I was “three kids deep” in home schooling and a pastor’s wife fighting cabin fever in the stretches of Maine’s winter white. As I scuffled down the hall wrapped in my red flannel robe, I felt acutely aware of the importance of my job. I would only get one crack at this thing called raising children. “God, I need all the help I can get. Do whatever it takes, but help me raise these kids to know you.”
Fast forward ten years and south two states. Carrie, now 15, came downstairs “ready” for church. She wore her typical baggy pants, loose navy t-shirt and sneakers. Her clean hair pulled back in a tight ponytail.
Grateful for her consistency in being covered, clean and WANTING to go to church, I had never challenged her attire. And honestly I was afraid to rock the boat. But this morning I stepped boldly into uncharted territory.
“You know Carrie,” I remember saying, “I am so grateful for a daughter who wants to go to church. I am glad you are clean and modest, but I do think it honors God to bring Him your best. Looks aren’t everything but sometimes he likes it when we bring Him our best look. Why don’t you ask Him want He’d like you to wear today?”
She headed back to her room and later returned in a dress. “Man Mom, it would have been easier if you just MADE me. Then I could be mad at you and blame you. But I asked God and I think He wants me to wear a dress today.”
Note to self: Giving kids choices really works. (Gen. 2:9 Think about why would a good Father put a choice- a poor choice in the middle of a perfect world? Danny Silk author of “Keep Your Love On” and “Loving Kids on Purpose”, describes this beautifully.)
Another note to self: Children, yes even my children, can have a relationship with God
Weeks later we were sitting in the car in front of our house when a neighbor boy approached and poked his head in the window with a devilish look on his face.
“Mrs. Moran, you know Carrie smokes.”
A split second of shock…. “My Carrie, smoke?”
But what came out of me shocked me more. I immediately threw my arm around my daughter and in a very Momma Bear voice declared, “I know all about it!”
The young man looked completely defused and befuddled as he walked off. Carrie’s eyes popped me with questions like “How did I know all about it? And if I did, why am I not YELLING at her right now?”
I wondered that myself. But in that moment the greater threat was not whether Carrie was smoking. It was “Am I going to let something come between me and my daughter?”
Note to self: Love protects connection. (ICor.13:7)
(Carrie now tells me how much that moment impacted her.)
Years later we suffered through some difficult choices our youngest, Kate, was making. As a family, we began talking about her- “How can we PRAY?”Oh God, help me love my daughter the way You love her. Amen #lovemom Click To Tweet
We were AFRAID and wanted to talk about it and DO something. (Take control?) Not long into this process, I was by corrected by the Holy Spirit that we could fall into gossip. We purposed to only share positive things and press into to prayer and PRAISE. I began THANKING HIM for her just the way she was at the time.
She would tell you she was a bit of a mess. BUT she was still reaching out to God. She still cared DEEPLY about our hearts and how her choices were hurting us. (Our hearts were still connected.) I know many families that would give their right arm for a daughter like Kate. I decided not to let her choices scare me. I began to rest. I enjoyed what I could with her at the time without fussing about the things that concerned me. Today we enjoy a great relationship. Her choices now are true to who she really is-a woman of deep character and passion.
Note to self: He who begins a good work in you [and in your children] is faithful to complete it. (Phil. 1:6)
Another note to self: “Let no unwholesome talk come out of your mouth, but only that which is good for building one another up, that it may impart grace to all who here.” (Eph. 4:29)
Some people meet my grown children and think I was a Super- Mom. I am an ordinary woman with ordinary prayers. But HE is an extraordinary God who delights to answer the cry, “Oh God, Help!”
Hand-made by the Author Of Life,
Wife of ONE,
Grandmother of TWO
Mother of THREE,
She has journeyed with Jesus through FIFTY-THREES years,
SIX states and TWO continents.