Everyday Life, Parenting

Loving The Littles Who Persecute Us

I wrote this as a devotional for the leaders meeting of my MOPS group last week. It’s a topic that’s been on my mind a lot in the last month. I’m sharing it on the blog today in hopes that we can all find some encouragement to keep on loving when we don’t know how. 

A few weeks ago, I was reading in Romans, trying for the 40-billionth time to get into my head how to extend love and grace to others, specifically….my own children. Maybe you’re thinking love and grace shouldn’t that difficult to give our kids, but sometimes, it is. I’d been through a trying week and I was feeling particularly resentful about my day-to-day life. There were some moments of joy and pure love for my children, yes, but there were more moments clouded with dark thoughts about how I’m wasting any talents I have, or feeling used and unappreciated, or just desperately wanting five minutes without being yelled for. I didn’t like feeling so oppressed by my everyday reality. So I was in Romans on that rare early morning that I actually made it out of bed before the kids got up, seeking some hope and some help, when I came upon these verses:

Romans 12: 13-14 “Share with God’s people who are in need. Practice Hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.”

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My official Boiled Egg Peeler

It hit me, hard: I was feeling persecuted by my children. Their constant neediness wasn’t their fault, they’re still so little after all, but I was feeling persecuted by it, and the resentment was like my own form of cursing them – rolled eyes at their whining, pursed lips at their calling me for one more drink of water at bed time, or straight out anger at misbehavior when I had “just had enough.”

Do you ever feel persecuted by your children? Whether they mean to or not, they can put us parents through the wringer some days! We can walk around feeling persecuted by these human beings only three feet tall, or less, sometimes only 22 inches tall (when will she stop crying all day and all night so I can get some sleep!?!)  I don’t know about you, but when I’m feeling persecuted by my children, I don’t usually respond with a heart of blessing. After reading these verses and realizing where my spirit was, I sure wanted to respond better! The word “curse” is the opposite of “bless,” and if I’m not blessing my children in my heart and in my attitude, what exactly am I doing? I think we all want to bless our children every minute of every day.

But how?

This is how we can bless people, even our children:

“Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.” v.

Well. I could start with being empathetic with my children. They need me to pay attention to their feelings, instead of brushing them aside as childish or inconvenient. I could continue by pursuing peace in my household – what a blessing it is when a mom is a force for peace in her home, in her marriage, in all of her relationships! And I could IMG_4446embrace the fact that these “people of low position” in my house, these powerless, small people I am entrusted with, who are not beneath me in any way besides physical stature. I need to stop being conceited about how I might be “wasting my intellect” or spending all my time in the mundane actions of life, but realize that this is a work of blessing and of loving the way God wants me to love.

Could these verses in Romans be a new mothering template? Be welcoming and serving to our needy children. Bless them when we feel persecuted by them. Empathize with them. Be at peace with them. Realize that they are equals with us in the family of God, and it is our honor to communicate to them how precious they are in His sight, and in ours.

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Fall And Poems: Three Book Thursday, The Poem Edition

Welcome to Three Book Thursday! Three Book Thursday is a feature that’s all about sharing the joy of books with children. To read more posts like this one, go here!

Autumn is so lovely.  I always find myself saying this with surprise, because I am decidedly not an “I love all things fall!” type of person. I despise pumpkin spice lattes. I could not care less for sweaters and boots. Layering clothes for myself and three little one is just frustrating, and coats make me straight up angry. I am a throw on a tank top and shorts and call it done type of girl. But when Fall actually comes, I taste its delights. An October sky is the deepest blue imaginable. A chill in the air makes eyes twinkle with the sheer delight of change and the whisper of holidays ahead. The warm blankets and the early darkness draw us into a more restful time.

And then there is the poetry. Fall always calls me to read poetry. (It also screams “Fantasy” at me, but that’s another post). This year, I followed the lead of so many wise Wings from the Wind: An Anthology of Poemsmothers and educators, and sought out some poetry to share with my children. The book I’m using to do this right now is Wings from the Wind: An Anthology of Poems Selected and Illustrated by Tasha Tudor.  I have always loved Tasha Tudor’s illustrations. We just read Pumpkin Moonshine for school this week, too. I usually find that her illustrations are what I love about her books the most. The actual text isn’t usually as enthralling or entertaining as I hope it will be.  This anthology is the perfect marriage! She includes poems from Robert Louis Stevenson, Emily Dickinson, and Rachel Field, among many others, with illustrations on every page to make the poems come alive to little ones. For whatever reason, I get a deep level of comfort from reading this book, by myself or with my littles.

I haven’t had a chance to dive further into poetry books yet this week, but I plan to in the coming months of Fall. What are your favorite children’s poetry books, or grown up poetry that the whole family can enjoy? I’d love to hear from you!

Children's Books, Three Book Thursday

Three Book Thursday -What The Kids Love This Week

girlreadingjwsmithOur library stack of picture books is ridiculously tall this week! I think our librarian must have let us check out over the limit. I had just payed $9.00 is fines, so maybe she figures I’m good for the library’s economy. It’s a good thing we had so many books, too, because we couldn’t go anywhere for four days with all the flooding around us. It’s been hard to watch, but we have so much to be thankful for and one of those things is that we had these three favorite books to read during our cabin fever.

Pancakes For SupperPancakes for Supper – I picked out this story without looking inside because I thought, “Hey, now the kids will know we’re totally normal and pancakes are a real supper food!” It turns it, this is a fun American tall tale version of Little Black Sambo that my 4-year-old son absolutely loves. After he reading it the first time, he laughed out loud so suddenly and loudly, it made me jump! The words are simple yet descriptive and the illustrations of the animals dressed in the main character’s clothes are hilarious. We give it two thumbs up.

885187The Doorbell  Rang – Pat Hutchins wrote and illustrated some  awesome books in the 1970s that we’re just now discovering. This one is about two children with a plate full of cookies, a lot of neighbors who ring their doorbell, and a good ability to do division. I love the community aspect of this book, the mother’s and children’s sharing attitudes. Side note: if you’re looking for a story book about math, this is a great one! Another side note: you will crave chocolate chip cookies when you’re done with this one. Another of our favorite Pat Hutchins books is Don’t Forget The Bacon.

Mystery on the Docks (Reading Rainbow Book)Mystery on The Docks – A kidnapping, an opera singer, a bunch of boats, and a gang of rats…all children will love this book!My childhood is on every page of this book. I must have watched The Reading Rainbow that goes with it ten times at least because I can hear all the sound effects in my head as I read.  We highly recommend both the book and The Reading Rainbow episode!

That’s all from us this week! I hope to update my own “what I’ve been reading list” soon!

 

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