What Every Parent Needs

Hands down, at the top of my list of what every parent needs is Jesus.

I’m not just saying this because it sounds nice. Without Him, I don’t know how I would get through each day, find the right words, keep the right attitude, and be able to live freely in peace while doing what I’ve deemed to be…

The most difficult and beautiful job on the planet.

Well, second maybe to nurturing and maintaining a healthy marriage. So no big deal. While we realize all that we are blessed beyond measure, I think we also know that if we want goodness for our families we’ve got our work cut out for us.

I’ve been married for 23 years and have been a mom for 20. These years have served to teach me thousands of humbling lessons, all of which begin and end with:

I need Jesus.

I need my Savior. I can’t do this without God. I’m desperately in need of help. And praise Him, He provides all!

Truly.

God didn’t throw these spouses and kids at us and then give us a little pat and say, “Well, good luck. You’re going to need it.”

Often we’re deceived into believing that He didn’t give us a manual for “how to raise kids” because there’s no written words that specifically spell out “Every time your kid does ________, do ________.” Or the book I’ve wanted more than any other, “In order to absolutely, without a doubt raise Godly children, all you have to do is _______________________.” I wanted it to be a five step program that would ensure that my kids chose God. I wanted a simple, tidy package. Is that too much to ask?


Matt and I have done all we can to see that our kids have received Biblical guidance, conversation, truth talk, and countless hours of prayer from us and from others in their lives who love the Lord and love our sons. We haven’t come close to doing a perfect job of this, and for years I felt like a parenting failure because of all my imperfections.

I believed the lie that God doesn’t provide exactly what we need as we seek to raise godly children. Yes, there is the Bible, and we have most certainly relied on it throughout our parenting years. But even the Bible doesn’t share specific formulas to ensure that our kids wouldn’t throw tantrums in the grocery store and that they would absolutely choose Him.

I concluded that since there was no book or seasoned parent to tell me exactly how to accomplish this, and putting our offspring in a choke-hold and cramming it down their throats didn’t seem like quite the right way to go about it either – all I could do was pray and hope for the best.

I’m here to tell you that this is not true.

This is the most important truth I’ve learned during the past 20 years of parenting:

God absolutely does provide all we need as parents, and I’ve learned that He has given us what is even better than a “How to Do it Right Every Time” manual. He has!!

He gives us the Holy Spirit who is at work in us and through us, is living constantly with us to guide us, to give us words, to provide us with wisdom, and to fill us continually so that we are overflowing with His love, peace, joy, patience, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control.

If you don’t believe me, read the book of Galatians. If you still don’t believe me, ask God to make Himself fully known to you through the power of His Spirit. Whatever we ask in His name, He will give it. The Bible tells us this over and over.

We are fully equipped! We have been given everything we need through the power of Jesus. And because of this, we can absolutely parent with confidence.

I praise God constantly for revealing these truths, and for His perfect plan to give all of us the Holy Spirit to live and work and breathe in us. We are perfectly gifted. We are strong. We are healed. We are whole. We are provided for.

We take these truths and we hold onto them tightly. We surrender ourselves to God so that we can then surrender our children to Him. These precious ones we hold so dear? Our Father loves them with a love we’ve never felt or experienced, because it’s His pure, perfect, beautiful love.

Trust God. Let the Holy Spirit be at work in you. Parent through His power.

This is what every parent needs.

I’m cheering for you Mom and Dad. We’re teammates in this parenting thing and because of God, we are equipped with everything we need!

Raising Thoughtful, Hardworking, Servant-Hearted Kids

You know those kids who don’t think about others, who pout when they don’t get their way, and who sometimes are not even a little bit aware that the world does not revolve around them?

Yeah, those are my kids.

But kids nothin’. That’s me too (all 41 years of me) when I forget what I know to be true. Indeed, God made us in His image, then Satan swooped in and works to destroy all that is good. We are, our kids are, all of us are in a battle. Jesus already won the victory (shout hallelujah!) but Satan works all the harder to win anyway (ever heard the definition of crazy?).

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You know those kids who speak politely when spoken to, who aren’t afraid to visit with the older folks at church, who run up ahead to get the door for the lady carrying a box, who happily join the leave-raking crew with the youth group, who sit by the one no one else seems to notice, who remember that their mama likes purple wild flowers and grabs a handful for her whenever possible?

Yeah, those are my kids.

Our boys don’t always get along (see first paragraph). They are not always excited to clean out the dishwasher (see first paragraph). They sometimes do things that make me wonder who in the world raised them and what in the world they could possibly be thinking when they did such a thing (Lord, help us).

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But after lunch today, as Asa left for his college class he hollered back, “Thanks for lunch, Mom! It was really good.”  After church last week, Malachi ran up and hugged one of our ministers and told him he loved him. While we picked apples recently, Justus grabbed the ladder and climbed up so his brothers and I could have the easier job. When the compost bucket overflowed this morning, spilling tomato guts all over the floor, Matt asked Elias to please clean it up before starting school – and he did it…without a complaint, even though he hates tomatoes and their guts.

Oh my dear fellow parents. Our jobs are not easy. In fact, let us, in unison, throw ourselves down onto the carpet as we sprawl out in full surrender. Raising kids is hard – harder than I ever thought, imagined, or read about in books. But we are not alone.  We have each other, and more importantly, we serve a God who loves our children like none other. God wants our kids’ hearts, and we can be sure that He is fighting for them. Isn’t that the best parenting news you’ve heard…ever? (Remember this truth the next time your child disobeys you for the 82nd time in one hour. Keep on it, Mama. God’s on your side.)

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I have something for you.

See, my kids are mostly big now. Two out of four of them have man voices, and the third is working on his with an occasional crack. Our car insurance rate is growing in scary ways as more drivers of the teen boy variety are being added to our policy. This is where we are now. Car insurance rates aside, I love this place.

It’s easy for me to reflect back on when our boys were little and have regrets about what I wish I would have done differently and better.  This is a wonderful way to waste time and be miserable, but do feel free to join me in this activity if you enjoy unproductive awfulness.

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I have not parented perfectly, mostly because I’m clueless most of the time and because of that Satan swooping in thing I mentioned above. Welcome to being human, Laura (and everyone else). God is ever gracious and my kids are very forgiving. Here’s how I know this about my kids. While I’ve been busy crying over all my parenting imperfections, here are some recent conversations my boys have started around our dinner table:

  • “Remember those charts we used to have on the fridge? The ones with the stars or fruit? That was a good idea, Mom. I used to love those.”
  • “Oh I remember the girl you’re talking about. We took a toy to her on ‘Tt Week‘ when I was little. That was really fun.”
  • “I used to love it when we made Monkey Bread. I always wanted to be the one to punch the dough.”
  • “My favorite Blue’s Clues episode was the one where they made the banana bread, and I don’t even like bananas. I just like food. Good thing you like cooking with us, Mom.”

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True story.  And here I thought they’d surely be offering statements like:

  • “Mom, remember those times you yelled at me and it wasn’t even my fault?”
  • “Mom, remember how busy you were those times I wanted you to sit down and play a game with me?”
  • “Mom, remember how many times you’ve failed me and why I’m going to need counseling and be bitter toward you forever??!!?”

God is so much bigger than you and I!!! Not only that…our kids are amazing! Remember these truths as you parent your babes. You focus on loving them and being Christ-like. The rest will all fall into place. I wish I would have understood this earlier.

So here’s what I have for you. Most of these resources have been available on my site for a very long time. They’ve blessed our family so much – more than I ever realized based on our boys’ teenage hearts looking back at their little boy days. (Thank you, God, for making those convos happen over the past few weeks. You knew my heart needed to hear it.)

I’ve heard from many of you that our Learn Your Letters, Learn to Serve curriculum has been a blessing as you’re teaching your kids academic basics and more importantly, the heart of service. I’ve heard how much you’ve enjoyed our Character Charts. I’ve heard how much you’ve loved time in the kitchen with your kids as you teach them cooking skills.

I also know that for some of you, money is holding you back from enjoying these ready-made resources. This week, we’re putting together a package we pray will be a great big blessing to your family – financially, spiritually, and parentingly (don’t forget, I make up words). Check it out…

Bless Your Parenting Packet 2

$78.80
$49.00

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The “Bless Your Parenting” Packet includes:

~ Learn Your Letters, Learn to Serve 183 page complete downloadable curriculum kit for early learners, $45.00 value
~ Teaching Your Kids to Cook 111 page downloadable guide and cookbook, $12.00 value
~ What to Do With the Kids in Your Kitchen recipe eBook, $5.95 value
~ Heavenly Homemakers Guide to Holiday Hospitality for Kids eBook, $6.95 value
~ Fill ’em Up Bible Lessons and eCookbook, $5.95 value
~ “Be Imitators” Kid Character Chart, $2.95 value

Total value of this package:  $78.80
“Bless Your Parenting” Package Price:  $49.00
Time teaching and enjoying your kids:  priceless  :)

Here’s what we’ve done:  We took the price of our Learn Your Letters, Learn to Serve down to just $49, then we threw in five other products for just $5 more.

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May God bless each of us as we teach, train, and love these children He gave us!