As a new parent, I’m enjoying the relative ease of being able to share, sing and talk about Jesus with my little boy. There is no pressure, nothing I need to be “politically correct” about. He’s too young to comprehend it all just yet.
But I know the time will come when he will have questions. When he will wonder why we go to church 2-3 times a week, why we pray before we eat, why we sit and read our bibles, why we choose not to drink alcohol and change the channel when sexual images come on TV. I’m sure he will have friends whose parents do things differently and he’ll be tempted to compare. There will be things that we do wrong that we’ll have to apologize for. Soon he will know our flaws.
The statistics of pastor’s kids leaving the faith is even more disheartening. The responsibility to make sure that “doesn’t happen to us,” can seem overwhelming at times.
So with all this in mind, we have given a lot of thought about how we will raise Micah. Not to say we won’t do things differently when the time actually comes, but we’ve thought a lot about how our parents raised us and what we would like to change or do the same.
Here are a few of the ways we are preparing for parenting.
1. Live out our faith at home.
We believe this is one of the greatest things we could do as parents. Showing Micah what it looks like to follow Christ in every area of our life. Being careful not to act one way at church and another at home. Reading the Bible together as a family and making it a priority. Hopefully these things will help Micah see that Jesus is not just a part of our life, He is our life.
2. Admit when we’re wrong.
Showing Micah (and any future children) that we’re not perfect won’t be very hard, he’ll see us make lots of mistakes. But admitting them will make all the difference. And asking forgiveness when we wrong him will be even more important (and I can only imagine, very very hard!) We want our children to see us in the best light. I know I already care what Micah thinks about me and he’s only 8 months old! It’s part of loving someone so much that you never want to do anything to break that bond. But the best way to teach children the gospel, is to show them mommy and daddy need forgiveness too.
3. Train them for righteousness.
We have discussed this one a lot. We’ve heard parents talk about not wanting to “pressure” their children to go to church, to read their Bible, or do anything basically that might make them feel forced to follow Jesus. We understand this and get where the parents are coming from. But we feel a responsibility to train our children to love the Lord and the things of God. And there will be times when they may not want to attend church and we will make them go. We find it ironic that when it comes to school or extracurricular activities, parents have no problem pressuring their kids to make good grades and be the best they can be. But when it comes to faith, we want to sit back and let them decide for themselves. Training involves discipline, and sometimes we need to be pushed to do the right thing.
4. Show love unconditionally.
This one seems easy right now. Nothing Micah could do could make me love him less. Even when he claws my face with those razor sharp nails (Geez! What is it about baby nails?) But what happens when Micah decides to stray from our guidance? And does things that honestly, I can’t even bring myself to write down because of how brokenhearted I feel even imagining it! What happens then? Our love will be what brings him home. No matter how good we parent, the choice is still his to follow Christ. If he strays, we cannot stray from loving him the same or we are preaching that love is earned through action, which is exactly the opposite of the love offered through Jesus Christ. This does not mean we won’t discipline him, we plan to do a lot of spanking in our home (Proverbs 23:13) but it will always be done in love. Even if that means we need to take a few moments to compose ourselves and pray before we do.
Being intentional as parents is important. Sure, our son just learned to crawl and he probably won’t be able to talk his way into trouble for at least a couple more years. But if we don’t begin to plan now for the future, then we’ll resort to being led by our natural tendencies. And let’s just say… mine aren’t too pretty.Read More
I’ve neglected this blog for too many weeks now. I could start by blaming my busy schedule with a busy baby, but the multi-colored shapes flashing in my head from playing too many levels of Candy Crush convict me.
I have an addiction and it’s not good.
But really, I don’t want this blog to be an empty space for me to vent or only share the monthly updates of my baby. Those are the things that draw me to this space more often than not, but they are not a good representation of my life as a whole.
Sure, motherhood has completely consumed me. I am infatuated with my precious little baby and I cannot remember what I actually took pictures of before becoming pregnant. But despite what my Instagram says about me, I do actually have a life. And by life, I mean a calling. And a great one at that.
I’m a disciple of Jesus. Surrendered to a life of ministry.
Some days I forget that, to be honest. I wake up and feel the pressure to be the best mom and the best wife I can be (lately, in that order too). And while those are very high callings, I never want them to replace my ultimate calling to be His hands and feet. To love and serve the world. To tell others about Jesus.
I have the wonderful blessing of being “married to the ministry,” in a sense. My husband is a student pastor. So you would think this would come easier for me. And while I may be attending more services and church events than the average person, this doesn’t mean I am necessarily fulfilling my calling.
It can be easy, especially for pastor’s wives, to sit back and enjoy the fruit of our husband’s labor. We can hide out and write off the many prayers we send up on our husband’s behalf as fulfilling our ministerial duties. But that’s just it, we’re fulfilling our ministerial role as a wife. What about the part of my calling to make disciples of all nations, to love others as Jesus has loved me and to carry one another’s burdens?
That’s what I want to be known for. I love being called Josh’s wife and Micah’s mom, but above all I want people to know me as a follower of Jesus. A sister in Christ. A daughter of God.
And some days the best way I can make a disciple is by training up my son to know Jesus. And the best way I can love others as Jesus loved me is by sacrificially loving my husband. But I never want that to replace my heart for people. I never want to pass them by because I’m too busy wrapped up in my own little world of wife and mom.
A very important little world, no doubt.
Anyway, I hope you hear my heart. This weekend was an example of a way I was able to feel the complete fulfillment in every area of my life. I led on the worship team while my husband was preaching, and simultaneously Micah was fed, changed and loved on.
I chatted with people after every service and there are some hurting, others rejoicing and some who really need to accept the grace and forgiveness of Jesus. And I was able to help be a part of showing them that.
Seriously though, my husband delivered a FANTASTIC message this weekend. I encourage you to watch it below.Read More
I can’t believe I have had the privilege of being this sweet boy’s mama for eight months already! EIGHT MONTHS. It really is hard to believe. And every month just keeps getting better and better. (I have a feeling this will stop maybe around the teenage years?? haha, kidding… kinda)
At 8 months, Micah is in love with…
- his daddy’s laugh
- playing peek-a-boo
- being tickled and kissed all over
- my iPhone
- our dog, Heidi (still)
- other babies and little kids
- saltine crackers
- my earrings, jewelry, sunglasses, etc.
- really, anything fun or interesting looking.
He is such a happy boy!
Micah is crawling… everywhere.
He is a little mover and I can’t take my eyes off him for long.
I am pretty proud of this picture.
It’s hard to get him to sit still for long, let alone smile for me!
This squinty nose grin is one of my favorites. :)
There he goes… trying to pull himself up on the chair!
Like I said… can’t. take. my. eyes. off. him.
He is learning so much lately.
I can see it in his eyes when I sing the “ABC’s…” or tell him a story.
He wants to understand.
He’s also learning how to play with his toys, instead of just chewing on them. :)
Micah has no fear.
It’s a very scary thing to know that he is capable of getting himself into trouble, but has no understanding of danger.
I am saying, “No, no” a LOT these days.
He’s already shaken open a bottle of teething tablets, stuffed lint in his mouth and tried to climb out of his high chair.
And they say this is only the beginning.
This face just melts my heart.
He is an absolute blessing to our lives!
I could not have asked God to give us a more precious baby boy.
Last weekend, I spent some time with a group of our girls from church for a “Girls Night Out.” We played games, ate pasta, had a fashion show and talked about modesty. And of course the inevitable dance party broke out before we curled up with popcorn and soda to watch Princess Diaries. I brought Micah along too (he was the only boy allowed!) so we didn’t spend the night, but we stayed pretty late and met them back up there around 10am in the morning for a time of worship.
If it sounds like fun, you’d be right, it was.
But what I cherished most of all was getting the opportunity to spend face to face time with these girls. They had questions, they had hurts and some of them had a seriously flawed view on what it meant to be beautiful. And modesty, no matter how “dated” the word may appear, is such a needed character trait that I thought I would address it here on the blog as well.
Modesty is dying in our culture. And I’m not just talking about a dress code. You can be wearing a burqa and still be immodest. Modesty, in it’s very definition, means humble. Unassuming. Unpretentious. Quiet about our own achievements and abilities.
In a lot of ways, completely opposite of our culture.
We are being influenced and consumed every day by social media, magazines, photographs, tv, music, you name it… that tell us that success is beauty, that money is beauty, that fame is beauty. And the temptation is there to become envious of those who have nicer homes, or nicer hair, or nicer clothes. Before we know it – we are caring too much about what everyone else thinks of us and not caring about thinking of everyone else.
It’s not like we have to go too far looking for these things. Thanks to social media, it’s flaunted in our faces. One of the biggest trends out there is to take “selfies” or simply, a picture of yourself. I cringe just thinking about it. Because for decades teenagers have struggled with self-esteem and identity issues, this isn’t new. But now we have measurements to help boost our ego or dig in the knife deeper, depending on how many people decide to “like” our photo. The whole concept behind a “selfie” is selfish. We are degrading ourselves. We are worth so much more to Christ. (Let me also clarify that I do believe there is a difference in taking a selfie for selfish reasons and taking one to truly document a moment. But a lot of times it’s hard to differentiate between the two, so I tend to avoid them altogether).
You see, immodesty is all about how much you are revealing. Whether in your clothing or in your tweets, photos and conversation. And if we don’t have a filter in our lives, we are going to adapt to the culture around us.
My filter is my husband.
Whenever I get dressed to go somewhere, I ask Josh if what I’m wearing is okay. Sometimes he says, “You look too good in that!” which is code for “You need to go change.” There have been several times where I’ve thought I looked “supa-cute” in an outfit, and he felt uncomfortable with me wearing it. So I changed. I care more about being modest, especially in his eyes, than I do about being trendy or fashionable.
I also run things by him before sharing on social media. I show him photos before posting, read him tweets before I send them out and even blog posts sometimes, if I know it may be a touchy subject.
This is how I’ve handled my very real, very tempting, issue with modesty.
I want every girl and guy to feel beautiful. I want them to feel loved. But, immodesty robs us of that. Immodesty is always asking for more.
This is such a heavy burden on my heart. I believe it accounts for so much of the heartache teenagers and young adults face today. Spending the weekend with these girls reminded me of this prevalent issue.
And to all my 18+ women out there, who think this issue may not apply to us, remember you are an example. They are watching. Show them what a godly woman of character looks like.
I’ll leave you with this quote I saw pop up on my Twitter feed the same day I started writing this post, no coincidence I’m sure.
“A gentle spirit, modest character and loving personality gives a radiance to the face that no makeup could ever replicate.” – Ashlee Chu
I think I need to just go ahead and drop the dream of ever becoming some super-amazing, consistent blogger. It’s just not me. And if in 8 years of blogging I haven’t found a way to master it, it’s not going to ever be me. But really. I don’t see how you daily bloggers, or even 3 times a week bloggers, do it?! Is someone cleaning your house for you? Watching the kids? Cooking dinner? Feel free to share your secrets, because I haven’t figured it out yet.
What I can tell you, is that I am learning more about what it means to let go.
I’m letting go… of feeling like I need to be great at everything.
I’m letting go… of feeling like I need to respond to everyone.
I’m letting go… of feeling the need to know what is going on in everyone’s lives.
I’m letting go… of anything that distracts me from the best things in my life.
Jesus. My husband. My son.
I’ve had to make a few sacrifices recently. Dropping some things that I thought were great, realizing they were only good things distracting me from the best things.
Most of these are personal decisions, like how much time I spend online (and on my iPhone, which I excuse as not actually being “online” but it totally is) and being intentional about being more of a listener to my husband, eye contact and all.
But spiritually-speaking, I have been asking God to show me what He desires for me to be passionate about. Because, let’s be honest… passion is not a value I am lacking. Being passionate about the things that He is passionate about? Well, that’s a different story.
This world sure does “fire me up” (to use my husband’s terminology), but I need to be careful that in my anger towards this world and all the evil in it – I do not become distracted in sharing the greatest news of all. The victory HAS been won! We will not suffer for too much longer.
want need to focus my attention on things that are true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, and excellent (phil 4:8) because God knows that my mind can dwell on the lies, dishonorable, wrong, immoral and evil.
And while the fight against evil is a good cause – the victory over it has already been won in Jesus Christ! And it’s a good cause, not worth compromising for the best message of all – Jesus saves.