Lead Your Family Like Jesus

I was excited and honored to be a part of the launch team for a new book. It’s called Lead Your Family Like Jesus, written by Ken Blanchard, Phil Hodges and Tricia Goyer.

At first, I thought, while good, there wasn’t really much ‘new’ or ‘revolutionary’ inside. I have read a ton of parenting books over the past 8 years, always trying to hone my skills and figure this thing out. I kept reading  however, and I am SO glad I did.

Over the past several months, I have been trying to steer us from an authoritarian, “you must obey because I’m your parent” style of parenting to a more grace based, Jesus like, relationships are more important than blind obedience, grace filled family. It is HARD. Hard because it challenges me more, it challenges the way I grew up and the habits I already have in place. But it is also GOOD. Good because I feel like I am doing it more Biblically.

And this book, oh this book, came into my life at just the right time.

It is FULL of takeaway nuggets, real life application, references to the Bible, other parents’ experiences, thought provoking questions, and prayers. It is set up to easily do with a book club or small group. There is so much to think about and apply, I can’t recommend getting the book enough. It’s available on Amazon or CBD, and at your local bookstore. You should also request your library buy it.

Parenting is singularly one of the most difficult challenges you will ever undertake. You often feel unappreciated, like the bad guy, guilty or that you are doing it wrong. This letter is a real encouragement to me, and hopefully to you as well.

Dear Mom and Dad,

Thank you for the gift of life. I am grateful that you believed in my potential to be a blessing to you and to the people I will meet during my lifetime. I thank God for placing you in my life.

Whatever happens from this moment forward, one thing will never change. Ia m your child and you are my parents, forever. You will always be the living images of the words “Father” and “Mother” that I carry with me all the days of my life. Whatever you teach me about love and what is important in life will mold my view of the world.

Before things get too hectic,  I want to thank you in advance for the sacrifices you will make on my behalf so that I may grow into the person God intends me to be. Thank you for all the busy days and sleepless nights that you will invest in caring for my  needs.  Thank you for praying for wisdom in how to guide me through all the pain and mistakes I will experience as I grow.  Thank  for standing firm when I test your patience so that I may learn obedience.

Thank you for your encouragement and discipline. Thank you for listening to me even when my arguments don’t make sense and my frustrations spill over. Thank you for letting me fail, when failure is the best teacher and humility is the lesson. Thank you for picking me up and dusting me off when I fall, so I will not be discouraged as I learn.

Thank you for all the times you will comfort me with the hugs and kisses that always make things better. Thank you for cleaning up the messes I make, and then teaching me how to clean them up myself. Thank you for teaching me to value what is important to God. Thank you for teaching me that love includes forgiveness, compassion, apologies, accountability, as well as patience, kindness, generosity, humility, courtesy, good temper  unselfishness, grace and sincerity. Thank you for saying no when what I ask is not in my best interest. Thank you for enduring my seasons of rebellion that will come with the growing pains of becoming an adult.

Thank you for making it easier to obey you by keeping the rules simple, the consequences consistent, the standards for success attainable, praising my progress, explaining why, and most of all, modeling the behaviors and attitudes you want me to develop.

My prayer is that God will bless you with the wisdom and the courage to raise me in such a way that I will grow to understand what it means to have faith in the love of God, to believe in His Word, and to obey His commandments.

Love, Your Precious Child

Excerpted from Lead Your Family Like Jesus, a Focus on the Family book published by Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. Copyright © 2013 by The Center for Faithwalk Leadership/Lead Like Jesus. Used by permission. To purchase a copy of the book, please visit http://family.christianbook.com

You may also be interested to know there’s a giveaway for an iPad Mini going on! Details over here!

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Time for a change

I’m a whole different person.
The morning after I cut it, Denton came out of his room and stared at me. He made a sleepy bee line to Dada and stared some more. Then he finally says, in that indescribably sweet little voice of his, “Mama? You name Mama?”

I was just tired of it. My hair is VERY heavy and I feel so much freer now. I was finding myself getting annoyed with my sweet baby for grabbing and pulling it all the time, not to mention it huuuurrt!

So, I just started whacking at it. And it turned out pretty ok.

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A Breath. A moment.

Today has been stressful. I feel like that word is overused, but it does seem like a very good word.

I love my children more than I can even describe. I love them so much it makes me cry sometimes. Sometimes I can’t breathe for the awe of it.

It is crazy having five little people and I will come right out and call it like it is, five selfish little people, around all the time. We are all selfish. That’s just the way it is. Part of my job is to help them put others first, to not act on every impulse, but to treat others the way we would want to be treated.
And sometimes it’s not even the selfishness that is the problem, just the childishness.

My day goes like something like this:

  • Try to make the bed. Child runs in screaming because other child zipped his penis into his pajamas. 
  • Try to get a meal train set up. Child hits himself in the face with his toy and promptly starts screaming.
  • Try to get laundry started. Discover child has “washed his truck” in the new bathroom sink and left a muddy wet trail all over the sink, the floor, the rug and the clean diapers hanging on the drying rack.
  • Try to make cookies with child. Get overwhelmed by the number of times I have to redirect and remind.
  • Try to get the drawstring out of my pajama pants where it has naughtily creeped into the casing halfway around. Have to listen to child have a crying fit because she wanted to pick the food for Friday, not Wednesday and even though she gets to have what she wanted to pick today, today isn’t FRIDAY.
  • Try to talk on the phone to make a surprise plan for a couple children. Get interrupted forty-seven times. Or maybe it was forty-eight.
  • Try to get the winter and too small boots sorted out so I know what we need to get, and what (boy! is it a lot!) needs washed before it gets put in storage. Enlist the children since they know what fits and what doesn’t. Am nearly bested by the chaotic cacophony that “simple” project entails. Am stunned by the stubbornness of someone insisting that winter boots 2 inches longer than the foot fit now and ought not go into storage.

It is hard. I thank God I can turn to Him, breathe a prayer and He calms my heart. I thank Him for growing me so that I am not constantly on edge about all this nuttiness. I thank Him that I can laugh and find joy and teach. I thank Him that my “Yell Chart” hasn’t had any new entries for a couple weeks.

I thank Him for all these moments. For the muddy handprints (or are they footprints?) on my nook chair. For the happy cricket voices that constantly fill my home. For the giggles and groans and the laughter and lunacy and silly centipede games. For the whining and the bickering and the mess and the help and the hugs and the hearts of these small people I’m given the privilege to raise. 

I am especially thankful for Now though. Now the Bigglets have gone to Good News Club. The Small Boy is with his Dada at Farm and Fleet. Babe E is (finally) asleep cozy snug in her favorite place, in her wrap next to my heart. I am listening to her breaths and the ticks of the clock. Watching the raindrops on the window.

Thanking God for this moment. This breath.

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I think I need an assistant

Ok, ok, this set up to the south facing window is clearly too sunny, despite it being an overcast day. Note my valiant Aviana in the back there.

I move the “studio” around to the east facing window. And Denton decides handstands are in order. And Elivette scoots away. (I graciously spare you all the chit chat and playing and general shenanigans, along with the 57 pictures missing between each of these shared here)

Elivette scoots away. Again. I nurse her.

Arrange everyone again. Reclip the clips holding up the sheet for the umpteenth time. Keep my patience. Denton gets cheesy.

I’ve got my arm raised, snapping my fingers, and making weird embarrassing noises trying to get their attention. So is Denton. 
Um. We’re about done with this, Mama. But we’re all looking!

Yeah. That’s about the best I could do…
Their individual shots turned out AH-Maze-ing though!

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