Tag Archives: Parenting

What kind of friend are we?

19 May

It occurred to me while talking with my son about sharing with some friends a decision our family has made that they may not like, we have some growing to do in the area of friendship.

How to be one, and what qualities we’re really looking for in a friend.

And I have to say…. I think our first two natural responses might be off the mark.

Most people when asked…. “what quality do you cherish most in a friendship?” they reply “trustworthy.”

Ok, don’t misunderstand me… trust is needed and a GREAT quality.  But do we want trustworthiness for the right reasons?

I wrote this out the other night to a friend sharing my heart and it’s still on my mind.

So…I’m just thinking out loud here but what if we held ourselves more accountable for our actions instead of blaming our friends for not keeping all our dirty laundry quiet?

What if we put in place a standard that took away the depth of all our secrets that weren’t really secrets but things we shouldn’t be doing? An accountability measure that said “If I’m afraid someone is going to find out I said this, or I did this….then I shouldn’t be saying it or doing it.” Not one that says “How dare she/he tell someone what I said about someone else?”

What would the world look like if we taught our children that finding good friends is not about finding the best secret keepers…. but about finding the people with the least amount of secrets they hold a noose around our neck to keep quiet for them? Or actions to cover up for them?

I think we have become a people of friend jumpers because we want to be able to get away with gossip and secret lives without anyone else finding out about it. And then we blame everyone else if we end up exposed.

If we aren’t the kind of friend who has anything negative to say about others, then our friends become safe and secure with us building true intimacy and security.  They long to honor our friendship, and won’t blab true secrets that need to be kept.  Especially… because we’re telling those things to people who mimic the same standard…. if they aren’t blabbing about others, they likely won’t blab about us.

Lets be the kind of friends who don’t need to add “Don’t tell anyone I said that.” to the end of our sentences and then we won’t be disappointed if people struggle to keep quiet.

 

Women especially take on the label “catty” and often times, rightly so.  That label comes from speaking gossip, inability to refrain from repeating gossip, a fallout from distrust, and a grudge against another person.

Any secret that needs kept about ourselves first and foremost should be selectively shared with only those who are righteous in the way they relate to us and about others to us.

Practical Application:

What kind of friend am I?

Do I gossip about others?

Do I have a lot of negative opinions about things?

Do I say or expect the phrase to be assumed “don’t tell anyone I said that?”

Am I holding a grudge against someone for throwing me under the bus when really… I had no business saying what I said in the first place?

Am I a friend jumper because I’ve been untrustworthy or I tell secrets to untrustworthy people?

Don’t wrong us.

14 May

Oh friends — I’m so, so busy this time of year.

BASEBALL season is upon us.  And this year, I have TWO boys playing in SEPARATE leagues.  We are running to practice and games 5 or 6 days a week.  We eat supper either at 4:30, or have a snack at 4:30 and munch at the games and eat again at 8:30 -9:00 when we roll back in the house.  It’s chaos most nights… but we’re all making the most of it and adjusting the best we can.

Every year something happens to me when I watch my son(s) play baseball.  I feel like that gentle and quiet spirit I try so hard to cultivate all year long… it leaves me.

Not only do I get excited about the game and love cheering for my boys, I somehow start to take the game personally.

I feel frustrated when our boys mess up, only because I know their talent and I feel their own frustration when their bodies seem to fail them in the moment.

But more than that, I get incredibly worked up when the coaches of my boys’ teams and the coaches of the other teams behave in a manner that degrades the children, the lessons being taught, or the game.

This week, my son (in the 7 & 8 year old league) played a team who beat them 19-0 in 4 innings.

Mind you, in our town… they go from t-ball to 7 & 8 league so this is their very first year of playing the game with real rules.  They are learning that there are three outs, the difference between forced outs and tagged outs, how to make good throws and catch the ball, and how to run the bases. Everything is new!

This other team decided that if our team dropped the ball or had a bad throw, instead of taking advantage of one extra base, they ran 2 or 3 extra bases every time – including sending kids home to run up the score.

When our 7 year olds were batting, they had their infielders move all the way in so they were almost all playing around the pitcher’s mound so if our kids did hit the ball, there was no way they could actually get on base.

And it’s coach pitch, but their coach would pitch but then stand in the middle of the field so our kids had to try to see and play around him, instead of running out of the way once the ball was hit and let the kids play the game.

I won’t even mention the foul ball that they called fair, the kid they let score while their coach was holding the ball, or the way their fans cheered like this was all appropriate and spectacular.

I was mumbling under my breath, texting a friend, and biting a hole in my tongue.

I wanted so much to say something.  How dare they?  Don’t they see how wrong they are?  Don’t they care that they are degrading and hurting our kids?  Don’t they feel any sense of moral responsibility to teach all kids to play the game when they are 7 & 8 years old?  Do they really think they deserve cheers and a pat on the back for their behavior?

And then I thought long and hard the whole next day about my personal anger.

A huge part of me wants to call it righteous anger and justify anything I do with that anger.

And yet… I’m thinking about some other applications.

Am I this moved over true righteous anger?  Do I defend Christ like I defend my son’s baseball team?

 

Or …. more than that…..

 

Am I this angry over my own sins?

Do I ask myself the tough questions? ….  Am I as mad at myself when I let pride lead my actions as I am at others?

What would I answer if I repeated this same confrontation to myself:  “How dare I?  Don’t I see how wrong I am?  Don’t I care that I am degrading and hurting our kids?  Don’t I feel any sense of moral responsibility to teach all kids? Do I really think I deserve cheers and a pat on the back for my behavior?”

Practical Application:

What really do I have to say for myself?

Motherhood journey.

12 May

You're going to be a momJayden is a boyJayden is hereDear Mom024Expecting LincolnLincoln is a boyLincoln026Miscarriage 1027Miscarriage 2Miscarriage 3028Am I brokenpregnant with jaxon029030Jaxon032Dear Deb034Marisa on the way035TeachersMarisa037041009004To every mom

It should read “every” and “piece”  — please forgive the typos.

 

Happy Mother’s Day.

Say Something….

30 Apr

Hey guys –

So, where have I been?  Well… I’ve been no where really.

I can say that I went from having a part-time babysitting job for the last two years, to having FOUR part-time jobs in two weeks time.  They are all jobs I can handle, but it’s taking some adjusting to get use to.

And baseball is in full swing so with two boys playing on two different teams and two other kids to watch and a husband who coaches…. it’s sink or swim and we do everything we can to stay afloat.

But… that’s all kinda a mask for the fact,

I don’t have anything to say.

Nothing is jumping out of my Bible at me.  In fact, it hasn’t for weeks. I’m still reading every day, always, but I don’t always remember what I read.  That’s how dry it is right now.

My prayer life is weak.  I pray with the kids every morning on the way to school, and some days… that’s as far as I get.

My natural instincts to be selfish and want to do everything I want to do when I want to do it and feel totally inconvenienced by my youngest two kids during the day is extremely high. I’ve said twice in the last week – I cannot WAIT until all of these kids are in school so I can have my days to myself.  Am I going to miss this someday?  It’s hard to believe that will be the case, but I can tell you that if that is true… it won’t just be miss, it’ll be regret.  Because I was warned to make the most of this… and yet, here I am – wishing it away.

Twice in the last week I treated my husband terribly with my actions and words.  I apologized very sincerely and quickly… but the suppression of my sinful nature is losing it’s grip.  And it scared me how wretched I was and how quick it happened.

I’ve avoided the computer, which means I haven’t read any of your blogs.  I’ve missed them so much, but I replaced all that computer time with work.  I’m throwing myself into my jobs right now in hopes to help my husband provide for this family.

I’m not depressed.  I’m not in a valley.  I’m not even lost in sadness.

It’s just very matter of fact.  I have nothing to say.

And the truth is… it’s time to say something before I give up.

We’ve all been there right?

When we avoid something or someone until they disappear.

Or, when we’re ignored to the point that we give up on someone or something else.

 

I’ll successfully hit 500 words, which is about half of a normal post for me.  I didn’t even think I’d get that far.

I’ll leave you with this….. I just appreciate the beauty of this song so much.

 

 

 

 

 

Raising a man or parenting a child?

10 Mar

My upbringing has a lot to do with who I am today.  Partially because good habits and wisdom were examples for me to follow, and partially because bad habits and foolishness were examples for me to learn from too.

My parents are amazing.  I love them both so much.  They raised me to know Jesus, and that’s all that matters to me today.  Any sins or mistakes they made are all forgivable battles they were up against.

I hope one day my kids think my husband and I are amazing.  And they love us both so much.  And they are grateful that we raised them to know Jesus and make Him lord of their lives.  And they’ll look back on us with mercy and forgiveness for all the sins and mistakes we’re making too.

There are no perfect parents.

We will all make mistakes and have some regrets for how we did or didn’t do things.  Should we live in that regret? No. Regret is a trap that steals our future because it holds our heart.  You can’t live in the past and be present in the future at the same time.

That’s why, right now, TODAY, we have to make intentional choices in raising our kids so they’ll have the good habits and the wisdom we want them to have in their hearts as they become adults.

For every couple, the list of importance may look different.  We all put priority on parenting concerns that were present and weren’t present from our own childhood.

For me, I have a pretty long list.

But, I’m only going to talk about one today.

Preparing my boys to lead their wives by making good choices.

From my own experience, when I got married,  I was drowning in an ocean of feminism so far that it seemed nearly impossible for a life boat to even see me by how far I was submerged under the water. Nor would I have even looked for one, I adapted quickly to the water and thought constant swimming under the crashing waves was “normal.”

And worse, my husband thought this was normal too.  From the example of his parents, and the constant overwhelming influence of the world, taking a stand in this situation felt more “wrong” than leading like he was created to do.

Women often know nothing of unconditional respect, but they know immeasurable amounts of insight on how to demand respect and take charge as a competent, capable and intelligent woman.

This mindset in the work place has spilled over heavily into marriages.  And the divorce rate is THROUGH THE ROOF!

Chances are, my boys are going to find women who are brainwashed to be a leader at all cost.  To have a voice for her rights, to demand respect, and to never back down from her beliefs and desires.

My job as a mother?  To example for them the kind of woman to look for and to understand their God-given commands to lead, provide and protect their wives and children.

I think the number one way that mom’s fail in this department is forgetting to show their sons unconditional respect too, not just their husbands.

Am I saying they stop being the parent?  NO!!

But I’ve seen more often than not, mom’s embarrassing, belittling and correcting their teenage sons in front of other people.  Being a teenage boy is tough.  Especially if they are trying to be a godly man.

Pointing out his mistakes publicly, with condemnation or with dismissal of his feelings is setting him up to expect this kind of treatment and will lock up his courage to lead and emotions with a chain that most will never ever be able to unlock.

A mom can discipline her son in private. She can correct behavior and speak with respect in the process.  She can set boundaries with what she will or won’t do and what she expects in her house without crushing his ability to be a man and react appropriately.

Men (even teenage boys) learn best when they are allowed to figure out problems and make decisions for themselves.  If they make a mistake, the weight of the consequences is a good lesson for how to make a better decision in the future.  If they succeed, it shows them what decisions to make in the future to get these same results.

But any time a man is embarrassed, he never learns a lesson.  He becomes so angry and enraged by that feeling of being belittled that the person who does the embarrassing becomes the problem instead of seeing their own mistake.

Let me give an example to help drive this home.

Your teen son has a group of friends over Tuesday night after school.  You notice that he forgot to take out the trash and that is his weekly responsibility.

A.) You yell at him in front of his friends to take out the trash immediately.  “Get down here right now. What’s wrong with you? You should know better! You’d forget your head if it wasn’t attached. You’re grounded.”

B.) Call him in the other room privately.  Make him take the trash out right then. And then tell him he’s grounded for the weekend.

C.) Take out the trash yourself.  Friday night comes and your sons asks to go to a party.  You answer, “I’d love to let you go.  Unfortunately, on Tuesday I had to take the trash out because it wasn’t taken out yet.  That is your responsibility and when it isn’t complete, your freedom in this family is restricted.  If you’d like to take the trash out next week, next Friday is open to you and your friends for a great time.” And then walk away.

For me, I think option C is the best choice.

There is no childish condemning, or embarrassment.  There is behavior and consequence.  He’s going to get the point a whole lot better than if he was embarrassed or spoken down to disrespectfully. And he isn’t be forced to do the right thing and then still punished even after like a child.

Yes, he’s still a teenager and not an adult… but each parent needs to make a decision if they are trying to raise adults or if they are trying to parent “children” until they leave the house.

If you want your teen son to be a good husband and father, treat him like he is worthy of that calling instead of training him the way the world is to be a dog on a leash and scolded when he misbehaves, especially by the women in his life.

Practical Application:

How are you doing speaking unconditional respect into your son(s) lives so they have the responsibility of being a man on their shoulders?

Are there any habits or disciplines that might need adjusted so he can understand behavior and consequence better than embarrassment and anger?

My oldest son will be nine in a week.  And I’m already seeing where I have rooted habits that I need to change.  I can’t be aware of this enough.

 

 

Need perspective?

17 Feb

In the last two years, my blog has really grown.  I haven’t addressed that topic on here because it sounds proud and entirely contradictory to having the humble heart I desire.  And who wants to come across like that?

Of course anything good in me comes from Jesus.  And any talent or success I have in writing is because God pours His blessing down.  But I don’t think the good in me from Jesus is why my blog is growing.

I think it’s because I write about real struggles.  I lay my junk on the table, I’m totally honest about my short-comings, and I take hard stands on topics that are definitely not popular in the world at large.

People care about the content of a blog.  No one comes back time and time again to see a fancy template and pictures.

Today, I could write about a ton of short comings that became obvious to me just from this past weekend alone. I’m still entirely too wretched of a sinner to write about success.

But the truth?  Most of my short comings are because of my ridiculous perspective.  I’m a lousy wife, because I’m selfish.  I get angry about clothes on the floor, wasted family time in front of the television, and lack of leadership in the home because I would do things different, I ignore my sins and focus on his, and I have a serious issue with wanting to control every environment because I think I make better decisions.

Even though – I know God made man to be the leader of the family because he is not guided by his emotions and he is much more willing to make decisions on faith instead of security. That curse on Eve to spend her whole life longing to rule over her husband… well I surely didn’t escape it nor does recognizing it make me magically stop struggling with it.  I’m growing.  But I have not arrived.

I read something a few days ago that gave me a new perspective.  All these blown up issues in my life become issues because I get zoomed in on myself with a microscope.

I love others.  And I am really growing in mercy and grace toward everyone.

But that doesn’t mean I’ve learned to die to self in the cause for caring so much about others, it costs me my perspective.

Here is what I read.

About 150,000 people die each day.  Narrow is the way that leads to eternal life and broad is the way to destruction. Satan’s current kingdom is gaining souls at a rapid pace.

How many of that 150,000 do you think are entering Heaven?

How many people are investing in them spiritually?

What is the suffering in Hell for all eternity really like?

Do the socks on the floor really matter that much?

Does the spilled cup of milk really cost you anything besides five minutes of your time to clean it up?

Do the short-comings of another person really deserve the bitterness you’re wasting on it when eternity is one breath away?

Is harboring all that unforgiveness and keeping yourself in a prison of self-love and nurturing ministering to anyone?

What am I doing being so self-absorbed with stupid things that don’t matter????

It’s amazing to me really that so many fights, bitterness, unforgiveness, retaliation, pouting, silent treatments and so forth between myself and EVERYONE else in my life are such a big deal in the moment because of my selfish perspective.

150,000 people a day.

Satan’s kingdom is growing.

And I care about being the only person who can clean a toilet.

Practical Application:

Gain a little perspective. It just might break my heart for someone else, instead of only for myself. And make me a better wife, mother, friend and witness.

I see, Me.

14 Feb

I’ve been so frustrated with my oldest son lately. He’s constantly “parenting” my younger kids.  He tries to tell them what to do, when to do it, how to do it, and even discipline them when they do something he deems wrong.

I’m sure this is common behavior of all children who have younger siblings.  So, I’m not suggesting that this is a problem in my house only. In fact, that’s the only reason I decided to turn this into a post, because I bet parents out there can relate.

As I was expressing my frustration with him yesterday and scolded him with the phrase “You’re not the parent”, something happened in my heart.  I sat down for a second and the Holy Spirit started talking.

I’m not mad at my son because he’s parenting.  The truth is, I actually ask him to parent all the time.  I have him help get the younger kids something to drink or eat, get buckled in the car, pick out their cloths, get tucked into bed and so forth.  I call on him all the time to help me fill my roles as the parent when I need an extra hand or feel too exhausted to serve another person.

I never yell at him to stop parenting in those moments.

The truth?

I’m angry because I don’t like *the way* he is parenting when he’s interacting with the kids.

He gets frustrated really quickly when they don’t do what he says or do it in the way he wants it done perfectly.  And then he yells at them, scolds them, and sometimes even pushes or smacks them.

Where did he learn to have such a short fuse?  To say the phrases that he says?  To belittle the behavior that isn’t “adult enough” in the moment?

Me.

I’m angry with my son because he parents poorly.  And all he is doing is showing me a direct reflection of myself and the way I parent.

Every parent should remember that one day, every child will follow their example instead of their advice.”

It doesn’t matter what I tell him to do or how to react.  I’ve trained him by the constant model I perform.  And regardless of what all those polls show, I firmly believe that EVERYONE learns better while watching an example than being lectured on a subject.

It’s hard in the heat of the moment to remember what you’re told to do.  But it’s easy to react in the manner you’ve had played out for you time and time again.

Practical Application:

He will change, if and only if, I change first.

Stop enforcing discipline on my son for following my example.  I’ve become a hypocrite expecting my child to do as I say, all the while living out exactly what I tell him not to do.

Become broken in every area where I’m failing, and begin to do it right.  This will not come easy.  Habits are hard to break.  So, I suggest putting in accountability measures.  Even if that means having your kids remind you when you say key phrases, facial expressions or actions that need to be changed.  This will enforce to them that change is necessary and even parents make mistakes.