parent in training.

elliot asked if we could take a picture of us looking angry.
he just looks cute.

unfortunately, my face is all too comfortable with this look.

i'm always thinking about parenting.

about how i much i adore those four entrusted to us.
and how often i show that 
and how parenting is THE job that i want to do well.

a friend recently gave me a book called

i'm only into the first chapter and already it's making me think.
and try new things.
and listen more.

and it's reminding me of helpful bible verses like:
"everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry," (james 1:19)

instead of that, with my kids, i am usually
slow to listen, quick to speak and quick to become angry.
i have more than a full plate right now.
and i think in times like this, 
when the pace is fast,
my patience runs so thin.

i don't listen to my kids.

they cry. i get upset.
they complain. i shut them down.
they fight. i send them away.

i'm convicted of how i often i disregard them.
especially when there is conflict or tension.
so this week, i've been trying to listen more.
i've been trying to be more empathetic with them.
i've been trying to be available~ not just physically, but emotionally too.

when they cry, i acknowledge their feelings.
when they complain, i tell them i understand.
and when they fight, i stop and take time with them.

and you know what?
it's really helping.

often just sincerely acknowledging the way they are feeling
helps dissipate the drama. 
and i believe gives them dignity.
and gives their feelings legitimacy.

not to mention, communicates the way i really feel about them.

which is what we all want, right?
and i believe this is how god treats us.
he is open.
he is listening.
he is accepting.
he is forgiving.

and he actually see us through to our core.

he doesn't just want our good moments,
(like i can be as a parent.)
but enters into our messy, dark ones willingly.

(even our parenting messes~ thankfully!)

and his forgiveness is transformative
to us as parents and to our children.

i'm thankful for the training my children put me through...