Wednesday, February 25, 2015

11 things I want my kids to know

I've been a mom for almost a decade now and everyday I'm still learning how to be a "good" mom. I am human and I make (lots of) mistakes. But at the end of the day, my kids know that I love them and that I would give my life for them.

As they are getting older now and will soon be entering the tween and teen years, there are other things that I'm desperate to make sure that they hear from me... before they are too cool or independent to listen to mom.

In no particular order, here are 11 things I want my kids to know:

1) You were created with a purpose
The Bible is very clear on this point. You are fearfully and wonderfully made. You have a purpose on this Earth and God has a plan for your life. As you grow up, you may question that purpose. It's easy to wonder what we were designed to do, to be, to accomplish. Trust me, child, even in my mid-thirties, I still wonder some days. But if you believe that your life was divinely orchestrated for a reason and you seek God, you should never have a reason to question yourself. Do small things with great passion and large things with great purpose. You are amazing.

2) You are allowed to make mistakes
We are human. We are sinful. We are broken. Don't beat yourself up for not being perfect. Keep perspective on your mistakes-- are they really that important? I used to beat myself up when I burnt dinner or said the wrong thing or forgot to do important things. It's okay. Learn from your mistake and move on.

3) You must not let your mistakes define you
You may make some mistakes in life that are huge. Real doosies. If you seek forgiveness from God, you must also forgive yourself. Regret is a terrible, terrible piece of luggage to carry through life. Don't allow it to seep into your day. You are more than the poor choices you make. See yourself as God sees you-- chosen, forgiven, loved.

4) Hard work is a muscle that you should use daily
If you want to accomplish your goals in life, you must work hard. Work hard at being a good friend, a good spouse, a good sister, a good career person, a good servant to others, and maybe someday, a good parent. You can feel proud of your accomplishments, even if you don't see results right away.

Work hard at taking care of yourself. I wish I had been more dedicated as a young adult at taking care of my body. They say it takes doing something 21 consistent times to create a habit. These last few years, we've been working really hard to take care of our (aging) bodies by working out and eating better. If only we'd been more disciplined early on. Your health and your body are tremendous gifts that you need to care for daily. Work hard, but allow yourself moments of rest and rejuvenation.

5) You must never settle when it comes to your future spouse
We are praying for your future spouse and his family. Until the day when you meet him, do not settle for anything less. Guard your heart and your body. Don't allow yourself to feel that there is an unspoken timetable for when you will meet "the one". God has someone in mind for you; until then, chase after your Heavenly Father. Pursue deep and uplifting friendships with other sisters in Christ. Hide your Heart in Him. Pray for your future spouse, but don't obsess over him.
You won't be happy and fulfilled in marriage if you settle for less than He has planned for you.

6) Gratitude will affect your attitude
It's tempting to compare yourself to others and try to keep up with what others have and are doing. This temptation will rob your days of joy. Instead, choose to be grateful for what you have. There is always, always, always something to be thankful for. A thankful heart is a happy heart.

7) You don't have to say Yes to everything
You will be asked to do many things as you grow up. You can't do it all! Choose wisely how you spend your time, your energy, and your money. It's often easier to say Yes but there are times when it is necessary to say No. Pray about your choices, ask God to direct your decisions. Your mom is just now learning how to say No to things, but it is incredibly freeing!
This also relates to following the crowd. Are your actions or maybe your silence implying that you are saying Yes to something that you believe to be a No? Don't let others make you feel bad about yourself for not agreeing with them on things that you know to be wrong. Stand up for what you believe in. It's hard at first, but the sooner you begin, the easier it will become. Be strong in your convictions-- it will carry you through some tough times.

8) Pray without ceasing
Spend time with God everyday. Grow this relationship. Pray throughout the day. Soon it will become your first instinct rather than your final course of action. Be in constant communication with the One who made you and loves you more than anyone else. Wait on the Lord, keep a quiet heart and listen for the ways in which He will reveal himself to you.

9) You are the light of the world
This world is a dark and broken place. Do not feel compelled to follow or conform to the world. Shine your light as brightly and proudly as you can. It will be hard. You may be teased, left out, betrayed, or persecuted for being a light. What a scary thought for a mother to consider for her child. But you are called to shine your light in love and you can never go wrong following God's calling. Be strong. Don't allow the world to snuff out your light!

10) God loves you
As you grow, I hope this truth will be more more evident to you each and every new day. If you have children of your own someday, you'll marvel at the love you feel for your child. How much greater is God's love for us!! It's unfathomable. It's hard to wrap your brain around it. But it's true. Nothing can separate you from the love of God. Oh! How He loves you!!

11) We love you
Having a child is the most miraculous thing we've ever experienced. We have loved you fiercely from the moment we first learned of you. However, parenting is hard. There have been moments of pure joy and love and moments of desperation and frustration. Through it all our love has never wavered. If I could leave you with one thing, it would be this-- remember always that you have our love. Forgive us the moments we hurt you or let you down. Remember that our discipline comes out of love and our desire to help you grow into a beautiful young person. We will have roughly 936 weeks to teach you, mold you, nurture you, and inspire you to go out into this big world and do great things. We haven't always done it right, but we've done it with hearts full of love.

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