Oh, I’m so glad you are here for the 31 Days of Parenting Pointers and Mommy Refreshers … Here’s just a sneak peak at what you can expect for the month of October: I’m going to post an encouragement daily which I hope will bless your parenting and help you live out the desire of your heart toward your children. Following that little tidbit, I plan to give you a devotion you can focus on for the day. I hope you come back as many days as you are able this month … and even if you can’t be here every day, you can read the posts when you have time or subscribe by email or Bloglovin to get them sent to you. So, I’m hoping you are somewhere with your feet up, your favorite hot beverage nearby and a moment to sit by yourself and be refreshed.
Today’s Parenting Pointer
How many times do we make idle threats, “If you don’t get that cat out of the microwave, I will ground you for a month!” and then we forget what we said or forget what they were doing wrong? (Not the cat thing, we’d remember that one!). Our children notice the loopholes we allow and they learn from our patterns of parenting. If we say things to them, we need to do what we say. I’ve been as guilty of this as the next mom … just feeling too overwhelmed to keep up with my own standards and expectations or just not wanting to have to give my children a consequence they don’t want (and the ensuing disappointment they will express – sometimes loudly and for longer than I like). I have learned, though, that the more I do as I say and let my parenting “yes” be yes and my “no” be simply “no” (regardless of the reaction) that my children take me more seriously. What happens then? We have fewer emotional scenes around the home and I feel more peaceful knowing I can just say “no” and mean it. Have you tried that? Have you just said, “No” and left it at that? I am amazed how simple it is. When I believe my own “no” is the final answer, there really is no wiggle room and my kids sense it. I’m not mean about it. I might even say, “No, love,” or “No, hunny.” Let your no be no. It works magic.
We need to avoid two perilous extremes on the parenting spectrum. On one end is the harsh parent with too many rules, too strict consequences and too frequent implementation of consequences. In this parent’s case the punishment rarely fits the crime and the children end up feeling like they just can’t win. They may comply, but they aren’t really learning to choose obedience, they are just learning to conform to expectations to avoid pain. They may even end up blatantly or quietly resentful at us when we are too extreme in our discipline. On the other end is the parent who is so soft that they have no boundaries and they let their children do whatever they want. This parent gives in to whining and begging and never or rarely follows through on rules or limits. If you say, “No watching screens on Tuesdays” and then you are just burnt out and want to spend the afternoon on Facebook, so you turn on the TV for the afternoon, you are sending your kids a mixed message. At least let them know, “Hey, I know I said, ‘no screens,’ but I’m just in need of a big break today and I think you are too, so I’m going to lift that rule for this day only.” That way they know you are being consistent.
Our kids count on us to set the tone for them. Our consistency gives them a sense that they can trust us and that their world is a safe place to be and to grow. We aren’t going to be perfect (not even close) but we can be consistent and our children will be blessed for it.
If you can make the time, read Psalm 103. Slowly. Put your name in where it says “our” or “us”. Make this Psalm your own.
You are loved. Can this truth feel more like a TV commercial rather than the soul-rocking reality on which we build our entire life and identity? Maybe “Jesus loves me this I know” has been sung too many times and you are numb to the amazing depth to which this love flows – specifically to you. You aren’t just loved in your performance. You are loved in your essence. Hear this: While we were yet sinners Christ died for us. If He died while you were in sin – for you – how much more does He love you now that you have claimed Him as your own?
Psalm 103 reminds you that He has redeemed your life from the pit and crowned you with His lovingkindness. Only you and God intimately know that pit. Stop right here. Can you picture the pit from which you were redeemed and spend a minute allowing gratitude for your salvation bubble up into your heart? Can you imagine where you would be if you were not saved? What have you missed that would have surely been your fate had His love not stepped in? Allow the simple joy of your salvation to be restored to you today. Delight in it! Quietly in your heart, throughout your day – while you are holding a child, driving on errands, cooking a meal, cleaning something – return to this moment of gratitude and whisper a prayer of thanksgiving. Allow that prayer to be a secret place – a sacred place – between you and Jesus today.
Beyond your salvation, He is mindful of your frame. He says He knows we are but dust. We can expect so much from ourselves and yet He knows what we are really made of. His strength is made perfect in your weakness – even your weakness as a mother. Maybe even especially there does He come just to be strong where you are weak. Allow His strength to enter in as you call out to Him today. Stop in your tracks and ask for His help and guidance and pass your burdens into His able and loving hands.
Isaiah 40:11 says:
He tends his flock like a shepherd:
He gathers the lambs in his arms
and carries them close to his heart;
He gently leads those that have young
Pause to accept His gentle leading. He carries your children close to His heart. He longs to lead you – to gently lead you in this day as you mother your young. Receive that invitation and rest in the presence of Your Good Shepherd.
I pray you found a breath of fresh air here and a moment to reflect and recharge your battery. Come back any or every day this month to get another Parenting Pointer and Mommy Refresher. And, as always, I do love hearing from you. Let me know how I can pray for you or if something I wrote here touched you.