Parenting Posts

Late Night Snuggles

Late Night Snuggles

Can I make a confession?

We lie down with our kids before they fall asleep. Until they fall asleep.

I know, I know, we are supposed to let them fall asleep on their own. They won’t grow up to be normal human beings…yada yada yada.

Let me tell you why we do it. They ask us to.

When the day was yucky, busy, or harried, they ask us to. After they’ve been having a hard time listening, I’ve said things I’d like to take back, or I’ve been too busy to play, they ask me to. When Ty’s been at work working hard all day, they ask him to. What grace!

At the end of the day, it is sometimes the nicest time we’ve had all day.

For the most part, the bedtime routine is Ty’s responsibility, and has been since Noah was a baby. It is a great time for me to stop at the end of the day and relax. It’s been so helpful to me, and has been such a blessing. But many times, one of them will ask if I will lie down with them, and it’s hard to resist.

We love praying with them, reading their favorite Bible stories and favorite books, and snuggling with them while they fall asleep. They tell us what is in their hearts, what they are sad about, what they’re excited about.

I know that these moments will get more and more important as they grow up. They will be very instrumental in raising Spartans.

It’s so sweet to watch them drift off to sleep and hear their breaths hit a steady rhythm. There’s something comforting about knowing that we made it through another day and that tomorrow is new. We can start again with new kindness, new patience, and new adventures. And no matter what, we will end it together again the next day.

I know that someday they may not want us to lie with them anymore, and that is a day I will mourn. I will mourn for the loss of this tender time we spend together. Too often I can’t wait for the end of the day, and it’ll be sad when the end of that day won’t end with us snuggling together, spending at least one special moment together.

So that’s my confession. We lie with our kids until they fall asleep. And we wouldn’t change it for anything.

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Sometimes Ty forgets to get up when the kids fall asleep and this is how I find all three of them. :)

When are your most special moments? Are you an early morning family that wakes up and snuggles together instead? Do you just throw future sleeping habits to the wind and snuggle in bed with your little ones like we do?

A Woman of Influence

A Woman of Influence

Last weekend, I had the opportunity to attend the women’s conference at my church. It was awesome to be in the presence of so many women who are seeking God, too. This was the weekend that we released the Chinese lanterns into the sky (see the picture here) and it was just awesome.

This month has been taxing, to say the least. I’ve had a couple of my close friends receive devastating news, I’ve been super busy and so has my husband, and we’re in the middle of moving my husband’s office to a new location. Not to mention that just plain ol’ normal life is happening all around me at what is seeming to be a breakneck speed!

With all of this, I’ve been struggling to be a good mom, good wife, good friend, good citizen…just struggling to stay awake, really. How’s that for honesty? Ha!

I have been feeling really insecure about my performance as a wife and mother in this season of life. Like my contribution to my family has been small. Coincidentally, the topic of the women’s conference all weekend was about exactly this — He’s funny like that, isn’t He?

In trying to be a good wife and mom, I’m concerned about how I am doing at being a Spartan mother to my Spartans, which is what I so long to do. On top of that, I’m so acutely aware of how much need there is around me, and I worry that I’m not contributing enough to fulfill those needs for other people. I want my children to think outside of themselves and be constantly looking for ways to be Jesus to other people, and it’s important to me that I model that for them.

But what can I do about all of that when I’m just trying to keep my head above water?!

That’s where the conference really hit home for me. The pastor of our church, Cal Jernigan (I’m pretty sure the only man in sight for the weekend, since the rest had fled at the sight of the wave of estrogen that descended upon the church) spoke about the incredible calling God has for women.

And I’d like to share a little bit of that with all of you! It was a message of hope for me, and I hope it is for you, too.

Cal started the weekend by asking a very simple question. I’ll ask it of you, too.

What influential woman (past or present) would you most like to meet?

Got your answer?

I thought he was going to start naming some characteristics that most influential women had in common, or what it was about them that made them so influential in the first place. I thought he’d fire us up with some good attributes to aspire to in our quest to becoming women of influence.

But he didn’t.

He hit us with another question. A question that was answered by men.

“Who is the most influential woman you have ever met?”

And do you know what an overwhelming majority of them answered? Their mom, and (if they had one) their wife.

Hold up. What?

A man stood up on that stage and told a room of 1,000 women that they are the biggest influences on the men and children in their lives, and that our influence is not to be understated or undervalued. He pointed out that no man in the world has given more value to women than Jesus. He gave dignity to women who had been stripped of all dignity. He trusted women first with the news of His resurrection because of their wisdom and intuition.

Wow.

It is important for me, and for all women, to understand our influence — even that we have influence at all. If this gift is misunderstood, it could be misapplied. If I influence no one else, I am influencing the very children that God trusted me to raise, and the man He chose to be my partner to help me do it. It is my job to guide these boys into men and to honor and support the man whose job it is to model what that growth looks like.

It’s not that I don’t have influence or that I won’t make a difference. It’s what I do with that influence that matters.

It’s not a question of, “Will I or won’t I have influence?”

It’s a matter of, “How will I use the influence I have?”

So in this season of my life, I’m finding that it’s important for me to recognize that my family is looking for someone to encourage, support, guide and champion for them. And I’m the influence that is shining the brightest.

Am I pointing them to Jesus?

Am I full of forgiveness and grace? Are my words kind and my hands loving? Is my attention focused? Do I rejoice in both times of trouble and times of gladness? Am I teaching them to be determined and dedicated?

In short, no.

Oh, but how wonderful that we have Jesus! He is able to draw my family to Him if I am humble and willing to acknowledge my own weakness and inability. Jesus can use us any time and any place. Even if it’s just that I can make lunch with a smile. Maybe that’s exactly what they need become Spartans this week.

We have influence, no matter who or where we are. It’s what we do with it that matters.

Influence

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Just out of curiosity, how would you answer that question?

What influential woman would you most like to meet?

Leave it for me in the comments!  

P.S. One of mine would be Mary (the mother of Jesus). Can you imagine?!

Helpful Spartans

Helpful Spartans

Well, school has started again this week for us! This time, Aidan gets to go! They both love Miss Becky so much and it’s so fun to watch them learn new things from her. She’s truly amazing, and we are so blessed that she is in our lives!

First day of school

With school starting comes the need for a renewed commitment to routine. We’re starting to go to bed earlier and get up earlier. The boys are beginning to get comfortable with the flow of the day. The biggest change is that we’ve switched up the routine before bedtime. 

My Baby is 3!

My Baby is 3!

Mommy and Aidan

Today my baby turned 3.

**Cue the waterworks!!**

Wow, where did the time go?! This moment is terrifying and encouraging all at the same time. I made the day pretty low-key…we’ve been having a crazy birthday weekend, and we needed a break! But we did decide to have a birthday dinner at The Cheesecake Factory. We couldn’t let the day go by completely unnoticed!

Aidan3

But even with the low-key-ness (yep, not a word) of the day, I spent a lot of the day in an exhausted and weird mood. I felt like there was this little nagging “downer moment” coming. I guess it’s just a realization that clichés mostly stand true and that TIME. DOES. FLY. Not just fly. It straps on its jet-pack and launches itself into outer space and before you know it you’ve gone from “Hi, it’s nice to meet you, Aidan. I’m your mom.” to “Hi, it’s nice to meet you, Professor. I’m Aidan’s mom.” And I’m not ready!!!!!

Raising Spartans

Raising Spartans

When my oldest son, Noah, was just a couple of months old, I read this book called “That’s My Son” by Rick Johnson.

It’s a book about how to raise our sons up into men of character. The key to that phrase is that I am trying to raise a man. This makes the task more daunting than it already is!

In the first chapter, the author talks about Leonidas and his army of 300 Spartan men who defended Greece from the Persian army of 300,000 long enough to allow Greece to gather its army.

Leonidas knew that it was going to be a suicide mission, but he knew that the fate of Greece was at stake, and that the cause of Greece was much greater than himself, or even his 300 men.

Initially, looking at those 300 men, it seemed as though they were picked at random. When asked what the criteria was for choosing those men, he responded that it wasn’t that they were all seasoned warriors, or that they were the fastest or wisest men of Sparta.

He said that he chose his men based on the character of their wives and mothers.

He expected that they wouldn’t be returning home from this battle. He knew that the wives and mothers were going to be grieving for their sons and husbands, but he also knew that they would grieve courageously and they would stand strong in the face of their loss.

He felt that the rest of Greece would be watching these women and would either be emboldened by their reaction or discouraged.

The Spartans ended up holding the Persians off long enough that Greece was able to save itself, but the Spartan men lost their lives when they were betrayed.

This story shakes me up for two reasons.

First, am I going to be able to raise sons that are going to be able to realize that they are a part of something greater than themselves and would willingly sacrifice themselves in order to support that bigger cause? Second, am I willing to sacrifice them for that cause?

Am I ready to watch my sons be a part of that greater cause and let them go?

For me, there is nothing more important than the salvation God provided for me by sacrificing His Son, Jesus Christ. This is the ultimate “cause” for which I hope to send them out.

Wow.

All of a sudden, feeding my family has taken on new meaning. Each bedtime brings me closer to that day.

Noah and Aidan

Perhaps I’m being a little dramatic, but I think that overall, this has been my response to this challenge. I never realized to this degree that I am raising sons that I will have to send away. I may not be sending them to a war, but the fact of the matter is that I will be sending them away in some sense no matter where I am sending them — whether it is to be married, or even just to be on their own.

So this is my primary goal — to be the mother that instructs my sons in the Lord and teaches them that there is a cause greater than themselves, and then courageously and completely gives my sons up that cause.

My secondary goal is this — to raise the kind of sons that I am proud to give to their wives because I know that they will take care of them, defend them, protect them, cherish them, and regularly lead them to the foot of the cross. I want them to be the fathers that raise their children to fear the Lord.

I am raising Spartans.

Lord, bless my efforts, and bless my sons.

What about you? Are there any books that have totally changed your whole perspective on parenting? Leave me a comment!