Parenthood

More than our Presents

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More than our presents, our kids need our presence. They want, and need, us. IN their lives. It’s the greatest gift we can give, to them…and to ourselves.

 

Photo Credit: A Christmas Gift Free Stock Photo – Public Domain Pictures

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Home Alone

If stacking up gifts under the tree means racking up debt that will consign us to overtime labor in the coming year, it’s not worth it. Deep down, our kids don’t want to be home alone with things while we slave away at the office just to pay it all off.

 

Photo Credit: Free photo: House, Home, Structure – Free Image on Pixabay – 2595330

Our Greatest Opportunity

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If in pursuit of making our kids happy we rob them of our presence in their lives, we’ve missed our greatest opportunity. What they need is relationship—not with a screen, a gadget, or a piece of plastic, but with the people most important in their lives.

 

Photo Credit: Free photo: Christmas, Star, Winter, Family – Free Image on …

The Things We’ve Left Behind

blog_rearviewmirrorI admit I was embarrassed to have my friend visit my small apartment. She lived with her family in a large house on the nicer side of town. We’d just moved after years of outreach work in the inner city. Much of our resources had gone to that work, and more recently to the adoption of our two kids. We didn’t (and still don’t) have the material abundance of the typical American family. So I wondered what my friend would think.

In the course of our conversation, she mentioned how lonely she was. Her big house was too often empty, her husband working long hours to cover the mortgage. The kids spent much of their time alone in their rooms, engrossed in whatever new technological gadget excess had afforded them. They had so much, but had lost much more in the process.

When she left, I sat on the couch and looked around our humble dwelling place…grateful. Living with less has afforded us so much more than money can buy. Living simply was a choice we made years ago, not only so we could give more, but that we could enjoy the short time we have together. Having less has enabled us to invest quality time with each other, and with our kids.

As I drive by the large yet empty homes that fill our streets, I can’t help but wonder…what have we left behind in search of the American dream? We think bigger and more equals life. Yet we’ve lost much life in the process. It seems the more we acquire materially, the more we lose relationally on account of the time it takes to maintain our possessions.

Sometimes I’m tempted to think my life is less because we have less. I have to remind myself to remember all we’ve gained in the process. And should we ever be granted abundance, I pray I never come to the point of forgetting what’s truly important.

“Two things I ask of you, LORD; do not refuse me before I die: Keep falsehood and lies far from me; give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread. Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you and say, ‘Who is the LORD?’ Or I may become poor and steal, and so dishonor the name of my God.” (Proverbs 30:7-9)

 

Photo Credit: Free photo: Rear-View Mirror, Mirror, Car – Free Image on Pixabay …

Time, Precious Time

beyond_meltingsnowIt’s easy to take things for granted—like snow in the wintertime. Out here, it’s as expected as the turning of the calendar from December to January, to February. Expected, but not guaranteed. Just like the precious time we have with our children. The more I realize how quickly the snow melts away, the more I want to treasure each moment before it, too, melts away.

 

Photo Credit: File:Звуки тающего снега.jpg – Wikimedia Commons

A Blessed Mess

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A farmer who wants a harvest doesn’t need a clean stable. The ox that helps him bring in the harvest will do more than make a mess of the stable, but with that mess comes blessing.

 

Photo Credit: Barn – Free images on Pixabay

Lived In

Blog_Living RoomWhen I was a teen I babysat at a house where all the furniture was covered in plastic. My Mom told me, “That house doesn’t look lived in. A house has to be lived in.” And that’s the reason my home looks so VERY lived in today.

Couches aren’t meant to be covered in plastic! They’re meant to be comfortable. Homes aren’t meant to be sterile. They’re meant to have traces of life…everywhere. Who wants to live in a mortuary?Blog_PlasticCouches

If you have kids, there should be crumbs on the floor and handprints on the windows. There should even be an occasional landmine of toys. My son likes to make artwork with his sticky fingers over every surface of the house. My daughter likes to scatter her books everywhere she goes. Yes, it bothers me…sometimes. But more often I’m reminded of how long I prayed to have kids. And that means I prayed for all that kids bring with them.

There’s a Proverb that says, “Without oxen a stable stays clean, but you need a strong ox for a large harvest.” A farmer who wants a harvest doesn’t need a clean stable. The ox that helps him bring in the harvest will do more than make a mess of the stable, but with that mess comes blessing.

Children bring with them a harvest of life and joy. Their little messes are worth it. Yes, my husband and I teach our kids to clean up after themselves. And we’ve cleaned up after them more times than I can count. And yes, I’ve snapped as many times when the place was getting unbearably messy.

But in the end, I’m glad our home is LIVED IN. That’s how it should be. And I’m blessed because of it.

P.S. The very real blog post A Little too Real inspired my thinking that led to this post. It’s a great read!

Another PostScript…Take a look at the pictures above. Where would YOU rather live?