I'm working on it...

I've often wondered what "quotes" my children will remember... you know, what they'll take away from these years in our home. I'm sure Andy will remember "you're driving me nuts!" or as he is often saying "I'm so handsome." (No, we do not have an insecure son or a humble one for that matter!) I'm sure Libby's "quotes" will be far different like "leave your brother's stuff alone!" or "don't look at me in that tone!" (as she is our VERY expressive child, even at almost 7 months!) But whatever they remember, I hope it is with a smile.

One "quote" I know Andy knows VERY well... so well, I've even heard him saying it to other children! "Be careful!" There are variations of course. Like, "watch out" or "pay attention"; "I don't think that's a good idea." I find myself using these phrases COUNTLESS times a day. The funny thing is, I didn't even have to learn how to use them. It just came naturally!

Andy, who is now 3 1/2 yrs old, was born 7 weeks premature after a very complicated pregnancy. He spent 10 days in the hospital but has otherwise been a VERY healthy child. After such a complicated pregnancy and pretty traumatic birth (for first time parents) I was not prepared for the hardest part of being a parent; especially being a parent of a baby born premature. FEAR. Yes, it is a four letter word for a reason! ;) From the moment we saw two pink lines, fear mixed with the joy and anticipation that filled our lives! And the temptation toward paralyzing fear has not "let-up" in the 4 years since getting pregnant with Andy.

Oddly enough, this was the topic in "today's chapter" of the book I am currently reading. Sacred Parenting: How Raising Children Shapes our Souls. The title? Vicious Vulnerability: How Parenting Confronts Cowardice and Builds Courage. Can you say "bulls-eye"? This chapter literally hit me square between the eyes. Since having our second child, Elizabeth "Libby", fear has been a constant struggle for me. So there are several quotes from this chapter that I appreciated. I hope you enjoy!

"It is easy to act brave when the stakes remain low. But the more you have to lose, the more courage comes at a premium price. That's why being a parent tempts all of us into becoming cowards. The insidious thing about parental cowardice is that, in the name of protecting, it wounds." (p. 90)

"Cowardice is subtle. It hides behind legitimate concerns but pushes those concerns to such extremes that safety becomes the absolute priority." (p. 90)

"And frankly, the first person cowardice seeks to protect is the coward. Cowardice grows out of selfishness: 'I don't want to lose my children.' 'I don't want to go through the pain of seeing something bad happen to them' I believe that part of God's plan for parenting is designed to confront this self-centered tendency. Every stage of life presents new challenges to our courage." (If this is true, its a pretty hard pill to swallow...) p. 91

"Parental cowardice is born in a curious amalgam of parental authority. The process of parenting does two simultaneous yet contradictory things: It gives us unparalleled power, while also making us nakedly vulnerable." (p. 92)

"Jesus acknowledged this predicament when he talked about the destruction of Jerusalem, lamenting, 'How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers!' (Luke 21:23). To bring a child into your body, and then to bring that same child home, is to make yourself vulnerable in so many ways-emotionally, physically, and financially." (p. 92)

"The pain, the vulnerability, will never completely leave a parent's soul. In many ways, it takes a tremendous act of courage to become a father or mother and expose yourself to such a threat." (p. 93)

One parallel the author draws is between our fears in parenting and our fears in ministry! "Just as cowardice remains a constant temptation for the spiritually aware parent, so it tempts anyone called into God's service." (p. 95)

"Through sacred parenting we learn to act courageously, regardless of how afraid we may feel. And when we step out in faith, we allow God to shape our souls in ways that will develop us far beyond the parenting part of our lives. In this crossroads, sacred parenting builds in us the very character quality we need in order to fulfill God's call on our lives." (p. 97)

"Instead of listening to yourself, talk to yourself. Emotions can prey on us unless we mentally take charge and fight back. We don't have to let ourselves 'tune in' to doubts and fears. We can talk back to ourselves; we can build our spirits with Scripture." (p. 99)

"I believe that, for the sake of the kingdom, we have to despise apathy more than we fear failure." (p. 99)

The author concludes the chapter with the following statement: "To become a sacred parent, we need courage-the kind of courage that kept Hagar from abandoning her child in the desert; the kind of courage that filled Joseph's soul as h defied Herod's edict and took the baby Jesus to Egypt; the kind of courage that leads men and women every day to boldly step out and take risks on behalf of God's kingdom." (p. 99)

Instead of a prayer for us today, which I am indeed doing, I thought I would leave it to the Lord who always says it perfectly.

"But now, this is what the Lord says-
   he who created you, O Jacob,
   he who formed you, O Isreal;
'Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
   I have summoned you by name; you are mine.
When you pass through the waters,
   I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
   they will not sweep over you.
When you walk throught the fire,
   you will not be burned;
   the flames will not set you ablaze...
Do not be afraid, for I am with you;
   I will bring your children from the east
   and gather you from the west...
Bring my sons from afar
  and my daughters from the ends of the earth"
(Isaiah 43:1-2, 5-6)

Loving you all today!



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