Parenthood…

When I was little if you asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I would respond, “a mom”. As I mentioned in The Story of Us, there was a time in my life when I thought that being a mom wasn’t part of God’s plan for me. Then along came a bright, blue-eyed little girl who changed my life forever.

Being a mom is the hardest job that I have ever had and it is also the most rewarding. Watching my daughter navigate the challenges of school, friendships, athletics, peer pressure, boys and adolescent life is difficult. There has never been a day that I stood back and thought, “yep, nailed parenting today.” No, not one.

My dad reminded me last year when we were going through a particularly challenging time as parents that our job is not necessarily to raise “good” children. Rather, we are to train up our daughter in the ways that she should go. We should direct her heart and steps towards God. And realize the same free will that God gives us, He also gives to her.

Our best effort as parents is placing her feet on the solid foundation only Christ can provide, not us. It is relationship with Christ that gives my daughter a fighting chance in this world that tries to entice, distract and often devour her.

It is Christ who gives her an audacious spirit to stand up against the unfairness of teen life. It is Christ who gives her kindness to give when mean girls try and knock her down. It is Christ who gives her the athletic ability she uses on the field. It is her responsibility to honor Him and no one else when she is on that field. It is Christ who watches when she takes a test and who she pleases when she studies and prepares for that test accordingly.

And it is my job as her parent to remind her of Christ each and every day. He is the only One that can give her what she needs to get through her day and life.

He is the only one that can give me exactly what I need to be her mom. He entrusted her to me and chose me to be her mom. Right here. Right now. And it is my responsibility to honor God in how I navigate my role as her mom.

If you, too, find yourself grappling with this thing called parenthood, take heart! Remember that God has not forsaken you. He will give you the words, wisdom, patience and love that you need to get through it. He is cheering for you, loving you and holding you up even on the toughest of days.

You see, He knows the sacrifice parenting requires. He sacrificed His own Son for us.

He sees you. He knows you. He loves you. He equips you. Now, roll up your sleeves and get back to work! We can do all things through Christ!

Be joyful!

“Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it.” Proverbs 22:6 NLT

He Knows Your Name…

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My daughter turned eight shortly after my husband and I got married. I was very fortunate in that she was truly longing for a mom. She made the transition very smoothly. One of my own regrets with my second father was that I never made the transition to calling him dad. I wanted to give my daughter the opportunity to call me mom pretty quickly. So, Memorial Day weekend, about six months after we were married, I asked her if she would like to try calling me mom. I told her that it might feel strange at first; but that eventually it would get easier. She eagerly agreed to give it a go! And a go she did!

I vividly remember that we went to the beach that weekend as a family. My daughter is a lover of the water, sand and anything slimy. So, she never lacks for energy at the beach. I truly believe that she called me mom 1000 times in the span of 2-3 hours. Mom, look at this cool shell. Mom watch me swim. Mom, check out this sand castle. Mom, look at me. Mom! Mom! Mom! It came so naturally to her. But, my learning curve was longer.

We went to Walmart that same weekend, jus the two of us this time. And I remember standing on an aisle and hearing a child asking her mom a question, over and over again, saying mom every time. This mom was apparently distracted. I thought to myself, ‘for goodness sake, answer that poor child so she will quit saying your name’. It was then that I realized that I was the mom. And my daughter was the child asking me the question. Oh my goodness, I was the mom.

Isn’t it reassuring to know that our Father knows our name? Better yet, isn’t awesome to think that He hears us every time we call him by His name? He delights in relationship with us. He wants to see the sand castle. He wants to watch us twirl on the beach. He longs to see us play in the waves. The Creator of the Universe knew you before He put you in your mother’s womb. He knows every hair on your head, He delights in every step you take and He collects every tear that you cry.

Thanks to Jesus, your name will appear in the Book of Life if you make Him your Lord and Savior. You will inherit eternal life. We are redeemed, children of God. Isn’t it amazing to think that the Enemy sees your Father’s name written on your forehead? (Revelation 12:4) You are sealed by the blood of Christ and the enemy has lost.

Yes, indeed, your Father knows your name. And my daughter knows mine! But more importantly, she knows the powerful name of Jesus! And I pray that she calls on that name over and over again. You too, my friends!

Be joyful!

“I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand.” John 10:28 NIV

Show Me Your Muscles…

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My mom is the strongest woman I know. I learned leadership from her and the importance of having a quiet, steady faith in God. She is still the most beautiful woman in any room, as far as I am concerned. She is my mom first, my best friend second and has walked me through the highs and lows of my life.

She is also my biggest cheerleader. If I sneeze, she will tell you that it was ‘the best sneeze ever sneezed’ in all of history! She is always on my side, even when I am terribly wrong. She is my PR agent. When I was a freshman in college, she dragged me across the room to meet the University President at orientation. She loves to make me laugh. One time, she stood in our front yard, showing me her “muscles” and from then on was deemed “muscle mom.” She taught me the joy of “retail therapy” and we earned our degrees in this “vocation” the year after my first father passed away.

She was meant to be a mother. God gave her extraordinary skills in this role and she has served Him mightily.

She was a Girl Scout leader, youth leader, PTA President, retail shop manager, receptionist, to name a few. She remains an avid bridge player, master gardener and animal lover. She believes in community service and involvement. She is a wife of a Pastor, which should, in and of itself, speak to her mighty strength.

My mom and first father were middle school sweethearts. When God called my first father home, she was left with two teenagers to raise. She was only 41 years old. Many nights after he died, my mom would walk around our swimming pool and yell at God. She would question him in her grief and would tell Him exactly how she felt. You see, in her grief and anger, she reached out to her Father. She knew that He could take it.

It occurred to me in my adult life what strong faith she showed during those honest cries of grief and heart ache. We do not argue or get angry or “lash out” at someone that we don’t believe in whole heartedly. She knew that her Father would hear her cries and would not forsake her. She knew He loved her and that He would heal her broken heart in His perfect timing. You see, she was in relationship with God, the author and perfector of her faith and ours.

Are you facing something in your life that has left you heart broken, angry, sick with grief or faint from lack of understanding? Your Father in heaven is only a cry away. He will never leave you. We see example after example in the Bible of times where He sees His people, hears His people, and loves His people.

He sees you. He hears you. He loves you. Trust that He can handle your grief. Your anger. Your lack of understanding.

Just like my very own Muscle Mom, He will show you his muscles! And trust me, our God is stronger!

Be joyful!

“The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles.” Psalm 34:17 NIV