The day I got married, one of my closest friends looked me in the eye and said "God has many wild and wonderful things ahead for you and Jeremy."

Being called mom by 7 kids is definitely wild. Each day I look for the wonder in it all...and give thanks.

Partnering with my husband in life, parenting, work and serving is definitely wonderful. He is my favorite.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

What animal would you be?

Have your kids asked you that question? 

Mom, if you could be any animal on the planet, what would you be?

I never had a good answer for them.....until recently.

I would be a Pointer.

I'm learning more and more that I can't make my kids do a certain thing or be a certain way.  

I hate that most times because I just want them to do or be the way I want them to do or be!

I can only point them in the right direction.  
I can only point them in the best way that I think they should go, 
but it's ultimately up to them.

The topic of dating has come up a lot in recent weeks.  When my babies were babies, Jeremy and I discussed how we would handle dating for our children, and I was completely satisfied in what we decided.  
This is about how old we were when we planned their future dating expectation or lack thereof.

Now they are 14, 15, 16, and a couple weeks shy of 17.  Two of those came to me when they were 12 and 14.  Can you imagine how our "discussions" have played out regarding this topic?  Don't.

So in my last post I shared about how I'm looking in the rear view mirror to figure out why I do things the way I do....why I parent the way I parent.  Of course we all want what's best for our kids and we don't want to see them make the same mistakes we did.  

I find that I talk with my kids about this topic the way I would talk to my 14 to 17 year old self if I could go back:

Imagine graduating from High school with no regret and no ruptured relationships.  Imagine what it would be like if you spend your time and energy on friendships that will build each of you up.
Learn how to be a good friend.  If you can focus on building strong, healthy friendships, you could avoid causing pain and going through the pain of ruptured relationships unnecessarily.  These years will impact you in some way the rest of your life.  Learn who God wants you to be right now and watch and expect Him to show you the next steps.  You will be a blessing to others and you will be blessed.

I know full well I can't make this happen for them.  But I wonder what would be different if someone had spoken these things to me at that age.  Maybe someone did and I didn't listen.
I want to be a Pointer.  This is how Jesus is with me.  He gives me everything I need to walk down the path He has for me.  He waits patiently when I miss.  Power and mercy belong to Him (Ps 62:11-12) and oh how I thank Him for both. 

Are we there yet?

When my kids were babies and I was exhausted, my friends who had teens told me, "Just wait."  Now my babies are teens and 3 years ago (almost) we added more to the mix so I have 4 teenagers and 3 more coming up. 

Just in case you were wondering why I don't come here often.  

It's because my friends were right!  Teenagers are hard.  I am still exhausted.  And those same friends are telling me, "Just wait until they are in their 20's.  You still worry.  You just trade your worries for different worries."  So I am kindly telling my friends to "Shut up!"

Another reason I haven't come by here much is because I have been doing some work the last 6 months.  Not the kind of work I get paid for, but the kind of work that I hope will pay off in the long run.

I have been (and still am) in the process of figuring out why I do what I do--in regard to relationships....with my husband, with my kids, with my family and friends.

Why are my buttons my buttons?

What is shaping the decisions I make with how I parent?

I started thinking about these questions over a year ago and a friend recommended a book How We Love by Milan and Kay Yerkovich as a place to start exploring. 

This is hard work.  Finding the answers to these questions is hard because it requires looking back.  Not just looking back, but telling my story--the good, the bad, and all the in-between--so that I can fully accept, forgive, take joy in, and feel sorrow....and be covered in God's grace as I live today and look ahead.

Why?  Why do this?  Isn't life hard enough?  Isn't each day full enough?  Why make it harder?

I started this mess journey thinking about my kids.  How can I lead them to a place I haven't been myself? 

I want them to be able to give and receive. 
I want them to be able to express a wide range of emotions (they are kinda good at that already--even within 1 hour of the day). 
...But do it in appropriate ways. 
I want them to be able to ask for help when they need it. 
I want them to be able to set boundaries. 
I want them to be able to have fun and play. 
I want them to be able to handle conflict and negative emotions. 
I want them to understand their strengths and weaknesses. 
I want them to be comfortable in new situations. 
I want them to be able to take risks. 
I want them to be able to delay gratification. 
When they are upset, I want them to be able to seek help and comfort.

Milan and Kay call that person a "Secure Connector."  You might remember from the Child Development course you took in college that this person has a "Secure Attachment."

That's where I want to head.  That's why I am doing this.  It's not perfect and I don't have a perfect history, but they say it's worth it and I am believing that it is.

I might share a few things I am learning along the way.