The Wrestling Match of Parenting

I toggle between two words when it comes to parenting.

Pride and Fear

On good days, I feel pride.
Yes, we’re doing something right.
Yes, our kids will make wise choices.

On bad days, I feel fear.
No, we’re not doing anything right.
No, our kids won’t make wise choices.

It’s a sticky spot. There’s a balance between pride and fear we can rest in. And honestly, our feelings aren’t up for the task of telling us where to land.

When I’m in the wrestling match between pride and fear, our kids get the punches. They get the mood swings. They get the “here’s a little freedom” versus “do what I say” versions of Mom at various, unpredictable moments.

I have the power to create a home in limbo or at peace. And it’s settled by my choice to rest in the stableness of God or the movement of my emotions.

The days will change. The kids will change. But He won’t. It is finished. For my kids and yours.

We fight our pride with prayer and our fear with faith. Because He is listening. He is steadfast. And His mercies are new every morning.

“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” (Lamentations 3:22,23)

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Fortnite…Thoughts From Another Parent

Confession…I LOVE Fortnite! I love playing it (landed in a tree my first jump). Love watching our boys play it (“Mom…chill out.”).

And I’ve learned a couple things lately. Had my eyes opened.

1-Our kids feel a real connection with the real people they play with.
2-Our kids are experiencing moments each time they sign in.

Let me explain why this has to matter to us a parents.

1-Connection

It’s a huge thing for me as an adult. And it’s a “huger” thing for our kids. On Fortnite, they are playing with real people in real time. That’s a gift and a curse.

In response, we’ve got to guard them. Set up boundaries. Our family rule is you can’t play duos or squads with someone unless you know them. It’s been tricky. They’ve played “a man down” at times. But they’ve survived (not in Fortnite terms, however).

I’ve also seen our boys minister through this online connection. Not like preaching or praying for people. But I’ve seen them love on someone who’s hurting through a game. Through a partnership. And for a brief moment in time, I’ve seen the hurt forgotten in the laughter spilling out of their headsets.

It makes me want to cry.

2-Moments

I just finished the book The Power of Moments. It’s amazing how moments change us and how we can change moments.

When our kids play Fornite, they are having mini-moments in every game that ultimately accumulate in a big moment of gaming. And when these moments are shared with others, they solidify even more.

It only makes sense then that our kids want to play more and more because they are connecting with people in moments that we can’t naturally produce in our homes.

So then…what do we do?

I guess we could ban Fornite. Maybe we should ban all video games. (I’m not opposed to it.) But I also want to “weigh my ‘yeses’ so my ‘no’s count’.” And Jeremy and I have decided to give Fornite the yes for now so we’ve had to think outside the box.

Here’s where we’ve landed…

-We spend time playing Fortnite with our boys every day (or at least watching them). It’s not “the boys play Fornite.” It’s “we play Fornite.”
-We engage with them when “game time is over.” For now the boys want to be with us and we don’t want that to change.
-We talk about battles and dances and guns even when it’s the last thing we want to talk about.

I know. I know. We may be overthinking this. I also know that some of you think it is heinous that we even let them play a “killing game.” And it’s all fine. Really. I’ve learned that I’m responsible for raising my kids not yours. So we can all simmer down a little and be faithful to who God has given us.

I’m writing today mainly as someone who’s had a wake up call to the world of gaming. I’ve realized I can’t compete and I need God’s wisdom and help way more than I thought. And honestly, I’ve learned that our kids are still kids and they still love God even when AR’s and “new skins” are their main topics of conversation.

Breathe. Sit and watch. Maybe play a little yourself.

God has given us these kids and these moments. Let’s not miss them!

“…But that you may do what is right, though we may seem to have failed. For we are glad when we are weak and you are strong. Your restoration is what we pray for.” (II Corinthians 13:7b,9)

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(Love these boys and their silly Fortnite ways…Side note-Stephen and I finally won duo’s last night…and I burnt the chocolate chip cookies because of it!)

 

 

 

 

 

I don’t want this moment to be holy…it wasn’t planned!

Most mornings you’ll find me sitting on the closet floor. Door shut. Pen in hand. Journal open.

I write to think. To wake up. To assure our kids after I’m gone and they nose through my journals that yes…Mom really was a big mess.

But recently the kids have found my spot. They know where I hide. And they come in.

THEY.COME.IN.DURING.MY.ALONE.TIME.

The other morning Kenan was the culprit. Dinosaur pajama pants. Shirtless. Carrying a blue blanket.

And I wanted to frown at him. To shoo him away to an Ipad.

But for some reason I stopped. Put him in my lap. And just held him. Smelled his hair. Breathed deeply of our littlest who’s now 3.

“This is holy.”

That’s what came to mind as we sat there. In the silence.

My Bible was waiting. My journal entry was half done. But somehow the moment felt holy. And I held grace in my arms.

Friends…let’s read our Bibles. Let’s pray. Let’s journal. But let’s not miss the moments where He slips in and says, “This…Even THIS is holy.”

Jesus revealed Himself to people on boats, land, and sky. He spoke to fisherman, tax collectors, and children.

Let’s not miss His grace today in the unexpected places. Let’s BE His grace today in the unexpected places.

 “And whoever gives one of these little ones even a cup of cold water because he is a disciple, truly, I say to you, he will by no means lose his reward.” (Matthew 10:42)

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A couple things…He was asleep on me. I wasn’t faking this smile. And we were out of town sleeping on the floor.

 

 

10 whole years ago today…The Yes over the No

10 years ago today we were in revival services at church.

I remember it like it was yesterday…

Jeremy came down and poked his head in the nursery where I was serving. He had a sly grin on his face.

“David from the Summit Church just called and asked me to pray about being their Kids’ Pastor.”

I laughed…out loud!

“You’re a Student Pastor. Not a Kids’ Pastor.”

And we forgot about it. Didn’t pray. Moved on.

Because we were somewhere special. Somewhere sweet. Surrounded by people who had cared for us the past year like we were blood relatives. (Union Grove…we LOVE you!)

And who in the world would move from a place like that?

A week passed and he called back. And Jeremy and I began to figure…huh…maybe we should actually ask God about this.

So we did. Over and over again.

“God, we don’t want to leave. Really. We love these students. Their parents. This staff. We’ve seen You move. We’ve got events planned. Surely this is some kind of test.”

But it wasn’t. And time made it clear. God was calling our family to the Summit Church.

Stephen was 2. I was due with Caleb in 8 weeks. The timing was bad.

We went to Lifeway and purchased a book about Kids’ Ministry. We poured over it like a college textbook.

A few months later we said some hard (really hard) goodbyes. And joined the Summit family.

And holy moly…only God could have known what He was doing!

10 whole years!

It’s been fun and hard and I’ve cried some and we’ve been stretched lots and I love the people here and still love the people at Union Grove.

Too many emotions and grace to even put down.

God has been faithful. He’s changed us. He’s taught us. We’ve gone deep in the Gospel and tried to impact wide.

To all those who journeyed with us before 10 years ago. We love you. And to those who believed in us while we struggled through new town and new ministry. We love you. And to those who still hold our hands and believe in God’s good plans for us. We love you.

What a 10 year ride it has been!

“Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” (Ephesians 3:20,21)

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The week we moved.

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Where has the time gone? (And where did all those kids come from?)

Raising whole-hearts in a half-hearted world…

Caleb means “whole-hearted” in Hebrew.

Who doesn’t want their kids to be “whole-hearted?”
We live in a society of half-hearts. Flippant devotion. Insecurity.

God, give us an army of “whole-hearts.”

“But my brothers who went up with me made the heart of the people melt; yet I wholly followed the Lord my God.” (Joshua 14:8)

This is why we named our second son Caleb. And I pray it for him nearly every day.
“God, make Caleb a “yet person.”

Because yet people are whole-hearted.

But then the words change…
“Because he wholly followed the Lord, the God of Israel.” (Joshua 14:14b)

Here’s what I’m learning between these 2 verses…Caleb wholly followed the Lord HIS God, not the God of Israel.

For our kids to be “yet” people who follow the Lord whole-heartedly, He has to be their God….(wait for it)….not our family’s.

And that has led me to this question…
“What’s the ‘one thing’ I can do this month to foster real relationships with Jesus?”

And here’s the answer…
I have no real idea.

But I do have clarity. The blinds have been pulled back a little more. And I can see the goal. The thesis. The big question.

God, help us not to raise little rule-followers. Help us not to raise “and kids” or “but kids.” Help to raise “yet kids” who whole-heartedly follow someone they know…not something they’ve been taught.

God, help us all to follow You…the One who said “nevertheless (yet)” in the Garden of Gethsemane for us.

“And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, ‘My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will’.” (Matthew 26:39)

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