Welcome to Day 4 of Parenting Pointers and Mommy Refreshers.
This month I am hoping to give you a little parenting wisdom followed by a refresher to help you fix your eyes on Jesus and let your burdens go to Him. If you are able, find a spot to yourself, grab your favorite drink and curl up to read for a few minutes. Let God meet you here as you fill up your heart with His goodness.
Today’s Parenting Pointer
Mom I’m Bored!
Yesterday I wrote about our children’s need to feel loved. There are truly four basic emotional needs our children experience and when these needs are met, so many problems can be averted. Today I want to share what I have learned is the second need our children have: the need for constructive activity.
Our children are born little explorers. God has wired them to learn about the world (His creation) and Him. He gave each of us a spirit of curiosity to help us in our discovery and knowledge. When our children don’t have something productive to do, they will fall back on Satan’s lousy substitute of destructive activity. How many of you have ever walked into the bathroom to find your child covered in lipstick or sitting happily with the entire roll of toilet paper around their lap?
We may have only left them for a moment – just to use the restroom or answer the phone or cook lunch – and they experienced just enough boredom and curiosity that they got into a big mess. They weren’t necessarily trying to be mischievous. It was simply a matter of coming up with something to do.
We can avert many child-directed “home improvement projects” such as these if we think ahead and give our children something to do. I do believe in the goodness of boredom and the way it helps children become creative, self-engaging and able to tolerate normal discomforts like waiting. However, if we have something to do and we want to be sure that our child is not going to paint the dog or flood their bedroom it can be helpful if we give them a positive outlet. Even older children can experience the need for constructive activity. Many pick fights with their siblings or get into other trouble when they are bored and have nothing fun to do.
We have come up with a few solutions in our home. I have two Pinterest boards in particular which we use to gather ideas. When my younger son was a toddler I made him busy bags with activities he could do when I was busy with my older son. I have a board for “Quiet Activities” to meet that need.
Remember this: if your children are engaging in destructive activity, consider helping them find something constructive to do so that they can channel their creativity and curiosity in a positive way.
Just the Way You Are
Sometimes I get a little down on myself for some habit or trait I have that isn’t my favorite. Like all of you I can forget the truth of what God says about me. I forget the unique design and special call He has for me. I let my own opinion of myself or what society says (I should be thinner, my house should be cleaner, my clothes should be trendier) overshadow what I know to be true. Do you know what I mean? All around I have friends who love me and a husband who has stood by me through thick and thin and two sweet boys who think I am the prettiest girl in the world, but still, my heart can buy a lie.
And I bet you have bought one too – at times. No matter how thin or pretty or smart or kind you are, somewhere inside yourself you have believed it just wasn’t enough.
God has something to say to us – to you and me – He says:
You are My workmanship
Created in Christ Jesus
The word workmanship here means masterpiece. You and I are a masterpiece - like the Sistine Chapel ceiling. God made you as an expression of His creativity and goodness. He made each of us unique.
Only you can reflect Him the way you can. No one who has ever walked or will ever walk the earth has your unique ability to reflect God as you do. He doesn’t want you to be skinnier or prettier or have a neater home as much as He wants you to be you – in Him.
Sometimes we get it upside down and inside out. We want to get through our to-do list and then make more room for the “spiritual part” of our life. God wants something different. He wants to enter into all aspects of our life and be present with us – calling out what is best, strengthening our weaknesses, sharing our joys and sorrows. He created us uniquely and He calls us to relationship.
I confessed to my friend with whom I study the Word and pray every other week that I feel like my life lately has been like a blanket unravelling. I’m not even sure which edge to bind up because there seems to be fraying everywhere. I’ve said “yes” more than I should and I have to step back and reassess what is needful. Martha’s sister, Mary, had it right. She sat at Jesus’ feet first. She didn’t let her to-dos get in the way of her relationship.
At these end-of-our-rope moments we need to pause and regroup to remember His love and His unique call to each of us, His living, breathing masterpieces.
This weekend I’m committing to empty out and to give God room to make my heart His home and to abide with Him. I want to follow Mary’s example – to lose sight of what the world says is important just to sit at His feet and soak in His presence.
Do you need the same – a slowing time with God alone? I invite you to make room for Him. You get childcare for a date with your husband. You can do the same for a date with Jesus. If you can’t afford to pay someone, do an exchange. If your husband is willing, have him take the kids out for a few hours if your special place is in your own home. Then go somewhere special where you can take your time, confide in Him and find the rest you crave so that you can remember the love He has for you – uniquely you, as you are.
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. If you have missed any of my other posts in this series, you can find them here. 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.