Sunday, January 16, 2011

guest post by sonja!

dear emily,

i am so delighted to introduce you to one of my favorite blog
friends, sonja at bits and pieces.  her engaging humor and
deep love for the Lord have been an inspiration for only a
few months, but i feel like i've known her my whole life.
soak it up!!!

I love Lea!
Being a guest on her post is both fun and humbling... especially humbling, as the subject is 'raising our children'... I told Lea it would easier to write a book than to write a blog!
My mom always used to say 'we have 3 children and they keep us happy, humble and poor!'... I am far enough down the road of life that I know all 3 of those things have been true for us as well, with our 3.
Here are a few points I would highlight...
1. Begin when they are small... a teenager who has not been taught from birth and up, is NOT going to listen and obey as you think they should when they hit those years.
2. Be honest with your children... when you have been wrong, tell them, and ask for their forgiveness. They learn from what we do much more than what we say. Just like God's love forgives us, we are to forgive them. 'It's His kindness that leads us to repentance.'
3. Keep the communication going... even when they are at the age when mom & dad are 'uncool'... let them know they can talk about anything and that they have an honest, and safe place to vent. I remember when ours were growing up and we were in a tough financial place, my husband called one of our 'family meetings' and shared his concerns with them. We felt we might need to relocate, and our kids needed to know and share in those concerns, as it also affected their lives. We opened it up to their thoughts and they blew off steam and told us what they were feeling. It was a hard session, but the talking and sharing helped us all.
4.  Have fun with your kids!... most of you probably already know the value of that. Humor is one of the most valuable gifts we have been given. I can't tell you how many times one or another of us were upset, angry, down in the dumps or flat out depressed, and somehow our sense of humor came through and we ended up laughing till our sides hurt. It is so healing.
I share this story with embarrasment and hesitation, when I tell you that I tried to give our 18 year old daughter a spanking when she was a freshman in college! I know, I know...  She had said some REALLY disrepectful things and was in my face when she said them. Before I had time to think it through, I instinctively tried to put her over my knee and give her a good wallop! Of course it didn't happen... She went out the door in a huff and I called my busy husband at work and bawled... told him 'I have really blown it... Carole may have run away from home', and told him what I had done. He calmed me down, and I sat in the rocking chair and cried and prayed until she came through the door after class. I heard her cheerful little voice that she used when she was being funny, she said 'I don't know about you, but I feel pretty silly!'... We laughed and hugged and to this day, it's one of those stories we still laugh about, and all 3 of HER girls LOVE to hear me tell it!!
5. Hold your ground when you know you are right, and stay united with your husband... kids can almost 'look like the enemy' at times, and they can SENSE when we begin to falter or show signs of retreat... they come on strong and jump right into that vulnerable place they detect in us, IF we allow it. I was the one who 'caved' sometimes, not my hubby, and our kids appealed to me on lots of things that they wouldn't dare try with their dad! I learned that one the hard way.
6. Final thought... keep Jesus in everything! Make it a priority to read God's Word with your kids and to pray, about everything. When we do that in our homes, it becomes the most natural thing for them to do the same in their own lives. There are going to be hurts and heartaches along the way, and they need to know that Jesus is their friend and will always be there. Teach them by making Him the priority in your home. Our children watch we do... much more than they listen to what we say!!
One more 'final thought'... in everything that comes our way as parents, NONE of it is wasted in OUR lives. As God is shaping our children through our instruction... He is also shaping US, many times in ways we didn't even know we needed.
Our 3 are grown and now they are raising our 6 grandkids... I know they have learned from our mistakes, and I also trust they have learned from our love for them, which never changes.
Love them, pray for them, love them and keep praying!...