Friday, January 24, 2014

a new quest

I write about being a parent. It's what I do. It's my life and I eat, sleep, drink and breathe it in every moment of every day and I want to. I want to soak up this life and these little souls while they are little and fill up my day with them. I have grown to know that right now, in this life, in my life, raising these souls well is enough, it is a great high purpose to which the extent of it's reaches will likely never be fully known to me. I have power.

I'm learning to use it wisely.

My last post was about my issue with anger. It hasn't subsided, it's always there under the surface, brimming, waiting for its chance to strike. I won't let it. I have, I have let out that ugly monster on occasion but feel my children are beginning to grow up in a place where it is no longer the norm and I can only thank and praise the supernatural power of the Spirit that is within me. It could not have come from me alone.

In this time of learning to deal with issues of respect and obedience and far more importantly, the attitudes of the heart, a great revelation has come to me.

My children are PEOPLE.

It's a simple truth but in all my efforts to tame, teach, control and coerce them into doing my bidding, I lost sight of that fact. That children aren't some other category of life form until they leave the home, they are people from the very moment they are born. I would never treat another adult the way I have them. Boss them around all day, give them no room for error, expect them to do things all day long that they hate with a "happy heart." I had to step back. Look at MY heart and figure out why their obedience was so important to me. What I realized was really ugly. Though a large factor in my desiring them to be respectful and obedient came from a heart to teach them unquestioning obedience to the Father I put my faith in, there was a huge motivation to preserve an image. An image of me as a model parent, of having answers, of being "good" at what I am doing. But I'm not. Any good that results in my parenting is the fruit of the spirit I pledge these children to, the stuff I do out of my own character? Not good fruit.

So I've taken a stand and am seeing the most beautiful of (slow) transformations in the hearts of my oldest two children. Asher, who often got the heaviest load of my expectations, now gets grace. He gets a hug when he makes a mistake, even when he intentionally does something wrong, I'm learning to stop. Get at his level, give him space to figure out why he is acting as such, tell him why it bothers me to see him act this way, speak LIFE INTO HIS BONES by telling him I know how good he CAN be, and that THAT is the boy he is. He is not the sum of his poor decisions. I'm putting away the distractions to look into the eyes of my children more. We are staying home on purpose, not going to so many play dates and outings so that we can learn to love each other fully, so they can grow to see the joy of having siblings to go on great sofa cushion adventures with. So home can be the place they love to be.

As these six years of motherhood have passed, I've begun to see how much power a mother has to control the voice a person hears in their head for the rest of their life. What I say to these souls will repeat and resonant with them for decades. Will their internal voice be kind? Mine isn't. I nag myself, I tell myself I don't do enough and that what I do is never done as well as it should be. I don't want my kids to grow up with my inner voice. In a perfect world their voice would speak with grace and mercy but also be set with high expectations for achieving and doing good. I don't know exactly how to mold and create that but I'm doing my best.

So our home still has clear boundaries and high expectations for attitudes and behavior, but we're changing the way we get there. I'm trying to see how gentle and patient Jesus was in his conviction of hearts, giving all of us room to be people. People falter, make mistakes, do great and amazing and big things. I want to give my little people enough space to do all of that. And more.

Reading that has inspired these heart changes:
The words of Jesus in the gospels
The works of Charlotte Mason, specifically "For the Children's Sake"
"Love and Logic"
"Loving Our Kids on Purpose"
"How To Talk So Kids Will Listen, And Listen So Kids Will Talk"


  1. Beautifully written. So much of my own heart jumped out at me from these words. Praying for an abundance of God's grace over your sweet family.

    1. I often remember you all in my prayers too, friend! Thank you for lifting us, it means a lot.

  2. I cannot tell you how much I relate to this. How much, I too, long to have grace pour out of me and onto my children. I pray every day--usually multiple times--to be calm and patient and kind. I'm glad to know I'm not the only one.

    1. Oh how we ALL struggle, Erin! But how blessed your children are to be raised by a matriarch who prays over herself and her home, who loves God and each of them and makes doing it well her life's work in this season. It's a gift!