I have been on the hunt for a biblical passage I could call my own– one that instructs and encourages me on how to live out all areas of my life. It was not a coincidence when about a month ago I stumbled across Joshua 1:9 which says, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” I needed this slap in the face (er, reminder) in nearly every area of my life. Lately I have faced discouragement in my parenting, for example. I beat myself up for not leading by example and teaching my kids how to offer grace to one another. I need to walk in the grace offered to me so my kids can experience what that is life. My self-deprecation isn’t the example they need… they need to know I have to go to God with my worries, just as they can do on their own.
The other night we had some friends over while a babysitter watched the kids in the basement. The babysitter mentioned that one of my children had used an inappropriate word and had told another child to “get the hell out of [my] room.” I was horrified. I am not a user of the word “hell,” but my first reaction was to scold her and tell her never to say that again. After a day passed, I wondered again about the scenario. I wish I had asked her how she thought he felt when she said that to him, or perhaps asked her what the word “hell” means to her. I wish I had suggested she offer an apology and ask for forgiveness from him.
The fact of the matter is that it’s never too late. All of these conversations and action steps can still take place. Ultimately, it’s the change of heart I yearn for from my God, and I want the same for my children. If I can model that process, the process of empathy, repentance, and forgiveness, I think I’d be helping my kids so much more than just telling them to watch their mouths. This parenting gig requires us to be strong and courageous and Jesus reminds us God is with us wherever we go.
Family meeting topic: Self-control and manners at the dinner table. #indesperateneedofredwine
When I gave birth to Emma at 26 wks gestation, Paul and I struggled to know whether or not to celebrate our new baby or face the fear of what the future might bring for us as new parents of a preemie. She was 1 lb, 12 oz, looked like a little wrinkly old man, and scared the heck out of me. I had been warned that she would probably be whisked away to the NICU the minute she arrived, so it came as a surprise when she was breathing on her own, and I was able to hold her for a few cloudy seconds. When she was whisked away, I remained in my cloud until the nurses pushed my hospital bed through the NICU so I could see my baby again. It was then when my faith was re-ignited. Those months in the NICU were difficult; we were restless, feeling out-of-control, and forced to lay our burdens down. We prayed, many of you prayed, the nurses prayed. We busied ourselves with home renovations after ten-plus hour days in the hospital, and never missed a call to learn if Emma gained any weight. We celebrated ounces, cried with weight dips, and continued praying for Emma’s future, hopeful we’d be able to bring her home sometime soon. We fought exhaustion, embraced kangaroo care, and prayed when we left her every night. The day came, 71 days later by the grace of God, when Emma was officially our responsibility. We were scared. To this day, we try to live our lives by His grace and ultimate guidance. This fantastic kid is His, and we are here to raise her. What a blessing she is!