Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a reward from him.–Psalm 127:3 As much as I know and believe my children are a gift from the Lord, sometimes this parenting thing is HARD. As a mother, I’ve continued to grow in ways I didn’t know were possible, and I’m not done growing, either. I’m very far from being a perfect parent. I was recently encouraged by Chip Ingram’s Effective Parenting in a Defective World series . My church offered it as an 8-week class a few years ago and I took it then. I walked away with a

I didn’t used to think I was a selfish person. Then I got married. All of a sudden, my life decisions weren’t all about me anymore. I needed to include someone else and learn to put his desires before my own.  After a few years of marriage, I thought I’d learned how to not be selfish. Then I had kids. All of  a sudden, my time really wasn’t my own. I needed to sacrifice basic things like sleep and hygiene over the needs of this tiny, helpless person that couldn’t do anything for themselves.  Then I did it again, and

If your family is like mine, when you’re trying to shuffle the kids out the door, there’s a lot of chaos, bickering, barking, and frustration. And usually all our emotions jump into overdrive because we’re already running late and I’m trying to hurry. That’s the keyword there: hurry . I keep trying to do more than I can. I don’t give myself enough time to do what I want to do, and get frustrated that I’m late. I’m also easily distracted, which slows me down even more. Then I try to compensate by hurrying everyone along which feels a lot

What’s the best way to teach our children important life lessons? I’m not a teacher and I have no formal training whatsoever, but if I were to guess, I would probably say a lot depends on the child’s personality, where they are in their development, and whether they learn best by seeing, hearing, or doing. However, I was listening to this Brant and Sherri Oddcast episode the other day, and they pointed out how Jesus taught: he asks questions, tells stories, and lets people wrestle with the meaning. And he didn’t have set “classroom times” and “office hours.” He taught

How often do you feel like you don’t measure up? For me, it happens pretty regularly. I feel like I’m not a great mom when I snap at my kids. Or when my focus shifts from trying to keep up on the housework to something else, and I look around and feel surrounded by mess. Or when what I intended to say to my husband came out wrong and led to division rather than connection. And that doesn’t even get into what the world tells me about what sort of woman I should be. It’s so, so easy to get

Kids should have time to go outside and play. To sit in a pile of dirt and not care how messy they get. To let their imaginations wild as they pretend they’re exploring a jungle, hiding from pirates, or discovering a new species of life. I want my kids to go outside and play. Being Content with Reality But the reality is they have two parents that work full time, and while the older two could go play in the backyard by themselves, they have a little brother that’s just a little too young to have no supervision in that

Here’s a shock: I’m impatient. I want what I want when I want it, on my time table. I hear myself telling my kids that waiting is part of life, and I know it is both intellectually and experientially, but sometimes I catch myself thinking ahead to what I’m looking forward to, that I don’t see what’s right in front of me. This is especially true with my kids. At ages 3, 5, and 8, it’s not uncommon for me to think ahead to how much “easier” or “more fun” life will be when they’re older. Looking forward to milestones

How connected is your family? Do you regularly spend time focusing on each other? As cell phones have helped us stay in touch with those not physically with us, it’s distanced us from those we’re sitting next to (see Eric Pickersgill’s Removed series for a powerful visual of our attachment to mobile devices). How do you make the most of the time you have with your kids? As a working mom, I only have about 3 hours between when I get off work and I tuck them into bed–that includes traveling to and from the office, the time it takes

I’m not a farmer. I’m not a gardener. I tried being a plant mom, but after my plants hobbled along for a couple of years, I decided to focus on other things.  Despite my thumb being far from green, there are important lessons all of us can learn from plants. Sowing good seeds Twin Lakes Church shared a devotional for mothers this past May, and I really liked what one of them wrote based on Galatians 6:7b : “You will always harvest what you plant.”  As it began to dawn on me that I would never have children of my

What do you do when you hit your breaking point? We all do it. Running on less sleep than we should, feeling overwhelmed by everything we need to get done, and then the kids act like, well, kids. They’re incapable of seeing that you’re approaching critical mass and are about to snap. So what do you do? Time to Take a Break I love how Karen O’Connor put it in this downloadable Mother’s Day devotional from Twin Lakes Church . After telling a very relatable story about how challenging parenting is, she wrote: “[Matthew 11:28] reminds us that the Lord