Thursday, July 20, 2017

The Letter From Clark

Am I dead?

Seriously...did I die?

Because I just go the most beautiful letter from my #4 child.

We really haven't seen much of him this summer, because he's been working at a Kamp. This letter was unexpected, unprompted, and I.was.blown.away.

I'm not throwing any shade on the other three kids...and this youngest child is not any more sensitive or appreciative than they are. But, like they did, he apparently had a moment when things just "clicked," and he wrote to tell us about it.

Our kids are all very sweet, and all 4 mean the world to me. They don't ask us for anything, and they are very appreciative of everything we do for them: little things, big things, and the big, BIG things.

I was just talking to a young mom from our small group this past Sunday. She was telling me how hard she works to please her family, ON TOP OF HER FULL-TIME JOB, and how her kids fuss, fight, and complain...and nothing she does is "right."

Things like, she fixed a healthy, well-balanced meal...and they all wailed because "that looks yucky."

And then once she told them they needed to wear tennis shoes to the gym instead of flip-flops, and they acted like she just killed their best friend.

I was thinking, "SISTER, I have been there."

I mean, haven't we all?

If you have several littles running around, like she does, this is magnified even more.

And can we just talk about summer, and filling the days, and it's hot, and you are worn out, and feeling trapped...AND YOU'RE THINKING ALL TEACHERS SHOULD MAKE A MILLION DOLLARS A YEAR FOR DOING THIS EVERY DAY.

There are good and fun days when your kids are little, but there are also some hard days. This happens at every stage. Not bad days, necessarily...just hard. Decisions and choices for us, and for them...when they're little, they don't seem as potentially life-changing as they do when they're older.

I told my young friend that there will come a day when her kids will understand and appreciate all she did for them...and then I got Clark's letter the next day!

Of course, he's it might be a while for my friend! Ha!

But, seriously's all worth it. It really is.

Well, actually, no. Not all of it is worth it. 

Spending a lot of time cutting your kids' sandwiches into the letter of the week in Kindergarten? Not worth it, because I did that for all 4 of mine, and NONE of them remember it.

Also not worth it: making anything "cute" for your child's holiday party at school. Do they even have those anymore?

I remember one year, a Mom spent hours decorating these homemade cupcakes. They were so cute, but I kid you less than 3 kids went over to the trashcan, scraped the frosting ONTO THE RIM OF THE CAN, and then ate the cupcake. Even more kids ate the frosting, and chunked the actual cupcake in the garbage.

Young moms out there...swallow your pride, and grab your treats at Wal-Mart. I learned too late, and now I'll never get those hours of my life back!

But intentionally investing in the lives of your children, however that looks for you and your family, is totally worth it...and it would be worth it to me, even if they never took the time to say thank you.

"Do everything without complaining and arguing..." Philippians 2:14

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Father's Day 2017

The greatest thing my Dad ever did for me happened before I was born: He married my Mom.

It was because of her influence, early in their marriage, that he gave his heart and life to Jesus. That one decision set the tone in our home, and directed the path of our lives...and led us all, individually and at different times, to commit our lives to Him as well.

My Dad has quietly lived out his Christian walk on a daily basis. Day in, day out, he's been a faithful follower, and humble servant of Christ...leaning on Him in times of trouble, and pointing to Him in times of joy.

He taught me to praise God in both good times and hard times. He taught me how to be content, and that has been one of the greatest gifts.

Today, I am thinking of my Dad, and praying for him. I don't know if he realizes that today is Father's Day. He is such a humble and gentle man...I doubt he understands the profound impact he's had on each of our lives...or the example he has been to us, and to others.

I'm incredibly blessed to have him as my Dad.

And, today (and every day), I'm thankful for my husband.

We made a lot of mistakes in parenting, for sure...but by the grace of God, and with His help, we managed to raise 4 kids to love each other, and love the Lord.

And, BONUS...this year, our kids have gotten to see their Dad in a different role: as a fun-loving Puddin' Pop to Rhodie.

Our kids know they can count on their Dad for anything, and that he wants the absolute best for them.

We've been partners in parenting for 31 years now. We aren't perfect, by any means...but, together, we are a pretty good balance.

I'm thankful for this hard-working Dad, and for the way he loves and supports our family.

Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger by the way you treat them. Rather, bring them up with the discipline and instruction that comes from the Lord. Ephesians 6:4