Lessons From a 10-Year-Old

Lessons From a 10-Year-Old

Daily Notes Encouragement

And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefor I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong. ~2 Corinthians 12:9-10

another example of something I didn't think would work, but my husband was like, "Sure! Give it a try!"
another example of something I didn’t think would work, but my husband was like, “Sure! Give it a try!”

It’s Thanksgiving, so let me tell you what I am thankful for- I am thankful that we serve and trust in a God who is still speaking to us if we just take the time to notice.

A few weeks ago we were visiting family, and my beautiful ten-year-old niece took my two littles into the kitchen and made cookies with them. It was a totally new experience for my children. NOT because they’ve never ‘made cookies’ before, but because they had never made cookies before. When I make cookies with my kids I tend to take over. It’s easier if I crack the eggs. It’s less mess if I measure the flour. When they make cookies with me, they are basically waiting for the chocolate chips to come out so they can sneak a few. Otherwise they are just observers. And here is my niece, letting them measure. Letting them each have their own whisk to mix with, because sharing is hard. There was a mess, and there were extra dishes- but my children actually made the cookies.

I observed this and felt a small nudge. There was something for me to learn here…

Then a week later my husband was making eggs and my daughter said she wanted to make eggs too. And again, I watched someone else let her do the things I would not have allowed- only because I didn’t want the extra hassle, the extra mess. Not that I thought that way. My thought was simply it’s just easier if I do it. But my husband took the time to explain how to crack an egg, and then he handed it to her and stepped back. And crazy thing happened- she made eggs!

Again that small nudge. And now my wheels are turning, and I’m thinking about how I need to let my kids try new things…

So then I pick up my devotional and it talks about the importance of letting our kids fail. Because that is real life. In life they are going to fail! And how are we hindering them, and even hurting them, when we have never allowed them to fail in a safe and loving environment!

And I put my devotional down and just laughed. How can you not laugh when God repeatedly underlines a topic for you? Because I had just read a quote on social media that if you fail at something it means you’re trying. And my eldest son had asked me about a quote from a famous inventor who said, “Well now I know 49 ways that doesn’t work.” And he wanted clarification about what that might mean. There had been a theme in my life, and as the topic of the flip side of failure was repeatedly highlighted for me, I heard that quiet voice speaking gentle correction to my heart.

We have our own hens, and this happens sometimes...
We have our own hens, and this happens sometimes…

Failure is important! It teaches us to get up and try again- perseverance people!! I’m sure I could go on and on about the flip side of failure, about how we can teach our children through it. But I need to go make some peanut butter bars for Turkey Day. Correction! My daughter needs to make some peanut butter bars!

Thank you, Lord, that you speak through Children. That you are still speaking to us today. That you have your eye on us, and you are mindful of us. I love that You continue to teach us and bring us from glory to glory! Help us to notice the things you are saying. Help us to open our hearts to really hear Your Voice. And protect us Lord from going astray. I ask especially that you would open our eyes to where we might think we are doing the ‘right’ thing, but we in fact are missing the mark. Thank you for always being good and gentle with us. In Jesus name, Amen!

~Lindsay

Ha ha!

Ha ha!

Children Encouragement From the Authors

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. ~Philippians 4:8

mom-downloaded-oct-10-174october-10-124When my eldest was only two he started saying, “Ha ha!” in response to adults giving him direction. Not laughing, but in a snarky kind of sing-song voice, “Ha ha!”

I would say, “Time to go to bed.” And he would turn to look at me and say, “Ha ha!”

“Do not throw that toy!” And he may or may not have thrown the toy, but he would look at me, and with more sass than an entire class of middle school girls, he would say, “Ha ha!”

It got to be too much! I was just dumbfounded- where or where did he learn such language? Who taught him to be such a stinker!? I think I bemoaned the situation for a good week. My husband heard all about it. My mother heard all about it. Anyone within a five mile radius of me heard all about my poor baby and this new ‘trick’ he’d learned that was surely going to be the death of me. Two-year-olds should not have that much sass. They just shouldn’t! Dimples, rolly thighs, waddling runs, giggles, and lisps- yes! Those they can have, and in abundance! But sassiness? Absolutely not!

It was a few days into this whole production, when I was driving with my mom. My dad, driving in another car, calls to inform us of his ETA. I realize we are going to beat him to the destination and in a sing-song-snarky-kind-of voice I said, “Ha ha!” And I froze. And my mom’s head slowly turned until she was looking directly at me and she said, “It was YOU! You taught him to say it!!”

And I realized it was me. I taught that precious little rolly polly toddler to say “Ha ha!” in a super sassy voice. I had bemoaned the loss of his innocence, but it had been me leading the way!

And how true that remains to this day! I say things without thinking, things that seem fine for a grown adult to say. And then those same words pop out of their little mouths and I am just horrified! They are like little mirrors that reflect back to us the wrongness of what we have said or done! They tattle on us to strangers! Telling the clerk at the grocery store how many cups of coffee we have had today, or if we maybe were speeding a little bit on the way to get milk!

And these are just the little things!

Thankfully I had the “ha ha” experience with my first child when he was only two. My husband and I reflected a lot on that lesson over the years. We realized that our children listened to us. Whether we really thought they were paying any attention or not. And our words affect how they perceive the world around them. If we are negative in talking about something or someone, they would simply follow our lead. Their perception of the world, our neighbors, or even a friend could be drastically affected by things that my husband and I said.

I quote the verse at the top of this page a lot to my children; especially when we get stuck in complaining or worrying. Or I tell them “Worrying is like running around during a flood with a fire extinguisher. It keeps you busy, but doesn’t help much.” *

All this to say- one of the best ways to protect your child’s innocence is to monitor the words of your mouth. And oh that mouth! We have been warned about it. (James 3) And even more, this is an issue of our hearts. Our hearts should be turned towards God, and filled with God. Because then we will really be speaking wonders into our children’s lives, and into their hearts.

For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of. ~Luke 6:45

Lord God, thank you that you came down to us. Thank you that you sent your Holy Spirit to dwell in our hearts. Forgive us for being sassy, snarky, grumpy, worrisome, or down right cross. Turn our hearts again towards You, help us to search out your Word and your Truth. Fill our hearts up to overflowing with your love and peace, and please bless us to pour out that love and peace into our children’s lives! In Jesus Name, Amen!

~Lindsay

*I was told this was a C.S. Lewis quote? I can’t find the reference, but you can validate it on google if you really want.

 

 

Here and Now

Here and Now

From the Authors Our Story

Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,Jan 27 011
    for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;

    great is your faithfulness.
I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion;
    therefore I will wait for him.”
~Lamentations 3:22-24

Potty Training.

That is the stage I have entered for the third time in my life. I don’t remember it being enjoyable or easy, but neither do I remember it being so difficult! The bribing and running around and the messes. It is difficult. But I know it won’t last forever and once it is over life is going to be a lot easier (not to mention cheaper… diapers! I tell ya!).

Also, Christmas has passed. We aren’t even through January and, for my children, the blinding luster of new Christmas toys is wearing off. Honestly I was more than disappointed at how quickly I heard the words “bored” and “there’s nothing to do” again. Add to that the son who is already compiling a birthday list- because if he gets these toys then he will “finally have fun.” You want to see a mother turn red in the face and go absolutely ballistic, then (when you add in the potty training) you have found the perfect recipe for that. Ok, I wasn’t exactly ballistic. … More like… Irritated. I was irritated at how little they appreciated all they have.

I was giving my son a good lecture on being thankful when the light bulb turned on again. I was preaching to the choir. I am the one who has not appreciated what I have. I am in the same boat as my son. I am always looking ahead to the next thing, thinking then- finally then!– things will be easier. Once we finish moving, then things will get easier. Once I get through Christmas, then things will settle down and get easier. Once the youngest is potty trained, then life will be splendid. When we make some friends in our new town, then things will be better, I will be happier, etc, etc, etc…

This is why God made me a parent. He has put all of my issues into these adorable little people I am constantly hanging out with and I can’t help noticing their problems. Then He gently says, “Ok, now do you see what I have been trying to tell you?”

Oh.

Right.

I see.

I am so busy planning for a future, running ahead to the next stage of life, and thinking that if I only had one more thing… then life would really be easy. And it causes me to miss out on the gift of here and now. My children won’t ever be this age again. This is my chance to be with them here and now. This is a lesson that I think I need to be reminded of daily. The gift of this moment. The grace of God that causes the sun to rise again every morning. I was lecturing my son on how he needs to appreciate all he has, and I just laughed to myself. Then I hung my head and thought, “I’m sorry, God. I forgot how beautiful You are. How You have put so much beauty into this day, and I just passed by it all. I’m missing it. I’m missing You.”

Because the truth is that nothing is going to fulfill that big open hole in our hearts. No birthday gift, no fully potty trained family. Only God fulfills that need, that hole, that desire. He is the one who does not let us down, who does not give up on us, and who loves us as we are.

So if you need a place to start, start there. Start with being thankful that God is exactly who he says he is. And that He is doing a good work in and through you.

Lord, thank you so much for this day. I am so sorry that I have been trying to do things in my own strength again. I am sorry that I have confused getting things done with true happiness. Make my heart new, and open my eyes to see the beauty that you have woven into my everyday life. Thank you for this season, even if it is hard or lonely. Thank you that you are with me no mater what. In Jesus name, Amen.

~Lindsay

 

The Mundane

The Mundane

Children Encouragement From the Authors

 Now if we are children, then we are heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.
Romans 8:17 (NIV)

"Cinderella"
“Cinderella”

This is one of my mom’s favorite pictures of her granddaughter*. We call it the ‘Cinderella’ photo. We were at the children’s science museum. And what does a 3-year-old wear to the science museum? The same thing she insists on wearing everywhere else- her princess dress. And what does a little girl want to do at the science museum? Well, everything. Which includes washing the dishes and sweeping the floor. So- ‘Cinderella’, because she is a princess doing the dishes.

Isn’t it a cute picture? Is your cute-o-meter on overload? Or am I just biased?

Now here is something I tend to forget while I am doing the dishes and sweeping the floor. I’m a coheir with Christ.

Do you know what that means? I am a sister to the prince, a daughter to the king. I. Am. A. Princess! I might not rock a lot of Disney Playwear like my daughter, but whether I look the part or not, I am a princess. Not the snooty kind, but the beloved princess. The apple of her Father’s eye. Yep. That’s me.

And that’s you too!!**

I don’t know if you have a daily devotional (I would recommend getting one, though). But I tend to get my ten minutes in the morning, and then I’m like, “Thanks, God. You’re the best. Help me today!” and I’m off to the races. The dishes, laundry, feed children, wash something, get to work, is the curling iron still on?, overdue books, when was that bill last paid?… and on we go. Drowning in the mundane.

You are a princess. Nothing you do is mundane.

God is not in the background all day. He is with you. Every moment you draw breath is shrouded in glory and holiness because God is dwelling with you, and you are his princess. The trick is pulling God past the morning devotional, and into the rest of the day with you. No, that’s not quite it, because He is always with you. So, I suppose, it is becoming aware that He is with you. It is making your meetings with God more than just a moment in the morning, but a continual conversation throughout the day.

When I see this picture, I don’t see a silly little girl. I see my princess. I know her strengths, I have plans for her future, I want to be there with her in that moment, and I want her to know how very much I love her.

And that’s how God is looking at us.

He wants to be a part of everything. The amazing, the hard, the mundane.

Jesus came as Emmanuel, God with us. And He still is today. The God who was, and is, and is to come with us!

Thank you, God, for adopting us. Thank you that you want us in your family, and that you have a purpose for us. Thank you that you love us so much, and that You just want to be with us. Open our eyes again to how You are in every circumstance, big or small, easy or hard. Bless us to feel You along side us throughout the day. And help us to trust more in Your Love. In Jesus name, Amen!

~Lindsay

*Let’s be honest, EVERY picture of a grandchild is a grandmother’s favorite picture!

**Unless you’re a guy… then, you are, obviously, a prince. Swords. Dragons. Still very cool.

Reminders

Reminders

Children Inspiration

Come, my children, listen to me;
    I will teach you the fear of the Lord.

Psalm 34:11 (NIV)

I recently visited the tiniest, most precious gift- a newborn in the NICU. She was premature, and gorgeous. So tiny, and yet so strong.

I am not exaggerating. She was so strong I commented about it, and her nurse said something amazing to me.

“It’s incredible how resilient [premature newborns] are, what they are able to come back from. Most adults would check out when facing the recovery these tiny babies have ahead of them. But it’s like they don’t know how to give up. They just know to try.”

Big Brother and Big Sister inspecting their new Little Brother's foot.
These are my children. Big Brother and Big Sister inspecting their new Little Brother’s foot.

I looked down at the baby, who was strong enough to push adult hands away (we were trying to get foot prints, and she was having none of it). And I was in awe of God’s goodness and faithfulness. He brings us into the world and prepares us to face the challenges ahead. He is always beside us. Though we may be shaken, God can never be moved. He is the rock on which we stand. There is no hardship too difficult, no pit in life too deep.

But somewhere along the way we forget. We put our faith in the wrong things. We forget that God sent us Jesus and Jesus is more than enough.

A friend of mine always reminds me, “Children are born knowing how to love, it’s hate that has to be taught.”

So I thank God for this precious life, and the life of my three healthy children. In everything I do, say, am- my children are watching and learning from me. And no matter how great the difficulties I face, God is faithful to me. Even when I am not faithful. Jesus is more than enough. And the Holy Spirit intercedes for me.

A good reminder. From a very good Father.

They remembered that God was their Rock, that God Most High was their Redeemer. Psalms 78:35 (NIV)

Thank you, Lord, for this new precious life! Thank you, Lord, for children! Bless the children that are sick and hurting, protect and strengthen them. Bless us to be the adults in their lives who point to You and Your Ways. Remind us of who You are, and who You have made us to be! Amen

~Lindsay