Parenting…one of life’s great joys! Today’s post is brought to you by a revelation, of sorts, from this morning.
Yesterday I received a series of text messages from Little Miss. She was using my mom’s phone and I was stuck in traffic for an extraordinarily unusual amount of time. In the series of text messages, she told me how much she loved me and how glad she was that I was her mom.
I’d be lying if I said it didn’t make me feel awesome.
This morning, on the way to school, as we were eating our breakfast in the car, she told me she wanted to be just like me when she grew up. I’ve grown accustomed to a high amount of maturity from Little Miss over the years; so much so that it’s sometimes easy to forget she’s only 8. Hearing this statement this morning, it sounded so innocent and childlike that it tugged at my heartstrings.
I asked her why. She said, “Because I love you and you’re awesome and I want to be just like you.”
Mamas, our children are listening. They’re watching. What we show them is what they will aspire to do.
As if it isn’t weighty enough to know that raising a child falls squarely on our shoulders as parent, suddenly there’s this realization that, regardless of age, our children will always be our mimics.
That could be a lot of pressure.
Or it could be an opportunity.
We need to take parenting very seriously. We in this vocation are called to be wives first. A huge part of our marriage vows, however, is that we lovingly and willingly accept children into our marriage from the Lord.
“In children we have a great charge committed to us. Let us bestow great care upon them, and do everything that the Evil One may not rob us of them. But now our practice is the reverse of this. We take all care indeed to have our farm in good order, and to commit it to faithful manager…but we do not look out for what is much more important, for a person to whom we may commit our son as the guardian of his morals, though this is a possession much more valuable than all others. It is for him indeed that we take such care of our estate. We take care of our possessions for our children, but of the children themselves we take no care at all. Form the soul of thy son aright, and all the rest will be added hereafter.” ~St. John Chrysostom
I don’t pretend to have all the answers. As I stated, I’m only 8 years into this gig, so I definitely don’t pretend to be an expert, either. But I do think there are some universal truths that we can all apply to our parenting to help us be successful.
We are our children’s role models. Let’s make sure we’re modeling something worth repeating.
I see you there, muffling your crying, alone with the door closed. Do not fear; the Lord is with you and so am I. I have been where you are right now behind that closed door.
Once upon a time I was sitting there wondering how I was ever going to find joy after losing my little one. One thing I can definitely tell you, joy is not a thing you can seek. Joy itself will seek you when the time is right.
There will never be a time where your heart won’t ache for your baby. You will have moments of intense rage and sadness that overcome you from time to time.
There will be a time when the sun shines through a window, your beloved puppy looks at you with unconditional love, a warm embrace from your husband, a funny joke your daddy said, and then you will feel a spark a joy.
Those moments that find you when you are at the bottom. Joyful moments should never be hidden, or ashamed of, because God gave you joy to help remind you of the good in the world. Smile, laugh, give hugs, dance around, sing that song, and treat your self because you deserve all good things momma.
You love all of your children and work hard each day to give them more than what you had. You work to give them a chance out in this world to do well. Be proud of your accomplishments; don’t let anyone ever try to take your joy away.
Take the joy you have and spread all around; it will teach your children that going through storm is serious work but there is always time to be joyful. Your children will know that God created a season for everything. Your living example on how you deal with the loss will resonate with one heart or more.
Keep doing what you are doing momma; you are living life well and doing an amazing job.
Keep your chin up and eyes focused on God and his will. Work your vocation and remember there is a joy in suffering and God’s unconditional love in your heart.
I will be praying for you and I will be holding your hand in your season of sorrow.
This chapter in the bible has helped me through most of my storms.
“There is a season for everything, a time for every occupation under heaven: A time for giving birth, a time for dying; a time for planting, a time for uprooting what has been planted. A time for killing, a time for healing; a time for knocking down, a time for building; A time for tears, a time for laughter; a time for mourning, a time for dancing; A time for throwing stones away, a time for gathering them; a time for embracing, a time to refrain from embracing; A time for searching, a time for losing; a time for keeping, a time for discarding; A time for tearing, a time for sewing; a time for keeping silent, a time for speaking; A time for loving, a time for hating; a time for war, a time for peace. What do people gain from the efforts they make? I contemplate the task that God gives humanity to labor at. All that he does is apt for its time; but although he has given us an awareness of the passage of time, we can grasp neither the beginning nor the end of what God does. I know there is no happiness for a human being except in pleasure and enjoyment through life. And when we eat and drink and find happiness in all our achievements, this is a gift from God. I know that whatever God does will be for ever. To this there is nothing to add, from this there is nothing to subtract, and the way God acts inspires dread. What is, has been already, what will be, is already; God seeks out anyone who is persecuted. Again I observe under the sun: crime is where justice should be, the criminal is where the upright should be. And I think to myself: the upright and the criminal will both be judged by God, since there is a time for every thing and every action here. I think to myself: where human beings are concerned, this is so that God can test them and show them that they are animals. For the fate of human and the fate of animal is the same: as the one dies, so the other dies; both have the selfsame breath. Human is in no way better off than animal — since all is futile. Everything goes to the same place, everything comes from the dust, everything returns to the dust. Who knows if the human spirit mounts upward or if the animal spirit goes downward to the earth? I see there is no contentment for a human being except happiness in achievement; such is the lot of a human beings. No one can tell us what will happen after we are gone.” ~Ecclesiastes 3
This week will feature a series of posts from Rachel on her losses in honor of Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month.
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your heart be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14:27
I remember the day that I lost Frances. It was very still. When I woke up that morning I knew something was going to happen. The worry seemed to overcome me, I was asking everyone for prayers and trying to discern what to do. Now, looking back, the whole day’s gray to me.
My craving for a Steak N’ Shake Frisco Melt and chili cheese fries was really strong. It seemed my body was in constant pain and that was all I wanted to eat. After discerning, I decided to wait until The Scientist got home to go into the hospital. The pain seemed to be coming in waves; little did I know I was in labor.
When I got to the hospital, I made sure to keep in contact with my mom and Kristi, keeping them updated so they could update everyone else. Frances was born. She was beautiful and looked exactly like me, freckles and all.
My heart still aches for all of my children.
That day I was filled with anxiety and today I realized that my faith at that moment wasn’t strong. I was trying to control the situation.
Emotions, in my experience, are intense and they suck.
When I got home, I was filled with emotions of failure, guilt, anger, sadness, happiness, and the feeling of being judged. Lots of unhelpful advice came regarding waiting, not trying again, adopting, and just being content with it being me and my husband. These emotions and advice lead my thoughts away from the path they were on.
Sometimes people don’t really understand that words, and sometimes actions, can help a person think a certain way. Emotions are tough because they are charged by the moment.
“The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick; who can understand it.” Jeremiah 17:9
Hearts can be deceived, and my heart was definitely being led astray. And it was hurt. In my mind, I know that everyone who said and did judgmental, inappropriate, hurtful things to me; they didn’t intentionally mean to hurt my heart.
The truth is your heart after losing a child is going to be sad, sensitive, and it will not be true.
How does one heal and lead their heart and emotions back to the truth?
For me, the first thing I had to do was to give up all of my anxiety, hurt feelings, feelings of guilt, sadness, and anger to God. I sat and prayed and then I kept on repeating this process until I felt lighter. When God is in control of your mind and your mouth, it seems that your heart will follow. God showed me in his time and wisdom what he has planned for me every step of the way.
Through all of these traumatic situations, I have come to rely on God more. He showed me through my pain that my vocation is important to my own household.
Another thing I have learned is patience; with people and myself.
Learning to control my own thoughts and words has really strengthened my relationships.
The only advice I can give is to pray and to wait in the stillness for God’s answers. He will always provide and he will always answer.
Oh, my lord! As you live, my lord, I am the woman who was standing here in your presence, praying to the Lord. For this child I prayed; and the Lord has granted me the petition that I made to him. Therefore, I have lent him to the Lord; as long as he lives, he is given to the Lord.” ~ 1 Samuel 1:25-27
God knew what He was doing when He gave us our two boys. It has been immensely harder and extremely more exciting than I ever imagined when I prayed for them in the early years of our marriage. I should have known that with Captain’s blood in their veins these boys would be hilarious, charming, stubborn, creative, and… born leaders; but it never occurred to me what that would mean as a parent. All the crazy stories and funny faces, the heart-melting smiles and sweet words, the foot stomping and death glares, the imaginative games and silly songs, and …well, the passion and audacity.
I do occasionally see some of myself in them, though. The way Sweet Boy can get lost in his own little world, Angel Face’s love for music, how picky they are about their food, and how they can memorize lines from a movie after seeing it once or twice. How they just. can’t. sit. still. I adore my boys and as I delight in them I think about how much more God must love these boys.
He created them after all out of the love He has for them and entrusted them to my care. Sometimes I question His judgement, but I am so thankful for His blessings. My hope is that I can truly love my boys to Christ and raise them in the way they should go. God has a purpose and a plan for my little darlings, and I want them to do His will.
Until then, though, I’m going to laugh with them, take the snuggles while I can, play along with their games, and keep every second in my heart. What are your favorite memories or moments with your children? What do you keep in your heart?
With the abundance of changes we’ve got going on with this first month of school and some exciting things happening in Hail Marry land (which we teased Monday, too. Information is coming, I promise!), it’s easy to lose time and to forget to carve out specific moments with Little Miss. In order to prevent that, here are my thoughts on making Mommy-Daughter time in your busy week!
1. The Morning Cuddle
I wake her up juuuuuust a few minutes early, have her come to my bed, and we cuddle while talking about her dreams from the night or things she’s looking forward to that day.
2. The “You Plan the Menu”
On a whim, I took Little Miss grocery shopping for dinner one night and had her plan the meal. Then she helped me prepare it. We had ham, green beans, carrots, and salad, if you were wondering, and it was delicious!
3. The Breakfast Date
This is one of my favorites, because it kills two birds with one stone! It helps her move and get ready on time, and we get to spend time together. We set a time goal to be ready and leave the house early, then we go and grab breakfast before school. Sometimes in the fall, it even includes a very tiny PSL for Little Miss.
Have you tried any of these? How do you mommas make time for your kiddos during the busy school year?