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Last winter, my husband and I took our kids to visit several amusement parks in San Diego. After about our fourth day of kid-sized entertainment, my children were understandably tired. As we left an attraction one of my children came upon the store that is conveniently located where any passing child will definitely want to walk through it. After many days of hearing “no” when asked if we could buy something, my child was having a difficult time accepting the refusal. As I encouraged her to have a good attitude, she said some of the truest words I have ever heard come from her mouth, “But mom – it is hard to have a good attitude when we don’t get what we want.” And she is right.

However, just because something is difficult doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t do it. It is important to teach our kids to have good attitudes. Doing so will help them now, and will help them as they develop into a fully functioning adult. After all, no one likes to work with the person who is complaining all the time. Teachers don’t commend students who are most known for the ability to whine. Even other little people prefer to be around those who are joyful and content regardless of the circumstances.

So here are a few tips for helping our children develop (and maintain) good attitudes.

1. Create conditions for success.

Kids are resilient and in the midst of growing and learning about the world, they can contend with a lot. However, sometimes as parents we may set them for failure because we push them to their limits. While being tired and exhausted doesn’t excuse a bad attitude, it may help explain it. We won’t be able to control every circumstance, but if we can limit the amount of times that we are asking young children to deal with challenging circumstances and physical exhaustion.  Be the planner for your kids. This doesn’t mean just scheduling play dates and getting them to soccer matches. It also means that you take into account their individual needs and you don’t over-commit or over schedule them more than they are ready to handle.

When creating conditions for success, also consider the following:

  • State clear expectations – make sure your kids know how you want them to behave – not just in concepts, but in particularity. If you are going somewhere they can’t run – and they are used to running all day – tell them that. It is better to have the discussion ahead of time than having to correct them after the fact.
  • Acknowledge difficult moments – some days are going to be more challenging than others as are some certain circumstances. Talk to your children about these ahead of time. It can help them to know that they are going to have to work harder to have a good attitude so that they can mentally prepare for what lies ahead.
  • Discuss the long-term consequences of their behavior – young children don’t know what we mean when we say we want them to grow to become “successful adults” so help paint the picture before them. For example – if someone doesn’t want want to share their toys – ask them what it would be like if no one shared. They are reacting to the moment; help them see the grander picture.
  • Help them see beyond themselves – One day I wasn’t able to pick up my daughter at the time I said because there was a bad accident on the freeway. When she began to object to my tardiness, I told her the reason I was late and asked her to consider the other people whose day had been ruined because they were in the accident. Those individuals’ days were a whole lot worse than ours. And even at a young age – she could see that and her complaining was replaced with compassion.

2. Deal with the Behavior.

Although it may be inconvenient, don’t ignore bad behavior. Deal with it. Even when it messes with your schedule; even when it might make you embarrass. If you are around others, have a quiet talk with your child outside of the center of activity. But don’t just let it ride. Your job is to teach your children what is expected of them, not to make excuses on their behalf.

Conversely, celebrate good behavior. A LOT. Especially when your children are really young. They are learning and a great way to help someone learn is through affirmation. Even when it doesn’t seem like a big deal – try to make it a big deal. Does one child willingly share with another – give them a high-five and tell them why.  Does your kid maintain a good attitude even when they are disappointed? Tell them that you know it was difficult, and you are so proud of them. We want right attitudes and behaviors to be the norm, so sometimes we don’t acknowledge them. DON’T DO THIS. Everyone likes to be told that they did a good job – even your two-year old who shows kindness to a friend.

3. Model right responses.

As has been said many times, when it comes to parenting, “more is caught than taught.” If we want our kids to have good attitudes even in challenging circumstances, we need to show them what that looks like by our words and behaviors. If they see us get upset at the inconveniences of life then they will too. If we grumble and complain when we don’t get our way, we should expect to experience the same with our kids. Conversely, if they see us giving thanks, being gracious, and maintaining joy even when life throws us unexpected twists and turns, we are more likely to see these characteristics exhibited in our kids. They may only pay attention to some of our words, but they will definitely pay attention to how we live our lives.

Closing Thoughts

Helping our kids learn how to have and maintain good attitudes is not easy. They are going to be tempted and persuaded that it is their prerogative to express their displeasure and we are going to have to teach them to curtail those responses. But engaging in the work is worth it. It means that our kids are more likely to have good attitudes now, and to maintain those right responses as they become adults.

 

Recently I had the privilege of speaking to a group of moms regarding this subject. This is a summation of that talk. If you would like to listen/watch the whole thing, you can do so here.

 

 

Two Rules

April 13, 2017 — 2 Comments

 

Every day before I say goodbye to my kids, I ask them one question – “What are we going to do today?”

The answer, often said in unison,  is simple – “Be kind and be respectful.”

It’s a mantra that we have said for years now – nearly since the time my children could talk. We say it because I want to remind them what the expectations are for their behavior. It’s simple because I want them to remember it even when I’m not there.

We started this little recitation with my eldest. As is probably true for most children, it wasn’t easy on either of us when she first went to school. I knew that there would be new temptations and I knew that there would be new influences. I wanted to help her remember how “Team Winter” behaves and I wanted her to know what was important to her mom and dad. There were lots of things that she would be learning at school – some good and some bad – and whatever she learned, I wanted to give her a filter through which to consider it.

I was helped in this endeavor by a wise friend who encouraged me to not make the rules of our house too cumbersome. With little ones a parent is constantly telling them “no” as they learn boundaries and form understandings. If you are constantly saying “no” to new categories of behavior, it is hard for little brains to sort out what it is that they can and can’t do. Instead, if you create a few broad categories that many things can fall into, it helps them learn, remember, and hopefully apply, what they know.  We decided on two rules. The first was that they were to be kind. Regardless of what our kids encountered each day, we wanted them to be people who would be quick to show compassion and love. The second was that there were to be respectful. This didn’t mean that they always had to agree with authority, but it did mean that they would show deference to those that God had entrusted with their care.

The beautiful thing about these two, umbrella-like rules, is that many things fall underneath them.

  • Are you fighting with your sibling? Don’t do that – it’s not kind.
  • Are you putting your shoes on the couch? Please remove them – that’s not respectful of other people’s stuff.
  • Are you tempted to lie? That doesn’t show kindness or respect to the person you are talking to.

Time and time again we have been able to employ these two standards to correct and direct our kids’ behavior. The beauty of them is that because they are easy to recall our children always know which way they are to aim. They are clear about the standards, even as they learn the particulars of what those behaviors look like. They know what is expected of them, and are rarely surprised by the corrections they receive.

And sometimes those rules have prompted correction in my own heart as well.

The Easy Serve

April 6, 2017 — Leave a comment

If you listen to romantic songs long enough, it can seem that the only genuine expression of love for someone is the grand gesture. TVs and movies give the same impression. Oftentimes it can appear that your love for someone is defined by how much you risk and how big of an overture you make in order to win their affection.

However, like many things in life, reality does not resemble this commercialized representation. People’s experience of relationships, including marriage, rarely match up to the Hollywood expression. This doesn’t mean that great love stories don’t exist – I firmly believe that they do – but the day-in and day-out of life doesn’t make for good TV and so what a “great love story” really looks like, and how it is portrayed on film, bear little resemblance to each other.

Unfortunately, this tension in people’s minds can lead to tensions in people’s homes. Individuals who claimed that they would climb mountains or swim across ranging seas for one another, aren’t willing to (joyfully) pick up the other person’s socks. We claim that we would do anything for the other person, yet we aren’t willing to compromise on where we go out to eat. Our visions of grand gestures are quickly swept aside as we fight for territory, selfish desires, and our way.

In all likelihood one of the reasons that picking up socks and giving way on where we go to dinner doesn’t feel like expressing love is because they seem like such “trivial” and “easy” things to do. (The irony of course is that if they are trivial and easy, why do we fight so arduously to have our own way?) We want the extravagant expression and yet in our everyday life we stubbornly cling to our defenses and our demands, failing to recognize that it only takes one moment to make a grand gesture, but a daily commitment to sacrifice for the good of the other is a far more difficult, and far more significant, act of love.

Our example of this type of love is of course Christ. His sacrifice on the cross is the ultimate expression of love, but that’s not all He did for His disciples. He washed their feet. He went to their family when they were sick. He did the seemingly “little” things and as such, I am convinced that His followers knew that He loved them far before He hung on a tree. And if the God of the Universe, the Savior of the world, was willingly to do these seemingly “little” things for the good of those He loved, shouldn’t we be willing to do the same thing? And if we are willing to serve well in those seemingly “insignificant” and “easy” things with love, don’t you imagine we will be better prepared to do the great sacrifices with the same kind of affection and grace?

One of the benefits of having kids is the frequent reminders of what unadulterated wonder looks like. Kids tend to find amazement in what has become commonplace.. Nothing, it seems, is too small to comment on. Everything is worthy of a declaration; pronouncements over the mundane fill our day.

In the midst of the minute-by-minute play-by-play of each task and every activity, is the simply joy in discovery. The clouds may look like the same clouds as yesterday to you and to me,  but to my child they are a dinosaur today. The purple dog statute that we pass regularly may be an inconsequential oddity, but it never fails to generate a response. The garbage truck would probably escape my notice, but it certainly won’t hers.

For many, these moments may become an annoyance. The running commentary can certainly get overwhelming at times. However, as anyone whose kids have grown will tell you, the days may be long but the years are short. Before I know it, she may find little to reason to talk to me. And I try to remind myself of that when even the cloudless sky generates a two-minute discussion.

The other reason that I have found to treasure these soliloquies is because they give me the opportunity to talk with my daughter about the greatness of God in terms that she readily relates to. As she looks in astonishment at the majesty of the sky, I can teach her about the majesty of our King. As she stands in awe at the orchestration of the birds’ migration, we can talk about the divine orchestration of every detail of our world. As she marvels in the beauty of a multicolored sky, I remind her that the God who created that beauty, also created her. Her constant wonderment reminds me of the many reasons we have to give thanks. The soundtrack of our day then becomes an anthem of praise; an off-key and unfocused one to be sure, but still a moment by moment remainder of the One who deserves all praise.

I know as my daughter gets older she won’t have the same sense of wonder that she has now. Soon it will take much more than drops of rain for her to wildly exclaim. Until then though, I hope I use her astute attention to detail to teach her about the God who  has made and sustained all that she sees. Maybe then when the sense of wonder fades, she will still see God’s hand in her everyday.

 

Minding the Moments

January 22, 2015 — Leave a comment

The other day I was struck by the fact that in less than 16 years my oldest child would be a legal adult. When I shared this realization with my husband, he smiled amusingly, probably thinking that this was only something that a mother would consider a “short time.” Although I realize that many people have children that are much closer to being on the brink of adulthood it nevertheless caused me to pause. It seems only a short time ago that we were coming home from the hospital and with the lightning paced that the past two years have flown by, I can only imagine that the next 16 will be gone before we know it.

While there is a part of me that it sad at the rapid growth of our daughter, rationally I know that this is a good thing. A parent wants their child to grow, develop, and eventually enter the great big world as a responsible adult. However, this realization prompted me to recall again that the moments are fleeting. I will never have another “today” with my children. The days that seem so long will be gone before I know it.  Every moment counts, even the seemingly insignificant ones, because there are no “do overs” in the sands of time.

This means I want to take every opportunity that I can to teach my children – not just what it means to be a responsible adult, but what it means to be a person who solely depends upon God. When we hear sirens blaring in the distance, I want to stop and remind them that we need to pray for whomever the emergency personnel are rushing towards. When something unexpected and inconvenient happens, I want to demonstrate my confidence in the One who orchestrates the setting of the sun and the dawning of the moon, knowing that what happens to me is not outside His hands. At the start of the day and at the end of the day, I want my life to be replete with gratitude for all that He has provided and all that He will.  I want my moments to be filled with lessons – both stated and observed – of what it means to live a life for the sake of eternity.

Of course, it would be tempting to try to contrive these moments. But kids, even when they are 16 years away from becoming an adult, are remarkably gifted at seeing what’s authentic and genuine. Therefore, the best way to ensure that my kids learn the lessons I desire is to conform my life to the aspirations for them. While this won’t make the moments past by any slower, it will help ensure that each moment is spent mindfully.

Minding the Moments

Quick to Forget

January 15, 2015 — Leave a comment

It was a seemingly insignificant moment.

I noticed a dish that I thought my darling husband may have left out and asked him if it was dirty or clean.

It was dirty, he told me, but he would wash it before he went to bed.

As I had an early morning the next day, that worked for me.

Except that the next morning when I woke up the dish was still there. In the midst of watching the big game, it had been forgotten. I knew in the grand scheme of things it didn’t matter, yet it did. At least to me.

As I thought about how to express my frustration so as to frame it in the best way possible, the thought crossed my mine that rarely did my husband have to plan similar discussions with me. And while the temptation was to think that this was because my track record was perfect, it didn’t take me long to realize that was probably not the case. My memory, like most people’s, is faulty. Surely there were times that I had agreed to do something and then forgotten to do it.  The reason I couldn’t recall a history of my husband initiating similar conversations was more due to his graciousness than my diligence. More often than not, he chooses to overlook my errors and knowing him, when I am forgetful, he probably does whatever thing I neglected to do without making a peep. He doesn’t require “a good reason” for my lack of mindfulness; he opts to issue me grace. While I may be inclined to wonder how he could quickly forget the dirty dish, I should instead be gratefully wondering why he is so quick to forget my mistakes.

In our sinfulness it is easy to notice the missteps and errors of others. However, we are less aware of the kindness and sacrifice that others extend to us. May we strive to reverse this tendency. And may we follow the example of my husband and become quick to forget.

 

Proverbs 19-11

I love a good joke. If you were to ask one of my college classes they may argue over the word “good” since I tend to tell jokes that are pretty corny, but still, laughing is one of my favorite things to do.  Whether it’s a witty play on words or a creative pun or even just an unexpected twist in a story, finding humor in life’s everyday circumstances is something that has served me well over the years. The Bible seems to support this proclivity. After all, Proverbs 17:22a tells us that “a joyful heart is good medicine.”

Recently, I was reminded of a very important truth about humor, though. As I read the story of the NFL replacement referee who notoriously missed a crucial call, I realized how critical it was that we remember the person behind the punchline. After the game, the skewering of this particular official was severe.  All the pundits, late night talk show hosts, and armchair quarterbacks may not have given a second thought to the impact of the critique they were making, but the impact was significant. The referee ended up suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder as the result of being the target of so much criticism.  His infamy destroyed his life.

This is an extreme case to be sure, but often times there are lessons to be learned from the extremes. Everyone we tease may not end up seeking professional help, but there is at least the possibility that one of them may. Words matter. If you doubt that, think back upon your childhood. If you are like most people you can remember at least one hurtful word that was seemingly spoken in “jest.” The fact that you still recall it all these years later demonstrates the impact it made.

This is why, all these years later, I have grown to really appreciate the punishment my dad meted out when I rashly pulled a prank on my sister. My defense for my seemingly innocent act was that I was “just joking.” My dad required me to memorize Proverbs 26:18-19 which taught me that not only was that defense useless, but that what seems like “jokes” to us, are not viewed the same from Heaven.  God doesn’t appreciate deceit, but He does applaud love. As we approach life, may our humor reflect the same.

 

Punchline Behind Person

Speaking Softly

January 9, 2014 — Leave a comment

President Teddy Roosevelt was famous for saying “Speak softly, but carry a big stick.”

The Bible leaves out the part about the big stick, but does state that “A soft answer turns away wrath” (Proverbs 15:1a). Since it seems that most people indicate that they dislike conflict, one would think that this truism would be heeded more often. Perhaps the reason that it is not is because we are unsure what a “soft answer” is. Does it mean that we need to keep our opinions to ourselves and only state niceties? After all, the Bible also states that it is to one’s glory to overlook an offense (Prov. 19:11). Or perhaps it means that we are to give compliments to those we are frustrated with and by doing so “heap burning coals” on our enemy’s head (Prov. 25:22). While it is assuredly a good thing to both overlook an offense and to say kind things to those who wrong us, there are some circumstances where the continuance and growth of a relationship seem to require that we let someone else know what is bothering us. In this case, how can we ensure that our response can be classified as “soft?”

One way to answer this question is to look at the definition of the words that we use. The word soft can be defined as “having a pleasing quality involving a subtle effect or contrast rather than sharp definition.” A “soft” answer then won’t draw rigid distinctions but instead will please the other by extending grace. When we respond softly it doesn’t mean that we continue unheard; it means that our response considers the other person and their perspective in shaping our communication efforts.

Perhaps the easiest way to illustrate this is to look at an example. For instance, can you hear the difference between telling someone “I didn’t feel like my time was respected” versus stating “You were disrespectful of my time.”? Not only is the second one full of more intense accusation but by using the word “disrespect” it indicts the other’s motives. Both sentences seemingly communicate the same thing, however the first can be more easily classified as a “soft” answer because it indicates a “subtle” contrast rather than a sharp, and perhaps aggressive, distinction.

What is shown in the example above has practical implications for a variety of circumstances in our lives. Our relationships with our spouse, children, friends and other loved ones will benefit from soft answers that diffuse, rather than incite, wrath. However, doing so requires a deliberation and mindfulness to our words that we are usually not quick to employ. Our emotions tend to get the best of us and instead of being “slow to speak” we are quick to voice our opinions. Speaking softly then not only requires that we are purposeful with how we say things, it requires that we take time to think through the implications of our words before we speak. In doing so, our words are more likely to be pleasing to the other and to turn away the wrath that we otherwise might face.

People often say that “familiarity breeds contempt.” This may sometimes be the case, but perhaps even more frequently familiarity gives birth to complacency.  We may not have disdain for those things or people that we are most familiar with, but we do tend to get accustomed to them. As we acclimate to their presence, our care of them tends to wane.

This is often seen in marriages. The formalities and niceties that permeated the dating relationships can disappear as couples live their lives day-in and day-out. We make assumptions about what our husband or wife thinks because we believe we know them so well. Hurt feelings are disregarded and compliments end because we’ve simply grown used to having them around. Our attention to details tends to fade.

Because of this proclivity, we sometimes forget to ask the same questions of our spouse that we would a close friend. These like “how are you doing?” become perfunctory rather than an ardent inquiry into their well-being. For the Christian, an even better question that is often neglected is “how can I be praying for you?” Because we assume we know what is going on in our spouse’s life, we may not think to ask.

However, regularly and intentionally asking our spouse for their prayer requests has several benefits. Namely:

You better understand their challenges and struggles. When you catch up with each other and the end of the day there is often a list of discussion points that must be covered. You need to compare calendars, make plans, and ensure you are on the same page with one another in regards to the kids. While doing this you may think that you have a good understanding of your loved one’s day, but likely you have only a cursory overview. Asking for specific prayer requests helps reveals what issues are most pressing on your spouse’s heart. It reveals what areas or issues are causing them concern, and allows you to partner together in facing them.

You are better prepared to help them. Building off the previous point, when you are aware of the issues that your spouse must contend with during a day, you know better how you may bless them. You may think that your are helping your spouse because you are preparing dinner and getting the laundry done, but perhaps what they really need in that season is someone to take the car in for an oil change which they have intended to do for the last several weeks but it just never got done. This is a simplistic example, but it illustrates the point. We tend to do the same thing that we’ve always done assuming that what has been beneficial in the past carries the same benefit into the future. People and marriages go through seasons and different needs arise. Asking your spouse for their prayer requests not only allows you to petition God for help on their behalf, it may be an opportunity that God uses to speak into your heart on how you may bless the one you love.

You can follow up and keep track. When you say a general prayer for your spouse, God is faithful to respond. The challenge is that you don’t have any idea what the response was. Because you were not specific, it is difficult to demonstrate a specific answer. This means that you can’t follow-up with your spouse to see whether their needs were met, nor can you know whether continued petitioning is needed. Additionally, you have no record of God’s faithful and generous response to your requests, because all your requests were abstract. Throughout Scripture God calls His people to remember what He has done in their lives. Knowing how He has responded to your prayers is one aspect of this. If you have only made general requests on behalf of your spouse, all of your recollections will be general too. While this may provide some comfort the next time you face an uncertain or scary future, specificity would probably provide even greater assurance as you recall the things God has done.

You show your spouse love. One of the marvelous things about prayer is that even nonbelievers tend to appreciate it when you pray for them. Lifting your loved one up to the One who loves them even more than you do and Whose purposes can not be thwarted (Job 42:2) demonstrates your affection and concern. Your spouse will likely face many situations where you can not tangibly provide them what they need. However, you can always pray. As you do so, you are asking the One who controls all to intervene on their behalf. What is a better indication of love than that?

In the busyness of the days it is easy to assume that you know how you should pray for your spouse. However, purposefully asking them for their requests has numerous benefits. As we do so we reveal that our familiarity has not caused us to grow passive. Instead, the more we are aware of their concerns, the more likely we are to bear their burden as our own (see Gal. 6:2). The more we know how we should petition, the more we see the response and the effects of those prayers. And the more purposefully we pray, the more demonstratively we show our love.

As readers of this blog know, I recently acquired a new role as “mom.” As God would ordain it, shortly after I received this title, several of my friends became first-time mommies too. As a result, I have had many conversations, Facebook messages, texts and emails with questions, frustrations and sheer confusion as we travel this road together. I thought it might be helpful to put share some of what I’ve learned for other followers of Christ who are starting this journey or who anticipate doing so in the future. Perhaps the fact that it’s not brand-new to me, yet I’m not far removed from the initial induction either, gives me a different perspective than most have on this subject. If nothing else, I’m sure it will give me something to look back on and laugh about in the years ahead.

Dear New Mom:

Welcome to the craziest roller coaster ride that you will likely ever experience. If your little one has been on this Earth for at least 24 hours, you are probably already aware that motherhood isn’t exactly like what you anticipated. In a short amount of time this new role can take you on more twists and turns than a high-speed racetrack. You will likely experience some of the greatest thrills of your life as a result of this new responsibility, and at the same time, you will likely face some of your biggest doubts and fears. If you are in one of those times where the doubts seem to outweigh the joys, let me assure you, it does get better. It’s not that the questions won’t persist – they will, or new ones will appear – but in the midst of wondering whether you are doing it right, your little one will give you a charmed smile that makes you realize it’s all worth it.

You’ve probably already faced the question that every new mother is asked – “how is it going?” It’s a loaded question because everyone expects to hear your litany of reasons why you love being a mom. Yet sometimes those reasons can be obscured by the enormity of the task. If you’re like me, the first few weeks of taking on this new job are harder than you imagined. But you don’t want to say that. Otherwise people may think that you don’t recognize what an awesome privilege you have been given. It’s o.k. You can both acknowledge that it’s hard and be grateful that God saw fit to give you this opportunity. Those two things aren’t mutually exclusive, regardless of how people respond. The sleepless nights, the dependence that your little one has on you, the concern over each new development and whether it’s “normal,” combined with a tidal wave of hormones that are rushing through your body – these things are not easy. But remember this – even if there are moments where you think you can’t handle it – God didn’t call you to this role expecting that you would do it all on your own. He called you to this ministry with the desire that you would depend upon Him to accomplish what He has called you to do. There are days where you will wonder if you are good enough – you aren’t. But He is. And as you rely on Him, He will provide you with the grace, wisdom, strength and fortitude you need to be who He desires you to be as you parent this little life.

You may have already forgotten what your life was like before your little one arrived. It’s amazing how quickly they integrate themselves. It is true what they say – your life will never be the same. While eventually your little one will learn to sleep through the night, and you will again too, restlessness will now accompany your nighttime dreams. If you were a heavy sleeper before you became a mom, you can probably kiss that goodbye. Your child’s cry will quickly disabuse you of the ability to block out any sound in order to count sheep. You’ve also probably realized that being a mom means that your life is now about sacrifice. Motherhood is great at revealing those areas of your life that you thought were “yours” – those things that are supposed to be under your control and are not to be messed with. Your schedule, your preferences, and your proclivities are now subjugated to the development of this little life.  Privacy is probably a thing of the past, at least for quite a while, as any mom whose toddler has stuck their fingers under the bathroom door can tell you. It’s o.k.; your Savior gave up a lot more on your behalf (Phil. 2:7). While sometimes the lessons are hard, be grateful that God has used this new responsibility to conform you more into the image of your Son. He could have used a different role, something that didn’t come with a child’s love and affection.

I would hate for you to think that being a mom is all about giving things up though – you also gain a lot. You will garner a new appreciation for the love that your Father has for you as you realize in a new way what it meant for Him to sacrifice His Son on your behalf (Jn. 3:16). You will also probably quickly learn to take things in stride more; your little one will change so much from day-to-day that you quickly learn that there are a lot of things in life that aren’t permanent so it’s best to concentrate on those things that will have eternal significance. You will also get adept at multi-tasking in ways that you probably didn’t expect; you will be amazed at what you can accomplish in the short spurts that your child naps.  And if you are blessed to be married to a man who is a great dad, your love for him will grow even stronger as you get a front-row seat to watching him train up your child according to God’s ways.  Your life won’t be the same, it’s true; and you will be so grateful for that fact.

As with any ministry that God gives us, there are good days and tough days when it comes to being a mom. However, as with any ministry the most important thing to remember is that being a mom is not about you. Your job as a parent is to put God’s glory on display – both in how you parent and in the way you respond to the challenges that it throws at you. When you don’t know what to do you will be tempted to seek wisdom from a lot of places – your mom, the Internet, friends and strangers that have walked the road before. However, while they may have good advice, make sure that the first place you go is to the One who created the life that you’ve been entrusted with. While others may be parents, God called you to parent this child. And your child is not the same as mine. Let motherhood draw you into a deeper dependence upon your Heavenly Father.  Seek His wisdom and His help as you walk the road that He has set before you. He is the One who has called you to this task, and He is the One who can best equip you for it.

Finally, remember this, while you always be a mom, you only have a limited time to parent your child. Make the most of that time. Be  intentional and diligent about telling your child about Christ. Pray for your child and pray with them. Model for them what it means to be a Christ follower, and talk with them about it too. Your child will learn a lot from you; at the end of the day, make sure you have taught them what is most important.

Welcome to mommyhood, dear one.  It’s a wild ride for sure. But thankfully, if you are a child of the King, it’s not one that you ride alone.