Little girls

I am learning a lot about little girls – since I am trying to raise 3 of them. Being a mother is – BY FAR – the hardest thing I’ve ever attempted. Not because of the potty training, non-sleeping baby, the many trips to the doctor, the constant struggle with messy rooms and messy faces and baths, and all the cooking and cleaning and such – although all of that is hard. It’s because of the many, many emotions that swirl around inside a girls head ALL the time. Little girls are more like little enigmas – it’s really impossible to figure out what to do with them.

My little girl is 8 1/2 now. But 8 1/2 nowadays is more like 10 1/2 was back in my day (like I’m SO old). She is growing up so much faster than I did – at least it seems that way. She is asking questions I don’t have answers to, and is worried all the time about everything. Did we worry that much when we were kids? Sometimes I worry that her worry is a result of my worry. – wow – that’s a lot of worry!

I’m realizing today that there really are just a few things that she needs on a daily basis. Here are some of the things I think she needs from me and her dad:

  • She needs to feel loved
  • She needs to feel safe
  • She needs to feel beautiful (I don’t know why this is – but it seems to be true of all girls.)

It sounds so simple, right? Yeah – not so much. This mothering thing is the most gut-wrenching, heart-breaking, hair-pulling, crazy hard thing ever in life. Each day I wake up terrified that I’m gonna screw up – and each night I lay there praying I’ll do better the next day. There are wonderful moments sprinkled in, but most of the time – it’s just trial and error. I hate that. Each day is a new adventure – we are truly taking it one day at a time.

I’ve decided to start a mom’s support group – for moms of school-aged girls. I figure there’s strength in numbers – right?

I’m also on the search for books and resources to help me in parenting my three girls. If there are any books or other resources that have helped you – please let me know.

Lessons from a 2 Year Old

Yesterday afternoon I was grappling with something God is currently showing me – that will require giant amounts of faith on my part – in trusting that He knows what He is doing and will do what He said He will do.

I really wanted to spend some alone time in prayer, but with 2 little ones – it wasn’t an option at the time. So I decided to take the 2 little ones with me and take a walk to go pick up Elisa from school. I got both girls loaded up into the 2 person stroller (which is wonderful, by the way) and off we went.
We were barely to the sidewalk when Syd (my 2 year old) started telling me (not so politely, I might add) that I was going the wrong way. “No, this way Mommy!!” she kept telling me. “Wrong way – go that way!” she said. I laughed a little at the fact that my tiny little 2 year old thought she knew better how to get there than I did, then I sweetly said to her – “Sydney, I promise I know the way – why don’t you just sit there and enjoy the ride.”

Immediately I felt as though I was the funny little 2 year old, and God was the one laughing at me saying, “Kimberly, I promise I know the way (in fact, I am the Way) – why don’t you just sit back and enjoy the ride.”

I smiled a little as tears began to stream down my face. I am so tickled sometimes at how God chooses to speak to me.

The empty parts of me

I’m in the middle of Beth Moore’s “Living Free” Bible study, which I’m doing along with a handful of other ladies. I needed to flesh out a little of what I’ve been pondering this week.

One of the things Beth said is this:

“The mystery I will never fully understand is why we would trade God, the only source of genuine satisfaction, for worthless idols that can never satisfy. Yet that transaction calls to you and to me every day of our lives.”

I loved this statement. I agree with it. I, too, am a little confused by the truth in it.

It makes me think of what Paul said in Romans 7:15:

“For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.” (ESV)

I am a little encouraged that I am not alone in this. It amazes me how I continue to seek out satisfaction in things – in people, relationships, attention of others, food, and so many other things – that I already know won’t give me what I want or need.

I’ve had moments where I knew God was trying to teach me to depend solely on Him – that there isn’t anything else (or anyone else) that can fill my soul. I remember one of those moments came when Elisa was a baby. She was about 5 or 6 months old – and Ricky had very recently been diagnosed with Leukemia. I was trying to stop depending on my relationship with my husband to satisfy my soul, because I had no idea whether or not he’d still be here in a year – and I didn’t want to be left entirely devastated. So, then, without even realizing it – I turned to my perfect little baby to fill the empty spaces in me. I would stay awake at night and watch her sleep because I was afraid that if I left her side for a moment that she would stop breathing and my whole world would come apart. She became everything to me – to the exclusion of the One I really needed.

One night, when I was watching Elisa sleep – I began to cry. I was so terrified of losing my husband and daughter that the fear was beginning to consume me. I was beginning to have a hard time functioning normally. I had become crazy overprotective, and was beginning to hate that part of me. I pulled out my Bible and began to read. I started to read through the Psalms and found so many verses that talk about finding my satisfaction in God alone, He alone is God, God alone is my rock and my salvation, and so many more. I was overwhelmed with the understanding that God wanted me to look only to Him to satisfy me. That night I surrendered my husband and my Elisa to Him. I came to understand that God could take them away from me in a split second if He thought it was best and there would be nothing I could do about it. I had to come to grips with the fact that they are not mine at all, but God’s – and they will never satisfy the empty parts of me. Only God can do that.

I will never forget that night – I will never forget that moment of surrender. It’s been almost 8 years since that night – but I still have to surrender them to God on a regular basis – sometimes even daily. How quickly we return to our old ways. I am so grateful that I know a God who so often and so freely gives grace to those who seek Him.

Jesus, thank You for Your grace today. For Your desire and ability to fill me up in all of my empty places. I pray that today I will look only to You to sustain me. That You alone will be my desire.

“You open Your hand and satisfy the desies of every living thing.
The LORD is righteous in all His ways and loving toward all He has made.
The LORD is near to all who call on Him, to all who call on him in truth.
He fulfills the desires of those who fear Him; He hears their cry and saves them.
The LORD watches over all who love Him, but all the wicked He will destroy.
My mouth will speak in praise of the LORD,
let every creature praise His Holy Name forever and ever!”

(Psalm 145:16-21)

Here is my heart

“Making the decision to have a child – it’s momentous.
It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.
Elizabeth Stone

Here is my heart.

I’ve been struggling a lot lately with Elisa. She is 8 years old now, going on 13. When she was little I would always say that when you’re a mom, there are good days and bad days. One day you will feel like the worst mom in the world, and the next you feel like a genious mom. Well, now that she’s 8 – those genious days are very few and far between. I feel like I’m constantly screwing up. I know it has to be normal to worry all the time about whether or not I’m doing things right, and about what kind of woman my little baby girl will turn out to be. I hope I’m not alone in my constant second guessing, and my perpetual cycle of worry and guilt. I knew being a mom was hard from the moment she was born. It started out crazy hard – adjusting to a new little life I was responsible for. It got a little easier when she began to understand me and I began to understand her. Then it got really fun for a while – when she was constantly learning new things. Every day was an adventure of what new thing little Elisa would master today. Then it began to get hard again. Each day it feels like I understand her a little less. Each day I feel more and more that I have no flippin idea what I’m doing. I am beginning to really understand the importance of praying for her daily. The importance of praying with her daily. I feel like I have no control whatsoever of who she turns out to be – and that scares the pants off of me. She is so frustrated all the time – and I have absolutely no idea how to help her to deal with life. Mostly because she and I deal with life so very differently. I don’t understand the way she processes and interprets things. I’m trying desperately to understand.

When Elisa was itty bitty – I believed she would be my only child. Although I was desperately in love with my child, I always wanted more children. After several years of pleading with God to give us another child, she was still my only. I accepted it – and began to look forward to spending all my effort and love on her. I had this dream of her growing up to be my best friend in the world. We would be so much alike and do everything together (like the Gilmore Girls – one of the reasons I love that show so much). I’m beginning to realize that my dream is just that – a dream. She and I are so very different. I always wonder how someone so very different than me could have been raised by me – weird. I am reminded, though – that although she is not like me so much – she was created in the image of God. She is more special and beautiful than I ever could have dreamed of. She is unique. She is exactly who God planned her to be.

With that in mind, my prayer is that God would give me the ability to understand her better, to relate to her better, to love her the way she needs to be loved, to teach her His ways in ways she understands, and to always appreciate the uniqueness of her character.

I am renewed today with a tremendous love and appreciation for my little girl. I pray that tomorrow it will be renewed again. I pray that God will make me into the mother that Elisa needs today – and that through my love, she will see Him more clearly.

Growing Pains

My daughter, who just turned five yesterday, woke up this morning complaining about an aching leg. I told her that it was just growing pains (although it was probably just that she slept funny) and that because she is five now, she must be getting bigger. She asked if that meant she would need to go to work like Mommy and Daddy.
Isn’t it funny that she thought that because she was getting bigger – she must already be “big”. I tried to explain to her that there was much more growth that needed to happen before she needed to get to work. She asked if there were some things she could do now. “Of course” I told her – she can do chores and feed the cat. There are lots of things she is ready to do now – the size that she is.
I wonder if that applies to me? Just because I’m growing doesn’t mean I’m ready for everything God has in store for me just yet. But I AM able to do SOME things. I just need to make sure that He is the One deciding what I am able to do – and not me. I also hope that I am able to do those things He’s entrusted me with as enthusiastically as my daughter does her chores. She is so excited to be able to do things for me – hoping to make me proud. She never thinks about the things she is not able to do yet – because she considers it a privilege to do things I let her do. God is so much smarter than I am – he knows what I’m ready for and what I’m not. I need to remember that it is such an incredible privilege to get to do the things He allows me to do. He obviously doesn’t need me. I’m not THAT important. But how great it is to be invited to be in on the God things that are happening around me.

Wisdom from a 4-Year Old

My 4-Year old has a unique understanding of things. Sometimes I wish that I thought the way she did. She started Kindergarten last week and is learning this week about Creation – specifically the first few verses in the Bible. So, she has been asking a lot of questions – and I am loving it. Yesterday, on our way to school, she asked me if Jesus was God – and if so, how.
Well, I explained to her that yes – Jesus was also God – and then gave her the ice/water/steam analogy in the simplest way that I possibly could. She then said – very matter-of-factly – “Oh, I see – His first name is Jesus and His middle name is God.”

I’m the mom of a Kindergartener

Today was the first day of Kindergarten. I think I was WAY more nervous than Elisa was. She was excited. She even picked out a special gift for one of her classmates that she knew from pre-K to give her on the first day.
I just have to say that some days I am busting with pride over my child. Those of you that hate it when parents brag on their children – look away…here it comes:

I LOVE MY KID! I can’t hardly believe how great of a person she is shaping up to be. Every day she gives me so many reasons to be proud of her. She is kind, thoughtful, generous, SO smart, creative, loving, trusting, accepting, inquisitive (which I think is a great thing), brave and all those other things I wish I was all the time. Isn’t it weird how we can learn to be more Christlike from our children. She struggles with obedience and patience, but so does everyone. I wonder if my Heavenly Father every feels for me the way I feel for her. I suspect that He does. I look at her and am so proud of how hard she tries to please me and at how much she learns and applies every day. I hope that I can make God as proud of me each day. Gosh, my kid rocks!!

Water Wars

Yesterday when I got home I was exhausted – physically and emotionally. I had a busy day at work, my heart was aching w/ discouragement, the drive home was long – I was in a bad mood. My daughter immediately began asking if she could play on her slip and slide. My sister bought her a Spongebob slip n slide about 2 years ago that we finally brought out of the closet last week for Elisa to test out. Well my husband and I were both tired and didn’t really want to watch her in the back yard so she could play, but we knew that she wanted to and apart from our exhaustion there was no reason not to let her – so we sucked it up and set it up for her to play. She is still a little scared to run through the water (it might get in her eyes), but makes a very cute attempt at bravery by hitting her chest like Tarzan (sound effects included) and then running and landing on her knees near the beginning of the slide. Well, I wanted her to get wet – really wet – so that maybe she’d get a little more comfortable. So I scooped her up and landed her in the streams of water all the while getting quite wet myself. My husband thought it was funny, so I scooped up a big handful of water and threw it at him. Before we knew it we were in an all-out water fight. It occured to me that I had a huge stash of not yet broken-in water guns that I had bought at the beginning of the summer that were begging to be used. So I excused myself to go the restroom and came back a few minutes later sporting 3 very cool looking water weapons. I distributed them to the enemies and immediately opened fire. It was not long before they realized that I had only filled one w/ ammo – mine. WOOHOO!! Within minutes we were running around like wet, crazy people screaming “I’m gonna get you” and other such nonsense. It was the best time I’ve had in – well, I can’t remember how long. I think I won.