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Psalm 78
. . . we will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the LORD, his power, and the wonders he has done. .
so the next generation would know them . . . and they in turn would tell their children.
Then they would put their trust in God and would not forget his deeds but would keep his commands.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Mothering Math

The odometer on our old Suburban is closing in on 200,000 miles. Sometimes when I'm driving around town, watching the dial tick closer to the 200k mark, I start reflecting about all the milestones we're passing this year.

 This is the summer before our oldest children start seventh grade. This means, I was startled to realize, that they are two-thirds of the way to 18--and halfway through their formal pre-college schooling (okay, I know you know I started formal schooling with them early because I was eager, but these days I don't count kindergarten as "formal.") Their elementary years are past and they are on to upper school.

Our son Lane will soon be ten, but for now he's halfway to 18 and half-way through elementary school.

Tobias is just getting started.

 And Lydia? Well, I've got a lot of milestones yet to mark. I've had 12 years of mothering children under 12 and by God's grace I'll have 18 years of mothering teens.

It seems like a big deal that our oldest are moving into their adolescence. When I left the hospital twelve years ago with a baby in each arm, I was brimming with confidence. These days I know that I'm not at all up to the task of being a godly mother!

  I'm reading Paul Tripp's Age of Opportunity: A Biblical Guide to Parenting Teens in search of some biblical wisdom to help me in the next eighteen years of mothering.
"The tumult of the teen years is not only about the attitudes and actions of teens, but the thoughts, desires, attitudes, and actions of parents as well. The teen years are hard for us because they tend to bring out the worst in us...These years are hard for us because they expose the wrong thoughts and desires of our own hearts. (p. 17)
 "However, it is my experience that when parents begin to recognize, own, confess, and turn from their own wrong heart attitudes and the wrong actions that flow from them, the result is a marked difference in their relationship to their teen and in the way they view the struggles of the teen years. When we look with concerned eyes toward the teen years, we need to look not only at our children, but also at ourselves. Parents who are humbly willing to change, position themselves to be God's instruments of change." (p. 18-19)
Tripp identifies several idols that parents tend to worship that keep them from godly parenting, particularly in the teen years. One of these idols is control.
"In the early years of parenting, we were in control of everything, and although we complained about the stress of it all, we liked having the power! There is a little that an infant chooses to do, other than spontaneous bodily functions. We chose their food, times of rest, manner of physical exercise, what they saw and heard, where they went, who their friends were, and the list could go on and on..." (p. 37)
I'm intentionally and purposefully trying to let go of some of my control over my older kids, but Tripp is correct--the idol of control creeps up on you. In fact, you may not believe this is really an idol for you until you feel the control that you once held slipping through your fingers. It was all an illusion anyway, so the sooner I surrender that control to Jesus, the better. The sovereign God, the Lord of lords, is the only One in control and who could be a better keeper of my children?

May God give me the wisdom to see my own wrong heart attitudes and wrong actions, the grace to have a repentant heart, and the mercy of forgiveness as I embark on the next season of mothering.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Lake Holiday

We are back from a second annual trip to Toronto Lake, where we spent five days with family. We are blessed to be able to vacation at the lake with both sets of grandparents, my aunt and uncle, and my sister and her family.

We rent some cabins in the state park and bring Grandpa Shimer's ski boat and Grandpa Edwards's fishing boat with us. Here you can see Sydney standing on the rocks outside our cabin, which gives a great view of the lake. Toronto Lake is located in a part of Kansas that looks nothing like you imagine with you think of Kansas. On our first day there the temperature was only in the upper 60s, so we spent the day off the water.

Grandma and Grandpa Shimer had a wonderful patio outside of their cabin where they hosted lunch and dinner each day. My mom (Grandma) manages all the food for us, which is no small task for 18 people! Not only does she do a fabulous job, but we eat like we are at a resort hotel!

The kids did a nature scavenger hunt on the chilly day. Thank you, Pinterest!

Shish-ka-bobs cooked on the fire.

Quiet morning on the cabin porch.

Toby's big catch!

Here's a long shot of Sydney on the kneeboard, cruising along adjusting her life jacket. I try not to take too many pictures of the kids on the kneeboard and towables, and yet somehow I have a lot of some kids and few of others. I couldn't find a close-up shot of Sydney.

Grandpa Edwards and Toby came over on the fishing boat to show off Toby's catch. Afterward, Hope got on the kneeboard and waved over at their boat. As Grandma Shimer said, she's ready for Busch Gardens!

Toby and Grandpa in the background.

Lane, before grabbing the tow rope, giving the thumbs up!

Mr. Edwards, across the wake and enjoying the smooth water!

I'm throwing this one in just to prove that I got out there and did it!

Lydia enjoying her wading pool at the cabin.

Mr. Edwards finally tossed off Lane and Nathan, the two silliest cousins you'll ever know! Nathan was out there begging for waves and speed and Lane was out there calling for us to slow down! As much as he was afraid, he always climbed in the boat saying, "Awesome!"

Toby loved riding on the towables. Here he is with Wesley.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Happy Birthday!

Happy Birthday to Hope and Sydney and their cousin Wesley. We celebrated their birthdays together with family on Mother's Day weekend. The girls are 12 and Wesley is 13!

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