Category Archives: Mothering

Throwback Thursday: And now you know.

As of next week, I will have two children in elementary school. That is ALL OF MY CHILDREN. As in, THERE WILL BE NO CHILDREN AT MY HOUSE ALL DAY.

Part of me (okay, a LOT of me) is just trying to keep my excitement at a civilized level.

Another part of me is simply stunned at how quickly we’ve reached this season. And if I linger too long over it, my heart feels that familiar squeeze all over again.

Here’s what I wrote the first time around, with Owen. (It all seemed a bit more intense with him. He’s my first. So, I guess that makes sense.)

But she’s my last. I’m finding that brings an ache of its own.

Originally published on August 18, 2014.

I cried the Ugly Cry today. Sometimes it seems my kids are just growing up so fast. So much that I cried the Ugly Cry about it today. Am I the only one who’s thought "WHAT DID I GET MYSELF INTO!?” Whether your children are babies or grown, find encouragement in this short must-read.

My firstborn, my baby boy, that sweet boy who made me a mama, that bundle of life who waited so long and then came so fast I hardly knew what hit me…

He starts school in one week.

One week from today, I will drive him to a sweet old elementary school and entrust him to the care of an exceptional staff for SEVEN HOURS. And I will do this FIVE DAYS A WEEK.

He will be just three miles away. He will have the time of his life.

And I feel like my heart is being ripped out of my chest.

I remember the first night I laid that baby boy to sleep in his crib in his own room. He was three steps away. But he was SO SMALL. And that crib seemed SO BIG.

Post-partum hormones crashed like a wave, and I hiccup-sobbed to my mom, “I just LOVE. HIM… SO… MUCH…”

She held me close (stifling a giggle at my snotty-hiccuppy-Ugly-Cry) and said, “And now you know.”

She pulled back so she could look in my eyes and said with all the fervor in her heart, “I still feel that way about you.”

Oh, God.

“WHAT DID I GET MYSELF INTO!?” I cry to Heaven, now over six years later.

And I don’t mean sending my child to school. I mean BECOMING A MOTHER.

God, how do our hearts survive this?

The cry gets uglier as I picture my aunt sending her twin boys to COLLEGE over the weekend. It seems just yesterday that THEY were babies.

In twelve years, I’ll be doing the same thing. In twelve short years, we’ll help this boy, this precious boy who laid so small in a great big crib, move into a dorm and then out in the world, and he just seems so little, and the world is just so big, and GOD, MY HEART CANNOT BEAR THIS.

Maybe next year I’ll be the mom at the end of the summer saying, “Please! Teachers! Take him back! I’m dying here!”

But this is not that year. This year, our first year sending our son to school, I hold him close. I marvel at how he’s grown, how tall he is, how funny, how altogether incredible to me.

And I marvel still more that of all the little boys in all of time, this boy calls me Mom.

My mom was right. Now I know. Oh, how I know. This ache. This blessed ache of a mother’s heart… It started with you, son. You’ve ruined me. In the most sacred of ways, you’ve ruined me.

And God, You have the audacity to say you love this child EVEN MORE THAN I DO? That claim would really piss me off, except that I know it’s true. Oh thank You, Jesus, it’s true.

Fresh tears roll as He draws me near, whispering with all the fervor in His heart:

“And now you know…

I feel that way about you.”

1John419**Hey, mama! Are you feeling a lot more “WOOHOO!!” than “Boohoo” about your kid going to school? Do you want to vomit if one more person tells you to savor every moment? Then, you probably want to read this OTHER post I wrote. 😉

There is room at the table for all of us.

 

One BIG parenting mistake I KEEP MAKING! (And the simple fix.)

We all make parenting mistakes. But this is a BIG ONE I just. keep. making. Have you made the same one? Find encouragement - and a solution - in this helpful post.Outwardly, I would say I do okay as a mom. But to be painfully honest, I feel like I’m really messing up. Like REALLY messing up. And I don’t even know how to be better.

Oh, I have THEORIES on how to be better. Those are crystal clear when I judge all the OTHER moms. But when shit gets real in my own home, I spin my wheels again.

My daughter whines. I’m talking Champion Whiner. The whiniest kid on the block. And she’s not 2. She’s almost 6. It’s not cute.

My son has developed social anxiety, and I can’t crack the code on why it started or how to fix it.

My exhaustion over my daughter’s whining is compounded by shame. It berates me:

You should’ve nipped this in the bud YEARS ago.

You KNOW your friends must say she’s the whiniest kid they know.

You’re her MOTHER. What’s wrong with you?

My concern about my son’s fear snowballs wildly:

What have you DONE (or not) to hurt his confidence?

Did something HAPPEN?

You’re his MOTHER. Why can’t he TELL YOU what’s wrong?

As I write down my thoughts, I recognize a theme: ME. I’ve made it all about ME.

In an attempt to be a good mom, a better mom, the BEST MOM I CAN BE, I have framed THEIR lives as a barometer of what I’M doing right or wrong. ME. ME. ME.

When did I forget that my children are on THEIR own journey of growth? A journey of learning to walk with Jesus. To depend on Jesus. To recognize – for themselves – their personal need for Jesus.

If my daughter whines every day, it’s not just because I have failed as a mother. IT’S BECAUSE SHE’S A HUMAN ON THIS PLANET AND SHE SINS LIKE THE REST OF US. I’m ALSO not handling my role in it perfectly. But may I not be so consumed with self-loathing that I forget SHE NEEDS JESUS, TOO.

If my son wrestles with anxiety, it’s not just because I haven’t loved him well enough. IT’S BECAUSE HE’S A HUMAN ON THIS PLANET AND HE NEEDS JESUS LIKE THE REST OF US. And, yes I’m still over here, being not perfect. But again, may I not be so consumed with MY anxiety about HIS anxiety that I forget to LET HIM EXPERIENCE HIS NEED FOR JESUS.

My children were not created to simply be agents in MY personal growth. God certainly does use them to refine me. (Understatement of the century.) But to consistently frame THEIR struggles as being all about ME and MY failures (or their victories as being all about ME and MY awesomeness — ouch) is to crowd out the greater reality: they are each on a journey with and toward Jesus. This is their journey of learning to trust Him and to trust His power to help them overcome their struggles.

Whether I’ve cast myself as the hero or the villain, I AM NOT THE STAR PLAYER IN MY KIDS’ STRUGGLES.

Yes, I’ve been given a crucial supporting role.

But the story of my child’s life is NOT. ABOUT. ME.

We MUST STOP making our children’s struggles (and strengths!) all about us. Instead, let’s use that time, effort, and brain space to fix our attention back on Jesus. On what He’s doing in us. On what He’s doing in them. That’s what our kids need anyway, right? More of Jesus. More of seeing their mom need Jesus. And more of seeing Jesus come through for us both.

Have you found this to be true in your parenting? What difference would it make for you to believe your child’s struggle – or strength – isn’t all about you?

I’m going to a conference. And I’m wearing my pajamas.

How great would it be to experience the awesome teaching, encouragement, and inspiration of a women’s conference – but without having to pack a bag, shell out a load of cash for a hotel, and arrange to be gone for multiple days and nights? Don’t get me wrong – I love me a girls’ weekend. But sometimes the effort required to get away can make it nearly impossible to pull off.

I’ve got a great alternative for you: the Wisdom for Wives online conference. It’s coming up SOON! May 12-14, 2015, to be exact. And can I tell you something more amazing? When you register to “attend” (And by “attend,” I mean “watch the conference on your computer. In your pajamas.”), you then have access to RE-WATCH any of the sessions for a FULL YEAR. Are the live dates not going to work for you? Access the sessions during the kids’ naps and spread it over several days at your own pace.

You guys, this is my kind of conference. (They had me at pajamas.)

Session topics include:

  • The Secret to a Thriving Marriage
  • A Kind Wife
  • 5 Steps to Improving Sexual Intimacy
  • To the Wife Who Is Ready to Run
  • Praying Over Your Husband
  • When Porn Shows up in Your House
  • Nurturing Your Marriage in the Middle of the Storm
  • Keeping the Spark Alive with Young Children
  • Choosing Him All Over Again: 11 Checkpoints to Refresh Your Marriage
  • How to Rein in Your Emotions So You Don’t Tear Down Your Home

… and more!

Click the image below to check out more details and register today!

Do you want a better marriage? Join us for the Wisdom for Wives online conference, May 12-14, 2015!