That’s a Dad Question

It would be interesting to keep up with exactly how many questions my children ask in a day. The question can be as simple as What’s for dinner? or What time do we need to leave? I can handle those. However, the question is more often along the lines of How exactly does a digital scale work? Why can’t you put metal in the microwave? or Why are magnets north-south instead of east-west? When it comes to the latter type of question my typical response is Hmm…that sounds like a Dad question.

How do you play the guitar? – Also a Dad question.

With children as inquisitive as mine are, it comes in handy to be married to a science teacher. I could try to give them an answer on my own. I might get some of it right. However, when they go to their dad, they are assured of getting an answer that is 100% correct. And he is always willing and ready to teach.

But what do you do when the questions are even tougher? Where do you go when late at night one of your children comes to you struggling with the concepts of eternity and death? What do I do with a question such as What is my purpose? What happens when I die? Why is there war?

And, yes, I have dealt with all of those questions and more in the past week alone.

 A Question for the Father

As thankful as I am to be able to direct my children’s science questions to their earthly father, I am even more thankful to be able to direct my children’s tougher questions to their heavenly Father.

I honestly don’t know how I could possibly raise my children without the Bible to guide me. I can not imagine dealing with their fears and questions without the Bible to turn to.

Your word is a lamp to my feet And a light to my path. Psalm 119:105

It’s one thing to walk through this life stumbling and groping for answers on your own, answers that may or may not be correct. It’s an entirely different thing to take your children on that path with you.

A Question of Truth

The first one of those tough questions came to me when my oldest child was six years old. She asked where her grandfather would be when he died. While I had the correct answer –  He’ll be in heaven with God – I realized with that question that my role as a mother includes more than loving my children and providing for their physical needs. My role requires answering the tough questions that are sure to arise.

In the face of those questions, I need to be able to answer my children with certainty. It is not enough to just give my best shot at the answers and hope they are correct. I need somewhere to go where I am assured of getting answers that are 100% correct. I need a source of truth.

Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth. John 17:17

These are times when the correct answer to the question comes only from the heavenly Father.

Be Prepared

The tough questions don’t come up on a daily basis. Most days are too busy for constant deep questions of eternity and purpose. However, the questions will come. They will come late at night or in the face of tragedy. We will at times be shaken from our daily thoughts into questions that are deeper. I need to be prepared to answer those questions.

Thankfully, I am not alone.

I don’t have to come up with an answer that I hope is correct. Instead, I can take my children to the Bible and let the heavenly Father answer those questions for us. He is always willing and ready to teach, and in His words are life and peace and truth. I can not imagine answering any one of those questions without Him.

Simon Peter answered Him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have words of eternal life.” John 6:68


Our last week of Elementary school

I knew this week was coming. It’s been coming for eight years, and it is still hard for me to wrap my mind around this fact: It is my family’s last week of elementary school.

First day of Kindergarten 2009

My oldest child started elementary school eight years ago, and my youngest graduates from that same school this week. I can still remember that first day of school eight years ago. I can see clear as day my daughter sitting outside to be picked up that afternoon. My heart was so full seeing my baby sitting among all those big kids. It didn’t seem real. My youngest child was just a baby in the backseat then, and now she’s one of those big kids. That also doesn’t seem real. That school has been a huge part of our lives for 8 of the 11 years that we have lived here. It has been a huge part of my children’s growing up and also of my husband and I growing as parents.

It’s hard to realize that this stage of our life is gone.

A Mere Breath

The words from Psalm 39:4-5 echo in my head.

“LORD, make me to know my end and what is the extent of my days; Let me know how transient I am. Behold, You have made my days as handbreadths, and my lifetime as nothing in Your sight; Surely every man at his best is a mere breath.”

We are but a mere breath.

So many years I sat in afternoon car line just counting down the years. Only six more years left to do this, four more years, two more years … and just like that, the breath is gone.

“The LORD knows the thoughts of man, That they are a mere breath.” Psalm 94:11

The days of those long afternoon car lines will now be just a memory. Many memories come with us as this chapter of our life closes – memories of sweet friendships, field trips, nights spent making valentines and costumes, presents made from hand prints, teachers that went the extra mile. 

Realizing that those beginning days are gone, realizing that my oldest child will graduate high school in only five years, realizing that these days with my children will surely end, makes TODAY all the more important.

These milestones remind us that our time with our children is but a mere breath.

“Man is like a mere breath; His days are like a passing shadow.” Psalm 144:4

What Remains

Yes, these elementary years are gone for us now. 

But even though the years are gone, the results of those years remain.

The results are more than the memories and the first day of school pictures. The results are more than the report cards and art projects stored safely in drawers or scrapbooks.

The most important result of those elementary years are the children who stand before me today. 

Those years served to form their character, build their knowledge, and prepare them for the next stage in their lives. The years may be gone, but the result of how we spent those years remains.

An Example of Warning

Do you remember the Israelites in the Old Testament? When you read why God caused them to be taken into captivity, we see it’s because they did not use their years to follow God nor to teach their children to follow Him. Instead, they taught their children to follow after vain and useless things – things of the world around them. They did not prepare their children.

“They rejected His statutes and His covenant which He made with their fathers and His warnings with which He warned them. And they followed vanity and became vain, and went after the nations which surrounded them, concerning which the LORD had commanded them not to do like them.” 2 Kings 17:15

The Israelites lost God’s favor because they used their years with their children to follow vanity. In so doing, they themselves became vain…empty…a mere breath.

What remains after the breath is gone? What will be the result of the way we are using our years with our children? Will our results look like those of the Israelites?

We have the example of the Israelites as a warning not to waste these years with our children. When the years are gone, the results of the years will remain. Will the results be emptiness or will the results make us smile as we reminisce about all the years that got us there?

“The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever.” 1 John 2:17

Moving Forward

This week will be tough. I’m not going to lie – I will cry a lot.

The tears will come as I reminisce about the elementary years, remembering and being thankful for all the good. They will flow as I soak up every last memory.

Then I’m going to move on.

I still have a job to do. My job is to keep my children seeking God. My job is to make sure we don’t waste our years following things that won’t last.

We are but a mere breath.

This milestone in my family’s life is a reminder to make the most of today. The years will certainly pass by. What will remain when the years are gone?

 It all depends on what we do with them.

“Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil.” Ephesians 5:15-16


Mama Bear

 My children love to ask questions like If you were an animal, what would you be? Recently one of my children asked the others “What animal would Mom be?” Without hesitation my oldest child answered that Mom would be a bear. “What? A Bear?” I asked her. “Yes,” she said, “you know, like Mama Bear who doesn’t let anyone mess with her cubs.” I had never thought of myself as a bear, but a Mama Bear? Ok, yes, I’m ok with that. That describes how I feel about my children and my life, and I’m glad they know I will take care of them. But you know what?

Mama Bears get tired.

Changing Seasons

Some seasons are more tiring than others. Defending my cubs this year has been exhausting.

I hear Satan knocking at our door all the time. When we don’t open the door, He tries to sneak in through various means – media, friends, school. Sometimes we unintentionally bring him in ourselves.

I knew this year would be tough. My children are in three different schools and the oldest started middle school, but I didn’t realize just how challenging that would be. I am emotionally drained from trying to keep my children performing to their potential academically while still keeping them healthy physically and spiritually.

My oldest child went from receiving the top honor at her school in 6th grade to absolutely hating school in 7th grade. The words “I hate school” were uttered for the first time at my house – often by Mama Bear along with her weakened cub.

I have questioned whether this lifestyle is what God intended for us. It has been a struggle.

A Daily Fight

We lost our morning Bible time together due to the pull of getting three children to three different schools on time. This Mama Bear has fought all year for spiritual time with her cubs. Between working nights and various activities, it has been hard. I have tried several ideas which have failed. It is still a daily struggle.

I have began most days by praying that God would help me to see if this is the life He intends for us.

I’m still not sure.

My children have some amazing gifts. I struggle with how to help them best use those gifts.

My daughter took the ACT and scored only one point less than I did when I went to college. She’s twelve years old.

I don’t even know what to do with that.

I look at all the material and options that come her way, and I want to make sure she has chances to grow. The pride of life is a struggle (1 John 2:16). I fight Satan in my own self when I seek the safety of my daughter’s future in her academic abilities. That’s what Satan wants me to do. He wants me to focus on what this world can give her instead of making sure that she knows the One who created her and gave her those abilities. That’s how he sneaks in.

The school year is almost over, and I’m so thankful for a break. I want to reel my cubs in and spend some time nurturing and loving them in the safety of our home. We’ve had a lot of good in our year as well, but right now I’m just so tired of fighting off Satan.

I know it’s not over. Satan never takes a break – not even in summer. Another school year will loom ahead of us before we know it. What I will do with it, I don’t know yet. I have lots of praying to do.

Don’t Give Up

But Mama Bears don’t give up. We don’t lie down and let the predator have our cubs. We do what we have to do to protect our children. We make changes and adjustments as the needs of each season dictate. As Paul writes in 2 Corinthians,

We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing;  persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed;  2 Corinthians 4:8-9

I am tired, but I’m not giving up. And I’m not alone. My husband is with me, of course, but we both rely on the larger power of God to get us through.

Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be miserable and mourn and weep; let your laughter be turned into mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you. James 4:7-10

I trust in God and His promises. He loves my children and wants them to know and love Him, too. He has done so much for us, and I know that He cares.

I have turned to God so many times during this year. I have humbled myself and shed many, many tears. Mostly I just pray “Please help me.” He promises to lift me up. He will help this Mama Bear defend her cubs. I know that He wants them safe as much as I do. Keeping my children out of Satan’s influence is an exhausting job, but it’s mine and my husband’s to do. I wouldn’t trust it to anyone else. And I would never, ever attempt it without God behind us.

Unless the LORD builds the house, They labor in vain who build it; Psalm 127:1