Thursday, January 3, 2013


He snuggles closer to me on my bed and rests his little boy paw on my belly, frowning a bit as he concentrates.

"There, did you feel that?" I whisper and he solemnly nods, and then flashes me that smile of his.  Peter crawls over for a snuggle and Jonah throws an arm around him.

"Yep, there's a baby in there, Peter.  Just like you!  Except a girl."

We spend the next few minutes discussing babies and his own arrival, and I pull up some pictures on the laptop for him to see.  At first he can't believe that the full lipped babe in the photos is really him.  Picture after picture of family members cradling him, and he looks up at me with shining eyes.

"When our new baby comes, I'm going to climb right up here and hold her, and then you can take my picture, ok Mom?"

Yes.  That sounds just about perfect.  Because the only thing better than a new baby is being able to share a new baby with people who love her already.

I'm thinking of our afternoon time together later on, after he's bedded down on the top bunk and Peter's soft snores drift from the crib on the other side of the room.  My three boys in their shared room, dreaming their dreams.

Raising children is hard work, and sometimes I can be distracted into thinking that is all it is.  I spent today doing laundry and scrubbing bathrooms and putting out the hundreds of little fires that arise just from living.  Correcting table manners and requiring apologies and inspecting chores can take such a big chunk out of the day that I can forget to enjoy my children. What's worse, I realize that I can be short and impatient, my words can come forth unchecked and, in doing so, I can cause some of the issues I am trying so hard to prevent.

The truth is, parents who speak negatively to children, who harp on mistakes and speak a constant stream of exasperation - we can cause a spiral.  Raising children who behave begins with raising children who long to please their parents - something that can evaporate in their hearts when Mama and Daddy only see their mistakes.

I've been that parent.  When Dinah grabbed too much laundry to carry up, her own folded pile and another besides, I warned her it would be too much.  So when my just-folded clothes teetered, and then fell down the stairs?  Words just barreled out of me at her.  Words I had no business saying, not to a 7 year old girl just trying her best.

That verse I learned as a little girl pops into my head out of nowhere, and I know what I have to do.

A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.
Prov. 15:1

Tonight, I'm praying for honey.  From my mouth to their ears, soft and gentle words.  That is not to say devoid of instruction, or discipline where discipline is due, but rather to keep things gentle and pleasant.  To make sweet moments like the one earlier with my two little boys the norm, rather than the exception.  To stop and smell the roses of raising little ones, and to keep the distractions at bay.

Tumbled laundry takes 5 minutes to remedy, but the heart of a child can be lost in an instant.  Drizzling on golden grace, I'm bent on wooing their hearts, one by one.

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  1. I have been so convicted of this lately as well. May our words be uplifting and not tear our babies down.

  2. Oh My!!!
    I so need to work on this!
    Thank you for the good words and the anology/and verse of "honey"

  3. Oooo I loved this one too! (You're on a roll this week!) This morning I was rushing my oldest along, and he was so weepy for no reason, and I finally started to realize (again, always again) what violence I do to my children's spirits when I try to rush them along, always worrying. The sweetness of your reflection soothes me this morning - just the take I need for the rest of the day.

  4. Wow did you ever hit a nerve with this post?! I am so glad you did. God uses your words in very powerful ways. He reached down and gave me a very gentle reminder today as I read what you so candidly shared.

  5. This is so sweet. And such a beautiful reminder! Thank you

  6. A lovely reminder to be careful what and how we say things to the little beings we love so much.

  7. You are so right on, emotional abuse, which is hurtful words that hurt a heart or a spirit has no place in our homes. We do slip at times and let the venom fly but we must be careful especially with those we love. Children listen to our words as well as our behaviors.

    1. Yes! And oh, but it stings to hear it called emotional abuse, but it can certainly head down that path! Wrestling with one's own words can be exhausting, but I know I must keep at it.

  8. This post is such a raw and honest look at shortcomings in parenthood. Please do not be so hard on yourself. The fact that you recognize that you need to adjust your approach is such a huge blessing to your family. I work with so many whose parents never, ever, come to this realization, and their children show the effects of that. We are not perfect. We do, however, have strength and guidance through Him that placed us here. Your children will be blessed by your introspection and your reflection. They are lucky little babes! Take a deep breath and feel all the hugs coming to you. You are doing great!

    1. Thank you so much for your comment! It is hard not to be defeated when I know the type of mother I want to be, and the one I am really doesn't measure up. Every day is a battle to keep perspective. Thank you for your encouragement!

  9. YOU are a fantastic mom! YOU are an inspiration to me and others to be better moms. DO NOT let words that can never, will never describe you in any way sting you whatsoever. And please...don't let the thoughtlessness of others deter you from sharing what you learn along the way in your mothering journey. You have no idea how much you are a blessing to others.

  10. Lydia, thank you so much for your wonderful words and reminders. I came to your blog today because I had such a horrible day with a lot of stressful things going on and the stress I felt leaked out in ways I'm not proud of. I knew that reading your posts would uplift me and remind me not only to try harder, but that we all make mistakes in our parenting journey, but that acknowledging the mistakes is the first step to getting back on track to correcting them. Your blog helps me so much to remember the right path and how good and faithful He is to us. Thank you again. I really needed this today. Jill


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