Perhaps you need to fast and pray, sweet mom

Perhaps you need to fast and pray, sweet mom

Welcome to our series, “You are not a victim, you’re a mom!” Today we are peeling back the lies and remembering what is true!     She grabbed hold of my wrist, tight like a shackle, and leaned in close. I could smell the morning’s coffee on her breath and saw the weariness in her eyes at the start of another powerless day. “I can’t do this anymore…” She whispered it frantically again, “I can’t do this anymore… I hate this and I can’t do this anymore. I hate myself and I hate my kids and I hate my life. And I can’t do this…” Our children were playing together at the park and we’d just put our things down. All I had asked was a simple, “How you doing?” and out it poured, from the heart of a pent-up woman standing too terribly close to the brink. And the most frightening part of all was that she could have been you, she could have been me. A simple, well-intentioned, loving mom and wife who was taking the fiery arrows of the devil’s lies right in the heart. She clutched me like I could save, because she knew she was going down.     Jesus rebuked him, and the demon came out of him, and the boy was cured at once. Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, “Why could we not drive it out?” And He said to them, “Because of the littleness of your faith; for truly I say to you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain,...
Defining humble

Defining humble

I was taught years ago that the word humble means low to the ground. Perhaps I got that from Charlotte’s Web. Yes, I think that’s it. Of course, since the time that elegant spider spun her theology lesson into my heart I’ve read all the dictionary definitions and still think this “low to the ground” word picture sums it up best. Humble. Prostrate. Low to the ground. And yet, humility isn’t a self-deprecating, self-loathing, self-abasing sort of thing. Infact there’s very little “self” focus at all, in the heart of the truly humble. Kneeling beside the vastness and grandeur of an omnipotent and yet personal God, who knows the hungry child in Africa, and the divorcee struggling with shame just down the pew; kneeling low is where we catch a view of His expansive greatness. The radical power of God, who shook off the lofty glories of heaven to rescue every sinner in need of grace, bending low to deliver His Salvation. And so we bend low. Yes, I bend low. Humbled. Standing in our backyard last night, exactly two weeks after my dear friend Amber Lia and I launched our book Triggers out into the world, I watched God paint a fresh masterpiece across the skyline. Alone in the quiet, a damp kitchen towel still in my hands, the sound of my children shooting hoops out front, it occurred to me that God, in his omni-present power, was simultaneously at work beyond my horizon too – bringing His creative brilliance to every inch of every galaxy known and unknown, far beyond the orange hues of my limited view and comprehension. It was all too big for the smallness of me. I’ve only an inkling of...
parenting with authority vs. authoritarian parenting

parenting with authority vs. authoritarian parenting

Welcome to Part seven of our series, “You Are Not a Victim, You’re a Mom.” Today we’re talking about our PARENTAL POWER! Actually, that’s not entirely true. We’re talking about the victim tendency to feel powerless – and the desperate and destructive ways we grasp for that ever elusive power. Perhaps you’re on that teeter-totter, with your belly doing flip flops all day long. One moment you’re up, enjoying the view, parenting well, feeling stable and secure, but then suddenly you plummet… losing your sense of power and purpose all over again.     He threw his scooter down, clenched his fists and cried big tears. All 52 pounds of him was tense and ready for battle, as he tilted his chiseled little chin and dared me to make him. I took a deep breath then repeated in gentle tones, “Son, it’s time to come in and clean up for dinner.” “It’s not fair! I was at school all day. I just want to play! I’m not going come in now and I won’t.”   “I’m not going to… and I won’t!” Doesn’t that just about sum up the strong-willed child?   And with that he collapsed into a puddle of tears and snot, right there on the asphalt in our driveway. He kicked his helmet to the curb, flopped onto his back, and wailed over the injustice of it all. Of course, when I take this singular event out of the context of our very full life, I can smirk. Watching him transform into an emotional mess over having to wash his hands and come to the table is actually a little humorous. Bless his heart – all the...
Sometimes you just need a “Mommy time out”

Sometimes you just need a “Mommy time out”

Welcome to part six in our series, “You are not a victim, you’re a mom.” Today we’re sitting down and calming down!  That’s right, we’re talking about the power of a Mommy Time Out!     When You’re Feeling Abused by Your Little People and Are About to Explode – Try Putting Yourself in Time Out!   ding ding ding – Send yourself to your corner…  I’ve written before about lovingly sending our children to their rooms when they’re all itchy-twitchy looking for a fight. (You can read about it here) Giving your children some minutes (or hours) in their rooms to calm down and relax isn’t an angry disciplinary tactic… it’s a gift when given correctly. Gently, we take them by the hand and say, “This isn’t working. You aren’t being kind to your brothers or to me right now. You get to have some quiet time in your room so that you don’t hurt your relationship with us. I know that when I call you to come out you will feel so much better and be able to do a great job being calm and kind again.” How about you, dear mom? Wouldn’t you love for me to ring the bell when you’ve accepted their invitation to fight? Wouldn’t you like me to throw the towel down on the mat, take you by the weary hand, and walk you quietly to your room? I’d firmly, but lovingly, instruct you to enjoy some quiet play for half an hour.  “You can work on a puzzle, look through your picture books, or do some coloring at your desk. I’m sure when I call you out you...
Triggers

Triggers

Welcome to part five of our series, “You are not a victim, you’re a mom!“ Today we’re talking about Triggers! Those things your children do that cause you to explode.   Do you believe your struggle with anger stems from your children’s wrong behavior? I know how easy it is to play that victim card!   “If you would just listen, I wouldn’t have to yell to get your attention!”   They do something, say something – or don’t do and say what you’ve asked them to. They push your buttons and trigger in you a terrible reaction.   “If only they would behave right, I wouldn’t have to behave so wrong!”   Yes, that’s it! We need someone to write a book and tell us how to get them to behave, so that we can too! Make it a book full of simple solutions to help our children honor and obey, sit quietly at the table, stay in bed after they’re tucked in, stack their shoes neatly by the door, use inside voices, and not throw grocery store fits! Triggers: Exchanging Parent’s Angry Reactions for Gentle Biblical Responses is not that book. My dear friend, Amber Lia and I did write a book, and it is all about the things our children do that make us angry. However, and this is key, we believe that God is more concerned with our maturity than our children’s lack of maturity. After all, they are the children and we are the adults. Therefore, Triggers is focused 99.9% on retraining the parent’s heart, rather than the heart of the child. Amber and I have found that parents’ knee-jerk reactions and blow-ups...
Parenting with compassion – not passion

Parenting with compassion – not passion

Welcome to part four of our series, “You are not a victim, you’re a mom.” Today’s post is short but (bitter) sweet. However, it’s a crucial step in our journey to gentle.     We’ve heard it said, “Hurt people, hurt people.” However, for the sake of this series, I prefer: Victims victimize. Perhaps you struggled through your afternoon today with a toddler refusing her nap, and a big boy melting-down over his multiplication tables; everyone left their socks on the floor and no one wants what you made for dinner. And your heart is coiled up tight like a spring that’s ’bout to pop, because you’re tired of the abuse. Eventually you do explode, throwing all of those wrong-doings back on your little tormentors. Yes, you pay them back tear for tear, fit for fit, complaint for complaint – abuse for abuse. Only thing is… they’re not really abusing you, mom. There are many pitiful components to this victim mentality, here in the midst of motherhood. Of course, there’s the obvious grief moms experience on the backside of their anger, knowing that they’ve hurt their children. But long before they arrive at that sad place is this pathetic reality: all those things the children said and did, that hurt her heart and made her feel the victim, weren’t grounded in reality! Though they felt like real abuse, and caused her to really lash out, they were simply children being children… being children… being children… being children… all day long. A wise woman once said, “Your child isn’t giving you a hard time, your child is having a hard time.” Your child isn’t giving you a hard time, they’re having a hard time. Click...