Faithfulness

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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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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Our Summer Favorites

Well, this post isn’t the norm. I’m just gonna list some of our favorite “stuff” this summer as promised. Here goes…

Books:
This summer we’ve gotten into books…like big time. Part of this is due to me finding the Podcast Read Aloud Revival. We’ve maxed out library cards. Gotten addicted to audiobooks. And the free app “Libby” from the library was a game changer!

Our favorites have been (there are links but most are at the library):
Mercy Watson series (Jonathan)
39 Clues series (Caleb)
Big Nate (Stephen)
Squish & Amulet (comic books…all the boys)
Madeline series (Esther & Kenan)
Iggie’s House (read aloud)
The Green Ember (read loud)
The Color of Water (Me)
The ONE Thing (Me)
Essentialism (Me)
The Power of Moments (Me)
12 Ways Your Phone is Changing You (Me)

Music:
The boys have a varied taste in music that I’m a little embarrassed to share (you would judge us). So I’ll share 3 of my “cling to” songs this summer:

Great is Thy Faithfulness by One Sonic Society
Scandal of Grace by Hillsong United
Build My Life by Housefires III

Study:
Jen Wilkin’s Genesis study was great!

It’s been a fine summer. Really. We’ve made simple memories together. Taken only 1 trip. But it’s been sweet.

I’m thankful for what was. What is. And what’s to come.

And super thankful that He knows about all of it!

“Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring.” (Proverbs 27:1)

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(That time we rode with Jeremy to a wedding rehearsal thinking it was near one of our favorite stores. Only to find ourselves in the middle of nowhere with an hour and a half to spare. Sigh. Thankful for GPS and random parks and trails!)