Hold Their Hands…

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After a bit of a hiatus, I’ve been peeking into Facebook here and there “just to see” what’s been going on with some of my old friends and more distant family members.  The main topic as of late has been the weather, and school closings, and there’s been a lot of chatter the past few days about kids being stuck at home…or more accurately, moms complaining that the kids can’t go to school and their resulting despair because of it.  My kids haven’t been able to go back to school here in Minneapolis either, not because of excessive snow, but because the wind chill temps have been in the -40 to -50 degree range, cold enough to freeze your skin solid in about 5 minutes flat if exposed to the air.

I can’t even begin to describe what that feels like…so I wont…

When my family walked out into the dark morning and balmy -24 degree air this morning to go back to regularly scheduled programming, I sighed and climbed back into my cozy bed to contemplate my plan for the day. I opened email on my phone and drifted over to Facebook instead and began reading post after post about the turmoil that was happening at bedtime last night not knowing if there would be yet another snow/cold day for multiple family and friends.  And then it went on to parents now cheering this morning as their kids do in fact head back to school…phew!  That was a close one!  Then this thought came to my mind as I rode the roller coaster of all those emotions…

Why do mothers cry when their children go off to kindergarten, mourning the loss of their babies, the carefree days of them playing at home and no dictating schedules, and the dawn of a new chapter in life and the resulting lost freedom, yet scream, kick, cry, groan, and LAMENT over a snow day, or three, tacked on to an already awesome two week winter break?  What happened between those two moments?

I’ll admit, when my kids went to kindergarten, I was the mom secretly laughing at the crying ones for their foolish sadness and Kleenex parties.  I was the one who RAN away from the school, clicking my heels in the air as I went rejoicing in that freedom I now had with my day empty of children.  Did they not know what was ahead for them??  QUIET.  TIME for a long shower! Grocery shopping could happen ALONE.  All glorious things!  But something has changed for me.  I was sad this morning when my family left me.

Yesterday, I caught my 15 year old son in a lie.  It was on a topic we have been butting heads on for almost a year now.   I sat him down and confronted him, again, begged for explanations, and cried.  Yes, I cried.  Bawled actually.  I let the year of frustration freely roll down my cheeks.  I poured out my heart to him.  I told him how frustrated I was and how I felt like a bad parent because I couldn’t figure out how to communicate to him in a way that got results I wanted to see.  I told him I was sad he didn’t trust me as a parent that my decisions for him were because of how much I loved him.  I told him about mistakes I made at his age and how the consequences I suffered from lack of discipline motivate me in how I parent him because I love him so much I don’t want him to hurt like I have sometimes.  He sank in his chair and his cheeks turned red as he sat quietly and listened.  And then, a beautiful, hour-long conversation about compromise, understanding, encouragement in making changes, and empowerment happened.  We joked about my tears and I told him “I’m training you for marriage!” and he responded, “Thanks for that…” and then suddenly I realized, I was right.  One day, many days actually, his wife is going to sit in front of him and pour her heart out to him and tears will surely flow.  How is he going to know how to respond to that if I don’t take the time to teach him??  In the midst of my frustration over his lie, I was able to teach him probably 10 life lessons in that conversation that followed and speak into his life in a way no one had ever done for me.

So here’s the thing, fellow moms, BUCK UP!  Stop the moaning and complaining that you have to deal with your kids one. more. day.  It’s a blessing from God.  I didn’t realize it until this morning but I see it now.  If my kids didn’t have that extra day off of school I might not have had this opportunity to pour teaching and wisdom into my son’s life!  He’s almost 16.  My time is running out with him.  I’ll be the first to admit that missing a day of work can be a huge inconvenience with snowball consequences or that a quiet day at home to get things done without interruption is bliss.  I relish in them as much as you do.  But I’m realizing as I’m moving from younger children to older children that my job as a parent is very important and I cannot slack off.  I need to take advantage of the time I am given with them and I probably should have used some of that time more wisely when they were younger.  I only get one chance to raise each one of my children into adulthood, God willing.  I want to make the best of it.  I want to deal with the boredom.  I want to deal with the squabbling.  I want to deal with the lies, and sneaking around, and less than desirable character flaws they may develop.  I want to discipline with love and have time to cry and pour out my heart to them.  It’s my job!!!

Enjoy the time you are given with your children.  It’s precious and limited.  Look for opportunities to pour your heart out to them.  Find the time.  Make time.  Love them.  Discipline them.  Teach them.  Set your needs and desires aside to raise them and mold them into the adult you wish you were sometimes.  I want to be the greatest influence in my children’s lives.  Not their teachers.  Not their friends.   Not their coaches. Not the Internet, or iPad, YouTube, or TV shows.  ME.  God gifted these babies to me to raise up and train in the way they should go.  It will be hard.  It will be tiring and annoying and get in the way of what we had planned for our day.  Things can wait.  We need to want to be with our kids every chance we get and influence them in the time we are given before they are off in this big scary world alone and we can no longer hold their hands…

“Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”  Proverbs 22:6

His Way or Mine…

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I just finished reading a post on a new blog I was recently introduced to.  I know, I know…who hasn’t, right?  This one happens to be written by the wife of one of my husband’s new employees, so of course, I am intrigued and riddled with curiosity.  It’s like receiving a free Google pass into someone’s personal life!  Don’t we all want to know more about the people we interact with or occasionally cross paths with?  I admit, it’s not a very becoming curiosity at first glance, but I find people intriguing and ALWAYS want to know more about their lives and their stories!

She, like I, set aside her career endeavors, left behind her network of support, packed up her family, and joined her husband in a cross-state move so he could experience change and growth in his career.  She writes about following her dreams to be a speaker, writer, and motivator and how she is balancing the advice of others with her own desires and how she thinks both sides fit into what God has planned for her.  I am intrigued by her hesitation to do more, as she was advised, before giving it thoughtful reflection and prayer.  I find this woman wise and intuitive.

I get a lot of kick back still after being here in Minneapolis for over two years now from followers, old clients, friends and family wondering why my writing has slowed so much and why I haven’t continued to design and why haven’t I continued with the health counseling here and what happened to the new venture of the two tied up into one business…it was all going SO well!?!?  I haven’t for the very same reasons this other woman hesitates…because I have a responsibility to care for the gifts that I have been given.  My family comes first.  My dreams and desires and “me time” come second.  I dabble in all of my career interests and research constantly to stay in the game.  But there are seasons in life, as she has realized early in her journey, and there is a time and a place for each step in the process.  Not to sound condescending, but I feel proud of her for realizing that and taking a step back to thoughtfully reflect upon and consider each step of her journey and whether it honors God, the one who presented her with her gifts to use in the first place!

Since our move two years ago, I have had plenty of time to step back and reflect on why I do what I do.  Does my writing cause others (or even myself) to remain idle when there are other responsibilities or gifts they/I could be taking care of?  Or does it inspire them to get up and do something great, as I hope and desire?  Does my knowledge in design and incorporating that into helping others re-work the way their home/office functions, clean things up, and move into a healthier and more productive style of living actually create more discontent or does it improve and encourage better use of time and thoughtfulness and inspire contentment, as I also hope for and desire?  I, too, wonder if the world really needs one more blog or one more designer or one more person to encourage others to live thoughtfully and healthfully.  Is that my desire for my time here on earth or is it God’s?  I believe that the desire I’ve had to let things simmer down and wane for a while is actually in response to a nudge from God.  He may just have a different plan here for me, so I better lift my head and open my eyes so I can see it when it’s time.

One thing I love about crossing paths with other Christian women is that it validates my belief in Christ and that I’m not alone in a world that can sometimes feel overwhelming and negative.  There is hope to be inspired, encouraged, loved, and motivated by others to do what God calls us to do.  I also love the thought that maybe we cross paths with certain people on purpose.  There is potential to do something greater as a pair, or in a group, than there is alone.  This excites me.

I applaud this woman for being thoughtful, and bold, and allowing God to travel WITH her as she navigates her way into her new adventures.  We can learn from this.  Oh, how much more fruitful and rewarding our journey’s will be in the end if He is allowed to navigate the route and define what success is for each of us individually…