Tag Archives: grace

The Hard Truth

parenting fail

This parenting business is no joke.

I become more aware of my failures as a parent each and every day. And let me just say that before I share my most recent “lesson” with you…there is grace here. Grace for me and grace for anyone reading this that might relate to my struggles. No condemnation – just an opportunity for awareness and grace.

I saw this cute quiz on a friend’s Facebook page. She had asked her young children some questions about her and asked them to answer. Their responses were so loving and adorable…so my first mistake was thinking that my sweet darlings would respond in the same manner about me.

I was wrong. Clearly.

First question – “What is something that I say all the time to you?”

My friend’s kids answer  – “I love you!”

Mine – “Stop doing that.”

I am not even kidding here. I should have known that this wasn’t going to get any better…

Second question – “What makes me happy?”

My friend’s kids answer  – “Playing games with me!”

Mine – “When I am good.”

Third question – “What makes you sad?”

My friend’s kids answer  – “When you have to give me discipline”

Mine – “When I am naughty.”

I stopped the quiz and decided that my heart couldn’t take any more. It is something that has been unfolding before me in the recent few weeks and this quiz had solidified in me the need for a change.

I have talked about it before here that I have struggled my entire life feeling like I didn’t measure up. To what exactly, I’m not sure…but it was a feeling I have lived with forever.

It didn’t matter how hard I tried to “be good”…I was a sinful, selfish human being and eventually all my trying led me right back to a place of failure. A blow up, an unkind word, a threat…the list could go on and on.

I read this book called “Tired of Trying to Measure Up” and while some of the things didn’t necessarily fit with me, so many things did. And it all leads back to one main underlying emotion.

Shame.

When we spend our time trying to measure up to this standard of perfection that we set for ourselves, and then we fail, the natural response is to feel ashamed.

There were things in this book that I knew as a parent I had been doing. Not intentionally no, but a way of communicating with my kids that has allowed them to believe that by “being good” mommy is happy and when they are “bad” mommy is not.

Now yes, I feel happy when my kids are behaving, that is true. But am I communicating to them that I love them NO MATTER WHAT? That even on the days that they make mistakes, there is nothing that would make me love them more or less?

Am I modeling that unconditional love that Christ has for me?

The reality is – no.

As much as I would like to tell you differently, I am learning that this is something in my character that need refining.

I want my kids to understand the difference between good and bad choices. They need to have consequences when they make wrong decisions and can be praised when they are a blessing to others.

But here is what struck me so deeply last night.

It is NOT my kids responsibility to make or keep me happy. They are NOT responsible for my emotions and if I am communicating with them in a way that makes them believe they need to somehow “manage” my feelings…well then things have to change.

This morning I talked with Elijah a little and told him that it was not his job to make sure I was happy. I told him that there were a lot of things that make me happy and I listed off a few things. His smile being one of the biggest.

I also told him that no matter what, I would always love him. Even on the days that he makes wrong choices. I told him that sometimes those choices might make me sad but I would ALWAYS love him, just like God does.

Shame can be a good emotion when we can learn from a mistake and move forward.

But when the pressure to measure up and strive towards an unachieveable perfection causes a lifetime of feeling ashamed of who we are, it is not healthy.

I am working now on retraining my thought processes. It is my natural response to see only the negative in myself (and oftentimes others) and it has kept my in chains for too long.

I am starting by seeking out the truths of who I am in Christ.

Setting my feet on the solid rock of God and remembering that regardless of my choices, God loves me no matter what.

I want my children to walk in that truth as well.

Today I told Elijah that there were 3 things I wanted him to remember about how God uniquely created him. Yes there are so many things I could add to this list, but 3 seemed like something he could remember easily.

I said “You are kind, you are compassionate and you are brave. God gave you those gifts, try and be a blessing to someone else today.”

Will he fail? You bet. We all do.

But my hope is that he will start to walk in the truths of who he is. He will believe those truths over the lies that the enemy will try and whisper to him and he will know that he is loved no matter what.

As parents it is all we can do, own it for ourselves and then pass on the truth to the littles we have been entrusted with.

Original Photo Credit: via modified

31 Days of Seeking Him – Grace

31 Days of Seeking Him

Today’s post is going to be a little rogue…you see the wonderful ladies over at Five Minute Friday who have given me the word prompts for this month long series won’t be releasing this Friday’s word until later tonight (Thursday). The hitch is that I am going to be in the car when the word is released because we are heading out to visit Isaac for the first time at college!

So I was trying to decide what I was going to do. My access to WIFI over the next 2 days will be limited so I thought for this post I would pick my own word. (Rule breaker I know!!) But for some extra fun I enlisted the help of my kids. I explained why I needed a word and asked them to each give me one and then we would vote on which word to use.

Karlena said Purple – which if you have been following along, I just wrote about.

Gabriel said Land – that one could be pretty challenging don’t you think?!

Elijah said Grace – well actually he said God’s Amazing Grace, which yes is 3 words, but they are pretty good ones so he gets a pass this time! 😉

We voted and they unanimously chose Grace.

I seem to be needing a lot of grace here recently.

Some days are better than others, but let’s be honest, I am a hot mess most days.

I feel more aware than ever how incredible this unconditional love that God has for me is.

Us a fallen people, rebellious and ungrateful…yet with grace and mercy and filled with love, God sent His Son as a sacrifice for us all so that we could spend eternity with Him.

I seriously don’t think that I will ever tire of writing and re-writing those truths.

I want them to sink in deep into my soul.

I want to live my days filled with joy because of all that God has done for me.

I am desperate to grasp tightly to this grace gift and spend my life filled with a gratitude at all He is to me.

Yes my Elijah had it right…God’s Amazing Grace. How amazing it is indeed.

If I am spending my days seeking God, I am fully aware of this grace that He has poured out on me. And I walk forward filled with a gratefulness that changes my entire perspective.

What a gift this grace is, what a gift.

Where Grace and Suffering Meet

Karlena 2Today is a special day as it would be Karlena’s 40th birthday. And I am pretty sure that her 40 and fabulous party in heaven isn’t anything like we would be having here.

But I miss her. And I wish that I was celebrating with her in person.

Today at church I am leading a song for worship team. (Please pray as you read this because it still TERRIFIES me.) Anyhoo….It is called At the Foot of the Cross.

I have listened to the song over a hundred times in the last 4 days and the words have sunk in deep, covering my soul with the reality that is the dance between suffering and grace.

The video I am attaching below is one where they show clips from the Passion movie. The scene where Jesus is being raised up on the cross and his beloved friends are at the foot of the cross watching.

I understand the pain they must have felt at that moment. Their friend and companion, their teacher and example was dying and they would never be the same again.

I imagine they must have wondered how any beauty could ever come from something so painful.

But it is at the foot of the cross, the very tool used for extreme suffering, that we find just that.

Beauty from ashes.

Hope in the midst of suffering.

Light in the darkness.

The cross is the very reason that the loss we all experience is not the end.

We have been given new life when we accept Jesus as our Savior. And that new life offers the promise that death is not the end. And while I would rather celebrate this special birthday with Karlena in person, I rejoice in the fact that one day we will be reunited.

And oh the party that will be.

I don’t know what burden you are carrying this morning.

Maybe it is the loss of a job, or a struggle in your marriage. Maybe your arms long for a baby of your own. Maybe you are carrying the weight of a sickness or the struggle with anxiety or depression.

Whatever it is, I encourage you to lay it down. If you have to physically do the act of setting it down, do that. Set it down at the foot of the cross.

We weren’t meant to carry it on our own. Jesus came to do the heavy lifting. But for some of us it means we have to first let go.

There is freedom found in trusting God with everything. We might not always understand the trials we face, but we can walk confidently knowing that He will make beauty out of all of it.

Happy Birthday Karlena. You are loved and missed but I rejoice today in your complete and total healing. Until the day we celebrate together…I love you friend!

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