Tag Archives: MyBigJesus

She Loves You (Yeah Yeah Yeah!)

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With kids, everything happens in stages. Stages of waking up every few hours, and stages of sleeping through the night. Stages of independence, and stages of debilitating neediness. Stages of picky eating, and stages of so hungry they’ll eat sidewalk chalk after a three course meal. These stages – seasons, I like to call them – go by alarmingly fast sometimes.

Recently EK has entered into a season of snuggling, hugging and kissing. Voluntarily showing love, basically. It’s particularly merciful because this season is on the heels of a difficult season of not wanting to sit still enough to snuggle, yet screaming and crying if we left her for even a moment. But she has (for the time being) moved on to confidently knowing we’ll come back, and giving us smooches for the road.

For instance, the other evening I was leaving to go to a birthday party, and left the kids with a friend. When I announced that I was leaving, told her I loved her, and turned toward the door, she ran over to me saying, “Hug! Hug!” So of course I picked her up, and she said, “Bye bye mama. I miss you.” Talk about melting a mama’s heart. I mean, seriously… when I pick her up to hug her these days, she snuggles my neck, pats my back and strokes my hair! It’s truly a Pat yourself on the back, you good parent, you! sort of thing. The gestures of love she’s received from Hubby and me are being given back to us. She has so internalized our love and the way we show it that she is giving that love back out.

What if we, as children of God, took the gestures of love shown to us by the Father, and gave it back to Him? Or better yet, passed it on to others? The Heavenly Father gave up his only son for you. And me. And our families. And old folks in nursing homes. And inner city children. And celebrities. And sleazy politicians. And murderers and thieves. He loves us (all of us!) that much. As much as I love my children (a ludicrous amount), it’s only a fraction of the love God has for me. If we take even a portion of the love and blessing we’ve received from the Father, and multiply it by passing it on? That’s Kingdom business.

I have no “back to school”.

But isn't it nice that I'm with this gal all day?
But isn’t it nice that I’m with this gal all day?

It’s fall. The weather is cooling off (thankfully), the pumpkins are out in front of every grocery store, Halloween decorations are popping up everywhere, and all I hear on the radio is that the stupid fair is coming soon. My daughter has started preschool. Church activities have been going for weeks. But something feels… weird.

It’s the first time in my life that I haven’t gone “back to school”. When I graduated high school, I went to college. When I graduated college, I taught middle school chorus for three years, then elementary school music for three more years. And here I am. Not back to school.

I’m not regretting this decision at all. I am happy to be working part-time at my amazing church, and spending the bulk of my time loving my children and my husband well. But still, as I am settling into a schedule (mostly by force – I need that routine!) I still have so much unstructured time. I’m used to cramming my lunch in 18 minutes, multi-tasking like a boss, holding my bladder for an abnormally long time, and changing what I’m teaching (read: living, breathing, doing, thinking about) every 40 minutes – and often sooner than that.

But you know what else I was used to? Being drained at 3:00pm. Working some nights after working all day. Thinking about the needs, wants, thoughts, and jibes of hundreds of children that weren’t mine. Missing my own children all day while I was off taking care of someone else’s. Feeling bad that I had nothing left for my family after I’d spent myself on my job.

That last one was my kicker. Because truly, I enjoy working. I love having a schedule (there it is again), having a reason to leave the house every day, and sowing into something outside my home and family. I love teaching, and the opportunities the job gave me to really love on some kids who needed it. I love instilling knowledge and love of music into kids who need something at school for be good at, when math and reading don’t come easily. But for right now, Hubby and my own kids are what I need to focus on.

I respect you, working moms – especially teaching moms, because I have been among your ranks, in those trenches with you. But I am incredibly grateful that I could make the decision to leave you for a while. I’ll return, but right now, I’m thinking of you as a wrangle my ridiculously strong son into his clothes for the day, make several breakfasts and eat whatever the kids don’t, and microwave my coffee for the third time.  I’m thinking of you, because I know many of you are happily at jobs you love, knowing your kids are happy in their schools and day cares or with daddies and nannies. I’m thinking of you, also, if you’re wishing you were doing what I’m doing but it’s not possible. While it’s weird that I’m not back to school, I choose to rest in the unstructured craziness and enjoy it.

Toddlerese and Forgiveness

This post also appeared on MyBigJesus.com

I don’t know what qualifies as a “late talker” but I’m guessing my daughter falls on that spectrum somewhere. Recently, as in the past two months or so, her vocabulary has really catapulted into the “most sounds are actual words” range. For a while, it was still mostly gibberish while she pointed her chubby finger at something, with the occasional real word in there. Now, she’s stringing three or four or even five words together in a row, and sometimes making sentences! Hubby and I are so proud! I’m especially disappointed proud to say that her first full sentence was, “I wove fry fries!” As you can imagine, that means she really loves french fries.

Recently, she’s been using “thank you” (sounds like “kick you”) and “I’m sorry” a lot. For us, teaching manners to our kids also meant teaching a few polite phrases. When she receives something, she always says thank you. When she does something like take her brother’s toy or pull my hair (yeah, I don’t know where that came from but it’s a thing), we tell her to say “I’m sorry.” I know she doesn’t fully understand, but I always respond with “I forgive you” because I want forgiveness to be a familiar idea in our home. I want to extend forgiveness for small things and big things. I have a perfect model of forgiveness to follow; Jesus’ death on the cross for my sins (and yours!) is the ultimate act of forgiveness. If I have been forgiven for every single sin I have committed and will commit, it seems a simple thing to forgive my kids for their innocent transgressions. I consider forgiveness a particular blessing I can bestow on my family, and it mends my heart as well.

Do You Know a Robin Williams?

I read an article by Jeff Gissing this morning on MyBigJesus.com that was my favorite thing I’ve read since we heard that Robin Williams took his own life. It’s short, so no excuses not to read it.  The idea is simple – depression sucks, and it isn’t our job to judge people who deal with it different ways. The last line, “let’s ask God to soften our hearts toward those who suffer.” really spoke to me. How often are we quick to make a judgment or an assumption about someone? How often to we make a generalization without knowing the facts?

I’m sure I know people who struggle with depression and don’t tell me. I’m sure there are people in my life who have battled it and battled it some more. In ignorance I’ve probably made a judgment I shouldn’t have; I am also to blame. Yes, there are meds for depression. No, they don’t work for every person in every situation. Yes, there are other ways to deal with it. No, those don’t always work either. But I also know that there are people willing to help. There are places you can go, people you can call, and One who always desires to help and be there for His children.

I will not say that there is a perfect cure, or that a solution can always be found. I know that isn’t the case. But I also know that if you aren’t looking for help, you will rarely find it. So take the first step. If you know someone who struggles with depression, or other mental illness, help them take the first step. I know that if someone I loved was struggling, I would want to help them. I would reach out and take the step for them, if possible.

So throw no stones, pass no judgment. It’s unfortunate that celebrities get the worst of our scrutiny simply because their lives are all over the media for us to see. But we don’t know the details, the length of the struggle, the depth of the depression. We can only offer to help fight the battle, and honor the lives of those whose battle is over.