What Are you Afraid Of?

My blonde haired boy with the gapped-tooth grin stands on the edge of the diving board. This is the hundredth or so time he has climbed the ladder, walked his Barney Rubble like feet down the textured white board and stood with his toes dangling off the edge ready to jump into the deep refreshing waters beneath him.

Each time he reaches the edge of the diving board he considers this act of faith. As he reaches the edge he wonders if the unknown waters below will consume him and he wonders if he can trust in his previous swim training. A hundred or so times over, my blonde haired boy has done an about face after weighing his options, letting the fear of the unknown consume him instead.

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Fear clouds the truth about the waters below and whether or not they will consume him.

Fear prevents him from remembering the strong swimmer he has become.

Fear skews the lens through which he views his world.

I go to him. In my flesh I am frustrated for him. I know he can in fact swim. I know he is letting fear overcome him. In my flesh I want to fix it for him. I want to accelerate the process. I want him to overcome this fear in my timing.

I ask him, “What are you afraid of?”

He replies to me he is afraid of “the drowning”. My blonde-haired boy with the gapped tooth grin has given his big fear a big definite article.

My flesh overcomes me and in this parenting moment on the side of the pool I list how my blonde haired boy should feel instead of entering into the dark with him. In my flesh I see his fear with a definite article too.

Beside the pool I remind my son of truth. I remind him of the hundred or so times his has jumped off the edge of the pool into deep waters and how he swam in them well. I want for him to overcome this so badly, I miss the opportunity to be vulnerable and speak my fears to him. I see the problem and I fail to see my son as a person standing before me. I forget we are both human and a fail to remember the times when I too have stood on the edge of fear, uncertain whether the waters below would consume me.

Times when I stood on the edge of uncertainty and failed to trust in a God who promises he is with me and faith in the truth that because God holds me, the waves will not consume me.

When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you. (Isaiah 43:2)

Times when fear of the unknown provided a skewed lens to see The Blessed Controller cleary.

Times when fear skewed my own lens for how I viewed my world, when I too gave my fear a definite article.

Pema Chodron defines compassion as “knowing your darkness well enough that we can sit in the darkness with others. It is never a relationship between the wounded and the healed. It is a relationship between equals.”

So I wonder, as a parent, do I understand my own darkness well enough to sit in the darkness with my children? Am I able to access my big fears, the big fears with the definite articles and remember what it feels like to have my toes dangling over the edge, uncertain whether or not what lies beneath me or before me will consume me? Can I remember when I too have failed to trust in my own training and the times God has shown up for me along the way?

As a parent can I extend compassion and patience in the same way God extends his abundant grace and mercy to me? How many times I have faced uncertainty with unbelief and fear even though God in his word says fear not more than a hundred times over. God is a God of compassion who sits with us and pursues us even when our hearts are pulled towards fear and unbelief.

Oh how I want to parent with patience, compassion, unending mercy and grace. Oh how I want to see my blonde haired boy with toes dangling off the edge and instead of being quick to see his problem, I want to see his heart. Oh how I desire to parent with this kind of compassion.

Eventually my blonde haired boy will jump into the waters beneath him once his faith and his trust become the faith and the trust and when the faith and the trust make the fear seem like a small shadow in comparison to them. Until then, I desire to sit in the darkness with him. I desire to be human alongside him. I desire to pray alongside my blonde haired boy with the gapped tooth grin that we both would overcome unknowns and uncertainties together because God promises He is with both of us.

Shopping List For Starter Freezer Meals

Proteins

12 Chicken Breasts (one large package of chicken breasts from Costco)
A package of pork tenderloin (costco)
5 lbs of hamburger
1 package of flank steaks

***i will cook 4 of the chicken breasts and 1 pound of the hamburger the night before

Other

  • Gallon Ziplock Freezer Bags (enough to double bag)
  • 4 large onions
  • Celery
  • Carrots
  • Breadcrumbs ***
  • 2Eggs
  • Minced Garlic
  • Large Container Chicken Broth
  • 1 can whole cranberry sauce
  • Orange juice
  • Sugar ***
  • Brown sugar ***
  • Cloves ***
  • Pepper ***
  • Chunky applesauce
  • BBQ sauce ***
  • Chili powder ***
  • Taco seasoning ***
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 2 cans beef consumme
  • Frozen tortellini
  • Frozen green beans
  • Cumin ***
  • Frozen Corn
  • 1 can whole peeled tomatoes
  • 1 can enchilada sauce
  • 1 can chopped green chile peppers
  • Bay leaf ***
  • Cilantro
  • Ranch Dressing Mix (2)
  • Italian dressing mix (3)
  • Olive Oil***
  • Medium Red and Green Bell Pepper
  • Dijon Mustard***
  • Red Wine Vinegar***

***these things you may already have

One Simple Way To Survive Preschool

It happened on our eight minute drive.

DJ Shuffle was playing in the car as we drove down that one road on our way to preschool. I was half awake and mostly consumed with getting back home to get the end of the year teacher gifts in order.

What wasn’t on my mind was this was my last morning drive to preschool.

It wasn’t until our first stop light when I realized the last moment I was actually experiencing. The last morning to transport my son to school in the safety of my own vehicle before he transitions to the school bus.

My heart broke a little.

Just five years ago I was working as a first grade teacher figuring out childcare for my new baby and counting down the days I could be at home with him and pour into him before he went off to kindergarten.

Two moves and three siblings later here we are wrapping up preschool and I’ve realized that time is gone. Everyone tells you it goes by quickly but you can never know just how fast “the blink of an eye” is until you’ve experienced one for yourself.

I’m not going to tell you how fast it goes by. You’ve heard that before. What I am going to tell you is a story of the most important thing you can do for your preschooler and it has nothing to do with play dates, alphabets, numbers or trendy pottery barn monogrammed backpacks. 

On our last drive to preschool I turned DJ Shuffle down and I just did the one thing I can do for him as a mom on my way to school.

I asked him, how can I pray for you today?

This one phrase has gotten us through the last two years on that eight minute drive to preschool. Sometimes he is not sure how to respond so I ask if there is something he is worried about or something he is working really hard at learning. 

Then, I pray in the car. Then and there.

We have prayed for his safety. We have prayed for his social relationships. We have prayed he would obey his teacher. We have prayed he would have self control over his body. We have prayed he would count his teen numbers correctly and learn to color his entire coloring page. We have even prayed he would remember not to color on other’s clothes with markers.

On our last drive to preschool he just replied, “Mom… Today, I’m just really nervous about kindergarten.”

(Sigh and small tear.)

Me too.

I told him we would have all summer to pray about that and for today we can just ask God to help us enjoy what he has for us this day.

So we did. We forgot about what lies ahead and focused on that last day. That last blink of an eye and we covered it with prayer. 

The prayer is both for me and my preschooler. 

That little prayer in my minivan on my eight minute drive to school helps me remember that I am not the one controlling his “blink of an eye”. 

So whatever transitional stage you may be in as a parent, remember to pray. That blink of an eye should be covered in prayer. You all know and have heard before it goes by too fast. 

Cover it in the simplest way. Cover those mornings and those “blink of an eyes” in prayer. 

My Worst Enemy

My worst enemy has said the following things to me today:

You are not welcomed.

You are an outsider.

You are a terrible mother.

You are not equipped to be the wife of a pastor.

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I want to cut her out of my life because she is toxic. I let my worst enemy distort the way I see myself. I wish I could just stay away from her but all of these statements come from inside myself. I am my biggest obstacle in the Christian life. My thought life is my worst enemy.

In my thoughts I can turn body language into every reason why someone might have an issue with me. I can turn a quick glance into someone not being satisfied with the meal I sent over last week or into a criticism of my parenting.

It’s in my thought life that I can turn the hanger my husband didn’t put away into a reason why he doesn’t love me like Christ loved the church. I let my thoughts turn him into a thoughtless lazy monster instead of a busy pastor in a hurry out the door.

In my thought life I go down the road of over thinking and dissecting conversations to the point of remorse, guilt and regret. My thoughts tell me I talk too much and speak harshly. I seem to leave Bible study overly criticizing myself to the point of discouragement.

I let the poisonous thoughts rule over me and I cannot hear TRUTH. It’s only when I put the poisonous thoughts aside that I can truly hear the Word of God. The Truth of who I am in Christ from my Heavenly Father.

We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. (2 Corinthians 10:5)
So I am on a mission to take my worst enemy captive. Every little poisonous thought is going down and being redressed in Truth. When I find myself going down the poisonous road I say…

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. (Philippians 4:8)
If it is not true…I am not thinking about it.

If it is not noble…I am not thinking about it.

If it is not right, pure, lovely or admirable, I am not thinking about it. I will only think of the things that are excellent and praiseworthy.

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I am LOVED. The hanger left out by my husband means nothing.

I am BEAUTIFUL. That glance was not even about me.

I am REDEEMED. My parenting is being renewed daily.

I am ACCEPTED. Even if that meal I sent was a little too salty or if I talk a little too much at Bible Study.

My worst enemy is going down. I am taking the poisonous thoughts captive and redressing them in the Truth. I am renewing my mind so I can see myself and others with the eyes of my Savior. I will fight to think of whatever is true and lovely.

I will defeat my worst enemy. With truth.