Tuesday, January 21, 2014

The Heart of it All

These two are growing up fast. I still call Lily a baby, but she is 14 months old, walking, and just sort of phasing out of baby and into toddler. It's so sad and so fun all at the same time. And Addison is two going on teen. Seriously. This girl talks some serious smack these days, which we're working on. She is sweet as can be and we just adore her personality (she has so much of it!)...but there are some challenges, which are of course normal, but difficult none-the-less.

I have heard it said that how a child acts in public or at someone else's house is a great indicator of how the child is being raised. I've liked that tidbit of wisdom. Until yesterday, that is. You see, we hear from people all the time how wonderful and polite and obedient Addison (2 1/2) is, and while it's not always that way at home, I remember what I heard, and figure home is the training ground and of course she is going to test the limits at home, but she seems to be great everywhere else, so I thought, "We're doing something right!" Yesterday...yikes. Just, yikes. We went to visit our old neighbors, a wonderful couple in their 70's who always enjoy a visit from us so they can see the girls. I won't go into detail, but let's just say it wasn't a very good hour, at all. And to top off some major behavior issues, Addison bit me! That had never, ever happened before! I didn't even know how to react, or what to do, given the place we were. Needless to say, she was in some trouble when we got home. And I was left feeling like a failure. Wondering, what in the world am I doing, and why did I think I could do this well (parent)?

I thought about it and am still thinking about it. And I find comfort in a few things. First, I remember the saying I had written on my fridge for a long time: 'Parent the heart, not just the behavior.' Well, she's two, and we are working on parenting her heart, but I suppose most two-year-olds don't have the most lovely of hearts every second of every day (nor do adults for that matter!). She was tired and hungry, and she didn't care one little bit whether she was being well behaved, whether we were at home or someone else's house! Behavior is an outward reflection of the heart, and so instead of being embarrassed about her behavior, I can be reminded that her little heart needs continual work and needs to be prayed for consistently! Second, I remind myself of something that gives me great comfort and confidence when I'm having a low moment as a parent, a moment of doubting myself as a mom. I remind myself that God has blessed me with these kids. He entrusted Addison and Lily to Brad and I. He ordained it all, and He is all knowing and, well, He knows what He's doing, so I take heart in that. In knowing that God had this all planned out before the world was even created. I've said it before, but again, I may not be the best mom, but I am the best mom for my kids. I will make mistakes, but I will do the best I know how, and I have to leave the rest to God! I am not in control.

I can't save my kids. Only God can. The very best I can do cannot save them, but I'm giving it my all. I have a long ways to go, and I see things in myself as a mom that I want to change or improve, but I just take it one day at a time, asking the Lord for wisdom as I journey along through the world of parenthood. Asking Him for more grace to be able to fulfill this privilege, this high calling of being 'Mom.' And I will not let myself worry about what people think when a tantrum happens or when manners are atrocious...or the opposite for that matter. Letting pride creep into my heart when they act like angels and we receive compliments on how darling they are. I want to stay focused on the heart of it all, that is, their hearts!

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