Category: Relationships

Modern Parenting Under Fire

Note: I realize that my perspective is from that of a mom in a small city whose temple is Whole Foods and whose neighborhood roads are all Ivy League College names. Rural town moms probably have a completely different perspective. Get that. So take my opinion for what it’s worth. 

By now, I think we’ve all probably read Jen Hatmaker’s post on the Today Show’s parent’s blog entitled, What Would My Mom Do? (Drink Tab and Lock Us Outside). I haven’t heard one negative thing about it so far- only lots of shares and “yes, this” (myself included).

But, I was thinking… I don’t think that we really would like parenting like Jen’s momma did, at least not today. Just a 2.0 version of it.

So maybe we love the idea of letting our kids roam free and eat bologna sandwiches on white bread and then coming home when the sun goes down. I personally love this idea because then I’d have the whole day to do whatever my little heart desired. And I do have fond memories of summers outside for long periods of time, playing with all my neighborhood friends.

But, let’s pretend that this kind of parent existed today in your neighborhood. You know, the parent who lets their 6 year old kid roam the neighborhood. In fact, you may know a parent kinda like this. I know a few. But you know what I hear about these kind of parents? Not flattering things. Because what if I really let my two older kids- almost 6 (in a few days) and 7 play in your neighborhood. Just roam around. All day. Would you feel concerned? Would you wonder where their parents are? Would you call someone about it? What would you do or think about me when they started arguing/yelling at one another? How would you feel about helping them clean their knee if they fell outside your house? How would you feel about feeding them if they happened to be playing in your yard during lunchtime? How would you feel about disciplining them if they hit your kid, or yelled at them or something (because we all know this happened a lot when we were living our roaming childhoods)?

And what if your child came to my house and I fed them processed bologna on white bread and gave them sugar-filled kook-aid to drink. Everyday during a summer. Would you think that’s totally fine and who cares? Or would you cringe?

I honestly think that many of us really wouldn’t feel completely comfortable with this kind of parenting, and we don’t REALLY support other parents who parent like this. And you know what, my guess is that Jen didn’t parent exactly like this either. 

Why?

Because she has pictures of her kids’ dangerous stunts. Playground swinging, trampoline jumping, tree skateboarding. My parents don’t have pictures of me playing outside with my friends, roaming the neighborhood, walking across busy roads to the 7-11 to get a giant 44 oz slurpy, flattening pennies and rocks on the railroad tracks, visiting the old guy at the end of the block and going inside his pigeon coop to pet his pigeons (only looking back does it seem odd, but I swear, he was just a nice older lonely guy who loved kids!), biking to the library even though I wasn’t supposed to (because it was a whole mile away from my house!)….because they weren’t with me. In fact, if they did see some of the dangerous things I did as an elementary kid (kindergarten-4th grade), then they wouldn’t have approved. I would have gotten in serious trouble!

So, while I think we like the idea of Jen’s version of the “magical childhood” (because it really is just that), I’m not sure we’re willing to pay the price to get it. And maybe we don’t necessarily have to parent like that to be the kind of family we want to be. Maybe Jen’s call to throwback parenting isn’t the “best way” either.

From conversations I’ve had with friends, we parent a little differently than our parents did because we weren’t 100% happy with how our parents did it. Many of us grew up with parents who worked a lot or drank too much or who really didn’t know us at all. Modern parenting didn’t just pop up. It exists for a reason. Has it gone too far in some cases? Sure. But does that mean we do away with it and go back to the “good ‘ol days”? Eh. I’m not sure that’s really what we’re looking for either.

Perhaps what we’re all really wanting is permission to ease up. To give our kids some freedom. To step away from the window. 

You have permission to let your child outside without watching him or her. I won’t judge.

You have permission to let your 6 year old walk to school by himself/herself. I’ll keep an eye out for them while they walk past my house.

You have permission to let your kid eat cafeteria food because you don’t have time to pack a lunch. Mine will be eating that food too.

You have permission to delete your pinterest account. I don’t actually care what your kids’ parties look like. I just love that they get to hang out with their friends and I get a couple hours to myself.

You have permission to let your kids be bored. I’ll send my kids over and they can be bored together.

You have permission to not enroll your kids in any camp or extracurricular activity. I promise they will not be any less smart or ready for college. In fact, probably no one will even know or care.

You have permission to let your kids make their own lunch. My kids will be so jealous that they packed fruit snacks, some cheetos and a cheesestick that maybe they’ll want to start making their own lunch too.

You have permission to not know what they are doing every minute of the day. I’m sure they’re fine. If not, they’ll eventually let you know.

But you know what? You also have permission to parent like you want. If you really like your kids, you have permission to hang out with them.

If you want to make them a time capsule for their 18th birthday, totally do it! I have my own version of a time capsule which looks like a giant box with old papers, toys, clothes, etc, from over the span of my childhood. I bet you all do too.

If you want to throw them a magical birthday party, do it. Have fun! I bet your kids will love it! Just be sure to invite my kids too! 😉

If you want to do science experiments, art projects, teach them how to read, storytell with them, learn a foreign language with them, whatever- great! Your kid will love it. Can my kid some over to join you sometime?

Ultimately, we have permission to let go of the lie that what we do or don’t do with our kids makes or breaks their future. While we have influence over our kids, we don’t determine their personality, their actions, their attitudes, their future opportunities, or their success or happiness in life. It’s up to them, and the sooner we realize that in our parenting journey, the sooner we will be able to ease up, relax, and just enjoy our children.

 

 

 

 

My Epic Birthday Date

On Friday, Jake surprised me with an EPIC 11 hour date and it was FANTASTIC. I told him at one point that if we weren’t already married, I would have expected a marriage proposal by the end :).

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Because I turned 32, Jake planned 5 dates for just the two of us (us being math geeks, 2^5=32).

Date One

Jake took the little kids to the library as he normally does on Friday mornings (giving me the morning “off” to do whatever I want: writing, reading, crafting, etc.). At 11:00a I got a text from him, telling me that he was almost home and could I run up and get a paper by his bed. It was  an invitation to a date.

Put on your comfy clothes and join me for a party of two lunch at the official birthday place, followed by a fun board game.

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We ate at Nitty Gritty which is THE birthday restaurant here in Madison (balloons, free drink, free desert) and then played a board game at I’m Board (our favorite board game store where you can hang out in their back room and test out board games). We played Villagers and Villains, which was pretty fun– we tied!

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Date Two

Get your work clothes on, get hydrated, and create at a Walk in, Make art studio with me.

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Afterwards, I found ANOTHER birthday invitation, this time inviting me to Sonic (yesssssss) and then to Fired Up Pottery, a make your own art store. We designed a glass piece (a swoop bowl) to be fused, and I just picked it up today. It turned out SO WELL, don’t you think?!

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Date Three

Bundle up for the cold and put on your hiking boots. Let’s walk on water together and view the 1753 sunset from Lake Mendota.

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I’ve been wanting to walk on the lake all winter, but just hadn’t gotten around to it. Jake made it happen! We had so much fun hiking out from picnic point so we could sit on a sleeping bag and watch the sunset from the middle of the lake. So romantic and fun!

 

Date Four

Time to get fancy. We’ll explore narrative in the Storybook exhibition.

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We headed to the Museum of Contemporary Art downtown, and it was a great time. My favorite part was viewing a collection of art work done by art teachers of the Madison School District. Their work was INCREDIBLE. I’ve decided that my current favorite kind of artwork is mixed media.

 

Date Five

Dinner for two downtown, then home for the afterparty.

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We ended up going to an Indian and Nepali restaurant. We ate the most delicious garlic naan with our main courses (I can’t even remember what I ordered but it was really good too). By the time we got home it was nearly 10:00p and we were EXHAUSTED. Jake had arranged for the kids to be at various houses for the day/night, so we had a kid-free house (which, by the way, was incredibly weird and fantastically relaxing). The next morning we woke to an alarm so that we could pick up all the kiddos by 9:00a, also unusual and I must admit I prefer being awoken by a child :).

By the way, how generous are those families who watched our kiddos and kept them overnight? I feel SO LOVED that people would say yes to that! They made our day/evening so wonderful!!! It takes a village, people, especially when family is a day’s drive away!

Thanks to my love for planning a great day and night!!

Just How Married Do you Want to Be?

A few weeks ago I asked for suggestions on Facebook for some favorite books about marriage. I received a whole slew of comments– most of them I had heard of before, but one in particular piqued my interest with its title.

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Just How Married Do You Want to Be?: Practicing Oneness in Marriage is a book written by Jim and Sarah Sumner (IVP) who I find to be a fairly unlikely couple (PhD theology student meets former stripper turned Christian- you guess who is who!). The authors’ goal of this book is to encourage and inspire Christian couples to live a biblical marriage (p.14). While I typically halt at anything labeled “biblical” (I’ve come to recognize that word as being one that people sometimes use to “show God to be on their side”), I decided to proceed with caution because this book was recommended by a friend I trust, and because it was published by IVP. 🙂

I ended up liking parts of it, being totally intrigued by others, and downright not liking some sections. So, all in all, I’d say that’s a fun read!

The most interesting thing to me was their theological framework for understanding marriage, especially as it relates to Ephesians 5:21-33.

21 Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.

22 Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.

25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28 In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church— 30 for we are members of his body. 31 “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.”32 This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. 33 However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.

Instead of coming at it from a complementarian perspective and translating “head” as “leader”, or an egalitarian perspective and translating “head” as “source”, they come at it from head meaning a physical head (which is what kephale means). So, the man is the head of the wife and the wife is the body of the man. Just as Christ is the head of the church and the church the body of Christ.

I think this passage in Ephesians gets interesting when you realize what words Paul DIDN’T use when saying the husband is the head of the household. He didn’t use oikodespotes, which means master of the house. Paul didn’t use archon, which meals ruler.

This illustration in Ephesians seems to be saying more about the relational connectedness between a husband and wife and Christ and the Church then it does about who holds the power of the home.

The implications of this are interesting:

1. Our lives would ideally communicate our oneness. Both with our spouse and with Christ. Do people view my relationship with my husband as characterized by “oneness” or are we seen as two individuals who are very much doing our own things and constantly trying to figure out how to get our own way (or is one person getting their way while the other spouse just does whatever the other one wants)? Do people view the church’s relationship with Christ by “oneness” or a bunch of people figuring out how to live the life they want while also ending up in heaven at the end?

2. This interpretation would give us another dimension of our relationship with Christ to explore. Christ is our Savior (He saved us from our sin). Christ is our Lord (He leads us and we submit to Him). Christ is our Head (He is an intimate part of who we are- our identity).

All this and much more is found in Sarah and Jim’s book- I’m not 100% convinced that this is a good interpretation, but I’m thinking through it, praying through it. and keeping my mind open to it! Any thoughts?

Please note that some links are affiliate links. 

How We Will be Celebrating 10 Years of Marriage

Jake and I finally nailed down where we’re headed for our 10 year wedding anniversary.

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Not Paris (been there, done that ;)).

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Not back to Kenya (I wish).

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Not a cruise in the Bahamas (although that was my choice #2- ha!).

Nope, we are headed to Chicago for the Justice Conference 2015! While it may seem like an odd way to spend celebrating 10 years of marriage (and boy do we have a lot to celebrate!), we decided what better way is there than spending a weekend focusing on reorienting and reenergizing ourselves towards gospel-centered justice? The perfect nightcap to a decade of marriage.

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Jake and I sometimes remember (in the car on long trips after the kids have fallen asleep is when this kind of conversation typically comes up) a very specific conversation we had before getting married (or maybe right after) in which we vowed that we would never become the couple whose faith lived out means just comfortably teaching a sunday school class every Sunday.

Friends, we don’t even teach a Sunday school class.

And in many ways, we laugh because we couldn’t even imagine then what we know now about where our lives were headed. We’ve travelled the globe (but mostly the U.S.) for advanced degrees, we’ve had lots of kids, we’ve jumped in and out of a lot of various projects, lending a hand in ways that have been very ordinary and quite simple. We know now that to choose one thing means not choosing another. And for the most part, we’re happy about what we’ve said yes to and making peace with those things to which we’ve said no.

But after we laugh together, we quietly look back out the car window, deep in thought. I think both of us feel that twinge of regret over the tiredness, the lack of big opportunities, the routine, the distractions. Our minds wander to the “what if…?” and “should we be ….?” and “God, what’s next for us?” We silently reflect and pray until the sounds of a restless child needing a pillow or water or a comforting hand interrupt our thoughts and bring us back to our very present (and good) reality.

So, instead of laying on the beach of some warm sandy island with cold drinks and good books in our hands (I wonder if the Justice Conference gives refunds…), we’ll be sitting in the beautiful Auditorium Theater on June 5th and 6th, listening to some dynamic speakers recast vision for our lives -to be consistently oriented towards seeking God and living out faithful righteous (justice!) lives. The speaker line-up looks amazing: Dr. Cornel West, Eugene Cho, Lynne Hybels, Amena Brown, Bob Goff, and more. I’m excited about using this time to prayerfully dream toward the next 10 years.

Here’s to many more decades of living out lives that are oriented towards love, justice, and hope. Anyone wanna meet us for dinner on the 5th? 🙂

Chicago MP Prop Video from The Justice Conference on Vimeo.

What is a Spiritual Director?

It was about this time last year when I began searching out a spiritual director.

I had first heard about a”spiritual director” while reading Sensible Shoes: A Story about the Spiritual Journey by Sharon Garlough Brown. The book is about 4 women who end up at a spiritual retreat center together. While they are all really different, they are all learning some incredible things from one another as they seek God. It’s a fictional story of friendship and healing, but it also weaves in various spiritual formation practices along the way (a marriage of fiction and non-fiction- my new favorite genre!).  The woman who leads the workshops at the retreat center is a spiritual director. After I read the book, I thought, wow, I’d really love to talk to that workshop leader. Too bad she’s JUST PRETEND. 🙂

I soon began researching spiritual directors around my city, and found websites for a few different ones, but none really felt like what I was looking for.

I finally ended up finding a spiritual director through my local church. I was nearly sure they would have no idea what I was talking about when I sent off an email to a woman on staff, asking her if she had ever heard of spiritual directors and if so, did she have any spiritual director recommendations. I was surprised when I received an email back within 24 hours saying that indeed, she knew exactly what I was talking about (she said that some of the staff members meet/have met with them), that she knew several, and that she’d be happy to connect me with one who she thought I’d really like. Well there you go. Evangelical Christianity knows about spiritual directors. Why in the world had I never heard of them before?

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Spiritual directors are often described as spiritual midwives. Sometimes we go through seasons where we sense that something is going on deep within our souls, but we aren’t sure what. Sometimes life is shifting (season of life, geographical location, new career, etc.) and we need to talk out what’s going on in our relationship with God because of it. Sometimes our faith feels funny or uncomfortable or shifting, and we’re not sure what’s going on inside of us or how we can relate to God in this new way. Sometimes we feel like God is really far away and even with all our best efforts of connecting with God (doing all those things that have always worked in the past – Scripture reading, prayer, journaling) nothing is happening. It’s during these times that meeting with a spiritual director may be a really good idea. They walk alongside us, helping to “birth” whatever it is that God is already doing within us. When in labor and delivery, the midwife isn’t actually making anything happen. The laboring momma is doing all of the work. But, the midwife is there to help the momma focus, to give her tips on how to read her body and to recognize what needs to or will be happening next. In the same way, the spiritual director is helping us to read what’s going on inside of our souls, recognize the movement of God, and help us focus on what God is doing.

Spiritual directors are not counselors because they aren’t trying to help remedy a psychological issue or solve a personal or interpersonal problem. They aren’t mentors because they don’t have the day-to-day, life-on-life relationship with us. Instead, they are mature Christians who are gifted in discernment and trained in spiritual formation and who help people discern where God is moving in their life.

In our sessions this year, I’ve been working on understanding how God has wired me and how that affects how I approach God, along with my expectations of what my relationship with God “should” look like. It’s been really healthy and freeing. A lot of “aha!” moments :).

If you want to learn more, or think this might be something of interest to you, I’d recommend reading up on it a little more so that you know what to expect (and not to expect), what to look for in a spiritual director, and some places you may be able to find one.

  • Christianity Today- God Your ‘Spiritual Director’ Yet? : Great overview, the history of spiritual direction, and some recommended resources.
  • Kathy Escobar gives this great visual of the spiritual journey. Once I learned about this, my eyes opened wide, I began to nod and I said, “I see.” I hit the wall and had a hard time figuring out what to do next because I didn’t understand what was going on. Spiritual direction really helps if you get “stuck” in any of these transitions.
  • The ESDA is a great place to start for those who are from an evangelical tradition. I’d also recommend asking your local church leadership.
  • IVP has a whole list of books related to this area. I don’t think you can really go wrong with the books they put out!

Feel free to email me any questions you may have and I’d be happy to do my best to assist in any way!

How to Allow Yourselves Not to Enjoy Every Moment When Not Every Moment in Enjoyable

I’m not sure I can take one more mommy guilt trip. Interestingly, it’s not coming from my husband, my kids, or my friends. But through other “gospel-centered” mommas.

Here’s the most recent example from the Gospel-centered Mom: How to Enjoy Every Moment  When Not Every Moment is Enjoyable. She says:

“If you pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then shall your light rise in the darkness and your gloom be as the noonday. And the Lord will guide you continually and satisfy your desire in scorched places and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail.” (Isaiah 58:10-11)

Moms don’t have to go far to find those who are hungry and afflicted. Do we think of meeting their needs as “pouring ourselves out” for them? It’s the opposite of holding the unpleasant stage at arms distance. It’s fully embracing it.

Our children are probably not “hungry”, neither are they “afflicted”. My dear moms, you are doing an incredible important work when you are at home with your babies, but you are not doing this kind of work that Isaiah is talking about. Please friends, let’s not co-op Bible passages to sooth ourselves.

By the end of the article, she’s telling us that we’re supposed to be content during the season of having postpartum depression. I’m sorry, but this is where my patience with this line of thinking ends.

Should we try to remember the bright parts of our day? Yes.

Should we try to cherish these moments with our kids? Yes.

Should we do our best to be parents (ahem, not just moms) who live less and less selfish lives in order to make sure our kids are loved, cherished, and poured into? Yes, Yes, Yes.

Should we aim for contentment? I think so.

But when we are NOT content, do we need to guilt ourselves and one another? No, we don’t. We can come alongside and encourage one another. And by golly, let’s give each other some breaks! Let’s just not offer: “suck it up sister, God wants you to change your own heart and put a happy smile on your face in the middle of emotionally draining days.” How exhausting is that? Instead, grab her kids, bring them to your house for a day and let her just sit on her couch or whatever her little heart desires. (Sidenote: someone did this for me the other week when I was sick and it revived my body and soul so much. I cried a little because I was taken aback with her love, and then I felt guilty for about an hour, but then settled into this gift and said, “Thank you, Jesus!”)

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In the article (and in other books and articles I’ve read recently), she says that each of these moments, no matter how awful, is given to us by God. That’s not how I read Scripture. I read it that every good and perfect gift comes from God, and that He won’t give us a snake when we ask him for bread. There’s another force in this world, my dear friends, so let’s not be tricked that what is fallen or sinful or evil is a gift from God. It’s not. And some of the things we’re dealing with on a daily basis is exactly those things.

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The gospel is about grace, and about loving God and loving people and loving ourselves. There’s not a SINGLE WORK that I can do that is going to make myself more loved by God. HE LOVES US SO MUCH IN OUR LONG DAYS. Go cry yourself a river. Go take a long run. Go complain to your husband or friend or whoever is “that person” in your life (and then allow them to complain back about their job). Eat a chocolate bar in the pantry while playing hide and seek with your kids. Tell God that you are “so over this mom business and are going to go crazy.” My dear friend, whatever you do, don’t pretend you are in a place you’re not. Don’t feel guilty over wishing your postpartum depression is over. I think God so desires your postpartum depression to be over too. Don’t feel bad for wishing you were through the baby is not sleeping stage, because God created us with a need for sleep, and I think that He will be happy for you when that stage is over too.

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He is not shaking His finger at us, but instead He is with us at every. single. point of those hard stinkin’ days and seasons. Love you, sweet momma.

 

Open House Drama

While kids were excitedly running around the hallways with their parents in tow, I was trying to find a quiet place to almost drag my limp-because-i’m-angry 5 year old to a quiet corner to get her under control.

Open House. The night when kids and parents are visiting classrooms, getting to know their child’s teacher and classroom and other parents. Oh they got to know us alright.

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To be fair, the night started out well. We visited the Kindergarten class and it was fine. She showed us her book box, everyday jobs, sang a couple songs, and happily helped me choose what to bring for future class parties. Next we visited the 2nd grade class and she quietly looked around the room and listened as Asante explained his various notebooks and what they work on in each. After we left, they both insisted we go see the special rooms. Although little sister was having some tummy trouble, we decided to make a quick stop.

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Some little girl was pounding on the piano in the music room, which of course made Aly want to do it too. It didn’t seem like the appropriate thing to be doing for that little girl, so I told Aly she couldn’t either. And explained why. She was mad, felt like it was an unfair answer, but left the room decently when it was time to go. Not awesome, but at this point, we know how things COULD be and she was trying.

Upstairs as we rounded the corner to start down the hallway that leads outside, Aly spied kids in the gym. With jump ropes. She rushed in, grabbed a jump rope and started jumping. Jumping. Jumping. Not forwards, but backwards. Whatever. I can let her do this, I thought, just for a few minutes. “Just for a few minutes,” I hollered over the noise of the crowd as she jumped away. After a couple minutes, I gave a one minute warning. Then a “3 more jumps and then we go, my sister.”

Rage erupted on that little girls face.

The yells began as we were exiting the gym. “Bad!” she yelled, which she often does when she’s mad, but trying to hold it back.

As we stream into the hallway she begins to unravel. She’s raising her voice. Getting attitude. Doesn’t want me to touch her because “she’s fine” when in reality she’s spinning out of control. I need to get her attention. Parents make room as we move down the hallway. I’m desperately looking for the bathroom that I know is ahead up on the right. Before we get there, she goes limp, I guess in attempts to get me to acquiesce with the grip I have on her. I carry her as best I can to the social safety of the bathroom. I feel embarrassed but I try not to allow that emotion to influence my words to her. I know myself. When I get embarrassed I can say things that would be better left in my head.

We talk. I look into her eyes, hoping that she will see me so that she can snap herself out of the tailspin that just happened. I get her enough under control that we leave the bathroom. She runs ahead of me and out the doors to Jake and the other kids. As we quickly stroll down the sidewalk away from the school, she yells, cries, and refuses to hear us talk to her about her behavior. She covers her ears, saying “I KNOW!” Maybe she does know what we’re going to say. Because this happens more often than it should. Fits. Tantrums. Yelling. Out of control.

I let Jake and the girls go ahead in the stroller and hang back with Asante. The kid who quietly goes along with everything, watching, observing, thinking. I apologize to him- “Sorry buddy, if Aly’s behavior embarrassed you. It embarrassed me.” “It’s okay,” he quickly replied. It’s always okay. He loves his sister so deeply.

We walk home. The moon is full, the sky is growing dark, and the cool wind blows against my face. I breathe deep, trying to process my emotions and get some air. The streets and bike paths are empty, so I relax. No one to impress or to fakely smile for as they judge my daughter or my parenting skills. Asante starts jabbering about the difference between a millimeter, centimeter and inch, and i’m half listening, “mmhmm-ing” at the right parts, but my mind is elsewhere. I’m thinking about Aly and her way-bigger-than-anyone-can-handle emotions. The books I’ve read. The hours of online research. The sensory play we’ve done. The many ways of discipline. The motivation charts. Her sadness for losing control and not figuring out how to tame the storm inside. It’s a lot and thinking about it all often overwhelms me because I feel so helpless.IMG_5056

So I pray. I pray a lot of things. Probably some of them are totally inappropriate and would make parenting gurus and child development experts gasp. But most of them have something to do with begging God to help me parent this beautiful, creative, gifted child. Help me to understand her. Help me to see it from her perspective. Help me to love her well.

 

 

 

Heroine’s Quest

Sometimes (ahem) I feel overwhelmed. And when I feel overwhelmed I tend not to be intentional. Instead, I switch into survival mode and just do what needs to be done to get through it. Anyone with me?

While unavoidable at times, when we are living in a state of being overwhelmed, and hence survival mode too often, it’s not good for our souls or the souls of others in our lives.

One of my good friends, Christi Byerly, has a heart for women who are in this sort of place. She is a life coach and spiritual director who has been walking beside women for a couple years now. While she currently lives in Kenya, she has a virtual state-side Heroine’s Quest group on Wednesdays at 11a (East Coast time) and is looking for a few more members to join in!

The dates for the upcoming sessions are:

October 15th, 29th

November 5th, 19th

December 3rd, 17th

While the course is listed at $500, Christi is providing a deep discount for us– $200! If you sign up, just let Christi know that you heard about it here. In case you have to miss a call, no fret! There will be audio recordings :).

Let me know if you sign up! 🙂

 

Developing friendships at ages 5 and 35

A couple days ago, my daughter walked all the way home from school holding hands with another Kindergartener that she met only a month or two ago. They quietly hung back behind the rest of us, talking, holding hands, and examining all of the interesting nature trinkets they could find.

It got me thinking about childhood relationships and how easy they were, generally. You meet someone and just start playing. You have fun, run around, chase each other, tell each other secrets, and decide that you are Best Friends Forever after an afternoon of play.

It’s not always so easy as we get older huh? Not only do you have to decide if you and potential friend have enough in common to get along, but there’s also those other subtle, unspoken “tests” that friends have to pass.

Tonight I was reading a great article about making friends over at The Art of Simple. The author shared a part of a New York Times article that described a few of the secrets of making close friends:

“As external conditions change, it becomes tougher to meet the three conditions that sociologists since the 1950s have considered crucial to making close friends: proximity; repeated, unplanned interactions; and a setting that encourages people to let their guard down and confide in each other, said Rebecca G. Adams, a professor of sociology and gerontology at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. This is why so many people meet their lifelong friends in college, she added.”

It’s pretty hard to accidentally do that these days, especially for stay-at-home parents. Let’s be honest, there’s not too many “unplanned interactions” for moms of multiple young children. Even going to the bathroom can be a calculated decision! So what does it look like to invest in others at this stage in life?

I think the author of the article brought up some great ideas (eating together, texting one another throughout the day, meeting needs before they’re spoken, teach each other things, etc.)… what would you add to the list?

 

Super Christian Parenting Myths

No matter which way you slice it, parenting is hard. For those of us who are parents and are also an active part of a Christian community, you would think it’d be easier. We have a village to help us raise our children.We have the Holy Spirit to give us strength and wisdom. We have a constant stream of advice and encouragement as we make the tough decisions in discipline. While this is the case for some of us, the Christian subculture also comes with its own set of additional challenges. One of those are what I’m calling the Super Christian Parenting Myths.

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Over at Graham Blanchard, the Mom Mentors are sharing what they think are the biggest myths that we as parents have to deal with. Here’s my contribution to the conversation:

The biggest myth about Christian parenting is that if we “do it correctly”, we’ll have good kids who respect us and love God. If our kids are not “good” kids, then it must be something we as parents are doing wrong.

However, I see in scripture, throughout history, and in my everyday life that there are a lot of people who reject or disobey God. Does their disobedience and lack of respect mean that God didn’t parent them well? Does it mean that He did something wrong? Of course not! So then, why do I think that I can do better at parenting than He, the Perfect Parent?

Once I really understood that, I began to ease up on myself. I still parent my kids with all the prayer, love, respect, and consistency that I can muster and while I certainly get discouraged when they choose to disobey me, I also know that at the end of the day, I’ve done the best that I know how to do.

How about you? What do you think is the biggest Christian parenting myth that you have to face on a regular basis?