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Posts Tagged ‘children’

10. You would rather sleep than go out for a relaxing dinner with your husband.

9. Previously a fashion statement, scarves now camouflage everything from leaking breasts to baby spit up.

8. Eating something from the baby’s high chair tray qualifies as your lunch.

7. You wear slippers in the kitchen because you don’t have time to sweep the crumbs on the floor.

6. Your water bill doubles. Who knew a baby could create so much laundry?

5. You cry more than the baby does when she has her shots.

4. People you’ve never met will offer their parenting advice. “Oh, she has a flat head. You’re letting her sleep on her back too much.”

3. When friends visit, they have to request an instruction booklet to access the baby-proofed toilet–which, remarkably, only takes your baby a few minutes to figure out.

2. Now you understand how much your parents love you.

1. You’ve just met a miracle–and realize nothing this beautiful could happen without a loving God.

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I have a confession to make and a realization to share.  The confession?  It begins with the birth of ourfirst child. One glance at his precious, wrinkled, newborn face and I knew Ben was destined to attain great things.  I imagined him on stage, standing in front of thousands of people as he humbly accepted the Nobel Peace Prize.  Or, perhaps he would demonstrate such athletic skill that one day he would boast a cherished Olympic gold medal around his neck.

Impossible?  No.  Unlikely?  Absolutely.  I had succumbed to a common belief—The Myth of the First Time Mother.  Maybe you’ve never heard of this particular myth.  Well, if you’re at all like me, you have probably been part of its storyline before.  Let me explain.

Like most stories, this one introduces a few main characters who deal with a specific conflict.  My particular version involved our little boy, my husband, and me.  Our problem?  I bought into the idea that fame, fortune, or feats would secure my baby’s position in life.  As a result, other proud play-group mommies (who also found purchase with this myth) and I compared developmental achievements as if the baby to walk, talk, or crawl first somehow ranked above the other children.  One mother might brag, “My child is in the 95th percentile for height AND weight.  He slept through the night before he was even a month old.”  And someone would respond, “Well, Jenna already started potty training.  They say it’s a sign of intelligence.”

Inevitably, these conversations caused a lot of consternation and concern.  Was I reading to my child often enough?  Shouldn’t he know his sight words before kindergarten?  If we forgot to register for pee-wee soccer had I eliminated Ben’s chance for sport stardom as a twenty-something?

Finally, around the time our third child joined the family, there was a twist in the plot.  For almost two years, Seth endured the confinement of miniature casts and discomfort of daily stretches.  Other mothers avoided making comparisons to their own babies and instead offered apologies for Seth’s condition.  But, in my eyes, neither Seth’s imperfect feet nor his clunky shoes impacted who he was.  The realization?  I love and appreciate my children even more fiercely for their imperfections than for their accomplishments, resiliency, or intelligence.

Yes, I still have dreams for my children.  On occasion, I imagine them performing at Carnegie Hall or serving as an instrumental diplomat in a far-off land.  More often, though, I remove unnecessary expectations.  It’s not what they do or how they look, but who they are that matters.  Even God gently reminds us, “Man looks at the outward appearance, but God looks at the heart.”  (1 Samuel 16:7)

Today, look for opportunities to remind your family and friends of their importance to you–

not for what they do, but for who they are.

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I’m not inviting my girlfriend over because you embarrass me. The words, emphatically offered by my teenage son, stung. How could I possibly cause embarrassment? After all, I never produce questionable baby pictures or use childhood nicknames when meeting Ben’s friends. Instead, I make popcorn, rent the requested DVD’s, and remain outside of the immediate area.
Mother guilt engulfed me. Had I done anything in particular to cause embarrassment? He must think I’m too serious. Maybe I should buy a few joke books. Or, it could be my music. I’ll need to remember not to play smooth jazz when people visit. Then, the truth struck me. Ben isn’t embarrassed by one specific thing—he’s embarrassed by who I am.


While considering my son’s assertion I was reminded of Romans 8:35 which reassures Christians that “nothing can separate us from the love of Christ”. Despite my areas of weakness, poor choices, and sinful nature God offers love and acceptance. And, unlike my earthly family, the heavenly Father is never embarrassed by who I am. Instead, he sees me through the lens of Christ’s sacrifice—as his beloved child.
Do you ever struggle with acceptance? Are you afraid you might do something to put an important relationship at risk? Friend, take comfort. Your Lord knows you intimately and nothing you do will ever jeopardize your position in his family.
Now…about those baby pictures.

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Teach your preschooler practical ways to love others using this simple activity.
First, assemble a booklet made of blank construction paper. Join your preschoolers on a “picture walk” as you look through magazines. Help your children find pictures of people who are demonstrating love. Ask such questions as, “Can you find a picture of someone being helpful? Do you notice anyone sharing? Praying together? How else might a person show they love somebody?”
After deciding on a few pictures, cut or tear them out of the magazines and glue onto pre-assembled booklet pages. Using the pictures as a prompt, discuss ways you and your children can love other people. Give your child a supply of crayons and a piece of paper labeled with the words, “I can show love to (name) by (action).” Attach the personalized page to the new book and place it in your family library.
Review-
1. Read the book together during family devotions.
2. Create additional pages as your children discover other ways to express love.
3. For each day of the week, choose one person to whom your children can demonstrate love. You might bake cookies together, draw a picture, or pray for that person.

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“I thought I would be the perfect mother. Then, I had children.”

The words drifted from the cars’ speakers as I pushed the dashboard button. I smiled, agreeing inwardly. I remembered all of the dreams I had of being that sort of mother, too. My goal wasn’t lofty. Angry words? Never. Consistency of discipline? Always. Great attitude? Every day.
You may have guessed…I haven’t come close to living up to my ideal. I’ve regretted words, failed to know how to discipline, and feel overwhelmed or irritated on a regular basis. Do you relate?
In my shortcomings, I’m reminded that God is the perfect parent. His love never fails (1 Corinthians 13:8). If I rely on His word, turn to Him for understanding, and trust His direction for the children He has given me then I can give up the idea of parenting perfectly. I’ll do my best and trust that God–the One who is perfection–is working in their lives despite and through my imperfection.

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Belonging

The mountain valley—lush with wildflowers and evergreens—was the perfect setting for my sister, Tiffany’s, wedding.  The afternoon sun cast its warm, honeyed glow on the bride and groom while the soft sounds of birds singing joined the young couple as they made their vows.  The wedding party stood nearby—twelve bridesmaids in elegant dresses.   Tracy, our sister and the matron-of-honor offered silent, smiling support. 

Words of love.  Promises of tomorrow.  Yet, I sat in my chair battling with mixed emotions- adoration and resentment, happiness and pain.  Why?  Because I had been rejected.  My little sister—one whose tears I had wiped and celebrations I had trumpeted—had chosen a dozen  women to assist, encourage, and support her on one of the most important days of her life and I was not one of them. 

Thoughts of rejection pricked my heart.  What did you expect?  You are just the half sister.  You’ve never really been part of the family.  Weeks later, I continue to struggle with the unrealized hope of belonging.

In gentle reproach, God began assuring me of my true position.  Daughter, remember my words. “[You] have been set free to experience [your] rightful heritage.  You can tell for sure that you are now fully adopted as his own child because God sent the Spirit of his Son into your life crying out, “Papa!  Father!”  (Galatians 4:6 MSG)  You do belong—to me!  What more could you need?

What more could I need?  Nothing.  Rather than being rejected, I have been accepted—even adopted– as a daughter of the king.  I am part of Christ’s family.  I have a place of belonging.  

Do you, too, yearn for acceptance?  Then take hold of the certificate of adoption Christ holds out to you!  You’ve been adopted.  You belong.

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Why have I decided to be one of millions blogging?  Because I have a story to share that continues to unfold page by page, chapter by chapter.  Like any story there is a beginning, middle, and end.  The beginning was difficult, the middle has been full of both triumphs and trials, and the ending is unpredictable .  Who knows what adventures and lessons I’ll learn along the way?

My prayer is that this blog will be a place of encouragement for you as we journey along life’s road together.  Let’s take a walk…

How has the beginning of your story influenced where you are in your life now? 

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