He fills the longing soul with good things. Ps. 107:9

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Ironing and Parenting*

*Repost from the archives 10.1.07

I really love being a housewife. I enjoy taking care of the things my family needs, going through my morning routine – getting things in order.

Today as I ironed, I was praying over my husband’s shirts. (Not because I’m super spiritual. I haven’t remembered to do this for…well, maybe never. But I’ve heard of praying over laundry and I think it’s a great idea). So..I started cracking up because I prayed something like…”Lord, help David to be smart and successful when he wears this shirt.” Duh. I guess it doesn’t take much faith to pray that prayer. Anyone who knows him very well knows he is incredibly smart and extremely with it. Maybe I should pray…”Lord, help my husband to buy me expensive flowers and write me a long mushy letter when he wears this shirt.” Now THAT would be a prayer of faith. Hee hee. I crack myself up.
Anyway….As I ironed one of Kayla’s uniform jumpers I got to the pleats in the front. How appropriate that some call them kick pleats. “Lord…PLEASE help her to stop kicking things at school!”

She’s been – uh – having some challenges at school, you see.

Kayla and I were reading about the right kind of popularity in her devotions the other night. She doesn’t think the kids at school like her. I said,
“Well so-and-so ­­­­­­­likes you!”
“ Huh-UH!”
“Well, he likes to be with you and he tried to kiss you the other day”
“But I didn’t WANT him to!”

(So she bit his shirt!)

Kayla in one of her favorite climbing trees.
This is the self-controlled child I have raised.

I feel like I need to iron all the clothes in my closet and pray over myself! “Dear God, Please help me to know what to do with this child!

The other day David and I went to Purdue on our date. As we drove through the campus, I had this vision of my grown-up, gorgeous, blonde, smart daughter at a university. Far away from her hovering parents. Far away from family devotions. Far away from the safety of our home. I asked David, What will we do if one of our kids wants to come somewhere like this? What if Kayla is supposed to be a doctor and gets a scholarship at a university in California? (We are firm believers that God calls some people to follow their gifts into full-time ministry in a secular environment.)

I can’t even raise a kid who acts right in Kindergarten! How in the world do I think she could survive a secular university?

David simply doesn’t waste words. When he finally gave his thoughts on the subject, it was one word…. “PRAY.”

That’s really so true. I have talked to my friend and coworker about various parenting issues, and she repeatedly reminds me that prayer is our best tool in parenting.

I was talking to my mother-in-law the other day about parenting, and she recalled over the years seeing many mothers sobbing at the altar – grieving over a lost child or their own perceived parenting mistakes.

I recently told someone that I realize I am right now making the parenting mistakes that I’ll someday regret. How’s THAT for positive thinking? But it’s true!

It’s inevitable. I am not going to get it all right. In spite of all my books and schedules and plans and incentives and spankings and creative corrections, my kids are going to have problems and weaknesses. And choices.

As my parenting weaknesses become apparent, trust me – I’m very interested in improving. But I find myself just wanting to figure out a way get it all right! To parent in a way that guarantees the production of 4-6 healthy-eating, emotionally-balanced, hard-working, manners-keeping, scripture-using, creed-quoting children who bless the world, pick up their toys and - of course - never kick or bite their classmates.

But I can’t. And it’s sinking in.

It is once again driving me to my proverbial knees. (Mothers of young ones know that it is a rare occasion we actually make it to the kneeling position and remain awake to tell about it.)

It is helping me, I hope, to be more patient with all the other parents I come into contact with. Someone else’s kid calls my kid a name? “ Lord, help them!” Someone else has a rebellious child? “Lord, give them wisdom!” Someone else’s kid throws a fit in the middle of the store? “Thank you, Lord, that my child would never do that!!” Kidding.

And so I’ll keep reading and praying and trying to do better.
And I’ll keep reminding and reproving and repairing.
And I’ll have to trust my Abba to make up the difference. To correct me where I’m wrong. To feed the hunger for Himself in our kids. To redeem our weaknesses.

(Excuse me…..Right now, at this very minute, my 3-year-old daughter with blonde roots is telling some story about poop as she eats her snack at the table. She’s NOT allowed to do that. How many TIMES must we train them until they get it?!)

I guess I’m encouraging myself in the Lord and letting you listen in. Better get back to my ironing.

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