I stood in the kitchen making dinner and my nearly 12 year old daughter says to me, “I now know why it is so hard to be a mom.”
My interest piqued, I asked her to tell me more.
With two teenage brothers, and being the baby of the family, she knows nearly everything a little earlier than they did. At least she thinks she does. So yeah, respectful communication means tons in this girl’s life – getting her to hear me is like talking to the men I live with. What’s true in this post applies in literally every successful relationship in our lives.
So yeah, I’m living it.
“Well, she said, “I have learned that what the mom doesn’t teach, the world will teach you.”
Chewing on her words, I nearly fell over. Stunned.
“How did you learn this?” I managed to eek out.
“I was using my iPod and I have a free app for Yahtzee, and there was an ad and it said, “what the mom doesn’t teach the world will teach,” but it said it like it was a good thing, like the world would teach you what you missed and that was good, but like I totally realized that is so incredibly wrong and bad because what the world teaches is like totally the wrong thing.”
And I thanked Jesus.
As in, “You could just come right NOW, because I don’t know if I’ll ever feel this amazing again about how I’m doing as a parent (is this the same girl I apologized to yesterday and hoped there wasn’t tons of damage for my careless words??!!) … and OHMYEVERLOVIN’WORD thank You thank You thank You for this gift, and can You please please please help her always know the world is a mess and that You are everything??”
And I wept and I hugged her and I said, “Thank you for knowing that and sharing it with me,” and she laughed and she said I was silly and we laughed together. And then she asked if I was going to blog about it.
Said, “I’d like to…” and later, after writing this, let her read it, because when I blog about my kids, I ask their permission.
So yeah, here we are.
And when I looked at today’s verse, Genesis 1: 28, right after He created man and woman in the image of His Trinity, verse 28:
Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”
The emphasis is mine. I wanted to remind us that God blesses us through marriage – Both with our spouse, and for many of us, through our relationships with KIDS. And, I actually LIKE not doing this life alone – when you think about it, don’t you?? Even in a hard marriage, isn’t there something of benefit? Some of us here have been divorced – and I have divorced women on my team and they all tell me the same thing – being alone is HARD. Think of the single moms you know – the ones I know all need help. And, btw, if you can do so, please take a single mom (or dad) and the kids under your family’s wing.
But for the rest of us…when is the last time you sat down and looked at all the good that’s actually occurring in your life as a result of being married?
I want to challenge us all today to be thankful. A heart filled with thanksgiving has no room for resentment and bitterness. If you haven’t taken Ann Voskamp’s 1000 Gift’s challenge, you should. Seriously, I’m daring you today to take inventory of your blessings. Even if all you have is access to internet, that’s something. You might have a car that runs, or a blanket to cover you, or shoes to wear. There are many who do not have these things.
Too often, we forget. Here’s a few of the things I chose to be thankful for instead of feeling like I was “taken for granted” – which, btw, is one of that other guy’s (satan’s) biggest temptations for women. Another one is that I should have gobs of “benefits” counted as “rights.” What is my right? What do I really deserve? Hell. Seriously. I’m a sinner – so are you, and without Jesus, we end up in hell. Not a popular message, I know.
One of my biggest blessings is my relationships with my children. Okay, His children, ones that my husband and I have birthed and raise together. The only part of parenting that made me seriously question my sanity was the first 2-4 months with each one. I barely survived. And I love toddlers and teenagers – but we have real, transparent relationships filled with apologies and hard truths spoken both directions. And conflicts that get worked through. It’s not easy, but oh-so-very-worth-it.
I know that some of you have not yet been blessed with children, and there are others of you who seriously don’t want any. I remember not wanting to make the board meetings to babies career change – but am so glad that I did. And I have had friends who struggled with infertility – some ending up with children they birthed, adopted, fostered, or just became close to, and others not. At any rate, God asks us to “be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth” which for those of us who can, this means to have children and for those who can’t, you can still be fruitful and disciple others who can fill the earth. For me, this meant throwing my birth control pills in the garbage at a Family Life Weekend to Remember Conference – and we were pregnant within two months. I have prayed and repented of that period of control in my life – the first five years of my marriage…and I’ve also repented of the possible abortions my pills may have caused…I finally learned to obey God in this department, but obviously was swayed by the world for many years – and I wonder at what cost? Please know I’m not judging anyone here, either, for choices they have made. I’m only talking about how I feel about mine and my feelings associated with them now. I’m thankful that we could conceive. Too many times I’ve cried with my friends who have struggled in this area.
I have wondered about adoption and foster care – wondered why I’m reluctant to share my blessings with someone who has so little…wondered if I’m in sin, or if He just hasn’t called me and Jim to that, or if we are simply not listening because it is inconvenient for us…
Please know I’m so sorry if you and your husband are still trying, wanting a baby to love, but still have empty arms. And if you’ve lost a child, know I’m so sorry if my words bring back tears for you… I can’t relate completely, I’m sure, even though I cried myself after miscarriage (a lot) (for a long time) …I know it’s not the same as losing a baby or having multiple miscarriages.
I still marvel at how God changed my heart from wanting 0 kids to wanting 5. He can heal all wounds – even the ones we don’t know we have.
My point today is simply this, and echoes my daughter’s sentiment: Listen to God, and not to the world. The world wants us to acquire “stuff” and not pursue relationships. The world would have us limit how many children we have (or IF we have kids), or encourage us to buy THINGS but not invest in deeper relationships, live above our means, upsize instead of downsize, have more than we need or should, addict us to “more,” and work full time instead of do without – having someone else raise our kids, and not be real with the people we live with, and get divorced instead of figure out how to work these tough things out.
Please excuse the mini-rant. I bought the lies of this world hook, line, and sinker when I was younger. God brought wisdom into my life in my late 20’s and thankfully, it’s a blessing that continues to grow with the more time we spend with Him.
And please know I’m not saying not to work – I’ve met plenty of moms and dads who figure out how to make their kids and marriage a priority with creative work solutions. But yes, giving up the “both parents full-time outside the house gig” usually costs them something…like the big house, new cars and designer things have to be sacrificed. I still work. It’s a non-profit and it’s not for the money now, but I still work. It’s okay, none of those “things” want to be with you when you are old, anyway. And it’s a small price to pay to physically and emotionally BE THERE when your kids need you – which isn’t something you can schedule.
Dare you today to take inventory in the “blessings” department, and how influenced you and your family are by the world. Double dog dare you to comment about either or both here today.
Love that you are on the journey with us!
If you were here, we’d be sitting down over cappuccino together. I’d sprinkle sugar and chocolate on top of the foam just for you.
Love to you,
Dear God, thank you for blessing us with marriage. Thank you for blessing me with…(dare you to fill in the blank). And Jesus. Thank you for sending Him to save us. It’s in His name we pray. Amen.