Tag Archives: motherhood

I’m Trying to be Perfect…Again

This Texas “fall” is killing me, y’all!!

It was seriously over 90 degrees yesterday – on November 2!

Getting 3 kids in and out of the car multiple times, helping with buckles, answering questions, meeting delays and demands, school pick-ups, errands, playground, HEAT!

Ugh! I just don’t have the patience for it anymore! I get super duper grumpy when I’m hot and am staring down the sun whilst children do what children do. I need to move to Alaska to be a better mother!

Trying to be perfect

Don’t I?

No, I think I’d complain about being cold… Hmmm.. ok California then! The weather there is perfect year round (so I’ve heard!).

Nah. Too expensive. Then I’d have to work more and commute more and yuck. Those are on my “least favorite” list.

Colorado – I love Colorado!

Nope – they actually have real winter for almost 6 months. I’d love the other 6. That’s it – I’ll become a snowbird!!

Hmmm, then I’d lack community and family and stability for my kids.

Ok, ok, so maybe I’m just not a great mom and it has nothing to do with my circumstance!

Once that air blasts me in the car, I’m all of a sudden smiling and engaging my kids in the “good mom” way again. I’m praising God – but what about before? Yuck!

I know God covers my sinful moments with His grace. I know it – but I want to be perfect! I don’t want to mess up.

…I’m idolizing myself, aren’t I? I’m trying to be God again instead of letting Him be who He is and transform me at His pace and worship Him. I want to be worthy of worship instead.

And I’m barely worshiping these days as it is, but in my one reading I made it to this week, was this:

The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. (1 Corinthians 14:42b-44, NIV)

I know God will fulfill the desire to cast off this nature in Heaven, and in the meantime and for eternity, I want to turn the worship of myself all to Him who is truly worthy!

In those difficult moments, I need this reminder that Jesus is the resurrection of the dead – He is the king. He’s greater and more worthy of worship than any comfort or convenience or strength that I have.

How are you trusting in God’s word today?

Sowing in Tears – A Pastor’s Wife on Sunday Morning

I’m thrilled to have my friend Colette Loudin sharing a post with us today – this post is so personally challenging to me, and I know it will be to you, too. Please give her some share love on Facebook, Pinterest, etc., and check out her blog Lessons from the Sparrow.

I hugged him close as he clawed and scraped and tried to kick his sister over and over again. He was so frustrated, and I was too. He grunted and groaned quietly as he thrashed about, giving no ear to the message his dad was preaching right in front of him. I tried to calmly restrain him as tears streamed down my face.
Sowing in Tears - Sunday morning

“Sundays are just so hard, Mom.” I know, sweetheart. I know they are. But they’re worth it, too.

This precious son of six years is life and energy and cuddles and punches. He’s the one that hears the gospel over and over and over again as I hold him close and talk through what went wrong. He brings tears and fears and joy and laughter. Sometimes I don’t know how to love him well. Sometimes I wonder if I’m getting in the way of his seeing Christ. Sometimes I absolutely lose it on him. Because I can’t understand how in the world he could do the very thing we just talked about not doing. And then I see me. And my sin. Over and over and over again. The Israelites followed that path. And so often I have, too. And God disciplined them. He showed grace. He broke, and He mended. He fought for His people. And God disciplines me. He shows grace. He breaks, and He mends. He fights for me.

My eyes closed and opened to look at my husband standing behind the pulpit. And this vision came into my mind—my tough child, grown. A man, tall in stature and wise in heart. Standing at that same podium in that same church. The sunlight beaming through the stained glass behind him. And as he speaks to the people whom he now joins in faith, he looks at that front row where he spent his youth. I’m there—the whispers of years and time have painted my hair and kissed my face. And as he looks at me on that front pew, our eyes meet. A flood of memories washes over him. Our battles against sin…together. His face softens as he remembers the hard Sundays. And he understands in that moment the beauty of those struggles. The reward of it all.

My heart quieted. There was hope in that vision for me. Hope that, maybe one day, I will see the fruit of this labor.

“Those who sow in tears shall reap with shouts of joy! He who goes out weeping, bearing the seed for sowing, shall come home with shouts of joy, bringing his sheaves with him.” Psalm 126:5-6

I have no guarantee that my son will grow into a wise man who follows the Lord. There’s no protocol I could follow to produce a man of faith. That is entirely in the Lord’s hands. And there’s a freedom in that, too. It doesn’t depend on me. However, I do have the holy and heavy responsibility to diligently display God’s patience and goodness and grace to my children. To fight alongside them toward victory. Bearing the daily weight of that in the living out brings weeping and sorrow in response to my son’s sin. It is no easy thing to mother.
This Sunday, we will sit together and pray. He will pray, as he often does, that God will help him to listen and to obey. That God will calm his body and mind and help him do what he knows he should do in the church service. And he might find victory this Sunday. And he might not. But when he messes up, I will hug him close, love him gently, and speak the same truth into his little big heart. And I’ll hold that sweet vision ever before me. That one day, just maybe, I shall come home with shouts of joy because of the beautiful work God has done within him through these years of sowing. And I will look my precious, grown boy in the face, and our hearts will join with the Israelites in proclaiming, “ The Lord has done great things for us; we are filled with joy.”

 

Colette LoudinColette is a lead pastor’s wife and mother of four whose passion is to awaken women to the great need of rightly studying the word and being an active part of the local church, no matter what season of life they are in. She loves all things birth and newborns, conversations about food allergies and gut health, and reaching out to the overlooked. You can follow her blog at lessonsfromthesparrow.wordpress.com.

How to Implement Natural Consequences

How to Implement Natural Consequences

Shaking. He just kept on shaking it.

My son – he’s 6. We were on the way home from church, so I had all three munchkins in the van. We had already made a quick grocery pit stop. Everyone was hungry, and the ants were in the pants.

And he kept shaking his water bottle. He invents these little games for himself to pass the time. In this one, the water bottle could have been a missile or a medicine or machine gun. I have no idea – the boy stuff sometimes escapes me.

All I know is, he was shaking this water bottle, and the whole time I’m thinking, “It’s gonna spill. It’s gonna rocket out of there, leaving a big mess in the third row.”

I said, “Samuel, please stop shaking your water bottle so it doesn’t spill.”

Now, in my house, if you disobey a direct command, you usually get a direct consequence. Meaning: hey, I told you to do something, and you need to listen.

I find that if I give chance after chance, then I end up with a fuming mama and a frustrated kid, so I try to discipline right away.

He kept shaking it. And I did something I don’t usually do.

I waited. Just a moment. I’m usually quick. “You didn’t obey, so you will get <insert your own consequence here>.”

But Samuel isn’t 3 anymore. The direct consequences work best from about 18 months to about 5ish depending on the kid. In Shepherding a Child’s Heart (affiliate link), you see that Sam is now at the stage where we’re moving more into coaching/mentoring.

He gets the disobedience. He knows where his heart stands before us and the Lord. He can apologize and forgive on a dime (which I sometimes question but am also grateful for). So we’re transitioning to a lot more dialogue.

Not my favorite. I’d rather everyone just follow the rules. 😉

He still has one foot in each camp, though. He pushes the disobedience, and we reign back in with direct consequences. We’ve implemented a reward system that’s working great as positive reinforcement. (Whew!)

So I waited because I was thinking. What should I do? Does he get a time out? Do I take away a toy? Video game time? I was in a patient phase, so I was just calmly trying to figure it out.

And that’s when it happened. “Umm… I just spilled a lot of water back here.”

Now trust me, there’s a part of me that sometimes immediately progresses to the I Told You So part of this lesson. “Now you can see why I told you not to shake it!”… But I didn’t say that.

The Lord was granting me some insight here – I didn’t have the insight, mind you. But I could tell something was changing in our relationship, thus the waiting.

I chose to say, “Then you know the first thing you need to do when you get home, right?”

“What?” Oh, the smart ones always know how to play dumb.

“Clean up the water.”

“Oh. Yeah.”

That was it. Nobody was upset. He cleaned up the mess right away when we got home.

Y’all. I didn’t do anything else. I didn’t even say I Told You So.

I remembered reading about natural consequences in a fantastic book called Boundaries with Kids (affiliate link – so worth the $2.99!). And of course I’ve used them. I always require my kids to clean up spills of water or legos or baby doll clothes. But I usually add to those clean ups the talk. The I Told You So and You Should Have Obeyed.

Sometimes that’s necessary, but sometimes it’s not! Oooo it’s hard for me to even say that. Yes, kids will and must learn to make their own mistakes and clean up their own messes with a loving coach by their side telling them Yes, it happened, but I know you can make it right. (not I Told You So.)

How to Implement Natural Consequences

Recognize when your child is ready

Look for signs that your child is ready to handle the natural order of things. Maybe they start taking responsibility for their own things and show pride for doing so, even if only occasionally.

Another sign is when direct consequences aren’t quite as effective anymore. Rewards may not be as motivating. The age is commonly around 5 or 6 when children have to start taking more responsibility with the start of school.

Teach the principle of sowing and reaping

Principle of Sowing and Reaping

For a person will reap what he sows, because the person who sows to his own flesh will reap corruption from the flesh, but the one who sows to the Spirit will reap eternal life from the Spirit. (Galatians 6:7b-8, NET)

Don’t use natural consequences alone

From Boundaries with Kids, “Life works on reality consequences.”

Reality consequences are woven into the fabric of the world that God created. However, God doesn’t strictly use natural consequence to teach us. He coaches us through His word and community, He models grace and mercy, and He gives us direct consequences as well.

Allowing natural consequences to be a part of your child’s life will help them grow into an independent learner, but it shouldn’t be the only way you plan to teach them.

OK, Steph, but really, HOW?

I think the easiest place to start using natural consequences is when you have an expectation to leave the house for something at a certain time. Ideally, it’s somewhere they enjoy, and they go often enough to practice. For my example below, I’m going to use Kindergarten.

Learn to Pause

I’m obviously working on this one. It’s tricky when you have kids in multiple stages because direct consequences are most effective when delivered quickly, but natural consequences take time to work out. So, I have to switch one off to do the other.

For example, I told my child that we leave the house for school at 7:35am. He wants to play with his toys, but he has responsibilities in the morning: getting out of bed to turn his alarm off, getting ready for school, eating breakfast, packing up his bags, brushing his teeth, etc.

What if he’s not getting ready? Do I nag him? Nope. Do I jump right in and put his shoes on for him? Nope. I wait.

We have a cheap digital clock in his room that he knows how to watch. If he gets ready efficiently, he could use about 10 minutes to play. Most mornings he takes his time getting ready and doesn’t have time to play, but he’s not upset about it because he knows he made that choice.

natural consequences

Teach the connection between his choice and the consequence as a matter of fact

Every once in awhile, he laments, “I never get time to play before school!” In this way, he’s casting out frustration.

The first time this happens, I gently and lovingly remind him of the process that is set up. “We leave at 7:35am. Once your responsibilities are done, you can use whatever time left to play.”

Don’t be offended by his frustration

My tendency is to take this personally and want to say, “If you get ready faster, you will have time.” Or bring out the I Told You So.

Or, my need to be on time makes me angry, and then I want to yell or hurriedly help him out the door while complaining. Instead, I need to stay calm so that he doesn’t think I’m to blame.

Let him feel the pain – Don’t rescue him!

I’m not to blame (usually) when he’s late. There have been times where we’ve gone out the door with his stomach only half full.

He’s walked into school late a couple of times (which he detests at this age). If the school hands out tardies, he might have to just get one! (gasp!)

Use a different method for the “struggle” areas

Some things that he struggles to do in the morning are part of his reward system.

For example, he’s learning to tie his shoes and doesn’t enjoy it. He gets a check in the system every morning he chooses to tie them. If he doesn’t tie them, I tie them for him, but he doesn’t get the check. So as we’re leaving, we check the shoes. I really don’t worry about whether he does it or not because the reward system sort of handles this area.

Help him plan for next time

Later, when you’re not trying to get out of the door, brainstorm together how you might avoid being late.

“Hey bud, remember how we had some trouble this morning? What do you think we can do differently?”

Release control and let God guide your child

natural consequences

This is maybe the hardest thing to do, but I’m constantly learning how to let God guide my child, and show my child how they can respond to God. Sometimes, instead of a consequence, I ask them if they would talk to God and ask Him for help.

Boy do I need that lesson for myself!

If you take advantage of natural consequences, what would you add to this “how to”?

Intentional May – Gospel-Centered Kids’ Crafts for Mother’s Day and Memorial Day, Week 4

Intentional May

Photo Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/bayasaa/2693171833/

In May, I am picking a relevant scripture each week to focus on. My conversations with my kids will be about the verses, and bonus! – I’ve picked a craft to help us (and you!) talk through spiritual things.

Don’t forget – you’re the primary influencer in your kids’ lives, so be intentional about sharing God’s truths with them! I’d love to hear if you have success with these. Share in the comments!

Week 4

 

Connect Memorial Day to the Gospel

This week, we’re looking forward to Memorial Day, and we’re discussing freedom! We made the eagle craft above. I found the original idea on Babble. Eagles are such a beautiful picture of freedom and stature! And while we think of them as free, even they are under God’s sovereignty.

I shared with my kids what freedom means, especially the freedom to worship God in our country and how men and women have given their lives for our freedom.

I also want them to see that God has given them the freedom to make their own choices – choices to obey God and choose Him over their own desires.

When we talked about the verses, we made sure to also land on the true freedom we have from our sin through the cross.

Job 39:27 “Does the eagle soar at your command and build its nest on high?”

Bonus verses:

In a desert land he found him,
    in a barren and howling waste.
He shielded him and cared for him;
    he guarded him as the apple of his eye,
like an eagle that stirs up its nest
    and hovers over its young,
that spreads its wings to catch them
    and carries them aloft.
The Lord alone led him;
    no foreign god was with him. (Deuteronomy 32:10-12, NIV)

You yourselves have seen what I did to Egypt, and how I carried you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself. (Exodus 19:4, NIV)
Easter egg: Does the “eye” on the eagle look fake to you? That’s because it is! We forgot to add one, and I put a little dot on there for Pinterest’s sake! 😉

Using Tangled/Rapunzel to Teach the Gospel – YouTubesday

I’m SOOOO super excited about today’s video. I’ve been filming and editing it for a few weeks now, and I’m dying to share it with you!

My husband and I have been having conversations about how to redeem anything the kids are interested in – how to leverage it for the gospel. Like many parents, we want them to have a solid foundation – with Christ as their cornerstone – from a young age.

So I’ve been pondering how Disney princesses play into that, and I want to share with you how you might remind your kids of the gospel using the Disney movie Tangled.

Please note – I’m not saying this movie is the gospel. God’s son is not in this film after all. I’m saying once you’ve already taught your children about Jesus, you can use parts of this movie to further that conversation and give them pictures of the abstract gospel elements.

I hope you enjoy it.

Intentional May – Connecting Kids’ Crafts to the Gospel, Mother’s Day, Week 1

Connecting Mothers' Day Crafts to the Bible

Pic by Aubrey Stopa

In May, I am picking a relevant scripture each week to focus on. My conversations with my kids will be about the verses, and bonus! – I’ve picked a craft to help us (and you!) talk through spiritual things.

Don’t forget – you’re the primary influencer in your kids’ lives, so be intentional about sharing God’s truths with them! I’d love to hear if you have success with these. Share in the comments!

Week 1

This week, we’re going to do a free-form art activity called I Love You Because. I was inspired by this post, but I’m modifying the activity.

I’m going to put the words I Love You Because on art paper, and I’m going to let the kids fill in (words or drawings) what they love about their mama. Then, on the back, we’re going to write I Love You JUST Because – because loving your mama should be free haha!

It feels a little strange to ask your children to make you something, but I actually do teach my children that they have a good mama. I tell them they have the best mama in the whole wide world (don’t worry; you can tell yours the same!). I am their mama, so it is true. 😉

No, really. I want my children to value their mom. Thankfully, my husband teaches them this by example, but let’s be real – I’m with them most of the time. I surely want my daughters to feel worthy of respect as a mom one day, and I surely want to teach my son to respect the mommy of his children. I think it starts here.

The verse focus is:

Her children rise up and call her blessed (Proverbs 31:28, ESV)

Bonus verse:

Listen, my child, to the instruction from your father, and do not forsake the teaching from your mother.

Make Eye Contact with Your Husband (and Kids)

Make eye contact with your husband and kids

How much steady eye contact do you make with your husband – or even your kids?

I don’t think I make much at all, and I’ve been trying to improve so I can boost my oxytocin – you know, the wonderful hormone that helps us attach to our babies? Well, it is the same hormone that floods our system when we feel bonded with anyone.

Apparently, oxytocin makes us look into each other’s eyes more. The latest research hasn’t really attempted the reverse: Does looking into someone’s eyes increase your oxytocin or bond with them?

Regardless, we’re already bonded to our husband and children, so I’d bet my bottom dollar research would say that eye contact with our family members boosts our bonds with them.

Because betting your bottom dollar is super scientific.

So. All that to say, I’m taking the time to not break eye contact constantly.

Like when my husband comes home, and I’m cooking dinner? Yeah, that. I’m only glancing his way. Could I take even a solid minute to look him in the eyes and listen? Or even look while I’m talking?

Trust me, from a lover of all things delicious food, our marriages are worth way more than perfectly cooked dinner.

I shared some words of affirmation with him last night, and I had to talk myself up to looking him right in the eye and holding that gaze while I said it. Whew – why is that so hard!? Our connection was solidified.

The lover (bridegroom) in song of solomon tells his bride,

Turn your eyes from me; they overwhelm me. (Song of Solomon 6:5, NIV)

With my kids, I’ve been giving them more undivided eye attention, too. Having three kids means a very split attention span. They all want mommy for something, so when it’s their turn for my attention, I need to give it undivided.

That third baby that I’m worried will just have to hang along with everything? Eye contact.

That middle child who plays so well by herself because she has to? Eye contact.

That firstborn who loves one-on-one time because he started out mano a mano? Eye contact.

I’m turning my eyes back into my ears and my mouth, using them to listen and to speak.

How to Make a Cheap Flannel Board

MommyMondayI have some preschool posts coming up – I hope you don’t mind!

The first one is how to make a (cheap) flannel board!

I didn’t grow up in Sunday School, so I had never seen a flannel board until I started teaching preschoolers. My mind was blown, y’all!

I love it as much as the kids, and I finally got around to making one for my preschooler Samuel.

I will mostly be using ours for imagination play rather than educational use, so I wanted one that could be made cheaply. However, my Sammy is very destructive, so I did make sure it was durable!

What You Need

  • large cardboard (I used a large box that I cut down to size)
  • flannel (I bought 1 yard and actually had enough to make 2 flannel boards, so you could get away with a half-yard)
  • felt pieces
  • stapler
  • glue (This probably makes me not cool, but I used Elmer’s. Hot glue is probably a little better, but mine is holding fine!)

My cardboard was free, and the flannel I bought was $5.99/yard. The felt pieces are about 25 cents a piece, and I bought a bunch of colors. So I have two flannel boards and tons of felt pieces for about $10. I know JoAnn puts their flannel on sale for $2.50, so you could easily do this for only $5 if you wait for the sale!

How to Build a Flannel Board

(Note, my site was majorly hacked, and I lost most images. I hope the text below and pics at the bottom are still helpful!)

1. Cut out a piece of cardboard to the size flannel board you want. Mine turned out to be close to 16×20, but I just eye-balled it. (Note: If you need a sturdier flannel board, I would purchase a canvas and simply staple-gun your flannel on. It’s not the cheapest option, but much more professional.)

2. Lay your cardboard on top of the flannel and cut the flannel so that it has around a 2″+ border. Again, I didn’t measure this.

3. Fold one of the long edges of fabric over the board. Now, make a cut in the flannel at the edge of the cardboard so that you have a “hinge” in the fabric (see pic).

4. Repeat step 3 with the opposite side of the fabric and board. Then, on the width of the board, fold the flannel as though you are wrapping a present.

5. At each gift wrap seam, put a couple of staples.

6. Now, repeat on the other side. The trick to this side is keeping the flannel taut on the cardboard. I placed an intermediate staple on this side to help hold it in place.

7. Glue! Now, many people would have probably pulled out the hot glue from the beginning and not used any staples or Elmer’s. Well, I’m kind of the elementary school crafter that hasn’t graduated yet! So, take your Elmer’s 🙂 and you will lift each pocket of fabric on the back and set out glue on as much surface area as you can. Once it dries, you might have this:

Notice I didn’t iron the flannel beforehand. Yeah, I don’t care that much. Also, a thought I had later – if you want it really super taught and pretty – is to use Elmers Spray Adhesive on the cardboard before laying it on the flannel and folding all the seams over. If you don’t own any, this will up your cost by about $4.

Play!

What can you do with a flannel board? Really a lot! We decided to play weather one day, so we just cut out a bunch of weather shapes from the felt. Felt sticks right to the board! It’s so great!

How to Make a Cheap Flannel Board

 

I am also using my second one to post our daily schedules:

DIY Flannel Board for Daily Schedule

Is this dorky? Now that I shared this, I feel a little self-conscious about my ghetto crafting! What would you put on your flannel board?

Apologize to Your Kids

I noticed something about myself lately. I don’t like to apologize to my kids.

I guess I feel like I’m always right! Imagine that!

Obviously, I apologize if I blatantly lose my temper, such as when I yell.

But what if I’m just being impatient? Or, even more tricky for me: what if I don’t discipline in love?

I for some reason have this blockage against apologizing when I’m also asking my son to apologize to me. My thought process is:

-He did something wrong (e.g., disobey).

-He got a timeout. OK, I hastily said, “Get in time out, right now.” in my not-so-nice voice.

-Now he needs to apologize. But I don’t need to apologize because he’s the one who disobeyed me. And what kind of message would that send? If I apologize, then will he think that he shouldn’t have been put in timeout?

I think I really get hung up on that last point, so I convince myself that I shouldn’t apologize. Which is a terrible idea!!

Even if I make a slight grievance against my son, shouldn’t I seek reconciliation? By apologizing myself, I

-model what apologies and forgiveness look like AND

-acknowledge and teach that mommy is not perfect and has to rely on the Lord for forgiveness and self-control.

These are two HUGE things I want Samuel to know and see and breathe because they can lead him straight to the gospel!

I also have the opportunity to acknowledge that his discipline is deserved and appropriate, even though I may not have administered it perfectly.

So not only am I learning how to apologize to Samuel when I’ve wronged him, but I am searching for grievances I make when he is being disciplined.

But please PLEASE don’t just apologize with “I’m sorry” and teach your kiddo that. “I’m sorry” is a great set of magical words, but it doesn’t teach much except for … the magical words.

So when you apologize you say

I’m sorry for being impatient. That was wrong. Do you forgive me?

And teach your child how to do this too. At first, you will have to tell them what to say and how to say it (Big boy voice, looking in the eyes/face, no contempt, etc.). But they will get the hang of it. And in the midst of the apology they’re learning that their actions are not always pure, but that mommy or daddy will always love them exactly the same in forgiveness.

Sometimes when Samuel says, “Do you forgive me?” I’ll say, “Yes!! I forgive you like Jesus forgives us!” in a very excited tone… because it’s exciting people!

At the same time, I think it may be possible to over-apologize and make it meaningless. For example, if you go through the apology process, accept forgiveness, and then you continually apologize (perhaps because of mommy guilt). This teaches your child that they may not have really been forgiven, so they better keep checking if you’re OK with them.

Maybe you’ve never apologized to your kids. You can start today! It takes a little practice letting go of that perfection ideal. If you feel like you’re pretty good at this, that’s great! Ask God to reveal how you can continue to tangibly show Jesus to your kids.

A High Performance Mom Sometimes Sucks

I’m a high performance mom. Well, I’m a high performance person.

High intensity; high stress; high output; high energy.

But sometimes this means I suck as a mom. (I mean, we’re all crummy sometimes, aren’t we?)

I was talking to a lady recently who said, “I really do believe we are super women. We can do it all, and we can be amazing at everything we do.”

I have to say that I disagree. Yes we are amazing multitaskers. Yes we have Ironman endurance that we sometimes use to rock babies. Yes we can and do excel at and outperform our male colleagues in the work place. (I mean, I know I can. Heehee.)

But be amazing at all of these thing at the same time? No. It doesn’t happen. I know because I’m one of the most efficient people I know. I’m not bragging; it’s what I do – I look at systems and streamline them. (If you’re starting to feel like you don’t measure up to me, don’t worry – I don’t have an athletic bone in my body, and I spent 6 years playing the flute to just be so-so at it.)

And I don’t have just one priority. Yes, I love my husband. Yes, I love my children with every breath. But I don’t think I’m called to worship them. I’m called to worship my Creator. So He comes first. And sometimes He calls me to love and serve my neighbor, a stranger, or the “least of these”.

And sometimes when I heed that call, my children “suffer”. Or at least, that’s my myopic view of it.

Case in point, for Samuel’s third birthday party, we held a fundraiser party. We did this last year and loved it so much that we did it again! (And I hope to share a post about that, too ;))

Well, we were so busy and engaged in invites, food, decorations, hosting, etc., that we never gave Samuel his birthday presents or card from us.

Samuel has tons of toys and books, and he had a blast at his party. The kid is lacking for nothing. But I still feel like a schmuck. Really – not even the card?? Nope. Didn’t even get the card filled out.

I was wrapping those presents today (a few weeks after said party), and I felt so scummy. As if I forgot his birthday to begin with. But honestly, I don’t think I did anything wrong in this case. And I’m a HUGE proponent of owning up to things.

I truly think we were focusing on what God wanted us to do. We got to bless our precious boy and the children at Rajah Children’s Home. Samuel got to see that our gifts come in many forms, including gifts to bless others. Including obedience to the Lord.

And I think it’s healthy for him to see that mommy is not perfect! Mommy doesn’t have to do everything well! I can’t do and be everything Sam needs; only God can.

And what child doesn’t love having new toys a month after their birthday, anyway? 🙂