The 5 Most Important Things God Has Taught Me About Parenting

 

I remember it like it was yesterday. We had been home from the hospital for only a few days, after the delivery of our daughter. It was about 2 AM and we had tried everything we knew to comfort our crying newborn. In desperation my husband, wearing nothing but a pair of boxer shorts, stumbled down the hall to our guest room, knocked on the door, handed over our screaming baby to my mother and said, “I don’t know what to do with her!”  He then wearily made his way back to our bed,  pulled the blankets over his head, and went to sleep.

And so it began. We had no idea what we were doing…and that has pretty much been what has characterized our lives for 27 years of parenting.

It begins when they are infants. We spend almost every waking moment trying to figure out what these little people need and how we are supposed to care for them. We read books. We talk to other parents. And just when we think we know what we are doing — they change.

Every year we celebrate another birthday not knowing what the following year will hold, how they will change as they grow, what kind of learners they will be, how they will do in school, what lies ahead for them, or how they will respond to difficulty. Again, we read more books, talk to more parents, think we might have this parenting thing down. Again — They change.

Finally we find ourselves in the teen years.

We have worked hard. They are older, they know how to communicate, and we feel like we know these kids pretty well.  Then it happens. They change — again!   Why are they acting like that? Why do they respond that way? Why won’t they talk? What are they thinking? I thought we taught them better than that! And what you have been feeling all of these years is again confirmed. You really don’t know very  much!

You feel the same way my husband felt when he stood in front of his mother-in-law in only his boxer shorts.  Helpless. Vulnerable. You wish you could hand them over to someone and say, “I don’t know what to do!” You wish you could walk away for awhile, climb into bed,  pull the blankets over your head, and go to sleep.

The hardest part of parenting has been the sense that I really don’t know what I’m doing. I often feel foolish, helpless, and vulnerable!  So, how should we respond to the mystery of parenting as we live our lives before the watchful eyes of our children?

The most important things that God has been teaching me is this:

  1. I must intentionally walk along side my children and purpose to patiently get to know them as individuals.
  2. I must regularly admit to my children that don’t know it all and be willing to seek forgiveness every single time I respond poorly or miss the mark in some way.
  3. I must rely on, and seek help from, the One who made my children — The only One who knows it all.
  4. I must  make sure that my children know that I am relying on, and seeking help from, the One who made them — The only One who knows it all.
  5. I must pull them close and include them in the relying on, and seeking help from, the One who made them — The only One who knows it all!

The most important thing that we can do as  parents is to stand before the throne of God on a daily basis, hand our children over to Him and say, “I don’t know what to do with them!” Then we can stumbled back to our room, climb back into bed, and fall asleep — finding rest and confidence in the all knowing, all seeing, sovereign arms of the maker of our children.

15 Things That A Young Mom Can Learn From A Seasoned Mom

1. There is rarely a time when a mom feels like she knows what she is doing as a parent.

2. There will never be a time that a mom won’t need to ask God for wisdom.

3. The older we get the more clearly we see that we really don’t know very much.

4. When older people say, “The season of having small children passes so quickly!” —  they are right.

5. God’s grace really does carry you.

6. It is God  – not a parent – who does a work in the heart’s of our children.

7. The hard, sacrificial, giving part of mothering never really ends.

8. The sacrifice of pouring into your children, putting aside your own interests, and having a simple standard of living so that you can raise your children, is very temporary and is worth it.

9.  There is no house, car, item of clothing, or vacation that is more important or  more valuable than the value of having sacrificially invested in your family.

10. Once you become a mom, there never really is a season when you sleep as well as before you had children.

11. The stretch marks, few extra pounds, and the wear and tear on your body pales in comparison to what it feels like when your grown children become your dear friends.

12. The occasional loneliness, sleepless nights, stress, and tears really do draw you closer to God–if you choose to rely on Him.

13. Taking the time to nurture your relationship with your husband will make a difference in how you approach the empty nest, and will impact how your children view marriage.

14. Occasionally allowing your children to eat chocolate chip cookies for breakfast, to stay up past their bedtime,  or to have 2 servings of dessert will not ruin them for life, but will create some fun memories that you will reflect on later.

15. Asking for forgiveness when you fail your children really will make an impact on them and will teach them how to ask for forgiveness.

 

 

Speeding Tickets And God’s Grace

Just a few weeks ago my 23 year old, passionate, impulsive, free spirited, deep thinking, dare-taking son received something in the mail that did NOT make his day.

He got his 3rd speeding ticket within a 2 week period.

I had to almost literally clamp my hand over my mouth so that I wouldn’t give him the “you know you could kill yourself or someone else, if you do this one more time I’m taking the car and you can walk to work, you drive like a maniac” lecture! I know that at this point in his life that particular lecture would not be helpful.

What I did tell him was that maybe he can see these 3 speeding tickets as evidence of how much he is loved, and that these tickets are God pouring out His grace and warning him to be more careful with his driving so that he, someone he loves, or someone he doesn’t even know doesn’t get hurt in an accident.

It’s on days like this that I am reminded that God really did hand pick me for the 2 kids that he gifted me. My son and I are so much alike that it brings me to my knees! God gives me insight into my son as I spend time before Him asking Him to show me my heart, pleading for Him to continue to change it, and thanking him for the work he has already done in it!

I read this quote recently,  “The person God made me is perfectly suited for my children. I’m the best mom for them. I am especially the best mom for them as I lean deep into the Word of God and draw upon his strength for long days. They need me to need him as I walk alongside them. I am the mom he wants to disciple them. I am the mom who their hearts bend toward. He has made it so. This plan? God says it is good. It has a purpose. It will lead to a future with hope.”

I am the mom God wanted to disciple my son when he was young. I am the mom who his heart is bent toward. God has made it so. I am the mom God wants to walk along side my son, without judgement, as he learns to tame his God given personality in the same way I have had to learn to tame my personality.

Both of us need to lean deep into the Word of God and draw upon his strength each day. What a privilege it is to now walk along side my grown son and remind him of truth.

Infact, I think I will text him right now and tell him what a privilege it is to be his mom!

He Remembered!

I opened my laptop to get some work done and took a quick detour to Facebook just to see what was happening there. To my surprise I found that the following had been posted on my wall by my 23 year old son:

“Romans 13:7- Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed.” I just want to take a moment to give a shoutout to the worlds best mom. She has never stopped trying to be the best mom she could be. When I walk by a playground or go to Safeway or walk around campus I remember the great times as a child that I had with you at those places. I love you mom.”

Caleb is a quiet man and he rarely shares his feelings like this, especially on Facebook, so I was really shocked (yet very blessed…there may have been some tears!) to see that he had taken the time to share this.

As a mom of two grown kids, I often reflect back on the years of raising them and wonder if I did enough or spent enough time with them. I remember how busy we were homeschooling, running to sporting events, and the busyness of running a home. I know that it doesn’t seem like it when you are in the thick of things, but those years of raising kids eventually become a blur! They pass so quickly.

What I found significant about the things that my son remembered was that it was the daily life stuff that provided him the good memories. The times that he and I would go to the grocery store – just the two of us. Simple things like the daily walks and the visits to the neighborhood playground. Those were the times he remembers and those were the times I remember setting down my agenda and the busy tasks of each day, and taking the time to focus on him.

When we take the time to focus on our Savior, our priorities get adjusted and we are reminded of what is most important. We are choosing to not allow joy to get squeezed out of our life! That joy found in Jesus does flow out onto the lives of those we are with and affects what we choose to do with our time.

And our children remember!