Day 6: I choose to be PRESENT for my kids.
I was a perfect parent BEFORE I had kids. But actual real-life children can really complicate your parenting plans. Most days I feel like I’m being punked. 😜
People tell me all of the time that my kids are great and I have to agree with them! My kids are amazing. But between the snuggles and laughter they are a lot of work! Being their mom is both exhausting and exhilarating. I worry all of the time that I’m not doing enough or that I’m screwing them up. My husband, however, does not share these same thoughts with me. He tells me all of the time when I’m second guessing myself or worrying that “we are doing the best we know to do.” He’s right. He’s usually right.
I guess it is a credit to me that at least I care. I have read a bajillion books on parenting but mostly I seek out the experts- those who are in the trenches of parenting WITH me or a few years ahead. Those are the parents I want advice from. Not people with letters after their names in a book.
I was at a friend’s house the other day when I noticed a letter board in her kitchen. She spelled out in white letters on black felt: EVEN IF AND NO MATTER WHAT. She has been going through a particularly challenging stage with her young son and she told me that those words were given to her from their counselor. That we are to love our children “even if and no matter what.” That struck me and I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it. It simplifies this parenting thing. My job is to show up and love my kids even if and no matter what. And also to pray. I can do that.
Parenting is scary because there is not manual, and “good” parenting doesn’t guarantee “good” kids. Everyone is born with free will and that freaks me out a little when it comes to my kids.
I know why.
I had a wonderful childhood. My parents were great. My dad was a pastor. My mom was involved. I was encouraged and loved.
Aaaaand I went off to college and dated a stripper.
That is not how that was supposed to work out. My poor mother!(I have since then apologized to her for the undeserved angst I put her through) Our story is miraculous and redemptive. (And long and interesting!) I married that guy. But obviously he’s not the same person. Somehow God worked the not-so-good decision I made into a beautiful part of the story he is telling in our life together. That God redeems the broken. And he works all things for our good. Like a good Father, He showed up in the middle of our story because he wanted to tell a new one.
Do you know who also showed up? Our mothers. They showed up. EVEN IF AND NO MATTER WHAT And they prayed. Keenan’s mom prayed that he would find a “good” girl who knew Jesus. My mom (probably) prayed for that guy to disappear. And He did. Jesus gave him a new heart and life.
We both believe in the power of praying mommas. 🙏
Of course I struggle with how to present our story to our kids one day when it is appropriate to share. How do you communicate to a teenager the importance of choosing well when God took my bad decision (to date a stripper) and turned into the greatest blessing of my life (a husband who loves me like Christ loves the church) Keenan suggests telling them “You play the odds. Odds are dating a stripper is NOT going to work out for you.” Truth. He’s funny.
At the end of the day I’ve just decided to show up. To be present for each of them in every stage. NO MATTER WHAT and EVEN IF. Because that is what my perfect Heavenly Father does for me. I will encourage them to make wise choices based on who they are in Christ. And I will pray because I know they are not just my children- they are God’s children. And HE has an amazing story to tell through each of their lives.
I CHOOSE to be PRESENT for my kids. 💗