Everyday life, Faith, Family, Uncategorized

The Subtext

I know, I know.

It shouldn’t really be called a blog when I come over so infrequently.

I gave up guilt for Lent so I’m just not going to make a big thing out of it. Actually I didn’t think ahead enough to give up anything for Lent. And now I kind of feel guilty about that too.

I got a sweet message on Twitter the other day from a gal who wanted me to know she still checked over here every day, and it was the sweetest thing to me. I have had a lot going on in my world these past few months and I think I just kind of checked out of my blog until I could get through it. So, for the few of you still hanging out, thank you! I’m going to write more and try to be interesting and spiritually deep and funny. But it’s entirely possible that I will fail on at least 2 of those at any given point. What can I say? I set the bar high.

I am writing, though. And it’s absolutely wrecking me.

Pretty sure it’s the hardest book I’ve ever worked through, and I can only pray that I still have a publisher when I get to the end of it. If I get to the end of it. Kidding! I totally probably will.

So, there’s that. I’ll go ahead and be selfish for prayer at the front end…because I need it.

{Thank you:)}

I spoke at the dotmom conference recently (the link will take you to details about the next dotmom conference, and it’s going to be AMAZING-I’m trying to go to it myself because I love it so much:)), and my topic was “Evaluating what the sub-text of your parenting is teaching your children about the way God loves them.” Because that sounded easy and non-invasive. Awesome.

I can tell you this with certainty-it was an area the Lord wanted me to work on in my life, and it’s been pretty rough. It’s also been great, which is why I want to spend a little time on here chatting about the process with you, hoping it will bless you as a momma like it did me.

As I prayed through it in the weeks prior, God challenged me to take an active stance in my own home in ways I had been failing to do so. I want to continue to flesh out the places He revealed as weak, and I want to invite you to do the same. I’m going to put a couple of these posts up and I’m going to be honest with you about my shortcomings. It was a lengthy talk and there were a lot of different things that I didn’t even get to because, well, it turns out that understanding you are a representative of the Gospel to your kids is kind of a daunting realization. It’s easy to feel ill-equipped and bury our heads because we’re overwhelmed with the responsibility.

What I noticed as I prepared for the conference was the way I subtly expressed a message (often totally unintentionally) that wasn’t in agreement with my “main message.” Here’s an example: What I tell my kids in words is that I value them as individuals, but I often parent them as if they are a group. I took note of how many times I used the word “Girls,” and it was pitiful.

I started taking notes on myself throughout the day and I was shocked by the frequency of sentences that conveyed a subtext that didn’t line up with my heart for them. Obviously this is a work in progress, but I will say I have made changes and have already seen results.

So, before I get into the details, I want to encourage you to spend the next few days making notes as you parent throughout the day. Write down the words you say the most frequently, the things that surprise you, and anything else you feel like the Holy Spirit leads you to consider. It’s the first step in what will be a long journey, but you have to start somewhere.

I know the comment system on the blog is pretty involved, and we’re looking into ways to make conversation easier. I would love for you to share anything you are noticing in the next couple days, so if you’re willing to, please leave your comments here or shoot me an email. I just know that others are blessed when we’re walking in humility, and it’s good to be reminded that none of us have it all figured out.

I have plenty of stories to share about what my little experiment taught me, don’t worry 🙂

So, if you’re game, start today. There’s no exact science to it, but I believe God will bless your efforts to live more like Him. Let’s be diligent students of ourselves as mothers, and allow the Lord to speak wisdom into the gaps. It’s important that you write it down in some way that will help you look back and categorize, but don’t worry about organization right this second. We’ll get there:)

I’m looking forward to hearing from you, and I would welcome thoughts from ladies who have already raised their children as well.

Ready? I hope so. I’m really looking forward to digging into it with you 🙂


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  • Reply Courtney DeFeo March 5, 2013 at 12:58 pm

    I missed dot mom Dallas but can’t wait for Chattanooga. I’m in for the challenge. Already a bit fearful of what I’ll discover – but beautiful change is always on the other side of walking through these blind spots.

  • Reply Lyli Dunbar March 5, 2013 at 1:02 pm

    Yeah! A blog post! I am not currently in the mommy stage, but I can’t wait to here what everyone has to share. It’s good to know that we are all learning. As a teacher, I know that “my kids” teach me more than I teach them….

  • Reply Sarah L March 5, 2013 at 1:25 pm

    Looking forward to hearing more about what you have discovered Re: parenting. Without keeping track yet, i know that i way over use “hold on” and “just a minute.” It is challenging to juggle everyone’s requests and needs.

  • Reply Ann March 5, 2013 at 1:26 pm

    Wish I could join but I don’t have children unfortunately 🙁

  • Reply Fran Thomas March 5, 2013 at 1:29 pm

    Oh goodness. I am walking in a state of “do what I say and not what I do” kind of thing. Mercy. Lord, help me. My walk and talk aren’t lining up with my kids. so painful. Thank you for always being honest with us, Angie. You are loved and appreciated, sister.

  • Reply Michele Tinnin March 5, 2013 at 1:40 pm

    My boy is all grown up but I will forever remember that one of the first words he learned was ‘busy’. Of course it was because Mama was saying ‘Not now, I’m busy’. Breaks my heart to think of it all these years later. Mamas of little ones – don’t be too busy for your babies. It really does go by so fast!

  • Reply amanda March 5, 2013 at 1:44 pm

    I’m in. And also? Not the least bit excited about what I will discover as my most frequent phrases. But thrilled to see where this leads. My word for the year is “unflappable” and the focus is my mothering – mostly because I am SO EASILY FLAPPED right now. Thanks for leading in this, I am sure its a challenge for you, I pray the fruit is sweet & plentiful for you – and for those of us you lead.

  • Reply BFGOmelissa March 5, 2013 at 1:48 pm

    This is an interesting and timely post for me. I’ve been with my kids so much lately that I feel myself taking time for granted. I keep feeling the Spirit to prompt me that the time we are spending face to face isn’t all that it could be and certainly not what it should be. We have some incredible moments but when I line up the incredible moments with the opportunities I am missing – it’s a sad comparison. Now that I am no longer homeschooling – I have got to be intentional about raising them up in the Word in more creative ways. I’ve been a little heartsick over it.
    And in other news – I think your email address still doesn’t like me. I emailed you again. 🙁

  • Reply Jamie March 5, 2013 at 1:52 pm

    For me, I notice that when I stop focusing on everything that needs to get done for the day (outward) and focus on their hearts (inward) our days are so much more productive, and I’m a much nicer mommy too. I read this today by RC Sproul Jr. talking about how kind his dad is and it pretty much sums up everything.

    “In like manner one does not earn the title “Kind” by setting out to earn it. Rather, one rests in Christ. That is, kindness is born not out of a preternatural love of mankind, or from a gritty determinism but from a quiet confidence in God’s love for us in Christ. When I am most confident of my acceptance by my heavenly Father, I have nothing to lose, nothing to protect, no ambitions to pursue, save honoring Him. When I have been forgiven much, I am more forgiving, loved much, more loving. When I am confident that He is merciful to me, I am better able to show mercy to others. In short, when we trust and obey, we become more like Him who we trust and obey.”

    This is what I aspire to….being able to rest in Christ with every breath I take. I struggle with this rest, always feeling like I have to do something. But when I truly am resting in Christ, I am so much more loving and kind to everyone around me and able to truly focus on my children’s hearts.

  • Reply Southern Gal March 5, 2013 at 1:52 pm

    This is a God thing. I posted about something I started this morning with my youngest son. (I have two grown children.) It’s never too late to work on our weak areas. I know my weaknesses as I’ve been observing them for quite some time. I wanted to be intentional in my encouragement of him, so I began this.
    Then I came here and read your post. I’ve got goose bumps. 😉

    Your blog is in my sidebar so I know immediately when you update. I’ll be praying for your new book, your note-taking and your mothering. Please pray for me, too?

  • Reply ketura March 5, 2013 at 2:28 pm

    Wow! Can’t wait to read what God has been sharing with you. I know that it will relevant to my life. And we are thankful for your posts whenever they happen to pop up. We know you are a mom, wife, author, speaker, daughter, friend and blogger. We will take what we can get. Be blessed!

  • Reply Maggie Eterno March 5, 2013 at 2:34 pm

    Like others have mentioned this is a complete God thing! I follow you on Instagram, twitter, and read your blog. You are such an inspiration to me and a blessing. I love the fact that you are real and honest with the good and the ugly.

    My husband and I have been called to full time ministry. He is finishing his bachelors in biblical studies and I am finishing mine in Psychology with an emphasis in Christian Counseling. We are looking into seminary for our future and praying God will lead us step by step. We have three little ones who are 6, 4, and 2. God is working hard in our lives he is a sunday school teacher and I lead the women’s ministry at our church. We know for a fact that this is what God has called us to do and all we want to do is be faithful to the call.

    My son has been going through something and I can quite put my finger on it. He doesn’t want to go to school and is very emotional lately. I spoke with his teacher and she has also noted that there has been a change in him. He isn’t trying as hard in school lately. I began to evaluate my time and noticed that I spent a lot of time on my computer doing bible study prep and school work while sending them upstairs to play (ouch). And I had to be painfully honest with myself that I was being selfish. Instead of waking up before they wake up and getting school work done, I was sleeping in. Instead of doing school while they were at school, I was doing it while they were home. I am praying that God gives me the motivation to do school and bible study prep before they wake up and after they go to bed.

    The balance of life is so hard, especially when you know God has called you to do something like full time ministry. We still have to make it a point to them that they are important to us. I’m finding it so hard to do right now, but I am praying and being challenged daily. Thank you for this post!!

  • Reply Dina Watson March 5, 2013 at 3:00 pm

    I was at dotMom and I LOVED everything you had to say. It all resonated with me so much! Especially the part about your family not being “props” in your play! I am so excited you will be documenting it on your blog too! Thanks for sharing!

  • Reply Jim and DeNae . March 5, 2013 at 3:15 pm

    I’m a new follower and I don’t care if you post infrequently because when you do post, wow, you make it matter. What a powerful message and one I’m nervously eager to explore. I know it will challenge me and stir up all kinds of feelings, but I also know it will benefit our family immensely. I’m a homeschooling mama as well and I look forward to more actively considering the messages I share with my kids.

  • Reply roomformore March 5, 2013 at 3:21 pm

    This scares me. 😉
    But I’m in. This very thing
    has been on my heart and mind.

  • Reply lindsey March 5, 2013 at 3:23 pm

    thank you for your post!!! I’ll be standing by for more on parenting! I’ve been reading your blog for years and am thankful for the inspiration you are and te way God uses you! don’t apologize for being “absent” … we miss your post but know too that God uses you here for a purpose and when u are able to share here it’s because He has something to say… don’t feel bad! thank you for being a light of His and for speaking to me today on the parenting side of things!

  • Reply Randi Tansowny March 5, 2013 at 4:01 pm

    So convicted by this. Lord help me!

  • Reply Sharon@HikingTowardHome March 5, 2013 at 4:11 pm

    I find myself saying “just be patient a minute!!” to my kids and then within minutes I am being impatient with them. Looking forward to reading more on this subject. I haven’t been writing on the blog as much lately either and I need to get back to it.

  • Reply Amy WIse March 5, 2013 at 5:37 pm

    My son is 16 months old, so my most frequently used word is “No!” I noticed I said that word in conjunction with his name A LOT, so the last couple weeks I have tried to be very proactive in rephrasing why his actions are a no-no. “No fingers” in the DVD player. “No touching” when trying to reach for something off the counter. “No biting” when biting. I have also tried to use his name more when I am praising him for doing something well and because Momma asked. I don’t want him to grow up associating his name with all bad things.

    Btw, I also check your blog almost ever day. 🙂 It is always worth the wait!

  • Reply Sharon March 5, 2013 at 8:57 pm

    I don’t have any kids sadly..(but I will Carry You was a life saver for me!) but just wanted to stop in and say that just like the gal who tweeted you, I also check in here every day on your blog. 🙂

  • Reply Gloria March 5, 2013 at 9:13 pm

    Your did an awesome job at the dotmom conference. I walked away thinking about how many times I reacted to my kids for my own personal image and not allowing them to be their own person. I remember when my oldest (26) would wear cowboy boots and shorts and I would cringe everytime and make him change, until a mentor told me what your child wears is not a reflection of the kind of mother you are. Another big aha moment was when a friend said there is not a book on how to be a mom, everyone mothers differently. There is no wrong or right ways….just different ways! Love you Angie for being so real!

  • Reply Julie March 5, 2013 at 10:01 pm

    At first thought- I think I say a lot of this one “just do as I say and obey!” Hmmmm…. I have some work to do big time. I also check every day 😉 can’t wait to dig in with you all.

  • Reply Ellie March 5, 2013 at 10:37 pm

    Ha! You made me laugh. I struggle with names. Remembering them. Even forgot my best friend’s name for a week. My kids have names. Really. But I always mix them up. Always. Once, one son told me, “Mommy, you chose our names, you should be able to remember them!” But I can’t. We ended up for fun calling them #1, #2, #3, and #4. It made them laugh. It helped me. Somehow, my brain can remember numbers better. Perhaps it is residual brain injury, perhaps Alzheimer’s is just contagious. But I often call them by number, and that is just the way I roll.

    I did notice though, that the boys have been asking, “Can (my daughter) stop calling us “brothers”? She says, “brothers did this or that”, but not all of us did it. We are not all the same.”

    So I wonder if my name mix up bothers them. Or if it is inhumane to be called by number. I should ask them.

    • Reply Jen March 6, 2013 at 6:17 am

      I ALWAYS mix up my kids names. It combine them as I go to all them one thing and remember half way through who they actually are 😀

  • Reply Emily March 6, 2013 at 12:09 am

    I’m not a mum either but I check your blog often, too! Love you, Angie 🙂

  • Reply Jen March 6, 2013 at 6:15 am

    The Lord has been so gentle with me when He convicts me of my failings as a parent.


    I totally just typed it all up… And then chickened out. *sigh* One day I’ll be brave like you Ange. Praying for you, as always.

    • Reply angie smith March 6, 2013 at 2:05 pm

      i sure do love you, jen 🙂

  • Reply AnnetteQ. March 6, 2013 at 8:23 am

    Welcome back! We missed you! (but we totally understand when life is more important than blogging :-).

  • Reply Kate Piscator March 6, 2013 at 8:24 am

    What a timely message! I’ve been noticing recently that my “subtext” also gives exactly the opposite message to my girls than the one that I want. Rather than convincing them that they are wonderful and inspiring confidence, I get exasperated and message that they are a bother and a disappointment. I am looking forward to what you have to say on ways to change, and what God will reveal during this time. As a recent single-adoptive mother to a 3 and 4 year old, life has been HECTIC and it is easy to get swept up in the day to day necessities – thinking there will be time to “fix” things later on. But it’s not true, and I want to keep my focus on the end goal throughout the daily drama!

  • Reply Lindsay Harris March 6, 2013 at 10:14 am

    Thankful for this. Been feeling challenged for some time to figure out how to get my actions more in line with my heart- or better said- to allow the Holy Spirit to do so. We’ve been through so many changes recently- a new baby, job change and move that while there has been grace (and a need for grace) there’s probably also been a few too many excuses given and not enough prayer and surrender and effort too. One thing I am very aware of is my TONE. Excited to journey and grow…

  • Reply Coby March 6, 2013 at 12:50 pm

    Okay, so I was convicted as soon as I read this. The first thing that came to mind was that I often say, “Are you kidding me?” or “Seriously?” when someone is hurt, there is strife, or disobedience. And I know that what that is really communicating to my children is, “What you just did is interrupt me and my agenda.” Ouch! They’re kids…interrupting is what they do! The Lord has really been working on me being able to go with the flow of things and let go of my agenda – this is one more aspect of this. I look forward to hearing more from you on this and digging deeper into this area of my parenting!

  • Reply Lacey March 6, 2013 at 12:54 pm

    Angie, I have been reading since right around the time that Audrey was born, and I feel like we would be friends if you lived in Michigan. 🙂 Of course, I’m sure most Sundays would express a similar sentiment. You just seem like a ball of fun.

    That aside, my initial response to this is, “That’s scary.” I truly desire for my kiddos to love the Lord and serve Him with their lives, and I want to do everything I can to foster that love. So, maybe this post is half exciting, half terrifying. I fail so often, in so many ways, that I can’t even imagine how long my list would be! But thank you for challenging us to be more Godly moms, and for being really transparent with your own journey!


  • Reply Mary March 6, 2013 at 1:27 pm

    I already know…”Just a minute.”
    “Hold on a minute.”
    “Give me five minutes.”
    “I’ll be there in a minute.”
    “I’ll come play in a few minutes after I (whatever.)”

  • Reply katherine heath March 6, 2013 at 1:29 pm

    OUCH! I read this and was instantly convicted! I have a 2.5 yr old and I am always telling her to be patient, but then seconds later I turnaround and get impatient when she takes her time doing something or coming when I call her….I need to work on setting the example better!

  • Reply Renee Hunnicutt March 6, 2013 at 1:51 pm

    I was at DotMom and when you spoke on this of course it hit me hard (although I would have never admitted in public lol) I am a work at home momma and I constantly have my phone or computer in my lap doing something! I constantly hear myself saying “In just a minute.” “Maybe later.” “Hurry up!!!” Since your talk at DotMom, I find myself putting my phone/computer down and play CandyLand or wrestling with my not so little 5 year old. I pray that he will begin to hear my new subtexts that I love him and have all the time in the world (maybe not!) for him!

  • Reply QuatroMama March 6, 2013 at 2:38 pm

    Breathes in deeply. Breathes in brown paper bag. Passes out COLD.

  • Reply Melissa E March 6, 2013 at 4:40 pm

    I enjoy your blog so so much and I too am always checking to see if you have a new post up! God Bless!!

  • Reply facebook-4915600 March 7, 2013 at 2:13 am

    I don’t know if mine is a frequent word, bug it’s an action I do often. I feel as if I only tell my husband the bad/upsetting/wrong behavior that our 28mo old son does and I feel awful. So I have started making a conscious effort to tell my husband at least one good thing our son has done anytime I feel the need to tell him of the negative. I’m just not giving our son the praise he needs for all the good things.

  • Reply Megan Manne March 7, 2013 at 8:36 am

    This is so timely for me. A youth pastor’s wife, I just asked my small group of girls how many of their parents are usually behind a screen in the evening when the girls are home. Every.Single.One.Of.Them raised their hands and said they barely talk to their parents. While I sat in shock and started to judge, the Spirit very gently reminded me of the times that day I was sending a text while my four year old twins begged me to get their Barbies down for the fifth time and I kept saying, “Just a minute.” “Hold on.” And the kicker…”Can you just be patient, please? Mommy’s doing something important.’ Yeah…this is going to be really enlightening for me and I can’t wait to get started!

  • Reply jillaveritt March 7, 2013 at 10:09 am

    Your session on this at dotMom in Dallas was extremely hard for me to sit through. Because it made me bawl like a baby in front of everyone. 😉 I came to this conference alone, since my husband was there on business. I prayed that God would have something for me before going. It truly sparked a change in my heart as a Mother. I love my girls with all my heart and want so desperately to raise them to love Jesus and to understand Jesus’ love for them through me. I also just really, really, really don’t want to screw them up. 🙂

    I left that conference a different Mother. Truly. Thank you for being so vulnerable and sharing your heart with us. I’m making notes of what I say to them and haven’t said “SHHHHHH” near as much in the last two weeks. 🙂

    Thank you again.

  • Reply Dena Fantini March 7, 2013 at 1:10 pm

    I’m one of those stopping in several times a week just so I don’t miss anything and I’m happy to hear from you whenever find time!!!! I don’t know how you do what you do as it is:)

    As for your discussion, this is wonderful and something I look forward to working through with everyone else here. It is the one year anniversary of losing our second child our baby angel Marco and it is amazing to me how quickly that ‘busy’ life style has crept right back up again and maybe even worse. During my pregnancy knowing he would not stay and there after I was given a reminder of how fragile life here on earth is and that we must take every second to celebrate our Lord and what he has given us. Now life is in full swing again and I feel it slipping more times than not. I was just beating myself up the other night trying to fall asleep recalling earlier in the day when my 5 year old lost his hockey puck behind the tv and needed me to get it for him and I said, just one minute let me finish this first. Ten minutes or more later I saw him curled up on the recliner and said, “what’s up buddy?” … “i’m still waiting for my puck so i can finish my game”. My heart sunk, I had forgotten. Was that bill, or that internet search or that task that important that I left him waiting on my promise of one minute. Ugh!!!

    So, timing, fate or whatever … this reaches me at just the right time!!!!!! I don’t want to not be there when I’m there!!!

  • Reply Lisa Spidle March 7, 2013 at 5:49 pm

    Angie, your post are always a bright spot in my day. Like others have said it doesn’t matter how often you post they’re always impactful. So on to your challenge. When I first read this two things jumped out at me. Complaining and busyness. Complaining, is a bad habit that I’m trying so hard to change. And it doesn’t matter who it is with, kids or hubby. I just had to get it out. And how is that pouring God’s love into a child? I told my kids about God’s love, how important they were to him. But like you said, my actions were not matching up to my words. I can’t even count how many times I have said to my children I’m busy, can’t talk. My children are almost grown and out of the house, but my youngest son is still with us. It feels like in the past six months I have said I can’t talk now, gotta go. So “manned up” to this young man of ours and apologized. Letting him know how much I still wanted to hear about his life and the things that matter to him. That very night we had some of the most meaningful conversations about what he wanted to do after college, what he activities he was involved in. What an amazing young man he is turning too. I agree with Michelle, leave the to do list alone just for a bit. Go spend time with the kids. However, please know that we are works in progress and just like your children are learning we will always be learning too.

  • Reply rhonda March 7, 2013 at 6:01 pm

    First, your session at dot.mom was one of the most impactful for me. I actually caught myself a couple of years ago in this very thing. My then 4 year-old was a button pusher. Fearless, inventive, and sly. When I had reached my breaking point, I would say “I am so done with you (insert childs name).” I confess I said it many times until one day the Holy Spirit allowed me to hear what I was saying. Then, as I felt the cut to the quick, the follow up question was, “What was I teaching him about God?” Was God ever done with us? Did I want him to think there was a point where my love for him stopped- a line he had crossed? Obviously not, but that is what I was converying, not only about his mama, but also about Jesus.
    So….needless to say I am much more aware of what I say.

  • Reply Cooking Up Faith March 7, 2013 at 10:07 pm

    I realized lately how much I just simply say, “good job.” I’ve started forcing myself to take the extra time to say, “thank you for being responsible and picking up your clothes,” or “you worked really hard cleaning up your room.” I’ve noticed a HUGE difference in my kids’ eagerness to get things done. You’ve encouraged me to keep looking for more ways I can speak or act differently that will make big changes. I think the reason God didn’t write a book in the Bible called How to Raise a Kid is because we would have a formula and a check-list and we wouldn’t need to seek Him out minute by minute. Mamas – we need Him…every hour we need Him…bless us now our Savior…we come to Thee! 🙂
    Maple Mae

  • Reply Kaleigh Anderson March 7, 2013 at 11:51 pm

    If you are an infrequent blogger I’m an infrequent reader… or stalker I guess since I’ve never commented before. LOVE your blog and your humor though- it always makes me smile. I’m a huge fan after reading I will Carry You over and over again a couple of years ago. Strangely enough I’ve never been through anything like that, I’m not even a Mommy yet but amazingly each chapter and lesson was exactly what I needed during a time that I was waiting to see what God was going to do in an impossible situation… I hope to share the story with you through email someday but in the mean time thank you!!! 🙂
    Kaleigh A.

  • Reply Kimberly March 9, 2013 at 10:12 am

    Angie, I was at dotMom & was convicted by your presentation. I took notes & have implemented change already. My kids are teens, but I feel it is not too late to make these changes. My daughter in particular is going through some hard times & I am hoping that the subtle changes I’ve started with will at least help her feel more loved & safe. I also spoke out loud in the session on loss. I was the hoarse-voiced gal you gave the mic to. That was a great session as well. I look forward to reading your book!
    Kimberly from Arkansas

  • Reply Pam March 10, 2013 at 2:37 pm

    My husband & I have 4 children of our own-ages 16-24, and have been involved in children’s ministry for almost 20 yrs.

    During these years I have made more parenting mistakes than I would ever have the time to list, but have learned the truth of 1 Peter 4:8-“Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.” (Their’s & mine!)

    Two of my children inherited the worst combination of my husband & my personality traits-a tender heart & a hot temper-they questioned everything & tested every boundary, and when their feelings were hurt, it came out in fits of anger. There were many, MANY days (years) I wasn’t sure who would survive-them, me or neither of us. I spent much time on my knees, praying the Lord would erase from their minds the ugly things I said in frustration or anger ( & all the while I was teaching them & the other children in our church about the UNCONDITIONAL love of God). During that time, I went to a women’s conference and one of the speakers compared children testing boundaries to a building security guard-he checks office doors one by one, always knowing that unknown evil could be lurking behind the door, but still having to check to make sure they are locked and the building is secure. It made me realize that I was taking my children’s testing wwwaaaayyyy too personally-their bad behavior wasn’t about making me crazy, it was their way of checking the safety & security of their surroundings! It totally changed the way I looked at parenting. It taught me that discipline is about changing behavior, not punishment, and allowed me to truly love them though the discipline process, because I no longer saw it as a personal attack. It’s still amazes me to think that God knew the mess I was & the many mistakes I would make, and still allowed me to even have children!!

    Despite all the mistakes we made, God has been beyond gracious to us. I am humbled daily by the evidence of His presence in the hearts of all our children. My son (one of the two described above) is now 19 and still asks me to wake him up so I can kiss him goodbye before I leave for work in the morning-although I have to stand on my tippy toes to reach his cheek now :0). We have recently started a non-profit benefitting children in need, and I can’t even begin to tell you what a blessing it is to have your children serving God alongside you! God is GOOD, and if He can make something so beautiful from the mess we were, He can surely do the same for all the other young mommas out there! Mothering is definitely not for the faint of heart!
    Know you’ll all be in my prayers-

  • Reply Stephanie March 10, 2013 at 11:56 pm

    I have an almost four year old daughter and a five month old son. I have twin girls who passed away in June 2011 (sorry! I can’t mention my children and NOT mention them as well). I’m a very impatient person. My daughter possesses a lot of my personality traits (independent, determined, intense, outgoing and the ones from her father are persistent, won’t take no for an answer and pokey). I find that I tell her to hurry up so many times through out the day and it pains me. I’m trying to juggle it all with a husband who is gone the majority of the week, every week. That’s no excuse. What it boils down to is that I don’t ever factor her and the time she needs when I am trying to manage my time for the day.

    A thing I just read the other day that I think would be fitting for this topic was this (it won’t be word for word): We should make sacrifices so our children can have the best life instead of them making sacrifices for the life we want.

  • Reply BeckyG22 March 11, 2013 at 1:55 am

    Very convicting. I tell my 3 year old to persevere, but then get impatient when I don’t have time for his projects and what he wants to do. I tell him I love him unconditionally, but when he’s bad I threaten to leave him alone. Thank you for bringing this up. I want to change. Lord, help us all.

  • Reply rjb March 11, 2013 at 11:47 am

    Oh, I think about this and try what areas I can see.. but then too often I forget in the heat of the moment. I hope my apologies are teaching her how human mommy is too 🙂

  • Reply Bridget March 11, 2013 at 6:58 pm

    What an amazing challenge, a scary challenge but I think it will be so eye-opening and rewarding. I have a 13 week old and a 2.5 year old (and two boys in Heaven) and I know that my most common thing to say at the moment is ‘shhh’ to my daughter when our littlest one is sleeping and ‘in a minute’ while I try to get MY things done. So sad right now but so willing to change. Thanks Angie, you are truly inspiring x

  • Reply Amanda March 12, 2013 at 7:09 am

    I discovered a phrase I use all the time :: why can’t you {fill in the blank}? I hate that I say this to my boys particularly because it is the phrase I hear in my voice condemning myself over mistakes & bad choices. Lord have mercy!

  • Reply Erin Taylor March 12, 2013 at 9:31 am

    OK-I’ve been studying my “mommy ways”…and it’s funny, how after I read this, I felt the Holy Spirit really tuning my heart and eyes in on my parenting like I haven’t before. I mean, I didn’t really have to bunker down too much to see the gaps in my parenting and what I want to be teaching because I think once I had the willing heart, that’s all it took for Him to show me. Anyway, my oldest girl is 10, a Christian, and carries the weight of being such a people-pleaser, achiever, and doer. I see her leaning heavy toward legalism so my desire is to teach her the abundant grace He offers her. I want her to kow that He loves her just for being her, and she doesn’t have to earn His uncomprehensible love. But then I see myself, when she brings home a test grade that surprises me, asking her question after question after question over how that happened. I see me correcting her over little things, and while correcting and discipline are necessary…sometimes just saying, “I mess up, too”…walking that path with her out loud and admitting that I don’t have it all together is important. It’s something I don’t do near enough. I want her to know that life isn’t always about getting it right but about the Gospel filling up our mighty gaps of inadequacy. I want her to remember, when she looks back on her childhood, that I taught her how to come to Jesus with a mess MORE than I taught her how to do things “the right way”. I saw this quote on the gospel coalition’s article called “I come messy and ashamed not cleaned up”: “I want my son to learn that he can come before God just as he is. I want him to come confidently to the throne dirty and ragged, be drenched by the gospel, and leave wearing the righteousness of Christ. I want him to know the path from sin to freedom goes right through the muck and mire of life, and that he can leave a trail of dirty foot prints all the ay to the base of the cross.”

  • Reply The Desires of Our Hearts | The Riches of His Love March 12, 2013 at 9:26 pm

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  • Reply Tab Murphy March 12, 2013 at 11:48 pm

    I’m terribly sad to admit this but I found the thing I say the most is, “Come on” and “Hurry up, we gotta go.” Do I really want to make them hurry all the time and get infused with Satan’s ultimate ploy of making us all so busy we don’t have time for each other or the Lord? It breaks my heart to admit this one because I know being busy is what I struggle with the most and where I need to start making changes in all areas of my life. I don’t want to hurry them up– I want to hold them and play with them as long as I can and remind them that there is always time for God and each other.

  • Reply mrsyellowhat March 22, 2013 at 10:07 pm

    I so enjoyed your message at the conference and chatting about it one on one over some hot chocolate would have been the only thing to make it any better! Appreciate you and your family for sharing you with us!

  • Reply Alysa Bajenaru, RD March 28, 2013 at 6:16 pm

    I was going to comment the first time I read this, the first day you posted it. But I got, well, busy. So I’m committing to coming back and starting this series now because I need it so much. What I’ve noticed is that I say the word “hurry” WAY too much. Hurry and finish your dinner. Hurry and get in the car. Hurry and get out of the tub. WHY am I in such a hurry? My son who is almost six has started to pick up on it. “Mom, are we late for something?”

    Thank you so much for doing this, Angie.

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