Letters to Lillian- Joy

“Joy is the serious business of Heaven.” ~ C. S. Lewis

Dear Lillian, 

As I sit watching you right now, you are playing in your jumperoo and are about as playful and happy as can be. You are watching the bright lights and listening to the silly jungle noises. You are blissfully unaware of anything except the fun you are currently having. You beam at me with a toothless grin that just melts my heart. 

I pray that you keep that joy. You will slowly grow up and realize that this world does not often like joy. Many people complain about their lives a lot. Some people will even make fun of you for being excited about simple things. They will want you to keep it in and act “cool”.

You can remember that I am always here for you to have fun with and play with. I think you are most beautiful when you are your sweet, joyful self and love that about you! It is something I have seen in your personality since you were a newborn. You bring smiles to peoples face because you are so happy and smile at many people first. To witness you bring a crabby person at the store to a smile is a wink from God. 

There are two verses that talk about joy in the bible that I love:
Proverbs 10:28 The hope of the righteous brings joy, but the expectation of the wicked will perish.

Romans 15:13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.

Lillian, you were created in the image of God, and that is why as a baby and child you naturally exuded such unrestrained joy. One day, the expectations of the world will start to weigh on you. That is why I wrote this letter to you- as a reminder that joy is in you and comes from the Father above. God’s love can and will fill you with all joy and peace when you remember him and believe. When you feel lost or sad, you can ask Jesus for help. He loves you more than anyone in the whole world and wants you to be full of joy and can show you better how to do that than anyone, even me! When you decide to get your love from Him, he can fill you with joy that is complete and everlasting- full of comfort. 


Parenting Series- Grace

I think every parent thinks along the same line when they are taking their baby home from the hospital. “Uh, wait, I just take this person home? Is there some manual I can have??? Is this for REAL?!”.

I remember being so madly in love with my baby yet so overwhelmed. As a new mom, your world just changes in the blink of an eye. My old bathrobe (which I never wore) was my daily outfit. Cereal became dinner. Two hours of sleep could carry me through for a looong time.

My worries of diaper rash and SIDS has subsided. I now have new worries. Worries of my daughter trying to stand up against our coffee table and smacking her head into the corner. Worries of her taking too big of a bite and choking on something. Worries of her saying “no” all too soon. Worries that someday she will be a rebel of a teenager…whaaaat… hold on I just got way ahead of myself.

No, but for real, worry consumes me much of the time, and I often worry about how I am going to shape this little person as she becomes a bigger person.

See, parenting is SUCH a big deal. I hear people all the time talk about their childhood and relationship with parents. It’s no big mystery that parenting plays a giant role into a child’s outlook on life and ability to make it in the world.

So, my current worry has been on how I will conquer the role of parenting.

Thank heavens I stumbled upon the book, Grace Based Parenting by Dr. Tim Kimmel.

So, as I learn about parenting I thought I would blog about it for others out there on the same path of learning how to parent their kids. I thought I would open up about this all too important topic that I am extremely interested in.

One of the first subjects he talks about is worry- and how worry can literally turn a well-intentioned parent into a parent who can wreak havoc on their children. Fear, while very normal- can be used against us and often for the wrong reasons.

Worry can drive us mad. It can rob our joy and make us neurotic. Don’t get me wrong, I think worry comes out of good intentions. It is just that worry itself is illogical, pointless, a giant waste of time, and very telling of a lack of trust in God. 

I spend much of my time worrying, which is why focusing on this is good food for thought for me. 

Jesus states in Matthew 6:25-34

25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life[a]?

So, the first part of this parenting series I am working on has to do with self-reflection of my pattern of worrying. Jesus actually says do not worry about life itself. How can worrying add anything to our lives? 

But he does add one more thing further down:

Matthew 6:33-34
33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.  

It seems to me that the answer to the question of “how do I stop worrying” is summarized above. Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. What things? I think those things are the things like the wisdom and understanding of the amazing amount of grace we have been given by a generous God who loves us enough to sacrifice everything for us that we may live! All things means grace, mercy, the fruit of the spirit. Love, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. And isn’t that the kind of parent I want to be? One who is seeking daily for God’s wisdom in all things and is filled with grace, love, and patience no matter what comes my way? I want to be clear minded and able to deal with the issues and challenges parenting will bring me, and respond in a wise and gracious manner so that I can help my child grow in strength and security. This means I must get help from God, daily, because on my own I am unable to respond with wisdom and grace. The next chapters seem to deal with HOW to still discipline in love and grace and how grace actually goes hand in hand with boundaries, which is loving for children. But that is for later :). 

As I grow in my understanding of how loved I am by God, I am also able to grow in faith and therefore worry less. Beginning out my parenting as a mom who does not fear gives me great leverage to use that energy for more productive things. Which I will get into during the next parenting post. I am getting so ahead of myself and so excited about this knowledge and just hope I can let it sink in and take some roots… 

Until next time! 

Happy Halloween! What’s cuter than a kitten or a baby? A kitten baby!

Well, I got sucked in. I dressed my poor daughter up for her first official Halloween. What did we do? We just walked around on Saturday at a local festival. She was way confused, and just sat in her stroller like “Mom, can you get this outfit off me? And why are all these kids dressed like DJ Lance or cowboys?”. It was fun for us as new parents. I feel like Halloween is a little pointless for babies, it’s us parents that want to see our little babes in something ridiculous. 
I am really bad at Halloween. I always wait until the LAST minute to get a costume, then am really cheap so get something ugly, then feel gross on Halloween and cannot wait to get out of my costume. I have been to way to many bad Halloween parties, and then I can probably contribute several cavities to my trick or treating as a child. (I totally remember sneaking some candy out of my bag and hiding it my room, I know, hoarder). I don’t know why, but I also avoid handing out candy (I still have not bought any and it’s today). Oh man, I suck at this stuff. 
But, while I am bad at Halloween and don’t particularly love it, I thought I should start out my daughters life with a little fun. I really do think it can be a fun holiday if done right. While trick or treating kind of freaks me out in general, food from random people, getting dressed up can be fun, especially if you are a kid. Being silly is good for kids. 
So my little kitty got to crawl around and act like one. She was adorable.  
If you are getting all dressed up today, have fun, be silly, and act like a kid again. It’s good for us adults to loosen up and look a bit weird.