Declarations of Independence: Learning to Loosen the Grasp in Parenting

Declarations of Independence: Learning to Loosen the Grasp in Parenting

I'm a recovering helicopter parent.

I'll admit, I once was that mother who wanted to fix everything, make sure my kid was never hurt and manage all affairs. But once your kids grow up (or you have more than one kid), you realize that tactic just ain't gonna cut it.

I felt like I've spent most of my mothering years pushing independence and carefully watching every step. As my oldest son is moving into the teen years, the more I have to let the reigns go. The more I let go, I see that he's actually able to handle himself in the world without my constant navigation. Liberating for him. Scary for me.

Recently, my son auditioned for the lead role in the school musical. Instead of being excited, I was scared out of my wits for him because lead roles normally got to upperclassmen, not middle schoolers. So I prepared him by telling him not to be disappointed when he didn't land the role and to expect that students who are older and graduating will be chosen to star. He didn't let my warnings sway him.

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What I Want My Daughter To Know About the Gift of Femininity

the gift of feminity

What place does femininity have in modern society? If you look at what the media says, there's not much room for it.

The other day while watching Doc McStuffins for the millionth time, there was an episode where a toy princess has something caught in her hair. She needed help getting it out, but the toy prince misinterpreted her dilemma as needing to be rescued. Seeing as that's what he did best, he went about rescuing her. But she was highly offended at this act. She didn't need to be rescued and told him as much. Furthermore, she added that she could do anything a prince could do...and better. She then challenged him to a contest to prove her "equalness." Turns out, she proved she was better and had to rescue him. The show ended with him apologizing for doubting her ability to do anything a male could do.

Whoa, that's not the message I want to send to my little girl. Sure, I want her to know that the sky is the limit and not to let anyone box her in when she's well capable. But I don't want her thinking that she has to match a man's ability toe to toe.

It seems to be a forgotten fact that we were created male and female by God. Each sex has a specific purpose and strength. And each complements the other. The older I get, the less patient I am with women who want to do everything men can do and better. Seems like the perfect recipe to emasculate a man.

My strengths as a woman are vastly different from a man's strengths. I don't see many men running to compete with woman on what they are best designed to do. It's ludicrous for us to do the same. But all we have to do is take a look back at the Garden of Eden to see where things took a turn. Satan came along and made Eve believe that she needed to take something that wasn't hers. And so began the struggle for dominion over a man.

When Even took that fruit, she was also taking authority and dominance (the things she wasn't created to take). And ever since women have been grabbing for dominance, grabbing to be just like men when we were created to be women, which is a beautiful thing by itself. Women are grabbing to take authority over their husbands and taking matters into their own hands just like Eve.

I don't want that for my daughter. I don't want her grabbing for what's not hers to take. I want her to learn the beauty of accepting what's given like Mary, the mother of Jesus. She gladly accepted the will of God for her life and the fruit of that was a submission that is admirable. She said, "Behold, the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word." 

Women, we are naturally designed to receive (even our bodies are designed that way). Taking is outside of our nature and we've got to teach our daughters that they don't have to go through life taking, grasping and groping. When we gladly accept the gift of femininity, we are free to be who God created us to be. And really, why would you want to be anything else?

When Eve took that fruit what she was saying in essence was, “Be it unto me according to my word." 

"And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat; and she gave also unto her husband with her, and he did eat."

Taking and giving: innocent gestures right? Not when we look at them in the light of how God designed women.

There's nothing wrong with stepping up when the situation warrants it, but women, let's not be aggressive or pushy outside of our nature. And lest you think I'm an anti-feminist, on most points I'm not. I believe in the suffrage movement which brought about women's right to vote and I'm all for equality in pay.  What I'm not for is women thinking they need to be like men as they make their way through this world. Sure, women can be leaders. But women don't need to lead like men to be effective. 

“It is a naive sort of feminism that insists that women prove their ability to do all the things that men do. This is a distortion and a travesty. Men have never sought to prove that they can do all the things women do. Why subject women to purely masculine criteria? Women can and ought to be judged by the criteria of femininity, for it is in their femininity that they participate in the human race. And femininity has its limitations. So has masculinity." -  Elisabeth Elliot

There's a strength and beauty in femininity that can only come when we accept God's design for women. Ladies, we don't have to take a man, a job or authority. God will give it to us just like He did for Esther and Ruth and Elizabeth.

Esther was given her petition.

Ruth received Boaz as her husband.

Elizabeth was given a baby in her old age.

They all received what was given.  Don't believe the lie that just because you are a woman that you have to take and push for what you want. 

Bottom line: I pray for my daughter that she will discover the wonder of being a woman. And once she does that she learns to walk in womanhood with grace and confidence just the way God designed her to. 


On the Mend


It's been six days since kid number 2 had his tonsils and adenoids removed. It's been more of a rocky recovery than I'd anticipated. He woke up in the middle of the night a day ago in pain. And this morning it was just rough. Nothing but tears at the breakfast table until his pain medication kicked in. 

Worst thing in the world is seeing your child in pain. Despite the pain, he's been a champ and is bummed that Thanksgiving is tomorrow and he's not fully recovered. 

The other day his class sent him a get well card that every one signed. His teacher really is a gem for mailing it. And his teacher from last year also sent a card. I so appreciate his teachers. Their involvement in the kids' lives is one of the many reasons that we are making the sacrifice to send the kids to a private school.  

Thankful for great teachers and a kid who is gradually on the mend.  

Waiting Sucks


Waiting sucks. Waiting rooms sucks. 

It's especially sucky for a highly impatient person like myself.  

So I sit here with my husband and hurry up and wait.  

And it's the not knowing that makes me anxious. Is my child okay? Are there complications? 

"Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life." Proverbs 13:12

We sit and eat.  

We sit and chat.  

We sit and laugh.  

We sit and scroll through our cell phones.  

And just below the surface, we both are concerned about our baby boy.  

Then when we aren't even looking, we hear the news that all is well. Our baby is in recovery. The procedure done and behind us.  

Concern and worry give way to sighs of relief and smiles.  

We never knew that parenting would bring us such angst over a common outpatient procedure.  

But when your baby is whisked away to an operating room for what is common and routine, it suddenly seems much bigger than that and makes you appreciate little things like health and insurance and life. 

Thanking God for being on the other side of waiting and for desires fulfilled.  

Eleven Years Ago Today....

I gave birth to this guy.


I remember the fear. And the pain. And the overwhelming love.

So many emotions all rolled into one.

This one here is a reader, strong-willed, tender-hearted, driven and very funny. He's challenged me and grown me up in ways I never imagined. 

Happy 11th birthday Rhy!


He's been urging me to update, his birthday video, but until then....

Click here if video doesn't load.

Motherhood as Ministry: Seeing the Mundane as Holy

When you have little kids, it's easy for motherhood to feel like one continuous chore. There's laundry, cooking, cleaning, helping with hygiene, training, discipline and the list never ends. I'll admit last week, I was so stir crazy with fatigue that I mumbled to myself: "I can't wait til these kids grow up so I won't have to do all this."

Ugh. What a horrible attitude....that was quickly checked. I only have a few short years to mother these three kids. Right now this is my ministry and I don't want to do it begrudgingly.

My main ministry: these three little people

My main ministry: these three little people

My former pastor used to always teach that as women our first ministry is our home. Preaching to the nations and traveling the world is fine, but if our homes are neglected then our priorities are out of order. He even went as far to say that if you are preaching and your family is left at home, then you need to come off the road or take your family with you. Hard pill to swallow, but truth nonetheless.

Every thing I do in the home is ministry. From fixing meals to putting fresh linens on the beds. I didn't always think this thought. I used to put to women who preached on a pedastal thinking that was the ultimate ministry: to be behind a podium.

Now that I'm a mother, I realize the work, tears and turmoil that goes into building up little lives. Titus 2:4 says "These older women must train the younger women to love their husbands and their children." Loving children when they're babies is gets hard when they get older and talk back, throw tantrums and make messes. I'm convinced this is why women need to be trained and encouraged to love their kids.

I admit that sometimes mothering can feel like slave labor with few rewards. But it's through this work that mothering becomes ministry. Every moment is precious and teachable. Every task is building upon the foundation of who they will be in life. My home is the place where I'm called to love these children.  And I'm the only mother these kids will have.

My ministry includes providing a safe, clean peaceful place for them to come to after a day out in the world. The clean clothes I wash, fold and put away help them to put their best foot forward each day. Every meal I shop for and prepare is an act of love. Praying for them and with them, recounting the same Bible story over and over and even playing video games WITH them is part of my ministry. Loving them comes in many forms. 

I know I'll have to remind myself of this when I'm scrubbing yet another toilet or discipling a child gone wild. This time of ministry with my children in the home is just a season that will soon fade into another. There are no re-do's or second chances when it comes to raising children, so I want to devote myself wholeheartedly to this ministry of motherhood.

As I head to check on my little ones who are now sound asleep, and on pull on blankets they've kicked off as well as straighten up toys they have left behind, I take comfort in these words: “But you, take courage! Do not let your hands be weak, for your work shall be rewarded” (2 Chronicles 15:7).


Things I'll Miss When the Kids Grow Up

Never a dull moment with these three.

Never a dull moment with these three.

The other night I stepped on a Lego and my life flashed before my eyes. The pain from that little piece of toy was so horrific, I wanted to chuck every Lego in the trash. 

Life with kids is messy.

And loud.

And chaotic...

and downright exhausting.

But in a few short years, it won't be. Soon my three will be trading time with mommy for time with friends and trips to the mall. Toys will soon become cell phones and MacBooks. I know this because just yesterday, it seemed like I had little ones in walkers and Boppy pillows. But I blinked and they grew.

When they grow up, I'm going to miss drawings that feature their names scrawled in big messy print.

I'm going to miss little fingerprints on the windows of my freshly washed car. 

And artwork made with love brought home from school.

Toys rolling around on the floorboard of my car.  

Cartoons blaring early on Saturday morning.  

The cute way they mispronounce words and mix up meanings. 

Christmas morning joy that only comes from small kids.  

Cutting up food into little bite size pieces.

Making one last round at bedtime to make sure they haven't kicked their blankets off.

Feeling feverish foreheads with the back of my head and soothing them with kisses and cold compresses.

Requests for fruit snacks and cookies and juice and whatever catches their eye during a trip to the grocery store.

I used to get slightly jealous of my friends without kids. Their houses always pristine. Car windows clear of fingerprints. They never had toys in their purse or half-bitten lipstick in their make up bags. Then I came home to my little circus of kids and realized that life is messy but it's also infinitely more joyous and full of love because they are in it.



How I Watch What I Feed My Kids (The Music Edition)

We don't listen to mainstream radio around here. 

Crazy, I know. It's just that some of the music on radio today isn't good for my kids' soul. Heck, it isn't even good for my soul. 

Even though mainstream radio is not played around here, that's not to say my kids live in a bubble. They are very aware of popular music. They watch Vevo (mainly pre-approved playlists created for them) and have friends who know the latest music. We even listen to lots of pop and R&B music. I just try to be conscious of what we are playing. For example, we listen to a very small handful of C.hris Brown songs that I think fall in neutral territory. And if the lyrics just aren't appropriate, I will download an instrumental version if the beat is just too irresistible for them to resist.

Instead of listening to music based on its genre or the lifestyle of the entertainer, we look at the music for face value. There are lots of gospel songs sung by folks who are not living righteous lives and there is some gospel music that is not scripturally correct. This is why we don't live by the "gospel music only" rule that my church laid down as I was growing up. It's just not realistic to think that kids are going to only listen to church music when there's a whole world of great music out there.

A while back the boys asked to download D.rake's CD. I wasn't very familiar with D.rake's lyrics, so I downloaded a clean version. That should have been my first clue that things weren't right. The boys and I listened. I told them, we would have to cut D.rake out of the rotation because even though it was clean it certainly wasn't appropriate for them or me.

I'm sure most parents think me a prude. But I want my kids to watch what they're feeding themselves when it comes to entertainment. 

Instead of telling the boys no right away when they ask to watch or listen to something, I ask them, "do you think this is appropriate?" Most times, they know the answer right away. I don't want to be the music or movie police because soon they'll be making their own entertainment choices. I'm hoping by giving them guidelines that they'll make good choices through the teen years and beyond. Plus, I know that when they do get filled with the Holy Spirit, He will convict them of their choices better than I ever could.

When I do have to say no, I do offer alternatives for them. I'm glad to say the alternatives are always enjoyed.

Here are some of the positive and/or Christian artists that the kids enjoy when mainstream music crosses the line:

They also enjoy lots of Kierra Sheard, Virtue (new music coming from them soon!), Fred Hammond, Kirk Franklin, Mary Mary and listen to 95.9 The Fish when we do turn on the radio. 

Listening to the Little People in My World

This kid here can talk my ear off. He's never runs out of words. He'll go on and on about M.inecraft and Wii.U games and Super Mario and Spiderman and every fact about every thing he's stumbled across.

He's got the gift of gab.

I hate to admit that sometimes I tune him out. When he was a toddler and the only child I had 24/7, I was interested in every word and thought of his. I need to tune back in, sit down with him and just listen. He's 10 1/2 and the time I have left with him before he leaves the house is less than the time I've had him. Soon, he'll be chatting up his friends and girls and I won't have an inside track to his life.

Just this week, we had a rousing game of M.ario Kart 8 on Wii.U. Great fun! I've been listening to the details about his favorite game commentator on You.Tube and been answering his non-stop questions. I never want him to think that what he has to say isn't important.

Being intentional about listening has helped me to see what an awesome little guy he is.