote from the article.

Nicholas, our oldest, was in seventh heaven, dragging us all with him as he sprinted from ride to ride, some of them two or three times. Our middle daughter, Abby, was too scared to get on the rides.

My husband tried to encourage her, but she kept saying no.

At first we were both a little frustrated. We had driven past these rides several times for the past few days, and each time she would beg to stop the car so that she could go on the merry-go-round. But now she had tears in her eyes and fear in her heart as she stood in front of the giant slide or next to the Ferris wheel.

As I listened to Eddie try to coax her onto the rides, my heart sank. It was no fault of his. He was being a good dad. He just wanted to show her that she could overcome that fear and have fun.

“Come on, honey. I’ll be right here with you the whole time. You don’t have to be scared. You can trust me. I love you.”

I knew.

I knew in 10 or 12 or 20 years she would hear those same words from another boy or another man, but the stakes would be much higher.

And when my daughters hear those words, as I know they will, I want them to be able to say “no” — and say it over and over again if they have to.

Because even after they say the words there will be still be coaxing and temptation and misplaced logic, even if it comes from men with the best of intentions and with the purest of upbringings.

It is our job to teach them that they never have to do something that makes them uncomfortable.”

These words were like a kick to my stomach.  I had done this very thing. I have cajoled, guilted, persuaded, pressured and bribed my precious treasures to go against their initial instinct of “No”.

The author goes on to write “If they have always been coaxed into doing things that they did not want to do in the name of “fun” and making other people happy, how can we expect them to stand up for themselves when it matters?

 She has a valid point. If we can’t accept and show respect for the simple “no” in the not-so-important matters; then how can our children be strong when the chips are down in the life-altering, path changing situations that require a firm “no”.  They will second guess themselves.  They will be afraid of disappointing the person they love and who claims to love them.  They can be pressured, guilted, cajoled into going against their conscience and instincts. We’ve done a great job of teaching our kids that saying “no” is going to hurt someone’s feelings.  Saying “no” isn’t nice. What a disservice! We have weakened their resolve with misplaced guilt.

This article prompted me to start thinking about how Christian parents can teach their children to say “no” to things now; so when they are faced with moral choices and dilemmas; they can say “no” with confidence and NO GUILT.

I have 4 children; three girls and one Lone Ranger. I will confess that I have not accepted a simple “no, I don’t want to” or “no, I don’t really feel like it” as answers to why they did not want to do certain activities. Mind you, this is not an option on cleaning their rooms, practicing piano, being courteous, etc! What child wants to do that? I’m talking about simple, everyday things: no to carrots, no to taking a walk, no to playing go-fish, no to riding a roller coaster. Nothing life altering; just “no” to morally neutral issues.  I made mountains out of these mole hills. Thinking “They are just being stubborn or rebellious”. How foolish of me! Accept the simple “no”.

I remember as a child how I really disliked having to explain why I didn’t want to do something. Sometimes the reason was just “because”. I didn’t have an explanation. I just didn’t want to go, or do, or play at a particular time.  Apparently, I’m hard of learning because it took this article to remind me of this. (sigh)

 So, how does a Christian parent instill the power and confidence to say “no” in their child? Turn to the Holy Scriptures, of course.

Ephesians 6:4 says “Fathers, do no exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.”

Paul is telling us that as parents; our directions and requirements should be easily obeyed. They should be reasonable, appropriate and proper. Some translations say “provoke to wrath”.  Don’t make your children angry and resentful with unreasonable commands, don’t manifest a quick temper and flashes of anger and unnecessary severity in discipline.  I have been guilty of this; holding a child to a standard that they are not capable of attaining.  I have died on hills that should not have even been speed bumps in life.  Children should not be afraid to say “no” on the non-essential issues because of fear.  Instead, we should be instructing them, lovingly and gently, in the knowledge of the Lord; setting good examples for them, pray with them and for them, reading and teaching the precepts of the Lord; so when the essential, non-negotiable issues arise, they are ready to answer with the conviction of the Holy Spirit.

Philippians 4:8 says “Finally brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is love, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”

Teach children that if anyone asks them to do something that they are uncomfortable with to use this verse as a comparison. Is it true? Is it lovely? Is it pure? Things that are of God are not secret. The things of God are not shameful or embarrassing. They are excellent and worthy to be proclaimed.  Teaching children from an early age that if someone is asking them go against this verse; they are asking them to sin.

1 Thessalonians 4:1-3a in The Voice says “So finally, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus, we ask you, we beg you to remember what we have taught you: live a life that is pleasing to God as you are already doing.  Yes, we urge you to keep living and thriving in that life! For you know the instructions we gave you, instructions that came through the Lord Jesus.  Now this is God’s will for you: set yourselves apart and live holy lives;…”

Galatians 1:10 reads “Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.”

Am I teaching my children to live a life that pleases me or Christ?  Am I teaching them that often doing God’s will can bring disapproval from people? Think about that for a moment.

I think that my children obey most often because they are afraid of the consequences rather than doing it from a love for Christ and a desire to please Him.  I realize I need to do a better job of telling them that God’s will and commands are driven by LOVE; not punishment. God desires for them to have fulfilling, productive, joyous lives; hence, the commands that keep them out of unnecessary trouble. I need to remind them that even if they disobey; God loves them unconditionally and so does mom & dad.  We may be disappointed but the love is constant.

Obviously, I have a long way to go as a parent. Lord, help me.

Entitled

Standard

conceptual sign with words reality check ahead caution warning o My husband and I are co-writing a Bible study together on The Beatitudes.  It’s been a fun challenge to write and research each beatitude; but, also, to learn.  As I was writing about “blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth”, I was struck by the lack of meekness, not only in myself, but in society, in general. There is an entire generation coming up who have no sense of meekness.  No humility. No deference to others. No sense of their own limitations. They believe that they “deserve” to get things which they have not earned.  A sense of entitlement is rampant.

This is most clear to anyone who has ever watched “American Idol“.  I am amazed at the talentless, tone deaf people who get up to sing and are outraged to be told that they have no singing talent. They are shocked!  They have been told by all their family and friends that they are phenomenal singers.  They use the word “awesome” to describe themselves.  They have no talent but have been told for many years that everything they do is “awesome” and worthy of high praise.

This has done a lot of damage to an entire generation who have received unearned praise and misguided encouragement in areas that they are not gifted.  They produce mediocre crap and are told it’s awesome! Instead of redirecting a young person toward their talents and interests, we say “You can do anything!”  Well, no, they can’t. Some people are just not gifted in certain things.  A terribly shy person who is afraid of speaking in public will never be president.  A blind person will not qualify for the NASA. A tone deaf person will not be singing at the Metropolitan Opera. Taking a realistic look at oneself, and an personal inventory would help to point people toward meekness.

I know, without a doubt, I would not make a good carpenter.  I hate the tedium of measuring everything.  I take short cuts.  Not good qualities for a carpenter. I see qualities, gifts and talents in my children and encourage the positive that I see. I encourage my son to read science books because he is fascinated by it.  I encourage my oldest daughter’s artistic ability by getting her pencils, paper, drawing kits. And, I have to say, that not everything my kids make or do is “awesome”.

In Gary Smalley’s book The Five Love Languages of Children, he points out that children need verbal affirmation and praise.  I agree.  He, also, points out that the praise and affirmation should be proportionate to the accomplishment.  If your child draws a picture of a house, you can say “You did a good job.  I like how you used the blue for the house. I can tell you took a lot of time on this”.  How do you think the child who grows up hearing that everything he/she does is “awesome”, “the best in the whole universe”?  I’ll tell you….an over-inflated sense of self and their accomplishments. You have a child lacking meekness.

So, unless your 5 year old built a particle accelerator out of LEGOS, let’s reserve the word “awesome” for the Creator of the universe.  And use “good job” for the creator of the play-doh bowl.

Copy Cat!

Standard

This is my first blog post; so, don’t have high expectations. Here goes:

I have been working through Beth Moore’s Breaking Free Bible study with our women’s group at church, LifePoint. This past week, the lessons have been especially challenging, convicting and crushing. I feel a bit like a grape being squeezed to produce something beautiful and sweet. The process, however, is rather painful. Reading Exodus 20:4,5; we studied generational sin (parents & grandparents) and the effects of sin in the lives of the following generations (children & grandchildren). I have to say that this brought me to tears.

My oldest daughter, Faye, wants so badly to imitate me. She wants to learn to cook and sew and “mother” her younger siblings. Even at the tender age of 10, she is an excellent hostess. She, also, has inherited many of my not so charming characteristics. She can be stubborn, short tempered, and a busybody. Hmm…sounds very familiar. The good news is that Christ can free her (and me) from these generational traits.

I think about how my own father threw off the chains of generational sin. He grew up in a home with an abusive, alcoholic bi-polar father who was a gambler. My grandmother protected the 4 children as best she could. As a teenager, my father started recklessly driving fast cars, drinking in excess, often spending the weekend in the local jail. My grandmother was constantly on her knees praying for him. When he did come to Christ; he went all the way! At age 20, he gave his heart to the Lord, never took another drink, never gambled, never abused his children or his wife (my precious mother). In turn, the cycle of sin that started so long ago, was broken by the power of Christ. Now, my children reap the benefits and blessings of having a godly grandpa that they can look to as an example of Christian living. For this, I am thankful.

I have been challenged to refine my life in spiritual terms. To let God be in control of my mouth, my emotions, and my ministry. I want to be a righteous example to my children; not an example they are ashamed of.