When I feel defeated in my parenting…

I recently went on a band field trip with my 7th grade daughter. I was looking forward to supporting her and spending the day with her. Middle school girls, however, are complex creatures. There’s a whole lot going on in that 12-year old body, with thoughts and feelings that she doesn’t understand. I knew my daughter wasn’t thrilled that I was going with her, but it wasn’t until I was stuck on the bus with her that I realized how much she really didn’t want me there. Her actions clearly said that she was not comfortable with my presence. She just wasn’t herself. She was distant and impolite, not just to me, but to another mother and daughter as well. My child was a stranger, and as a parent I just felt defeated.

I felt like everything she had been taught was gone. The child that I generally have a great relationship with was gone. She had been replaced by this person who didn’t act the way she’d been taught to act. She had been replaced by someone who didn’t want anything to do with me.

After the trip I cried and prayed, and by the time my daughter came home from school I was almost ready to talk to her. She walked in the door and started chatting just like her usual self. And just like that she was back – the child that I know. She didn’t understand why I was crying. “What’s wrong, Mom?” she asked.

What’s wrong is that I feel like a failure. I don’t understand how my daughter could push me away all day and then think everything is fine. I just want our usual relationship back. I’m tired and overwhelmed. I don’t know what to do, and I feel defeated.

Choosing to Love

And then I remember how much I love this child.

I look at her and remember how God has loved me through my own growing and changing. He loved me even when I didn’t understand what I was doing. He showed me grace even when my actions said  “I don’t want You here.”

I choose to love my daughter the way that God has loved me. I put aside my hurt and disappointment…and I forgive.

“For if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions.” Matthew 6:14-15

I remind my daughter of who God created her to be. I remind her of what her actions should be. Settling for less is not an option, and I will not give up on her. I love her too much.

“For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:6

I let her know that while her actions disappointed me, I still love her and always will. For that is exactly what God has done for me. He has shown His love to me again and again, even when I ignored Him and pushed Him away.

“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8

 The Perfect Example

My children will never be perfect, and I will never be a perfect parent. It’s not my job to be perfect. It’s my job to love and guide my children even when they don’t want my presence and guidance. My job is to constantly remind them of who God created them to be – with the same grace and patience that’s been shown to me.

When I feel defeated as a parent, I will not give up. I will follow the perfect example set by my heavenly Father.

I will love my children anyway.

“In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” 1 John 4:10


Bible Study with Kids: Esther

We’ve been studying the book of Esther with our children for the past six months as part of getting ready for Bible Bowl at Lads to Leaders convention this year. We have read through and discussed the book three times. Each of my children could tell you the story with all of its gory details, but we were still getting confused with all of the names and dates. This weekend we decided to come up with a visual way to review the book that you might find helpful as well.

WHEN-WHAT-WHO BOARDS

We decided it would help to be able to see everything at once. Each child picked out a piece of poster board. (Their favorite colors, of course!) We made three headings across the top: WHEN – WHAT – WHO. For each chapter, we would identify when the chapter took place, what happened in that chapter, and who the main characters were. Esther has only 10 chapters, so they drew 10 rows under the headings, one for each chapter. You may notice in the pictures some rows were drawn more precisely than others!

Each child had the choice to draw or write out what happened. (This led to some interesting pictures.) Under the “WHO” section, they
could add character details as needed. So, each child’s poster board was as unique as the child who created it.

Creating these was fun. It was interesting to see all of the names on the same page, and to notice that sometimes years passed from one chapter to the next. We found it to be a great way to get a better picture of the book of Esther. If you’re looking for a different way to study the book of Esther, I recommend giving this a try.
It’s good for us grown-ups, too!

 

 

 


Bible study with kids: Job

The book of Job? You have got to be kidding me.

That’s what I thought when I heard our Bible Bowl topics for Lads to Leaders convention this upcoming year.  We will be studying the books of Ruth, Esther, and Job with our children – from now until April 15.

The book of Job would not have been my first choice of study topics with my children, but that’s one of the great things about Lads to Leaders. It makes me dive in, study, and think about something that I probably wouldn’t have otherwise. So, since we would be studying these books, I wanted to make the most of it. I don’t want us to just read and memorize. I want us to understand what we’re reading.

I believe that we do better, especially the kids, when we can put a picture with what we’re studying. I could find study material that did that for the books of Ruth and Esther, but not for Job. For Job, all of the kids’ study material I found covered the beginning and end of Job’s story, but skipped all the chapters in the middle. So, we decided to create our own.

Here it is: Job for Kids by Kids.pdf

It’s a PDF file with a one-page worksheet for each chapter.

Chapter 18 page

Chapter 18 page

Making this workbook was a summer project for my family. I’m so proud of my kids for sticking with this. We  sat down and looked at one chapter each day, talked about what was being said in that chapter, and came up with a worksheet to help other kids gain an understanding.

Chapter 9 page

Chapter 9 page

My oldest daughter even created the image of Job that you see because we couldn’t find anything that was Biblically accurate to use (you know – shaved head, wearing sackcloth!).

So, if you’re in the same boat that we’re in, studying the book of Job, feel free to use these worksheets to help you study. If I could have found something like this, I wouldn’t have felt the need to create one myself!

However, like any challenge, my family all grew and learned so much from tackling this. I’m thankful for my kids and their enthusiasm for our summer project.

Kids summer 2016I pray that you and your family will enjoy it and grow together as well.

 Indeed we count them blessed who endure. You have heard of the perseverance of Job and seen the end intended by the Lord–that the Lord is very compassionate and merciful. James 5:11