Tindell Baldwin »

Today marks ten years since we said I do! In the weeks leading up to Ben and I getting married I told my family I was so tired of everyone telling me how hard marriage was going to be. I was blissfully in love and didn’t want anyone to bust my bubble. They laughed at my inexperienced yet overly confident view of marriage. So, ten years in this is a tribute to all the things we heard before we were married and once we were about how hard it would be. The things that I didn’t want to listen to and to all the really beautiful things I had no idea were coming our way.  

They told us it would be hard.

When we were preparing to get married and the future was full of great unknowns. They warned us there would be days where we didn’t like each other. Times when we fought more than we agreed. Seasons where our voices would be raised and our hearts would break and we would maybe wonder what we did. They told us that it would take hard work, that marriage was a battle you don’t enter into lightly. They told us that ups and downs would come and expectations would go unmet and tempers would flare. 

They told us it would be hard.

As each new milestone approached, as circumstances changed, and as moods shifted. They told us we would have to learn to grow together instead of apart. They told us our differences would try to divide us. They told us our upbringings would cause each of us to write a different story of what our love should look like. They told us that we would say things we would regret and have fights that didn’t matter. 

They told us it would be hard.

They told us kids would change us. They told us that our dynamic would shift each time we made room for another little person. They told us that busy seasons would try to separate us and opportunity would try to divide us. They told us sleepless nights and job stress would threaten to break us. They told us our sin would ultimately break each others heart. They told us that more kids than adults would make things challenging. That schedules and everyday would cast out romance and replace it with routine. They told us years 7-10 would be our most challenging. They said the statistics weren’t in our favor. 

They weren’t really wrong. The last ten years have been a battle, a fight to stay in love, to stay in the game, to stay committed, to stay dedicated to what we entered into. The past ten years have been a beautiful picture of God’s unending grace and forgiveness as we’ve had to humble ourselves and ask on more than one occasion, will you still love me?

There are so many things they forgot though. In all the warnings they didn’t mention that the hard things would be like a refining fire making our love more beautiful than we knew possible. 

They forgot to tell us how much richer love is when you’ve been through the flames of hard times and sleepless nights and phone calls that brought you to your knees. They failed to tell us how much our differences would make us grow and how much more of a complete person you become if you let the challenges shape you. They forgot to tell us that you get to let your guard down and accept the scary reality that love takes vulnerability. They didn’t tell us how much we would laugh. They didn’t tell us that we would know exactly what to say when the other person needed to smile. They didn’t tell us we would always have a friend in the lonely times, a champion in the good times, and a hand to hold in all the hard times. 

The truth is I knew it would be hard, I was just scared we didn’t have what it takes. I was scared I wouldn’t be the woman I had promised to be on the day we said I do. I greatly underestimated the transformative power of sacrificial love and a God who is always willing to help you grow. 

I was convinced I knew so much back then but I didn’t know that sitting next to you would always be where I felt most at home.  I didn’t know I would still miss you when you went to work even years in. I didn’t know that these kids that helped us form a family would have your smile and your eyes. I didn’t know watching you be a dad would actually make me fall more in love. I didn’t know that some of our most mundane moments would become the most magical. I didn’t know that personal accolades would pale in comparison to what we would accomplish together everyday. I didn’t know that I would learn how to be truly dedicated no matter the circumstance. I didn’t know that I had so much growing up to do on that day ten years ago. They tell you its hard and its true but anything worth having takes hard work.  

We still have a long way to go, still so much to learn, so many more chances to fight and grow and we will. We will fight and cry and laugh some more but today I’m grateful for all the things on the other side of the hard times. All the little things that add up to really big things. Today I’m grateful that in all the things they told us there was so much more they forgot to mention.

  • Anna - Loved!! Shared with all the young marrieds I know!
    32 years in- it only gets better 😉ReplyCancel

“You have so many questions my dear”

I whisper to Claire at bedtime after we spend time talking about if I am the tooth fairy and why we can’t see God. I want to keep answering, I want to keep the door open for all her questions and wonder. I dont think I have to know, I long ago gave up the idea that my kids would see me as a perfect parent. I decided that I’d rather them see me as fully human always needing a good dose of Jesus and self control. I want to answer though, I want to sit with her in all the questions about life and to my very best abilty help her understand. After all this is what parenting dreams are made of, getting to the point where I’m helping my kids grow instead of merely keeping them alive. This is the part I have waited for.

And yet…

I worry. I worry I won’t answer well or that I’ll miss the really important stuff. I let my productivity overrule my compassion and sometimes my answers are short when they should be long. Sometimes I cut you off mid thought about why birds fly in circles or I simply tell you that you’re wrong when you speculate with your brother about the clouds covering the sun. And I know I’ve failed you. I know your questions matter but to be honest sometimes they seem silly. Sometimes I just want to make dinner in peace and sometimes your questions get emotional and my calloused adult heart wants you to toughen up and move on. Sometimes I have to remember how patient my God has been with me, in my own years of questions. 

The easiest way to grow empathy is to have to ask someone else to extend it to you. In those moments when I can see myself in my kids, when I can reflect on the times I wanted to be heard and understood, I can lean in and listen. I was thinking about this the other day because we have been a busy season where every hour has a purpose and to keep the train moving I have to keep moving. Its been a great season but a busy one thanks to this new adventure of school (why do 6 year olds need homework??). Busy always seems to get in the way of having enough time. Busy is rarely conducive for learning. 

Then last week in church our pastor was talking about Lazarus and how when Jesus came on the scene Lazarus had already died and how his two sisters had questions, like where have you been and why didn’t you save him? And their questions were valid and I realized as our pastor read the story how patient Jesus was in their questions. Instead of shutting down questions that were not only unnecessary but that he already knew the answer to he cared enough for them, to listen and answer. Of all the people to be dismissive Jesus would have been the most qualified. He had a true grasp on what was to come and he knew that his own death would be so brutally painful. He also knew Lazarus wasn’t going to stay in the grave. He had every reason to ignore or cast aside the silly and ignorant questions of people. But instead… instead…. He leaned in, he wept alongside friends, and he didn’t brush aside questions he already knew the answer to. If the Son of God who knew plans before they were even thoughts would take the time to care who am I to brush aside real feelings and questions of growing children? 

In that moment sitting in the row I heard the most clear whisper of truth, how patient have I been with you you? Be patient too. 

I want my kids to come to me when life doesn’t make sense, I want them to come to me when they dont understand, when they feel lost, and when they need help. However to be that person, I have to be safe for all their questions, from the ones about ladybugs to the ones about God.

I have been reflecting a lot on big life events and how reality looks pressed up against the expectations I had. What would I have told myself if I could truly prepare for what the future looked like? What tidbits of wisdom and maybe glimmers of hope would I offer myself? Tonight is the night before my oldest birthday. Six years ago tomorrow I headed to the hospital and started the journey of motherhood that reshaped far more than just my body. Today I was thinking about all the emotions I was feeling that night before we welcomed Claire into our world. What would I have told myself? So here it is,

A letter on the night before I became a Mom,

Just breathe. As you pace the halls and double check the nursery, breathe. As you wonder what her eyes will look like and if she will have hair, breathe. As you repack every bag and try to get comfortable for one last night of sleep. Just breathe. I know the fear building in your heart is real, there are so many questions as God does his work in the unseen. I know the unknowns are eating you up, what if the ultrasounds missed something, what if you actually did eat too many double cheeseburgers, and what if you don’t bond? The “what ifs” and wondering has caused many restless nights. You have stayed awake begging God for confirmation that you are doing enough and that she is OK. You can breathe, he once again shows up in ways that leave you breathless.

I know you think you are as prepared as you can be but like any journey you have never walked before you can’t prepare for what you don’t know. It’s ok that you have to learn along the way, everyone does. It’s ok that you have to ask for forgiveness and for grace from the people that love you. Every day brings opportunities to get things right and to make things right again. This isn’t a journey where perfection is within reach, it’s a beautiful clast of imperfect people. It’s the messy mingling of lives that will cause both tears of joy and tears of sorrow. Embrace the jagged edges and don’t try to pin a bow on top of everything, some of your greatest failures will cause the most growth.

Promise me to take it one day at a time, don’t worry about all the things you can’t see. All of the ups and downs will hit whether you stay up thinking about them or not. Deal with problems as they come, don’t anticipate them until they show up. You will have to learn that control isn’t actually in the equation, but prayer is and faith is. When you want to reach for control choose one of those instead.

Tomorrow changes you, its changes Ben, it launches you down a road in life that you don’t feel equipped or worthy enough to walk. It’s the start of your family, the thing that changed your own life the most is now something you are building. It’s a heavy burden, it’s a high calling, and it’s worth every sacrifice you will make. It’s ok that not everyone will understand, you don’t answer to everyone. It’s ok that you will live in a tension of your dreams and reality. It’s ok that you will think it is both magical and also sometimes dull. The hard work you do every day bleeds into every happy memory and when you look back you will see the magic was worth working hard for.

It’s ok that there will be days you feel unseen. It’s ok that you will wrestle with God about where he’s calling you. It’s ok that most days you will simply be asking what the next right thing is. What you are doing is important enough. You’re not just telling your story, tomorrow that little girl starts one as well. Help her tell hers well. She’s going to teach you just as much as you teach her.

Oh and I promise she does eventually sleep and you do leave the house again.

Love,

The sentimental side of you

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I’m sitting here on the eve of my ninth wedding anniversary and trying to remember what I thought it would be like this far into marriage. Someone told me that statistically years 7-9 are the hardest and looking back at the past two years I’d have to agree. New adjustments, new house, another baby, and I wonder if I could have prepared myself for the hard what would I say. We are currently on the blissful upswing but I wonder if I would have listened to my own advice, here’s what I’d say…

Dear me,

I know you thought that this was the hard part. You thought that finding a great man was the real battle. I know you didn’t want to listen when people told you that rocky times lay ahead. Love is like a thick fog you can’t see through and you’re so young but I know you don’t think you are. I won’t try to tell you it will be hard because you wouldn’tbelieve me anyway so I’ll just give you some pointers for the… um… speed bumps that lay ahead.

 

  1. Assume the best, this is hard for you. You have a long history of men not living up to their word. He’s not like the others. He’s good. Solid. Caring. He is patient and loves you well. So when he says something you want to interpret as underhanded, ask instead of assume. Most of the time he has no idea you just filtered his simple comment through the lens of your past and fears. Talk about it, don’t walk around with your panties in a wad… its unattractive.
  2. Have fun, for the love have fun. Life throws you some real curves. Things don’t always go as planned but you can enjoy life as much as you choose to. Ben’s better at this than you, he knows how to laugh. He knows how to take hospital rooms and tense moments and make you smile. He’s good at throwing a good old-fashioned dance party right there in the kitchen. Let your guard down. Laugh more. You will have plenty of time to be serious.
  3. Your kids are amazing but he is too. Now right now you can’t imagine putting anyone before him. The thing is though motherhood is powerful and it turns out you are more maternal than you thought. The babies are wonderful (yea you have a few) but when they leave the house, which is the goal, you two are left standing and you want to be standing side by side holding hands. Also, if ministry teaches you one thing it’s that nothing will affect your kids in a more powerful way than your marriage.
  4. Stop keeping score, right now! From this day forward there will be a silent scorecard in your head and the temptation is to see who does more. He does the dishes, one point. You clean all the bathrooms, five points. You wake up with the kids, 1000 points. He goes to work, 10000. You stay home with kids, not a number high enough. The thing is, you always seem to award yourself more points and in the end, no one wins. Stop keeping score and just support each other. Oh and ask for help when you need it, he can’t read your mind.
  5. Weep together and pray together. I know you hate crying. Actually, you hate all strong emotions except anger. You like control, but weakness and vulnerability are bonding. Lean on him when you get bad news, tell him when you’re sad, and don’t expect him to get it right every time. He’s a really good shoulder.
  6. Saying something that stings hurts both of you. Oh if you could just get this one right if you could hold your tongue from all the hurt that you will spew out when disappointment, loneliness, and frustration happen. If you could just see that your words give life or cause wounds. Those are the only two options. Don’t take it out on him. He deserves more respect than one-liners that sting. Give it to him.
  7. Hormones are crazy. I know you think you understand this now but let me just warn you babies make you think and feel things in a whole new way and the only positive ones seem to be aimed at the baby. Don’t trust estrogen or prolactin or whatever else is coursing through your body in a year or so after you have a baby. It’s a liar, you will get along again. Things will be fine. Power through.
  8. Marriage is as amazing as you hoped it just takes more work than you thought. Even your ordinary life feels extraordinary when you get to walk it with someone you love
  9. You need God, like a lot. At the end of the day you can only control your half of it and thats scary, trust God with the other half. I know you think you could change a cat into a dog if you tried hard enough but you are naïve. Ben is exactly who he needs to be, love him for that, and pray when things are hard. No one will get you like the man standing beside you. Don’t take it for granted. Cheer him on, talk less, and don’t take for granted his belief in you. Its truly astounding all that he puts up with.

Love,

A much more tired version of you

  • Anna Etheriedge - Great! True! Loved it all -from 51 year old- 30 year married to my BFF – looking at a possible empty nest… someday… well maybe… at least during weekdays perhaps :))ReplyCancel

You’ll miss it. Cherish it. Enjoy the little years. They will grow up before you know it. It goes so quickly. Don’t blink. Those are the best days.

These are the kind of comments I have gotten from well-meaning strangers, older parents, and anyone watching my kids since I entered baby town almost six years ago. People always like to say these things at the weirdest moments too. It was never when my kids were all behaving out in public (probably because that rarely happens) that I’d get these not so subtle reminders. It was the target meltdowns and chick fila diaper explosions. It was days when the baby was inconsolable while grocery shopping and then another kid would loudly announce they had to pee while the oldest asked one hundred times for a new stuffed animal. Perhaps it was because they knew it was all true and they wanted to make sure I remembered.

To be honest, there have been lots of points over the last five years that I didn’t think any of it was true.

Like when we had a newborn and were living on fragmented sleep and lots of coffee. Or when we had a baby, a potty training toddler, and then found out Claire had severe eye issues and I was more overwhelmed than I knew was humanly possible. Or when Briggs was born and Claire was way under two and I yelled outside the car before we left our house one day “why is this so hard”?  Or every winter when flu season rolls around and we all live in fear for a few months (ok maybe no one actually misses that). Or those days when I look at the clock and realize there are way too many hours before bedtime. Or anytime Ben and I have fought out of pure exhaustion or desperation because it’s hard to connect with so many little people needing you.

On those days I thought, there’s no way I’ll miss it, it doesn’t seem to be going by at anything but a snail’s pace and all I cherish somedays are bedtime and naptime. I thought maybe this was all concocted by sentimental moms and grandmothers who forgot all of the really hard details that motherhood really consists of.

Yet here I am about to graduate one kid out of the baby years and one more into school and I looked at a mom with just a newborn the other day and said, “enjoy every moment, it goes so fast.” And I meant every word.

Because while I hate to admit this, it’s all true. You will, in fact, miss it one day. Colbie, our 30 lb baby, will be two in two months and I realized I really don’t have a baby anymore. I do miss it. I miss holding a little baby on my hip even if it was always at the most inconvenient times. I am about to enter what I once thought of as parenting mecca when one kid goes to “real” school and the other two will be in preschool yet somehow its bittersweet (the real school not preschool… preschool is the bomb).  I’m mourning the time I won’t have with her anymore. I’ve only got one kid in diapers and… actually, I’m good with that.

It really is all true though, time chases you down in the midst of you chasing down all these little ones and you wake up and realize you’re in a new season. Sure, you enjoy it, but you get a little sappy at night (when they are all asleep) and remember the days when they weren’t so independent.

So, mommas, I’m here to tell you it’s all true, I only have one foot out of this season and I already miss it. I blinked and Claire has her first day of kindergarten next week. I do think these precious years where we’ve been in somewhat of a cocoon of home and preschool are awesome. I do know there is much good that lies ahead but we are about to crack open the cocoon just a tiny bit and let the light shine on all the real imperfections of the world. Gone will be the days of PJs till mid-morning and all of us snuggled in my bed watching cartoons while I drink coffee and wake up.

The real truth about this season is it teaches you so much if you let it, for me it’s been utter dependence on God. It’s taught me to soften and take time for life hurts both big and little. It has taught me that I cannot do it all but on the flip side I am far more capable than I ever gave myself credit for. It had shown me that I do not have control of much but I can always control how well I love others. It has shown me that community is vital and investing in friends is worth so much more than I thought. Mostly it has taught me to give grace, to others and myself, most of us are doing the best we can.

So for all of you teetering on the brink of exhaustion wondering if you will ever actually miss it, you will. I promise.

First Wee School Christmas... nailing itI remember the first day I dropped you off, a sweet mom’s morning out class, just three hours a week. You held my hand as you walked in with your chubby toddler wobble while I pushed your newborn brother in the stroller. I remember looking down at you and saying, this is school and I’ll be back in a few hours. Your eyes filled with tears and I promised I would be back, I wondered if you were ready.

Then today you strolled in talking about how you were going to miss your teachers this summer and gave me a hug goodbye and ran off to your class. Your last day of preschool and I held back tears as I told you I loved you. I made it all the way to the parking lot till I let them fall heavy in the car. I thought I’d be ready for this. I thought I’d be ready to say goodbye to the few hours a week preschool and hello to real-world school. I thought these past years of Christmas programs, bible stories, and drawing letters had prepared you for the next stage. And they have. And you are. But I’m not.

What I didn’t count on is that I wouldn’t be ready to let go when the time came. I didn’t count on numbering the days you had left at home with us until you’re gone, not 10 hours a week but 37. I didn’t count on your brother being your best friend and telling me how

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much he misses you when you aren’t around. I didn’t realize how much I would miss your morning dance parties and made up songs. I didn’t realize how much I’ve loved slow breakfasts and lazy cartoons before we are all ready to take on the day. I didn’t realize how much I had taken for granted that I’ve had the opportunity to be by your side for most of your life.

So while I watched you bound down the preschool hall today for the last time I couldn’t help but wonder how we will all do next year without you, when you’re where you need to be but where we will miss you so terribly much.

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I thought I’d be ready. I thought my heart would take about five years to prepare for the day you move on just ever so slightly but it turns out it needs more. I read a blog once that said, “I don’t want more babies I want more time with the babies I have.” Today my heart it breaking just a little as I realize I want more time with you. I want more days where we live in the cocoon of staying home and staying close. I’m not ready for the world and the questions that will come as you take steps towards more freedom. I’m not ready for you not to want to walk hand in hand as you ask me why God made dolphins without feet, or why summer is so hot, or when we can go on a picnic again. I’m not ready… but I’ll gear up and get on board and cheer you on as you walk confidently into the next thing. You won’t feel my fear or hear me asking if you can do it. I know you can, but I know there will be days like today when I cry in the car with my sunglasses on and hope you don’t see because growing up is harder than I thought.

It’s funny how over the past five years there were two things I always thought I needed more of, time and freedom, I thought if I could just get a little more of that I won’t feel as stressed or tired or overwhelmed etc. Well here I am standing at the door of both and what I really want is what I’ve had all along.Displaying 5697788752_IMG_0541.JPG

We bought a house that was a flip. It was built in the 1970’s but a builder came in and gutted it and made everything shiny and new. We walked in and it and fell in love. It had all the things we needed plus it was so new, fresh, and clean (AKA no children had lived in it). Ben turned to me after we walked through it and said “I could get my Saturday’s back.” We loved our old house but every Saturday was filled with maintenance, kind of killing the Saturday morning family vibe I was so aggressively trying to implement. We decided it was the one (and yes choosing a house feels similar to finding a spouse) and fast forward over the next craziest weeks of our life, sold the house we were living in, closed on the new and started moving our crap in last week. I used to call it stuff until I had to pack it up and move it… then it became crap.

The problem with shiny and new is that it never stays that way. My fridge now has fingerprints where little people have opened and closed it over and over and over and over again telling me they are starving (five minutes after eating). The walls have been scuffed up by oversized furniture being moved up narrow stairs and the once sparkly bathtubs are now filled with kid’s toys. And we have only been in the house two weeks.

My point is nothing stays new. Life takes a toll on even the shiniest of things.

I don’t talk a lot about my marriage in my writing because I see it as sacred, whereas motherhood and ministry feel like something we are all trekking through together. Marriage though, it’s my safe space- my safe person. It’s a place I’m careful about who I let in, so while I’m very open with my people, I’m not open with all people. The rest of my life though I’d tell the cashier at target about… because we are there so much I know them all by name and when they got a haircut. Then I was talking to some friends the other night who aren’t married yet and they were asking what marriage is really like, is it wonderful? Is it hard? Is it beautiful? Is it boring? Is it exciting? Is it disappointing? Is it everything you dreamed of? Is it challenging?

Yes.

All of it.

Yes. Marriage and mothering are the only things in my life where my selfishness will actually ruin someone else’s life. Marriage is the hardest and best thing I have ever done. It’s what has taught me the most and grown me in ways I didn’t know I needed to grow. It’s softened me, changed me, and pushed me closer to the God who made me. Most of us read 1 Corinthians at our wedding but don’t really understanding those verses until we have to live them. Real love is living out what I said I’d do when I least feel like it. Real love doesn’t fully come until you chose to love even when you feel justified (and most likely are) in your frustration, sadness, anger, exhaustion or whatever else. God asked us to do this for others and then he demonstrated it through Jesus so that we could always know what real love looked like (John 15:9,12).

Marriage is a lot like a new house. It starts off so shiny, so new, and you move your stuff in and scuff it up along the way. You bring your baggage and expectations and make it yours and the shiny wears off but in its place is left something great… home. It’s where you breathe, where you let your guard down, and where you can be really bare… in every sense. It seems like there are really only two choices, find something else or someone else shiny and new or see your spouse as the gift they are. If I moved every time my house got a little messed up we’d live in a perpetual state of moving and unhappiness.

The reality is it takes maintenance, like keeping a house clean, it doesn’t stay shiny on its own. Ben and I check in every Sunday to see how we are doing (while we fold approximately 50 lbs of laundry), we cover fun topics like budget, relational ups, and downs, parenting, upcoming week etc. We do date nights every other week (side note- we are incredibly blessed with in-laws who live in our neighborhood and love our kids and us SO well making this possible). When we go on dates, I make a real effort to only talk about the kids on the way to dinner and then shut down the kid talk. We have so much more to connect on than just our kids. I think of this like sweeping the floors or wiping down counters… it’s part of keeping things in order so that we can focus on what matters.

We are coming up on nine years of marriage, it isn’t anywhere close to a lifetime but we both really care about not just staying together but about being for each other. Yes, my marriage is important for my kids, but also because Ben is worth fighting for, so even when life gets hard or we are knee deep in babies I’ll choose him. That’s living the love we talked about at our wedding and it’s so worth it. I think the greatest and easiest lie to believe in marriage is that you married the wrong person or that someone else would understand you better, love you better, and they might but they’d do something else worse. We all have our flaws, every relationship gets a little scuffed up like tiny fingerprints on a fresh wall but it’s the mark of something personal. It’s yours.

 

  • Sophia Gutierrez - This is so beautiful! I needed to hear this so badly. I’ll be sharing it with my husband. Thank you!ReplyCancel

People love to tell me I’m going to miss this. That one day I’ll look back in real wonder at the absolute chaos that my life was during this time before “real” school. That one day this will be a hazy half-memory where I marked through the hard and bad things and remembered only the beautiful to pass on to the next tired mom at Target. While I’m sure I will miss it and I’m already feeling heavy waves of sentimentality as we are mere months away from kindergarten what I care about more is that I don’t miss it now. That I don’t miss all these tiny things that add up to the really big things.

This morning I was asking the two oldest to clean up their puzzles before they could watch TV (while Colbie came behind them and dumped said puzzles out on the ground) I saw Claire stuff one puzzle under the trampoline and then look up to see me standing there. For my rule-following first born this was the most upsetting thing that could happen, being caught doing the wrong thing with no way out. I told her if she’s going to do something to do it right and asked her (in my stern mom tone) to find the box the puzzle went in.

As she went to grab the box I heard her mumble, almost incoherently, “I’m just different from everyone else.”
“Claire, what did you say?” I asked completely caught off guard.
“I said I’m different, I just don’t do the right thing.”
“Claire will you come to my bathroom while I get ready so we can talk, don’t worry about the puzzles.”
She followed behind me shoulders slumped. As I got ready I asked her two simple questions, why do you think that and who told you that?

Who told my perfectly made, uniquely gifted, tenderhearted, outlandishly kind, five years old she was different? The girl who made me a mom, who has a father in heaven who knows the number of hairs on her (Psalm 139:13-14), and a savior who would go to any lengths to win her tender heart (Romans 5:8).  Who spoke such bold lies into the heart of my beautiful girl? I can tell you who, the same deceiver who whispers lies right in my heart when I am not listening to the truth of my savior.  The same liar who is consistently trying to pull at the threads of truth I am working to teach my kids daily (Mark 4:15). The father of lies who knows just the right words to makes us doubt who we are and where we belong (Ephesians 6:11&16). See, Claire is harder on herself than I am on her, she loses confidence at the smallest infraction because she expects perfection from herself. I have seen this in her from an early age so what’s the perfect attack for my perfection seeking daughter? The LIE that everyone else is doing a better job than her, that everyone else has some magic potion that keeps them doing the right thing all the time.
I pulled her chin up to look at my eyes and I spoke the truest words over her that I knew, “Claire, God made you perfectly with a purpose and there is nothing you can do to make him or us love you less. Don’t tell yourself lies like that.”

Then I made her list out all the ways she was created uniquely with a purpose and I saw her eyes brighten and her gaze lift as we talked about the things about her that were true. The joy she brings to her dad and me, the incredible friend she is to her siblings, and the helper she is to teachers. I reminded her how many times I screwed up and had to ask for her forgiveness and I reminded her perfection is only for God, he doesn’t expect that from her and neither does her dad or me.  She bounced back to her brother’s room with renewed confidence.

This is what we cannot miss. Forget the long days and sleepless nights, the dread of illnesses, and the agony of mom guilt. I don’t want to miss the teachable moments that will make or break my kid’s heart in this season. We won’t be able to catch them all but we must be available to see the ones that really matter.  I won’t send my girl into the world believing her performance for others will earn her love or acceptance. No, I will teach her that dependence on God gives us freedom. It starts now. Today, she must start hearing the truth before the lies are so loud she accepts them as fact. That I won’t miss.

S u b s c r i b e
S e a r c h