I get to speak at a Olathe MOPS group this month and I had so much fun reviewing my talk for it. As always, working through a topic is always one hundred times more helpful for me than it is for anyone else that might hear it. Sitting down and hashing out some things, pen to paper, always helps me hide away with God while He reminds me gently of some areas I need to keep growing.
One of Josh and I’s goals when we started our parenting journey was to parent our kids without using shame as a tactic to shift their behavior. We wanted to use love, prayer, God’s Word, safety, and security to woo them with the love of Jesus. Sure there is conviction from the Holy Spirit, but it turns out, all I can do is point my kids to the better way, the more narrow way, I can’t force their hearts into wanting it. Heck, Jesus is still working on my heart to want to take the narrow way most days because the wider path of self-centeredness is always so much easier. As we entered the crazy journey of parenting we wanted to leave the Holy Spirit’s job all up to Him.
Then we had kids and realized most of our best laid plans were laughable when a naked kid was karate kicking us because they didn’t want the clothes we chose for them, or a kiddo was barfing on the kitchen table at the mere thought of trying a dreaded green bean. Our standards and plans were still there but this time we were in the game, trying to learn the ropes while we were getting tackled and pummeled by real Mom and Dad life.
So in the tough moments, instead of steering clear from shaming my kids, I find myself yelling, “Ruth Mae/Lydia Joy/ Micah Joshland, what are you thinking!?!?!” Or, in a wild moment I shout at them about their behavior and how its ruining the day. Am I super embarrassed by my own actions and word choices? YES MA’AM! So hold off on the comments with the parenting books I should read, I get it, I’m a mess of a mom.
But, I am so grateful for the way the Holy Spirit has worked on me in the hard seasons of parenting. His ways are gentle, loving, and tender. Does he still discipline and convict me? Sure thing. But there’s no surprise there when I fail him. He isn’t shocked by my sin and yelling “Madison Mae, what were you thinking?!?!”. He’s holding me, saying, “I know, that’s why I came. You can’t do it alone. I never meant for you to. I would love to revive that cold part of your heart.”
In response to God’s insane outpouring of grace on me, my favorite thing to get to say to my kids in their rough moments is this: “Me too.”
I know you lied just now because you didn’t want to have to try that green bean, and it was wrong of you to tell a lie. But do you know what? Me too. I struggle with lying too. Just this week, I lied to Daddy to make myself sound better. Do you know who we can trust for forgiveness and ask to rescue us from our lies?
I saw the way you spoke so harshly to your sister just now. You sounded like you didn’t even love her. Me too. I hear myself speak so harshly to you kids. I struggle with self centeredness and wanting y’all to do things my way. I lose my patience too. Do you know who came and lived the perfect life that we can’t live? Jesus. And he did it so we could know his perfect love and he could save us from our harsh ways. Let’s ask Him for help.
Hey, I love when you help me cook but when you crack and egg too early and dump the flour everywhere you are choosing not to trust God for patience. I get that. Me too. I chose that earlier when I yelled at you kids for moving too slowly. I wasn’t trusting Him for patience. Do you know what the Holy Spirit loves to fill us with when we ask? Patience!
Here’s to all the Moms and Dads struggling today. Let’s not be surprised by our kids when they mess up or when they act like….kids! Let’s give them the gift of saying, “Me too!” and going together to the throne of grace to ask for help whenever we need it!
And here’s a few pictures from our grace-needy home lately. Because when I’m lying awake in the middle of the night feeling Abigail kick, my favorite thing in the world is going through old blog posts and watching these little treasures grow up right before my eyes.
We had a “no” weekend last weekend. Our answer to every activity that wasn’t restful was ‘no’. We needed it so badly. And we walked away so refreshed. Micah is my constant cooking helper and my constant reminder to grow in patience. The boy is HANDS ON! The girls helped me decorate for fall last week. Their new picture is hanging in the bathroom and they are so proud.How is he so grown??!?! This boy loves his bike. We are soaking up every minute of nice weather this month and enjoying all of Dad’s hard work on the yard. He’s transformed it from a weedy dandelion filled mess, to a retreat for us and all our students to hang out in!
Thanks for stopping by and reading about the messy lessons we are learning lately! I sure am thankful for everyone who takes time to link arms with our family as we journey together.