Hey Moms, What Does "Strong" Mean to You?
As I sit, thinking about writing this blog to you, dear mom, I admit I am a little intimidated. I want to write a blog to you, but this world is made up of so many different kinds of women with so many different personalities and life stages. Some of you are married, some of you are single moms doing it alone and some of you have the help of a parent. By the time I consider your individual temperament, add in a husband's (or helper's) nature, and each of your children's disposition along with each of your life stages and economic situations...I might give up on it altogether! So, from the very beginning, I want to confess that I don't know everything about you or your situation, but I still have a desire to help you find your "strong" as a mom. I don't know if I can, but I hope you will give me permission to try.
When my son Jacob was a toddler, he went through a stage where "No" become his favorite word. At first, I remember being completely outraged that he would say "No" to me! I wondered how I was ever going to teach Jacob to respect me if he wasn't even two years old and was already treating me with such disrespect. I decided there was no better time than the present to crack down on this behavior, so I read everyone's theory on when, why, and how to say no to him telling me "No." I was ready to get my kid under control!
This stage passed, and we skipped the "terrible 2s", but when he turned 4, I actually wondered if someone had stolen my child's identity when he was in the YMCA childcare while I was working out. Jacob seemed to become a different child overnight. Moody. Testy. Independent. He seemed to be acting more like a teenager than a 4 year-old. I felt like I was losing control and had no idea how to get it back. I felt like I was parenting out of fear, and soon asked myself this very important question, "What am I afraid of...and can I trust God with my fear?"
Here is my very honest answer. I was afraid I would fail as a mom. Did I need to crack down or did I need to give grace? If he was acting this way at age 4, did I have the personality to parent such an independent child? Would my kids love God as children and completely rebel as teenagers? Bottom line: I wondered if I was strong enough to parent my own children.
Currently, I have a 12 and 15 year old, so we aren't done parenting. In reality, we will never be done, and to think I ever would be makes me sad. My current parenting doesn't look the same as it did when my kids were little. It used to be highly instructional and now I feel like more of a coach and a guide. My role will continue to morph throughout my kids' ages and stages, but for all you moms who need it, I'd like to encourage you with these 4 principles .
- I Find Strength in My Calling: Everyone was created to be fruitful and multiply. I'm not talking about physical multiplication through birth, but spiritual multiplication. Genesis 1:27-28a says, "God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. God blessed them; and God said to them, 'Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it." We were first created in the image of God. Then we are called to know him and to reflect him to others. As we know and reflect him, we teach others how to know and reflect him; this is what it means to multiply. Since we were all created in his image to reflect his image, he is able to give you everything you need to fulfill this purpose with your children. When you feel incapable, rest in his capability instead of your own. I practically rest in capability by reminding myself that God loves my children more than I do, so I can trust him with their lives.
- I Find Strength Knowing It's a Journey: Why are there so many books on parenting? Because no one has it figured out. Don't overwhelm yourself with everyone's methods and information. As you parent, study yourself, study your kids, and figure out your best parenting methods. Advice from people and other sources is useful, but everyone's family dynamic differs, so figure out what is healthy and seems to work best for you. Don't give up. People are always changing, so don't stop studying because you will never have them (or yourself) figured out. Parenting is a lifelong journey.
- I Find Strength in Training Them to Choose: When my kids were young, I was afraid of their bad behavior and wanted to control it. My very wise counselor suggested otherwise. He taught me a method to give my kids the opportunity to own their own behavior and make their own wise choices. Everyone has their own way of doing this, but this was mine. I used a method called 1, 2, 3 Magic. When they were misbehaving, I would say, "That's 1" to indicate their behavior wasn't in line. If they stopped, great. If not, I'd say, "That's 2." This was their opportunity to change their own behavior. I placed the consequences of their behavior in their own hands. Would they choose to obey or choose discipline? If they continued to misbehave, I'd say, "That's 3" and they suffered a consequence. Some people are against counting and number systems- and I respect your decision not to count- but this one worked for me because I felt like the method did three things. It showed them their sin. It gave them the opportunity to repent and change or to continue and suffer the consequences. I believe this accurately reflects the way the Lord responds to us when we sin, and it has worked for us.
- I Find Strength in God's Ownership: When I've been tired and not seen results, I've had to trust the Lord with his children's lives. Ultimately my boys belong to the Lord. They are his sons, and while I've been given the privilege of raising them, they are his possession. So I chose to believe that if I "direct my children onto the right path, when they are older, they will not leave it" (Proverbs 22:6, emphasis mine). I have been called to multiply, not to control. My job is to throw seeds on their hearts. Their job is to work their soil and make it fertile. And the Lord's job is to convict, lead them and grow the seeds I disperse on their hearts.
Dear Mom, I hope you have found a little "strong" in this week's blog to carry you into another day. I'd love to hear what kind of things have helped you along in your parenting, so leave a comment. But until next week, I'll be praying you move forward in your faith. - Sharie
© 2018 by Sharie King. All rights reserved.