Thursday, January 15, 2015

Fresh Start in Parenting

I'm linking up today with Jill Savage for the Hearts at Home Blog Hop, "Third Thursday Thoughts". Check out what other moms are saying on the topic, "Unleash your Power to Start Fresh" at Jill's blog.

Have I truly equipped her to face all the ugly in this world?

Will she make the decision to love God and live in grateful response to all He’s done for her?

How will she handle adolescence?

Why doesn’t she want to talk to me?

What if she makes choices that ruin her life?

She’s the firstborn, so we’ll likely screw her up the worst.

My mind was constantly flooded with worry for my oldest daughter, in particular. I so desperately want to protect her; shelter her… I was overwhelmed with the responsibility I was given and I was trying to control the circumstances until God broke in.

Just over a year ago, my daughter and I crossed the finish line for her first 5K. We weren’t breaking any records. She hasn’t stepped foot out the door to run since. But we spent time together and in that moment, God spoke to my heart about the importance of quality time. More than anything, my daughter just wants to “be” with me.

I’m so grateful for the couch to 5K program and our time together because it taught me a lesson… It’s never too late to start. As fear overwhelmed my heart on my daughter’s future, I thought what was done was done. It’s not easy to change the way you parents after 11 years, but I did.

Parenting has a way of enlightening one’s self to their own selfishness… and I am the queen. It was a year prior to our race that my daughter first asked to run with me. I made excuses and didn’t let her. Running was my thing and I didn’t want to be interrupted. What I learned is that my daughter is a gift; not an interruption.

It’s really an ugly thing to stand face-to-face with your own ego. My life has been so self-centered for so long that I wasn’t even honest about it.

That’s why we finally did the couch to 5K. I told myself I wouldn’t waste the opportunity… and I’m so glad we did it… even if she isn’t interesting in completing any in the future.

Currently, I’m not running any races either. I’m adjusting to this new stage of parenting. There are only a handful of short years left before my oldest becomes an adult, That means more hard conversations... Uncomfortable talks are avoided until I think I can’t put them off any longer. I’m learning this dance with her of pressing for answers when necessary and giving her the freedom she needs to grow into herself.

I’ve quit trying to control the circumstances. There are times my husband and I tell her that we are not comfortable saying “yes” even though we grant permission anyway. We are trying to instill Truth in her so she will learn to ask questions for herself. Most importantly, we are realizing this is her life. It’s her relationship with God. He is the one writing her story and a little failure may be part of her growth.

I thought parenting was all about protecting my children. God is showing me that it is more about equipping them than anything. I have zero control over their tomorrow.

The best thing in all of this? His mercies are new every morning. I feel like I screw up this parenting gig quite often. Each day, however, brings new beginnings.

We may step on each other’s toes a bit as we learn this dance… but in the end, we’ll be grateful we did it. The mother-daughter relationship is a beautiful thing and I’m so grateful I get to watch her blossom into the women God created her to be.

Who knows... maybe we'll both work on the couch to 5K together again. Each day is the opportunity for a fresh start, right?

"Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness." - Lamentations 3

One of the tools I’m currently looking forward to is Dr. Kathy Koch’s new book, Screens and Teens:  Connecting with Our Kids in a Wireless World (March release). This is a new area for us explore together and I’m so thankful for the tools to equip me to equip her.
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