From Older Moms to Younger Moms- Three Things We Need from YOU

*This post was spring boarded from a post by Jessica Bolyard. You can find it here. 

My children aren’t small anymore. There was a season when I had seven children at home. It seemed as if it would last forever. There were meals to prepare. Diapers to change for years on end. The dishwasher/washer/dryer needed unloaded constantly. Kids were fighting. I couldn’t see the end in sight.

Other days, the sun shone. The children got along for a few hours or a child had a breakthrough in learning and I was there to see it. Or we made cookies and watched a movie. We stayed up late and watched the moon. I prayed those days would never end.

They did end. Kiddos grow up. Go to college. Get jobs. Get married. And we Moms enter a new season. Every season has merit. Every season has value. When Mamas enter the phase of life when the kiddos are not so little, things change. Drastically.  We enter a new phase of our lives. We become the mentors. It’s biblical. I like that.

 Older women similarly are to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips nor addicted to much wine, teaching what is right and good, so that they may encourage the young women to tenderly love their husbands and their children, to be sensible, pure, makers of a home [where God is honored], good-natured, being subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be dishonored.-Titus 2:3-5

I shared Rachel’s post above. When our kids aren’t little anymore, what we need from you who have littles:

  1. Listen to the wisdom that we share that is biblical and sound whether we can use Twitter or understand Tumblr. Knowledge of social media or lack thereof is not a measure of wisdom. Some of the ladies you need to hear from don’t Facebook or tweet. You’ll have to meet them for coffee ( I do social media but prefer real time coffee). We may not be able to see the pain in a tweet or post. We grew up seeing facial expressions, not reading emojis. When we say, WHAT? We mean we don’t get it. Don’t think we don’t have the wisdom or experience to meet you where you are if we don’t know how to tweet an answer in the characters allotted.
  2. Don’t discount our advice because our older children have chosen alternative lifestyles or left the church. Our wisdom and experience combined may help you. These are our children’s choices. Not ours. Your children will make their own choices one day. You probably don’t like all the choices they make now, but it seems so much more controllable when kids are small. When they are grown, be prepared to find a listening ear when your kids choose things you wish they hadn’t. Get your shoes of peace on. Apply liberal amounts of grace and keep the relationship going.
  3. Ask us. You may be surprised by our willingness to share. Just because we look as if we have it all together (myself excluded) doesn’t mean we haven’t had hardships along the way. We each have a story. When we tell them, healing springs forth for the listener and the story teller. We can’t step into your home and tell you how to run your household unless we are invited into your lives. We can’t tell you how to love your husbands unless you ask. If you’re asking the young mom at the soccer field what to do or finding your answers on social media, you may not be getting the wisdom you need. It’s not that these women don’t have some answers, they don’t have years of experience to draw from.

Younger moms, we are here for you. You aren’t alone. No, your season won’t last forever, but that doesn’t make some days feel like forever. I get it. Some nights seemed as if they lasted an eternity when babies were sick and couldn’t sleep. Those moments when everyone got a long for a few hours were glorious. I didn’t think the season of raising children would ever end. Now, I’m in a new season, trying to find my way around. I haven’t forgotten you, young Moms. I’m just a text or phone call away. Don’t expect me to have all the answers. I don’t. What I do have is a listening ear, experience and a prayer.

 

The Guire Mantras

I’ve been loosely working through a study on Praying Circles around Your Children. Thanks for joining me!

“There is something powerful about a single God-inspired prayer repeated throughout a child’s lifetime. I’d like to call it a prayer mantra.”- Mark Batterson

The Guires have many mantras. People are more important than things is one of them. We have many habits that make us who we are.  One of our habits is- when someone is sick we buy blue Gatorade.  It can’t be any other color.

We also have some daily prayer mantras.  Every day after Bible study, I pray “that we would study to show ourselves approved and we have the discipline and desire to read and study the word.”  Another one I pray often is “we will walk in love towards one another.”  Of course I have more specific prayers for each child.

One of the failings of the current public/social system is the neglect of purpose.  Children are asked what they want to do with their lives in terms of monetary and material gain instead of what makes them “cry or pound their fist on the table”.  In other words, what are they passionate about?  What makes them lose track of time?  What makes them weep or leap for joy?  God has placed giftings in each one of us.  He expects us to use those to further his kingdom with gladness.

Enjoy

 The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it <sup class=”footnote” style=”background-color: white; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;” value=”[a]”>[a]overflows).- John 10:10

Nothing sucks the joy out of life more than doing something I despise. It destroys life.  It kills joy.  Pete Seeger hits the nail on the head in his song “Little Boxes“.  Are we teaching our children to fit in the box or do the glorious thing that God has put them on earth to do?

Sometimes it is difficult to see past the now of our children. Their current outward behavior does not dull the vision God has for them.  He sees them through his Godly lenses.  He knows who they will become.  Two year old Einstein probably threw some tantrums.  Billy Graham probably was disciplined a time or two.  Queen Elizabeth fidgeted in her seat at some royal ceremonies. Michelle Duggar had her moments of disobedience.

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When I look at my children, I must see their potential not their poor behavior.  I must circle, pray and look for their passions. Instead of seeing a hurt child, I see a someone with a heart of compassion.  In the bee catcher, I see an adventurer.  In the comic, I see a someone who wants everyone to have a slice of joy.  In the child who takes everything apart (and doesn’t put it back together), I see a problem solver.  The great news is- God sees even more!

“Now FAITH is the assurance (the confirmation, the title deed) of things [we] hope for, being the proof of things [we] do not see and the conviction of their reality [faith perceiving as real fact what is not revealed to the senses]. -Hebrews 11:1

“What makes our kids laugh?  What makes them cry?  What gets them upset?  If we want to discover their destinies, we need to follow their trails of tears, their clenched fists, and their smiles.”- Mark Batterson

Mountain or Molehill

Wednesday- the mountain or the molehill in the middle of the week.

Let’s face it, by Wednesday we are either sailing through life with our victory flag billowing in the wind or the flag is at half-mast and we are dragging ourselves up a Mt. Doom without oxygen, mourning, cape draped across our shoulders, just waiting for this week to die and be done.  I have lived at both sides of this coin and often jumped from either side at various moments of the day- that’s why I decided to revive my posts entitled “Wisdom for Wednesday”, not just for you the reader, but for me the post-it-note, randomly- organized writer.  (All you need is gorgeous multi-colored post it notes and a fine tip sharpie to be a writer, right?).

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When writing a chapter for a book, I haul out a huge cork board and dig in my desk drawers for the sticky- notes of all shapes and sizes.  I write topics for the chapter on the sticky- notes and arrange them on the board.  Then I rearrange them.  Then I rearrange them again.  It’s colorful, useful, a great brainstorming activity and it saves a great many painful rewrites.

What does this have to do with wisdom?  WELL, I was thinking, wouldn’t it be awesome if we could posty-note our brains?  We have all these random thoughts swirling around up there that have us either singing upon the mountains in Austria -“The Hills are Alive with the Sound of Music” or starving for breath on Mt. Doom in our mourning cape while listening to Lord of the Rings “Gollum’s song”.

How about we pick a positive posty-note (literally) for the rest of the week so we can sing our lungs out on the mountain top?  Those thoughts are in there, right?  Just waiting to be let out on the canvas of our life?  They cannot come into being unless we birth them.  We must push past the negative grooves ingrained in our gray matter, grab your pick axe and rope and climb out of there, grab a posty-note- a pretty one, lime green, vibrant orange, turquoise and write this down:

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

Write it on three, four, five, ten posty notes and post them all over the house.

  • on the fridge
  • bathroom mirror
  • above the sink
  • above the stove
  • in the laundry room
  • in the fridge
  • put it in your kid’s schoolbooks
  • in their backpacks
I know this isn’t the deepest spiritual chunk of wisdom, but it is an awesome note to post on your cork board brain.  How do I know it works?  I have tried it.  Taste and see that the Lord is good. Try it for a week.  When you see the bright little square with those words, read it.  Think on it.  Steam roll it over the negative thoughts that say- life is too hard, I can’t do this, why did this happen to me,  I can’t take one more day…..
 
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me!  (Philippians 4:11)
 
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Wisdom for Wednesday

“Im sorry, please forgive me.”

These are words most of us have a difficult time saying.  For a child with attachment issues, the concept of guilt or sympathy for one wronged may be totally foreign.

“….many children who have experienced neglect, abuse and abandonment have not yet developed an internalized set of values by which they judge themselves and others. They are not able to receive and experience empathy- not can they develop insight- so they tend to project blame onto others and onto objects.  They blame their adoptive parents for causing their anger, and they blame toys for breaking.”-Parenting the Hurt Child

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Adoptive parents receive the blugeon of anger daily- pounding them into the abyss of depression if we are not careful.  It’s a difficult position to be in.  This long-awaited, God-given, adopted child who desperately needs to connect, attach to mommy and daddy spews venom.  How do we respond?

My step-father used to tell us girls that we needed to be more ‘thick skinned’.  He was right.

All children have trouble discriminating between need and want.

  • A child wants ice cream, but he needs a nap
  • A child wants to play a video game, but he needs to go outside and play
  • A child wants to control the environment around him, but he needs someone else to be in control
Dare to parent!
Dare to set aside feelings.
Dare to have a thick skin so the child can develop an ability to say, “I’m sorry.”
Yesterday, our power went off in the morning and with frigid temperatures outside, I decided to drive to daughter Amerey’s home to do our schooling and wait it out.  My youngest son complained more that a dozen times once we were seated at her dining room table.  “this is stupid, I can’t do math.  You know I can’t do math at someone else’s house.  We shouldn’t have school……”
My response?  “I didn’t ask you.  WE are doing our math.  We are doing school even if you say it is stupid.”
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Amerey intervened to no avail,  everyone in turmoil.  I’m sure if given the option, his siblings would have cast him into the cold to let him weep and gnash his teeth.  They wanted to enjoy the day, hot coffee and homemade fresh waffles made by older sister.
I pulled on my thick skin suit and made the appropriate corrections. How do you connect with a porcupine? When you get close to one, a quill punctures.  That is where the thick skin comes in.  Unattached children feel they must maintain control in any situation and often accomplish it by upsetting everyone in their vicinity even when the outing is a treat.  He feels uncomfortable and the only comfort mode he owns is survival-control mode.
When do you connect with a child like this?  There is no perfect time.  If I wait for the perfect conditions, I never will.  You know what else I did yesterday?  I made sure he still had his fresh homemade chocolate chip waffle and a hot cup of coffee. I helped him with his math.  Even though, he did not apologize to me or his siblings at the moment, connections were being made.  Connections can be made in times of trial if the parent refuses to give in to anger.  He may not say anything about the day at sister’s for weeks or months, but I know from past experience, he will not remember his tantrum. He will remember going to big sister’s, eating yummy waffles, drinking coffee-black like big bro and riding along to pick his brother-in-law up from work.
 I posted this scripture on my fridge. (My kids laugh at me because our home is getting posty-noted to life!)
He who observes the wind [and waits for all conditions to be favorable] will not sow, and he who regards the clouds will not reap.”-  Ecclesiastes 11:4
Sow now!
I can’t wait for my child’s conditions to be favorable.  I cannot rely on his cloudy countenance to determine whether to act or not.  I must sow now when the conditions are not favorable- so he can reap later.
I heard youngest son loitering around in the kitchen when he should have been in bed last night.  I went down to round him up.  He said, “Mom, I had to apologize to ——- for the way I acted today.”  Smile. An apology.  A year ago there would have been none.  Don’t give up.  Sow now!  Reap later!
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