Wednesday, July 15, 2015

10 lessons I've learned from my kids

Being a parent has taught me a lot...about life, about myself, about others, and about the Lord-- particularly my need for Him!

I always say my children have taught me more than I could ever hope to teach them, or at least as much. And they don't even know it ;)

Here are a few of the top lessons I've learned from watching and interacting with them:

1) Your appearance does not define who you are.
My kids love me when I have a great hair day, and they love me when I can't tame the mane. They love me when I've gained a few pounds, when I'm bloated, and when I have a six pack of abs. It doesn't matter to them. They are too busy loving me to see any of those things. They have taught me how to see beyond the flaws, in myself and in others.

2) Grace...always, grace.
Parenting is hard and to be honest if we point out every negative thing our kids say and do, we'd be harping on them all day long. My kids encourage me to extend them grace when they mess up, and they have taught me how to extend that same grace to myself, too. I am also fully aware of God's grace for me as I navigate the difficult waters of parenting and failing daily.

3) There is beauty everywhere.
I remember when we first moved to California, my oldest was captivated with the beautiful flowers that we encountered on our many daily walks. She would stop at every rose and smell it, begging me to allow her to pick one. But her favorite flower of all? Dandelions. Yep, those pesky little weeds that you can never seem to get rid of. She loved them, and still does, better than all the roses, peonies, poppies, and gerber daisies. Her love for that simple dandelion has taught me a lot about finding beauty in unexpected places...even weeds.

4) Embrace the chaos.
Life is crazy and chaotic, it just is and always will be as long as we're living here on this earth. We will always deal with bad attitudes, sicknesses, mean people, and circumstances that just don't go our way. Deal with it. Life is messy and often doesn't look how we pictured it to, but that's life...and I'm pretty happy with mine! I know one day I will miss the messes, the noise, the clutter!

5) Live with intention & purpose.
Parenting should be a very intentional endeavor. My kids have shown me how to take every day moments and turn them into teachable ones. A sibling quarrel is an excellent time to practice sharing, apologizing, forgiving, and remembering how many times God has forgiven us. Temper tantrums are a good time to work on taking deep breaths, learning to control your emotions instead of vice versa, and focusing on the positive aspects of life in that moment.

6) Time is fleeting, use it wisely.
Every parent knows how quickly time passes. Having my kids has shown me that our time here on earth is precious and limited, and I want to make the most of it! I realize that I won't have my babies with me 24/7 forever, so I'd better soak in the time that I do have with them! They have taught me how to use my time more wisely and focus in on what is important...them.

7) Enjoy the simple things.
Both of my daughters have taught me this lesson, over and over. I am always amazed when I see them take simple things like rocks or wooden blocks and turn them into a story or a game. Watching their imaginations at work blesses me so much! Enjoy the simple things in life. Like sitting outside watching them play, hearing them laugh. Or reading a story, singing a song, coloring a picture. (And, mamas, enjoy a sit down with a good book and a cup of tea every chance you can get!). Ahh the simple life.

8) God is everywhere.
When I look into my girls' faces, I see the work of God. I see how He carefully knit together their little personalities, their preferences, their differences and likenesses. I appreciate His handiwork and am thankful to be able to play a small role in it. Also going for walks with little legs that go very slowly has helped me to slow down and see Him all around me-- in the trees, the ocean, the sky. He is so magnificent!

9) I am capable of doing hard things.
Pregnancy is hard. Childbirth and the following weeks and months are hard. Parenting is hard. Juggling it all can be hard. But I've done it! I've lived to tell about it (so far)! Being a mom has taught me that I am stronger than I thought, I am capable of more than I thought, and I have a bigger heart than I ever thought. You can do hard things, too, mama.

10) Children are blessings, not hindrances or inconveniences.
Sure having a kid isn't easy. We already covered that one. But oh my, what if I had said no to the possibility of being a mom? How many incredible moments of joy and love would I have missed out on? My children are my most valuable accomplishments, I am so proud of each of them. They are blessings to me now, and I am raising them to be blessings to others later.

I'd love to hear the lessons your kids have taught you! Please share in the comments below!

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