Oh. Hi there.
Yes. It's 3:30 in the a.m. and I'm blogging. But sometimes, when I've been woken up 5 times in 6 hours, my body says "You know what? It's easier to just stay awake". And so it does.
And so I am blogging.
(((Also, DISCLAIMER. Yes, I'm aware that I have more than one child and No, I haven't forgotten about Nash. Mainly because he won't let me. He's the reason I'm awake at this ungodly hour, blogging. But this post is mostly about Cali. Though my thoughts and feelings will probably be the same when Nash is a wild and crazy toddler.)))
I've been thinking a lot these past few days about how sanctifying parenting is. From the very first second that the doctor put Cali in my hands I've said that God created newborns to drive us to our knees to him on a consistent basis.
For realz, y'all.
Newborns are terrifying.
And as Cali grew, the sanctification process only got harder. And scarier. When God created Cali - my sweet, loving, determined, independent, wild, smart, beautiful, Cali - he gave me a task too monumental for me to do well on my own.
Seriously. She's too much for me to handle by myself.
I am constantly in prayer over her. Her well being, how to raise her, how to discipline her, how to love her. When I feel like being honest I can admit she is so much like me.
I distinctly remember in elementary school forming a cheerleading club at recess. I charged the girls a certain amount of money so that I could "buy us matching bloomers and skirts". These kids gave me their lunch money for an entire week, guys. And what did I do with it? I bought candy. And didn't even share.
And so I pray. A lot. Because I'm terrified Cali is too much like me.
But when I look at her? God, my heart aches from loving her so much. A literally, physical, ache. I have so many hopes and dreams for her. And not the Harvard - Doctor - Straight A Student - All Star Athlete kind of dreams. My dreams involve more of her heart and her spirit. I want so badly for her to remain strong and independent. I hope to God she never loses her desire to push boundaries and explore things for herself. Some may disagree but I love that she questions "Why?" when I tell her to do or not to do something. I admire that she wants to check things out for herself and not just take my word for it. I hope she stays determined and persistent. That she never loses the ability to set her sights on what she wants and to go after it.
I don't view these as a bad things. I don't see these qualities as ones that need to be "fixed" or corrected. I just hope that they're paired with a love for people, an open mind to those that are different from her, empathy for the hurting, an ability to see her flaws and then do something about them, the ability to recognize when she's wrong and offer a swift apology, a desire to step in and stand up for those that can't/won't stand up for themselves when being wronged, and a love for Christ so fierce and deep that she reeks of it wherever she goes.
But therein lies the problem...
I have no idea how to teach her these things.
Thus, the sanctification process of relying minute by minute on God's grace.
One of my favorite authors on parenting, L.R. Knost, writes that "It's not our job to toughen our children up to face a cruel and heartless world. It's our job to raise children who will make the world a little less cruel and heartless". LOVE.
Also, Jen Hatmaker writes in her Book For the Love, "If they don't love Jesus and people, it matters zero if they remain virgins and don't say the F-word. We must shepherd their hearts, not just their hemlines."
YES. YES. YES. AND AMEN.
I'll be the first to admit to you that I do a lot of things as a parent that other parents look at and don't agree with. I'm OK with that. I've been blessed (cursed?) with the ability to not care what other people think. For instance. I let Cali sleep in our bed.
I know. But I'm here to say we love it. She is not cuddly by nature and one of the only times we get to cuddle on her is at night. When she's sleeping. And so she's in our bed.
Another thing? We encourage her to question our rules and the way things are done. If she wants to negotiate? We're up for that.
Yeeessss. I know. I'm aware. I can just hear you all now. "But you're the paaareeeents." But don't worry those pretty little heads of yours. We are firm believers in discipline and boundaries. When we put our foot (feet?) down, it (they?) stay down. But until then? We want to foster an environment where she learns to actually have a relationship with Christ and get to know him and not just follow rules because we say so. We want to teach her that no one (even YOU, Judgy McJudgerson) is right all the time and that we're open to compromise and change. We want her to know that she has a voice and be confident in using that voice.
(Though, trust me, I am fairly certain that will NOT be an issue. She LOVES to use that voice.)
We want her to see that perfection in any human is not attainable. If it were, the cross would've been unnecessary. We want our parent/child relationship with her to reflect the Father/child relationship we have with Christ.
Are we doing things 100% right? I can guarantee you we are NOT. That's just my guess. But I can also guarantee you that every. single. thing. we do for her is very intentional and is grown from a love so big for her and a desire to help grow her into a woman that loves God as fiercely as she can.
That's all I want, really. For her to love God. Deeply, truly, fiercely, love him. Because if that happens, everything else that blossoms from that love will be beautiful.
And the parts that aren't so beautiful? Well I just pray that God gives her a child just. like. her. one day so that she can be sanctified too. :)