Monday, February 4, 2013

Love Notes

January was a little intense around here.  Cameron was gone all month.  Add to that one teen aged girl, one feisty seven year old and a sinful, sometimes selfish, lonely for her husband and hormonal mama and you will get some down right ugly moments.

I first heard of a book called "Give Them Grace" over a year ago.  I had pretty much sworn off all parenting books, but I was curious.  Last fall a friend of mine told me she was reading it and how much she loved it and just a little bit about it.   I decided I would try it, but then sort of forgot about it for awhile.

Right before Christmas I went on a library book ordering binge.  Books about computer usage and what it's doing to our society, three in fact.  Call the Midwife, two novels, a book about books and "Give Them Grace".  After a while I realized all of those were not going to get read over Christmas break.  The novels went back, one of the computer books on CD went back and I started reading the parenting book on the way to Mississippi.  I cried over the Foreword!  I cried during chapter 1-more than once.  I quickly realized I was not going to be able to read this quickly or in front of anyone! So I switched to Call the Midwives for our vacation.  I only cried once during that book, and a person would have had to have a heart of stone to not cry for Mrs. Jenkins!

I started reading Give Them Grace on the way home.  More crying.  It's like this book was written just for me!  All of my worries and insecurities and mistakes as a parent are in here.  They aren't in here as in "this is what you'd better watch out for."  Elyse Fitzpatrick takes these thoughts that terrify and worry me and says something like, "Trust God.  He's the one in charge.  He's the one who created this child and he is the one who is going to save this child.  It's not up to you!  It doesn't matter what parenting philosophy you've tried or what curriculum you use, or anything else, it's up to God and it's a process that may not look like you thought it would.  The pressure doesn't belong to you.  He's got this!"

To my worry that I am not a good parent she says there are no good parents!  We are all human, sinners in need of God's forgiveness and grace just as much as our children are and it's high time we admit it.  To our kids and ourselves!

I could go on and on. :)

In the chapter on praying for our children, her daughter who is the co-author, talks about how Paul prayed for the churches.  He always started out with how much he loved them and how thankful he was for them.  Yes, he did eventually address areas where they needed to repent or improve in some way, but first he lavished them with love and thanked God for them.  Notice, he didn't lavish them with praise, but praised God for them.

In my experience, it was easy to be thankful for the baby or child still small enough to crawl up in my lap.  Not so easy to be thankful for the sassy thing who thinks she's all that.  And that describes every little girl at some point.  {and I'm assuming boys too}

I actually didn't cry over this chapter, but I laughed when I read about the tired parents prayer of, "Lord, just make them behave!" Yep, some days that's all I can get out.  I was so struck by the example of Paul's prayers for his spiritual children.  There's so much more to life than being good, but that's what my prayers are often like. 

I was inspired.  How long has it been since I have voiced out loud how thankful I am for the gift of our first born?  Does my 13 year old really know how much I love her or just how much I want her to "be good".  Does my 7 year old know how much her sister loves her, even though she bosses her around like crazy sometimes?

So....I decided that since Valentine's Day was coming up and the girls each have little felt purses with hearts on them that we made a couple of years ago, that we were going to write love notes to each other beginning Feb 1 through the 14th.  We will hang the purses on the door knobs or beds and fill up their love tanks.  After this month I know that every one's tank is a little low!  Kate could dictate to me what she wants to say to Callie. {oh there have been some really funny ones!}

When Kate cries, "Callie's mean!" and Callie cries, "Kate hates me!" we can go back and look at these little notes and hopefully be reminded that even though there will be fights, there will always be love and forgiveness and that it's all because of Jesus.  I hope that my little notes to them will remind them of my love and the Father's even when they have been punished or fussed at excessively.

We may stop after the 14th or we may not.  It might depend on if Kate can come up with something better than "I'm glad she's not dead!"

1 comment:

  1. Great post, Sharron.

    Love you... Love your girls!