|Valentines Picture for Daddy|
Raising kids can be a lot of thankless work. It’s easy to get bogged down in the minutia and lose sight of the big picture. When you’re in the thick of changing diapers, chauffeuring kids, sleepless nights, and being the homework police, motherhood can feel like a life-sucking vacuum instead of a calling!
But God keeps bringing me back to the big picture. I get ONE SHOT at raising my kids. Time does not stand still and I won't get a do-over. My precious kiddos will be gone before I know it. I have one shot to change diapers, pass out patterned Band-Aids like they’re stickers, and sing lullabies in the middle of the night. One shot to wrestle and tickle and wipe away tears. One shot to teach my kids responsibility, how to be kind, and hopefully at some point - table manners. One shot to make our home a haven and be there when my kids burst through the door after a long day at school. One shot to teach them coming-of-age stuff like how to apply deodorant and wash their face. One shot to pray with them, counsel them, and point them to Jesus. I want to raise my kids to be functioning members of society who passionately follow Jesus and love His people. I don’t want to sit across the table from my kids’ future spouses, hang my head and say, “I’m so sorry.”
I love the passage at the end of I Corinthians 9 when Paul says in relation to following Jesus, “I don’t run like a man running aimlessly.” I would never go on a training run without knowing how far I was going, how long it would take me, and without the proper tools. God has been teaching me, "Jodi, don't parent aimlessly. Embrace this one shot and parent your kids with intentionality and purpose. Train them with the same discipline and determination you use to approach training for a race."
Not running aimlessly as a Mom for me means embracing the big picture that parenting is a marathon, not a sprint. Often times I’m unrealistic in my expectations of how long it should take for me or the kids to master a new character trait (self control, honesty, responsibility) or learn a new skill (potty training, tying shoes, making lunches). I've been working on "slow to speak, quick to listen, slow to angry" (James 1:19) since the day Grant was born. I've gained considerable ground, but am still a major work in progress. The same is true of my kids. God has been reminding me, "It's a marathon, not a sprint. Be realistic, extend grace, and embrace the phase you're in now cause you won't be able to go back."
|Grant getting busted for being goofy when I|
said, "Please smile nicely this time."
Not running aimlessly also means not beating myself up when the kids or I have a bad training day. We will disappoint each other and let each other down. There will be bad training days. We may even have some injuries along the way that sideline our forward progress for a short time. But this too shall pass. We will get back on our feet and keep running. When we have a bad training day, it's imperative that we forgive freely, love fiercely, and move on with fresh determination to stay the course.
Not running aimlessly also means that when the kids are home from school and on the weekends, I need to be purposeful to ENGAGE them. When I ask them a question about their day, I need to actually stop what I’m doing and actively listen instead of planning dinner or finishing my blog post in my head while they chatter in my ear. I’m learning to set my agenda aside to do the stuff that’s important to them.
Of course God has given me multiple opportunities in the past two weeks to practice all this "one shot" parenting. We've had one bad training day after another. The kids have failed miserably. I've failed miserably. There's been way too much, "I'm so sorry. It was wrong of me to do BLAH. Will you please forgive me?" and quite a bit of hitting the reset button.
It's been exhausting and mentally depleting. In all honesty, I've wanted to just give up. Quit trying. Sit down on the side of the road and pout. Throw a tantrum. Cry my eyes out. I've sensed the same frustration and despair in the kids.
But in our weakness, our Savior is strong. He gently wipes away my tears and points me back to truth. As I've been encouraged, I've been able to pass on these truths and encouragement to the kids. Our struggles are drawing us closer together and we are celebrating the victories that we are having.
|Don't look back - just move forward!|
The truth is that God chose ME to be Grant, Katie, Alli and Paige's mom. He has equipped me for the work He has prepared in advance for me to do (Ephesians 2:10). He promises to not give me more than I can handle. (I Corinthians 10:13). It's my job to bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord. (Ephesians 6:4) It's time to stop wallowing in self pity and start running again.
After all, I only get one shot at raising the next generation of Jesus Followers. With Jesus' help and an army of friends and family who love and support Curt and I (and love our kids), we will make it to the finish victoriously. Thank you Jesus!