I am the type of person that if I’m not quite sure what to say, I don’t. There have been many mornings where I have sat here trying to think of how to explain my absence the past few months and no words seemed to be sufficient enough.
The past few mornings I have woken up with words stirring my mind awake. The many ways I could explain or tell you all what’s been going on. Yet I sit here now and still nothing seems to come. So I’m just going to write from my heart and hopefully it will all fall into place.
I can’t believe it’s already been over 3 years since we met. When I met you I had no idea what I was getting myself into, but I’m so thankful that I took a leap of faith that day.
Watching you mature and grow over the years has been an honor and a blessing. Oh how much my heart jumps with joy every time I see you playing or cuddling with little E. I don’t know why I don’t say this more often, but you are such a great father.
Everyday you find an opportunity to teach him something. The difference between right and wrong, how to be respectful, how to be a gentleman.
You take pride in your son. You don’t ever complain about having to spend time with him. Even when he is on your last nerve (he is becoming quite the threenager), you still celebrate the moments you have with him.
You try to introduce him to new things and encourage him to be brave and that anything is possible.
You make sure that he knows that Jesus loves him, and that so do we.
You do anything and everything you can to make sure he is safe. With a roof over his head, clothes on his back, and food in his belly…or bear as we’ve named it :-P.
It is because of you that he will grow up kind. It is because of you he will grow up humble. It is because of you he will grow up a genuinely good man.
I couldn’t imagine a better father for our baby, and for our children to come, as I know that you will love them all the same.
You have taken strides to become the great father that you are today. I know it wasn’t ever easy, and I know it still isn’t. But you keep pushing further. You have set the bar for what is it to be a dad.
I am so proud of you. Day in and day out, you are a phenomenal dad. I am so blessed to watch you as the father that you are. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
I love you more and more everyday. Thank you for being the best husband to me and father to our baby, I could’ve ever imagined. You inspire me to be a better person, and parent everyday.
Happy Father’s Day babe.
Forever and always,
**Photo credit to the wonderful Tabitha from T.O Photography. This is an actual picture of MY husband reading a letter I wrote to him on our wedding day. If you live in Washington (state), get hold of her. She’s one of the greats!
As a parent, it’s so easy to feel like you’ve failed. Every little misstep makes you wonder if you’ve messed up your child or not. Janelle shows us practical ways we can use our failure as lessons for our children. Not only lessons about failure, but lessons about God and his grace and forgiveness.
How to Parent Through Failure
A friend of mine once confided to me that the number one thing her parents taught her was: Don’t try.
They didn’t mean to. They didn’t say those words exactly. But they felt embarrassed and scared of failure.
Then they passed that on to their daughter.
Failure does look terrible. It feels even worse.
But we are the parents here, people! We need to pull ourselves together before these toddlers are lucid enough to need therapy from all the mixed messages we send them.
So. Let’s get clear.
LIFE IS MESSY. THAT’S HOW THE STORY GOES.
Sound trite? It is. Yet, few of us live with this as the expectation. The cure? Dig up renowned Bible characters that have played their hands way worse than even we have.
Then let what they learned pass on to us.
Case in point? Peter.
Apostle Peter is the butt of churchy jokes because Peter thought Peter was FABULOUS, or so the story goes. We do know this: at least Peter wasn’t afraid to give things a try.
And fall on his face.
But there once was a time he outdid himself. And his failure broke his heart.
It came after a long streak where Peter had gotten good at looking bad. He walked on water, and then FREAKED (Matt 14:29-30). He heard clear messages directly from Jesus’ mouth and his response? “Um, what?” (Matt 15:15-16).
But after all that and more, Peter thought he had hit his stride.
Jesus tried to let him know more growth opportunities lay ahead, to the tune of a cock crowing, but Peter declared, “Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you.” (Matt 26:35).
AND THEN IT GETS WORSE
Most of us over the age of puberty remember making early proclamations about how great we were going to be at something, only to have it blow up in our faces.
So it went with Peter.
After Jesus was arrested, Peter stood nearby warming himself by a fire. A young girl asked if he was a disciple of Jesus.
I could almost weep, I so relate to this guy. Then along came chance number three.
A man got a good look at Peter and asked if Peter was from Jesus’ group (P.S. Peter – I think he knows it’s you.) Peter, come on! Just say it out loud now with a third chance to set the record straight.
Instead he cursed and muttered something akin to: “Nope. Nada. Never met the guy.”
Cue the cock crowing ladies and gentlemen! Chance after chance to say and do the right thing and how do we land over and over?
The only way to parent through failure is one way, which is to fully convey to our children (are we still talking about the children here?) that failure is not final.
Failure is not final.
This will hold us steady as we parent through our toddlers’ malicious dumping of oil-base paint all over a neighbor’s carpet (completely theoretical – not speaking from experience AT ALL), to our kindergartner’s swearing on the playground (WHERE do they pick these things up?), to our kiddos’ refusal to play with our best friend’s child (awkward) to lots, lots more.
Failure is not final. It’s personal.
This is not a God of platitudes. This is a God who knows failure, knows the pain of it, the lessons to learn from it, and the personal ways to reach our children through it.
As He did for Peter.
Much later, after Jesus died and was raised, He spoke to Peter. Here was Jesus’ chance to put Peter in his place, annihilate him for his failure. Instead, Jesus proceeded by telling Peter to “Feed my lambs …” (John 21:15-17).
Wait. What? Jesus still wants Peter to be part of His gang? Why?
Because God gets failure.
And Peter was getting God.
Peter recognized God at an earlier time when he said to Jesus, “You are the Christ,” (Matt 16:16). But after his heart-searing act of denying Jesus, Peter seemed to have learned something. Peter said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you” (John 21:17).
That word know is the Greek word eidō, a verb meaning “to see.” In other words, Lord, I know you see me, raw. You know what I did then. You know my heart now.
I think there is only one reason Peter would remain there, being seen by God: he thought God loved him. He was hoping that what he believed about this God was true – that a flawed self was enough to still have a place in this God’s kingdom and plan.
It is, and God told him so by saying, “…take care of my sheep…” (John 21:17).
Aaaaand then came controversies between Peter and Paul (Gal 2:11-13). Opportunities for failure abound for these characters!
For our children as well. The more comfortable we get with flawed-but-loved will station us on solid ground – a place from which our children can grow and return as they fail.
Meanwhile, God says the harvest is plentiful. It’s the workers that are few (Matt 9:37). Our children and we have a role to play.
Flawed though we are, the harvest awaits.
Janelle Alberts writes pithy Bible synopses for anyone who asked questions in Sunday school but didn’t get straight answers. She is a regular contributor to Christianity Today’s Gifted for Leadership and can be found here.
As someone who one day dreams to be a stay at home mom, I have a few set ideas of what it would look like for me. What I’ve seen and what I’ve heard and how that would fit into my own life. Shirey busts five myths about being a stay at home mom, and has completely opened my eyes to its wonders and challenges.
The Five Myths I Learned Were Untrue About Stay At Home Moms
Things people think and only sometimes mention
Being a stay at home mom is something that many women dream about. Who wouldn’t love to be home with your children, sharing every precious moment with them? Watching them grow and guiding them through life. You think about all the wonderful memories you will make and wonderful things you can do with your kids. You think how lucky moms are who get to do this and probably have many misconceptions about what they actually do. Being a stay at home mom is the hardest job I have ever had and it has left me feeling defeated, insufficient, and like a complete failure at times, but it is also the most rewarding, fulfilling job I have ever been blessed with. Now that I am a stay at home mom, I have a whole new respect for women who choose to be home with their kids, and especially those who work from home as I do.
The five myths I learned were untrue about stay at home moms:
1 They get to sleep in every day. It’s quite the opposite, if you are anything like me then your kids probably wake up at the crack of dawn. My kids wake up hungry so it’s straight to the kitchen for this mommy. My son is a picky eater so that always makes for a difficult time. I’m lucky if I get to drink my whole cup of coffee while it’s hot!
2 They have nothing to do so they should be able to help out anytime. Have you ever had a friend or family member who is a stay at home mom and you thought, oh well she can plan every detail to our vacation (or whatever event), or she can call the list of numbers we need info from. I have, and I was so wrong. We don’t have time to breathe most days. If I can eat, shower and bathe the kids in one day, it’s a good day. Forget talking on the phone, no one wants to talk to the person whose baby is screaming in the background, and believe me, I think my kids wait until I’m on the phone to scream!
3 Their house is always clean. Oh my gosh, no!! If it is clean it’s because we worked our butt off in between naps and feedings and probably skipped on something like a meal or shower! It’s not easy cleaning a house when you have little ones right behind you pulling everything you put away out again! It’s insanity!
4 Their kids should be well-behaved, I mean, they have all the time in the world to raise them right! Not! I have learned that, yes, kids need discipline, but that doesn’t mean they will always be well-behaved, they are kids! My son is a stubborn boy and he will fight you on most things, but he is well-behaved. A lot of people think that if a child is throwing a fit, they are not disciplined properly, but kids throw fits. They don’t know any better and being disciplined once will not teach them, it’s an ongoing process, so please, have a little understanding!
5 They must have money or their partner makes a lot of it since they can afford for her to stay home with the kids. Not true! Many of the mothers I know that are blessed with being able to stay home are on strict budgets to be able to afford to do so. It’s not a luxury, it’s a choice and sacrifices are made because we feel it’s best for our kids.
One, two, or more kids, it’s all the same. Staying home with them is not all roses and it’s not for everyone. I have struggled in many ways. Mentally, I feel at times, I’m not doing something productive. It’s like working at something that never ends, you never get that end accomplishment. Just when I feel like I’m losing my mind, my son will sing his ABC’s out of the blue, or my daughter will finally understand her math problem. Something amazing will happen that lets you know you are doing something right! I have been both a working mother and a stay at home mom, and the one thing I’ve learned is that all moms need love. We are pouring our lives into our kids and most of the time we feel unappreciated. Raising our children is not an easy job and there’s always someone there to criticize or critique you, but at the end of the day, you are doing something amazing. You are doing a great job, even when you feel like your not. You are rocking this mommy thing! Now go out there and let a mom know she is awesome!
Shirey from Wander By Faith, is a christian wife and mommy of four. She travel’s the states and finds creative ways to manage her family and bring glory to God. She believes our lives are our testimony and if she can inspire someones love for Jesus by sharing her stories, then it’s worth it.. You can find her on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and Twitter.