Tag Archive | parenting

Child, About the Future

Dear One,

There’s coming a day,
It approaches quickly,
When what we say,
Regardless of it,
Goes another way
Than into your heart.

There’s nights ahead,
In the near future,
When what you’ve read,
Will feel over run,
By emotions fed,
From a broken heart.

You’re going so fast
Into adulthood,
But wisdom comes last
After life is lived,
Creating markers in the past
That say you were here.

Besides our love for you,
You face adulthood,
With God’s love too,
Always He will guide
You in all you do,
Please listen to Him.

If you have doubts,
About what we’ve said,
It’ll help you out
To remember to pray to God,
He’ll guide your route,
To His pathways.
        -dfav 2/7/17

—Donna

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From the Cottage-by-the-Sea, #19, On Adoption

Thank You Abba Father, for adoption.
For this way that helped us be a forever family.
Thank You Lord for every successful adoption story,
For each one brings You honor and glory.

Thank You Father for caseworkers, attorneys and courts,
For each has a job to do in each individual case.
Thank You Almighty, for each precious child,
For each tear they shed, the shy and the wild.

Thank You Jehovah, for each adoptive parent who exists,
Who opened their hearts and stepped up to care.
Thank You Abba Father, for biological parents too.
Those who gave willingly and those who had to be made to do.

Thank You Lord, for the system, though it may not always work.
Its intention is noble, it’s purpose for good.
Thank You Almighty, the I Am, for the example You gave,
By willingly adopting us the way has been paved.

Most of all Abba, thank You for my precious child,
Who calls me “Mama” and was born in my heart.
Though parenting isn’t simple or easy always,
You’ve given us what we need each and every day.
        -dav 11/22/12. Revised 11/30/16.

—Donna

Who Do We Really KNOW?

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Can you love someone without knowing them?
Like the –
Person on the computer far away?
How many hours, video chats, emails are logged?
But, do you KNOW them?
Like the –
Person you vow to love forever as you marry?
The one you agree to love through better or worse,
Richer or poorer?
On that wedding day
Do you KNOW them?
Even if you’ve lived with them?
Do you KNOW them?
Like your. ..
Pleasant and helpful neighbor?
Who ends up on the evening news?
For some horrendous crime?
And when asked you’re shocked?
They seemed like such a nice person?
Do you KNOW them?
Truth is…
We see and know what people want us to.
Sometimes their good and bad.
Some of us lay to sleep each night
Beside our partner, our husband, wife?
And we don’t have a clue to who they really are.
Same with our children.
Sometimes sadly,
NO, we don’t KNOW them.
It takes…
Time invested in learning and understanding them.
Hours of talking and sorting,
Hours of questions and answers,
Through the glorious times
The dregs of life times
And the grind of daily life times
Loving through better and worse
Through plenty and great need
In good health and poor,
Then we have at least begun
To KNOW them.
Do you know God?
Really KNOW Him?
Have you consumed His Word?
Prayed without ceasing?
Allowed Him to change you inside and out?
Do you live by His words?
Are you His hands and feet In this world?
Does His Spirit reside in you?
Not knowing Him intellectually,
The history, the words in His Word,
The theology and doctrine but…
Do you KNOW Him?
Is He the first you think of each morning?
The one You invite every day to work in and through you?
Is He the third person in your marriage?
The partner in your parenting?
The foundation of ALL your life?
Do you KNOW Him?
If not…
Would you like to?
If you do…
Will you continue?
Do you KNOW Him?
Do you WANT to?
               d.f.a.v. 10/19/14
—Donna

Daddy’s at the Door, Mama’s got a Skillet

My sister, who is a grandparent, often hears from me that God’s plan for grandparents is different from those as a parent. Grandparents get to help, when allowed by parents, raise a child with life’s wisdom and the experience of parenting under their belts.

Parents go in head first the first time and learn as they go. They have their experience being parented, but parenting is another role altogether.

What is true for your child may not be what was true for you as a child. For example I made my first grade teacher mad (kindergarten wasn’t common then) because I could read. Our daughter’s kindergarten experience would have been much kinder, initially, had she known how to read simple words phonetically.

Every age, every age range has its own issues. Each generation faces problems intensified by media, expectations, instant gratification and one another. Each child is different. What works for one won’t work for another.

Our daughter has hit the Tween years. (A category not even in existence in my growing up years.) I understand the label and remember the feelings, when you’re not quite a child anymore but you’re not yet a teenager.
We’re just praying and working to parent our daughter through these years. Using the Bible as an instruction manual for us and for her.

What was acceptable behavior during church worship service, for example, when she was a child is no longer acceptable as a Tween and certainly won’t be as a teenager. When before we had to be sure that the only toy going with us to church was her treasured Charlie, we now have come to realize we have to ask about Nintendo’s, cell phones, tablets and whatever else she can use to distract herself and others from the worship service.

I often say our daughter should be a lawyer when she grows up because she is fabulous at looking and finding the loop holes in the rules. We can’t say don’t prank text. We have to specify don’t prank text anyone, including your father, uncle, cousin and anyone else your mind comes up with. And it’s not just the don’ts we have to specify either. The dos must be also.

We agreed to her beginning to wear some make-up with the agreement she would wash her face morning and night to help fight acne. We neglected to point out this was a “do” whether she decided to wear make-up that day or not. Our bad. Now we go back to wash your face twice a day, with this product, period. Make-up is still in question as a motivator.

There are days I feel like we’re living in the Brady Bunch episode where Greg is given a good dose of living by exact words. But this is our life, not television.

Our daughter also recently accepted Christ and is beginning to learn about God, how He works in our lives, how we obey Him and all the tenants of a Christian life in a deeper more personal way. There is much I feel compelled to teach her and that I try to model for her, things I tried to do before but feel even more strongly about now.

It is something I’m having to feel my way through. She is open to discussion at times and totally shut off at others. She’s considerate of my praying when she comes into a room sometimes and sometimes her need or want at the moment far outweighs God she believes.

And boys. Oh my, boys! There are celebrity crushes. There are “older boy” crushes. There are boys texting, boys calling, boys emailing, boys we know, at least know of, and some we’ve never heard of before. The other day when her father had taken her to the doctor I answered her cell phone and was informed the caller was her boyfriend. Before I thought I blurted out, “Really? I wasn’t aware she had one.”

Meanwhile her father and I keep praying for her and with her. We’re taking to heart even more the Biblical instruction to talk about God with our child throughout every part of the day and night, whenever opportunity arises or whenever we can make the opportunity happen. (Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.  These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts.  Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.  Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates. Deuteronomy 6:5-9 NIV)

We’re keeping the promise of Proverbs close to our hearts. (Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it. Proverbs 22:6 NIV)
We’re doing our best to live our lives as examples to her of what being a daughter of God involves and means in every aspect of living.

Our daughter is not a little girl anymore. She doesn’t mold to correction as easily as she did before. She has her own ideas or has adapted the ideas of her friends or the media that are harder to illuminate with truth since she has the hatches fastened down. She is a Tween right on the verge of being a teen and tomorrow she’ll be an adult.

Meanwhile…

…boys, you best know, her Daddy is standing at the door watchful and praying. Her Mama’s praying too and there is a cast-iron frying pan right beside her.

Parenting a Tween,

–Donna a.k.a. Faye

First Love

Being a parent doesn’t mean someone issues you “Parental Fix It” in a can like “Fix a Flat” even though that certainly sounds like a marvelous idea. One of the hardest parts of being a parent is witnessing your child hurting. It doesn’t matter how old they are, if they are hurt in any way it is hard for a parent to witness. It’s even worse when there is absolutely nothing you can do to ease the pain except hold them and pray.

One of the joys of parenthood is witnessing your child stepping out into life and making decisions that will be foundation stones for their life. Our daughter made such a decision recently at a Wednesday night worship service.

She had harbored a secret for the last few years and with only the nudging of the Holy Spirit, not only went forward to ask Jesus into her heart for rea,l but to admit that her previous public profession was made with the wrong motivation. She made her “fake” decision at a time in her life when she was acting out over the hurt and anger she had towards her biological mother who it seemed, to her, just up and left her and created a new family. Our daughter knew what she was doing was wrong but, she reasoned then as a child, if she was saved she could get into Heaven regardless of her behavior. Now, as her reasoning and decision making skills have expanded she realized the greater wrong was in lying to God, herself, us and her church.

We’re proud of her. It showed a lot of maturity on her part to realize she was wrong and step forward with no one telling her she should to right her wrong. She came home with such a peace in her eyes I was astonished and with an attitude change that has lasted!

Two days later, she is sobbing in my arms with her first broken heart. The two parts of parenthood I’ve already mentioned collided and we had a third piece of the parenthood picture, leading your child to do the right thing regardless of their own pain.

What and how it all came about isn’t important. Let me just say that the young man involved is a smart, funny, kind 13-year-old who truly cares about our daughter. He and his family live with his Asperger’s diagnosis and part of that, for him, makes crowds hard to tolerate. He wanted to go to the Homecoming game and dance with our daughter. He planned to go. He was excited to go. But despite his wants and his good intentions he left in the second quarter of the game.

My husband was with our daughter and this young man at the game. It was hard to see our daughter hurt like that firsthand, he wanted to leave and bring her home, but she braved the game out even though she found the dance to be too much to deal with on her own. It wasn’t until she was on her way home that the tears came and she walked into our bedroom, threw herself into my arms and wept.

Her initial reaction was to tell the young man a few things that weren’t going to help the situation, especially if she hoped to salvage a friendship out of the relationship. As parents though it was up to us to help her handle the situation in a way that would honor God.

We wouldn’t let her text the teenage boy and “break up” for we didn’t want her to “do unto another and have it done unto her” later. Despite modern societies obsession with electronic communication it doesn’t mean it’s the right way to handle letting others know what you’re thinking or feeling.

Gently we reminded her of the times and ways this young man had shown her he cares deeply for her. When the two of them are together the light and laughter in their eyes blows us away. He was her defender when they went to the same school and stood by her even when she was making really rotten decisions for herself after she broke his new eyeglasses on purpose. We reminded her of his Asperger’s and how, although it was terribly painful, it was the Asperger’s part of him that hurt her, not all of him. It wasn’t deliberate. He truly didn’t understand how deeply he would hurt her. Someone hurting you on purpose, or unavoidably doesn’t give you a license to hurt them back.

Our daughter’s first broken heart over a boy. She’s handled it well. She’s made her decision that perhaps they will best be a part of each other’s lives as friends and she knows that for him to be a part of her life that the social situations they are in will need to be thought out to ensure he and she are comfortable and can have fun. She knows it is possible, they’ve done such things before. But a boyfriend/girlfriend relationship or simply a friendship that involves anything in a crowd without his parents is unlikely to occur. To want those things, football games and dances, parades, fairs and hayrides; doesn’t make her a bad person or selfish. They are both way too young to have a serious relationship and her social development is also important. Plus it is a step in teaching her the things she will need to consider when she’s older and ready for a more mature relationship.

Above all else, her falling in love with Jesus came at the perfect time, as does God’s timing always fall. Prior to that Wednesday night decision our daughter wouldn’t have handled the Friday night crushing disappointment well at all. When she got out of the car this morning to go into school I wasn’t concerned she’d act out and I’d be getting a phone call later today from her principal.

As a parent I drove off with my own smile on my face. First love. Yes, our daughter is on the path to eternity with Jesus and He’s her first love, above even herself. I know there are still tough times ahead for her, other broken hearts over other boys (or the same one) but I believe too she will come to have her heart broken for the things that break God’s heart. Maybe if all I can do is hold her and pray for her or simply pray for her during those times she weeps for what makes God weep then I am doing the greatest part of my job as her mother after all.

A praying mother,

–Faye

Happy Birthday

“Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone?  Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake?  If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!  So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.”  Matthew 7:9-12 NIV
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Every year we take up the task of planning how to celebrate our daughter’s birthday.  For the first five years of her life tradition held for a trip to Chuck E Cheese, whether it was a full pizza/game party or just a family outing. Then the pizza parlor/arcade closest to our home went out-of-business and so ended the tradition.

It was around the second grade that our daughter began hating her birthday.  The acting out behaviors would begin late July, early August and last sometimes until October.  She becomes easily agitated, her temper is quick to flare up, her responses to requests to do her chores or homework surly and disrespectful, she is in constant need of reassurance of our safety and our love and all because she hates her birthday?  The birthday is the object of her anger but what she hates is the symbolism of her growing up.  Our daughter would like to stay five forever!

This year we are midway to her birthday and the tween hormones are also adding flavor to the cake.  Not only is she making the last steps of childhood as she starts high school, changes classes on her own, has a locker with a tricky combination lock but her two best friends have moved out of her life.  One went back to live with her parents and the other decided to just move on to other kids.

Parenting isn’t for the weak of spirit, that’s for sure!   Our daughter asks for many things during this crisis time of her life.  Some are reasonable, some are indulgences, some are impossible, and some possible and within our means but bad for her in the long term. 

Last night when my husband and I took our family prayer time to surround her with ourselves, our love and prayers I thought about the words Jesus said recorded in Matthew 7:9-12.  Our daughter has to be secure in her life regardless of her age changes.  She needs to know that while a birthday is a blessing to celebrate, it is not a time to throw God’s prescription for life out of the window.  Her dad and I are believers saved by grace, not perfect by any means, and we are capable of making parenting mistakes.  But God is incapable of making a mistake.

God, Our Father, will not give her what can hurt her.  He may gift her with challenges to teach her to rely on Him, but no vindictive suffering or self-indulgent excesses. We are all refined in the fires of life.

Our daughter, and we, will be just fine as we get through this birthday.  She may never enjoy getting older, but we pray and work towards her acceptance of this annual event because as her parents we want to give her good things.

There are those children though whose parents would give them a stone instead of bread or a snake instead of fish. Or black eyes and broken ribs instead of birthday cakes and happy wishes.  There are also those who in the name of love will spend incredible amounts of money and time using a birthday as an excuse to be overly indulgent and another way of teaching their child to be self-centered. For some kids birthdays are no celebration because they are not cherished, not loved, whether over-indulged or abused they suffer harm.  Our daughter is fortunate that this isn’t the case with her.

Never saying no, not setting limits, and not having clear boundaries is a recipe for a parenting disaster.  While always saying no, having barricades instead of boundaries and letting the only limit be the sky is equally a recipe for a parenting disaster.  Loving your child as God loves them, however, is a recipe that has the most hope of being one for God’s type of success. 

Sometimes the world clouds our vision of which parent type is the one providing fish and bread and which are providing stones and snakes.  Jesus can clear up your vision if you are willing to allow Him too. This too is certain!

Parenting a tween.
-Faye

The Child, the Teen, the Mother and the Door

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Watching our daughter run from slide, to swing, to bouncy purple dinosaur to the monkey bars I smile remembering other hours at the park.  Smaller hands grasping and smaller legs climbing.  Same short attention span, as if she is trying to cram as many turns in as possible.

Before asking if she could go play she snuck a glance at me and quietly commented, “I love to play at little kids parks like these, but I know I’m to old”.  She pauses then continues, “I like it better being alone, even if it is lonely sometimes.”

I see the child she still is and the young lady she is becoming. I blink. Then I realize that this is what it is like watching her peer cautiously through the open doorway between childhood and adolesence…so beautiful, so frightening.

Now other hands are reaching through the door to grasp our daughter’s, hands that were once flickering shadows are now flesh and bone. Other voices, once faint whispers have now grown louder, more audible and call her name.

In a nanosecond she is poised to leave the coziness of childhood to stand in her newly and wide open to her teenage years, doorway. Tentatively she touches, faintly, briefly but firmly, those outstretched hands. Softy and shyly she answers the beckoning voices of invitation to walk through the door. “I’m coming,” she says!

My breath catches. My heart pumps madly. Never have I regretted my inability to run as I do now. To think I have been grateful to lose my leg after she knew how to look both ways crossing the street, not to dash into the street after a ball or from between parked cars! Oh how I long for it now! As if I might physically restrain her, somehow stop her, freeze time until I know she’s ready…but I long for the impossible.

For long bittersweet minutes, as she remains one foot in childhood and one poised in her teen world I understand an old wisdom saying. The one that says, “A parent must give their child two things, roots and wings.”. I see almost visibly how that notches in with the Proverb so often quoted about childrearing, “Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it”. The life verse we gave claimed for her, Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not harm you. Plans to give you hope and a future.”

Roots. Have we given her good, healthy roots? We know, for we were not blessed with our child until she was four, that some of her roots started off weak, so we’ve tried our best to strengthen those and help her grow roots in deeper, richer, better soil.

Wings. I see her wings shaking as the breeze ruffles them. She turns back to me and our eyes lock and we cry each others tears. Her hand touches mine and she grasps tightly. She whispers, “Mama”! I hear the first time she called me Mama eight years ago in her voice.

I touch my chest, exactly over my heart and she mirrors my actions. In silence without words we speak what we’ve often said aloud, “Always in here we are connected. The bond cannot be broken. Wherever you are, whatever you do we are together here!”

Wind. Wings need air to fly. Air currents. My actions, reactions, my words…they will set her free…they will lift her in prayer, by praising Our God for our forever family her wings will grow and strengthen beneath His breath.

For a moment I think of her birth mother. Of her difficult choices, her gift to us. The child she blessed us with is barely recognizable. Oh what she has missed!

Oh, thank you Jesus for what I have not been deprived of! Thank you for every tear, every frustration, the years our daughter hoarded food and things afraid they’d disappear, every therapy session, every broken, bleeding memory she pulled forth, every teacher conference, every worship service, every pillow fight, every dandelion, every rose and every thorn! Thank You Jesus for these, the last minutes of her childhood.

Roots and wings. You, Heavenly Father gave me mine. For my parents just didn’t know how! And You are also giving our daughter her roots and her wings, whether through me or her father they come ultimately from You. You are the vine with deep healthy roots and wings that cover, protect and soar. You are our Rock and our Savior and You have these moments of our lives, our brief existences, in the palm of Your hand.

The child, the teen, the mother and the door…You have us all

Let it be!
-Faye

Scurrying Toward Adolescence

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(Photo the original work of this blogs author.  All rights reserved.)

Today is a special day in our home. Our daughter who in less than 60 days away from turning 12 is going to her first concert, Veggie Tales excluded. Appearing is one of the Nickelodeon/Disney boy bands and another female artist. We watch their T.V. shows and she adores one particular guy in the boy band.

Going means a 3 1/2 hour drive to an amphitheatre in a neighbouring state. A trip I could be making but choose not to so our daughter can go and not have the burden of my wheelchair and needs. Instead my oldest niece has taken the day off to take her.

Her first trip this far without Mom and Dad and her first concert to see her first dream crush, that’s a lot. We trust my 22 year old niece. We trust our daughter. This is a rite of passage into adolescence.

Have we given her roots deep enough to support her wings to fly? Has our training in God’s ways been enough to help her follow them faced with new choices?

Yesterday, it seems, she was a tiny baby asleep on my chest. She was learning to walk. Saying her first words, sentences and developing her own personality. Didn’t we just walk her into her first day of school? Witness her decision to ask Jesus into her heart and believers baptism?

I won’t cry today, at least in front of her. For she is still our daughter who is anxious for this day to proceed and asking if we have a baby bottle for her Pooh bear. True she is scurrying toward adolescence and I can’t slow her down but God reminds me of His instruction and His promise.

“Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.”. -Proverbs 22:6

Our daughter’s days of testing her faith against the world will come. They must come. And then too with prayer cover and our own faith we will cling to God’s Word.

Our daughter too must learn to cling while hurrying toward adulthood.

-Faye