Parenting is STUPID HARD!


Sometimes I feel like I understand why wild animals eat their young.

“Ugh. Parenting is STUPID HARD sometimes!”

That was the beginning of a Facebook post recently. I hit another bump in the road of this parenting journey. I know we’ll get through this, but sometimes it’s such a huge struggle. It’s enough of a struggle to get the everyday demands of our lives taken care of, keep everybody moving forward in a positive direction, and try to do it with a smile on my face. Especially when all I want to do right now is SCREAM and STOMP MY FEET WILDLY!!!!

We’ve been in a similar situation before, so it makes this go ‘round even more frustrating. In addition, some lies and deception were uncovered. Oh, I asked the right questions. At the right time. For months. I was aware there could be a problem. That’s why I asked the questions. I trusted the answers and extended grace.

As we parent and grow our children I believe the boundaries we have in place get wider. When our kids are young, they have narrow boundaries. Right from wrong is taught, boundaries are enforced more frequently, there is a lot more oversight, and children learn how to navigate within the boundaries. When they cross them, there is swift correction.

As children get older, the boundaries begin to widen like the top of a funnel. They are given more trust and more freedom. More of a chance to practice staying in the boundaries before they’re out on their own. As parents, we’re still there to point them back to the center when they get too far off course.

This situation was off course. My instant reaction was anger. “HOW COULD YOU!” I wanted to take away every ounce of freedom and every convenience this child has been given. “DO YOU NOT UNDERSTAND THE SERIOUSNESS OF THIS?!” “HOW IS THIS EVEN REMOTELY ACCEPTABLE?” “HOW DID YOU GET TO THIS POINT?!” “I ASKED! WHY DIDN’T YOU ASK FOR HELP!” “DO YOU UNDERSTAND HOW MUCH I HAVE GIVEN SO THAT YOU COULD DO WHAT?!!”

So!! Angry!!!

Some of those words may have come out.

I had to breathe. And breathe again. And take a little space. And breathe some more. And say more than a few prayers to know how to proceed.

While there are natural and imposed consequences to this situation, I want so much more for my child than consequences. I want them to clearly understand a boundary was crossed, but I don’t want them to simply learn to dance close to the boundary or to hide the evidence when the line is crossed. I don’t want them to get used to going so far off course they feel there is no way back or no help available. I don’t want them to get lost. I want them to know I always love them, always want what’s best for them, and will always fight for them.

So, some course correction is in order.

This isn’t to simply get out of a difficult situation nor is it to just barely get back in the “acceptable” boundaries. No, the goal is restoration. The goal is to make different choices in this life journey so that they may live a full life as the person they have been created to be. And I want to deal with the root issues of lying, deception, and hiding. Those are not descriptors I want for my children.

We had some hard conversations. My child was in so deep the reality of the situation could not be seen clearly. It was hard to point that out and see my child feel broken. But reality and crossed boundaries need to be understood. The potential ramifications in the future needed to be clearly considered as well. There were lots of tears.

There are still hard days ahead. We’ve written a contract with clear expectations and clear consequences. We’ve included daily steps and longer term steps so we see the progress as we move forward. I’m trying to show that little actions, every day, lead us forward on the journey. We can’t expect to leap forward to where we want to be without the hard work now. Nor can we ignore those little choices that are leading the wrong direction and expect them to somehow get better with time. No, personal action, in the right direction, is required.

I’m also working hard to create a safe place of clear communication so that we can rebuild trust. I want my children to come to me in the joys and struggles of life. I don’t want them to ever feel they are too far gone to receive my help and love.

This week I’m also incredibly encouraged by the outpouring of parenting solidarity, concern, hugs, laughter, and encouragement from friends. I am surrounded by an amazing group of people and that is such a huge blessing as I walk this parenting journey solo. I may be solo, but all of you make me realize I’m not alone. My sincerest gratitude and thank you to each of you.

Correcting a wrong course is hard and painful, but it can be done. I trust that my children and I will grow stronger in our relationship because we’re navigating this hard part of the path together, with His help.




All People Matter

people-eiffel-tower-lights-nightI have been troubled by all of the violence and terror in the world the last few months. I’ve started to write many different pieces about it. But before I finish one, another tragedy occurs. Horrible tragedies here in the Pacific Northwest; across the world in Paris; images of refugees with no home or hope; the shooting in San Bernardino; a presidential candidate promoting racism; and just today the closing of schools in LA due to bomb threats. The list could go on and on. Honestly, at times it makes me really frightened for the future world my children are growing into.

Social Media has made this world smaller. We have access to all of those images that we can’t ignore. Or look away from. Some of us share posts or tweets out of outrage. Some out of heartache. Others add the profile overlays to stand in solidarity. I know I did for Paris. Then others mock those who did, because they didn’t change their picture for every other tragedy.

I have even had people unfriend or unfollow me because apparently I didn’t react quick enough to respond to tragedy. Or stand up strong enough with my Christian values to affirm refugees, gay marriage, black lives or Muslims. I have such a mix of feelings over all of this. Not the issues, but the judgment of others. I seek first to understand, then to find common ground.

Here’s what I believe the common ground should be: all people matter. All people were created in the image of God. All people have value. Whether they’re from my part of the world or the slums of a foreign country. Gay or straight or somewhere in the middle struggling with their identity. All people including all the beautiful colors of skin and hair and eyes. And all the people that worship differently than I do. We all matter. We all sin. Yes, some have done horrendous acts that I can’t even begin to explain or understand. Yet I trust that God will judge them appropriately. That is not my job to judge anyone and I don’t want to live in fear of anyone.

It also doesn’t mean I passively sit or live a life of apathy. Just because I haven’t taken a stand for every cause on social media doesn’t mean I don’t care. I choose not to engage in a lot of rhetoric in social forums. Again, not because I don’t care, but because I would prefer to have a face to face discussion, so that you understand the heart of love behind all I do.

Most of these face to face discussion happen in my own home.

Because this is where changing the world starts. It starts with our own kids and raising a generation that knows what it means to be loved, listened to, cared for. A generation that knows how to love, care for and serve others.

Let it also start with you. Start the change in your own life, in your own home. Have discussion about the hard things. Decide together as a family what you can do, how you can give, where you can serve, or how you can pray. Trust, grow, be stretched, be challenged, and then model the same for your kids. Model mercy, compassion, and justice. Be honest with them when you don’t understand, when your heart hurts, when you’re confused, and even when you’re angry about social issues. Seek answers. Have discussions. Find answers in reputable sources. And still model love. Let it all show love.

Also, let’s let Facebook be the place to share the bright spots of our day and funny pictures of cats. Because funny pictures of cats make me laugh. Okay?



act justly, love mercy, walk humbly

Micah 6:8



Deep Gratitude, Quiet Joy

I ran a 7k fun run race the other day. One of those nasty fall days that the rain was pouring down in sheets. Yep, that day. I got up and ran. In the rain. Because I can. I felt so alive in those miles, charging up the stupid hills, pushing myself to keep moving despite the bad weather around me. I could have easily stayed in bed that morning or found another excuse not to run. But in those minutes of running in the rain, I felt the inner strength that I have gained. I found gratitude for myself, that my body still pushes limits, excitement for what my future holds, and a deep sense of gratitude for the grace of God in my life. Even in the downpour I ran with complete joy and a huge smile on my face.

Today, a cold is settling into my body. No doubt the consequences of running in the rain. It’s left me a bit quieter than usual, but it’s also causing me to reflect on the blessings I have today.

I am most grateful that I am a child of God. Even on the dark, lonely days I know that He is leading me and still loves me. Even when I push boundaries and pull at the fabric of the plans He has for me, I know he still loves me. Deeply. And the grace that is extended to me is amazing. Even when I wrestle with where He is walking me now, He gently and quietly reminds me I am His and He has a plan.

His plans right now involve pursuing some seminary classes and a ministry license. I’m a bit overwhelmed. But He’s asked me to take a step. So I’m not going to look to the end of the race or even the end of seminary. I’m going to focus where He has me now. I feel humbled and incredibly grateful that He’s asked me to walk with Him in this way.

I’m also so excited for my kids and the ways they are growing into amazing individuals. People with tender hearts for others and for God. Sometimes I just pause and watch them. Have you ever done that? Or taken a mental picture or video of what they’re doing? Yesterday Jacob was laughing at something he was watching. Just seeing the sheer delight on his face and hearing the deep belly laughs brought me so much joy. I giggle to even think about it. Knowing the road we’ve walked together and the hardships he has faced makes it even sweeter to just enjoy a moment together with him.

The other day I had a phone conversation with Cory, my oldest son. We talked for about a half hour about our plans for the upcoming weekend, the bad play calling of the last football game, our worries over the next game, and the challenging class load he’s taking in college. Normal mother son talk, I suppose. But to recall that a year ago he would barely acknowledge me brings it into perspective. He was angry and hurting after losing his father. He wouldn’t come to visit us in our new town, take my phone calls, or really even look me in the eyes if I did see him. Since I have been provided much grace, I extended much grace. I continually pray that Jesus is rebuilding and restoring Cory through me, or whomever else He chooses to use. Cory will be here tomorrow. We’ll attend a college football game together. He wants to just hang out with us. Just be here. And for that I am so grateful.

Of course my Sarah always brings such joy. My princess. I love to tease her and hear her heart. She gets so excited over normal teen issues and I love that she always wants to share them with me. Just the little things. Even if it’s singing along to a song in the car, sometimes driving around the neighborhood just so we can sing until the end. It fills my heart with joy.mountains-trees-fall-foliage-medium

Oh Jesus, you are so good. I look out my window and see all of the autumn leaves lit up by the afternoon sun. I see the flowers that fill the vase on my counter and they make me smile. I feel your comfort and grace all around me even when I’m not feeling well. My cold reminds me that you have given me a body to be used. My kids remind me that you’ve entrusted me to not only raise them but to also point them to you. The anxiety that can fill my life has been replaced by your peace. And today I feel a complete, deep sense of gratitude that fills me with a quiet, happy joy.