Friday night I made the rare trip to the store with little kids in tow. Zion had received a gift card for his birthday and so I wanted to let him pick out a toy. From the get-go it was explained to Emari that this was brother's "special" money from his birthday so she would not be picking anything out. That went over well as you can imagine. We scoured the toy aisles at Target, made some suggestions for Christmas lists and purchased Zion's choice.

Having to stop by Barnes and Noble to pick up the big sisters, we were met with another opportunity to purchase Emari some goodies. Of course, she explained why she should get something special, since we were no longer at the place where Zion got his present and so on and so forth. I was adamant in my defense that she would not be receiving a treat tonight. As a parent, I always want to be giving my children things. The rub is that I know that my job is not to give them everything they want, or even everything that I want to give them. My job here is to prepare them to be good people who love God and serve Him and others. Now good people who love God don't get everything they want when they want it and more often than not have to watch other people receive things while they do not. We each have our turn getting the good stuff, but somehow we don't recall that when we're watching it being doled out to others.

That said, I felt strong and right in my stance to keep a vigilant eye on my daughter to ward off any hints that she may be envious of her brother's good fortune. The next morning we went out for doughnuts and again the rare occasion to go into the doughnut shop and pick out our own treats presented itself complete with chocolate milk. Then on to the church Holiday Bazaar with all you can jump bouncy house, face painting, candy, hot dogs, sodas, and cousins, cousins, cousins galore. A child's dreamland right?

I thought so and Emari agreed. As we got into the car to take her sisters to a game, she said, "Mom, this is the best day ever!"

Yes, score one for Mom.

However, on the way back to the church and the endless fun, Emari said, "Now I think when we get back you need to give me three dollars cuz I want to buy something and get a snowcone." My reply of course was to mention that today had been full of treats and sugar and that she herself had said that it was the best day ever. Then she rebutted with a gentle reminder that she didn't get any treats yesterday and that she was having a great day, but she just wanted more....

I promise you sometimes I feel like this parenting thing is a cosmic battle of that old card game, War. I lay something down, she lays something down. Sometimes my card outranks and I take the round, sometimes she does. Here we were at a stand still. I stood my ground and reminded her: 1) Yesterday was brother's birthday money and I did not "owe" her a present, she had to wait for her birthday to roll around, 2) She had two hand-picked "sugar laden" doughnuts and chocolate milk for breakfast (something that never happens) 3) She had spent the entire day playing with cousins, eating treats and generally doing whatever she wanted to.

Score Mom.

We returned to the church to help wind things down. Emari came to me with a bouquet of white and purple star balloons that one of the vendors just gave to her for FREE! (Emari's emphasis added)

Score Emari.

Then her auntie gave her one of the fairy wands she had been eyeing all day.

Score Emari.

Finally, momma won a raffle, not either of the raffles that mommy really wanted i.e. the Scentsy owl tart warmer or the burlap Christmas stocking, oh no. Mommy won the basket with the tutu and matching headband.

Score Emari.

I sat back and thought, I just got trumped by the Most High! Here I was doing my mommy duty of teaching my daughter about fairness and taking turns and rejoicing with others and He went and put me to shame.

Score Mom and Emari.


Why Won't You Let Me Forgive You?!?

There was an excellent example of real life forgiveness played out within our house last week. On Tuesday morning, Emari was complaining about her sisters talking mean to her. Well, it escalated over the course of the day and by the afternoon, she was full blown ready to forgive someone. I was thinking "wonderful" and left her to do some forgiving of her sister while I grabbed Zion from after school care. As I returned to the car and found big sister repeating, "What's wrong with you?" and Emari, tears streaming down her face screaming, "Say you're sorry!"I knew something had gone awry. As usual, I took the matter to the pastor AKA Dad. He sat down with the two of them and the reality came out.

Emari was under the impression that she couldn't forgive sister for her offenses if said sister did not first ask for her forgiveness. So she demanded the apology. In her mind sister not being sorry or being oblivious to the fact that she had even done anything wrong was standing in her own way of bestowing forgiveness and therefore going on with life. Emari really wanted to forgive her sister and in the end we were able to explain that if doesn't work that way. Forgiveness is given whether its asked for or not. She forgave her sister and sobbed all of her pent up tears on her sister's shirt and we went on home.

That image stuck with me though. I mean, I feel the same way. How can I forgive Lord, if the offender hasn't even acknowledged that he or she is doing anything wrong? Can't they be broken and say sorry first? Sometimes it works that way, but more often than not, it doesn't.
Colossians 3:12-14 So, chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline. Be even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense. Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you. And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It’s your basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it.


Book Review: The Beauty of Broken by Elisa Morgan


Broken is something that no one wants. Not for your life, your family, or your children. Unfortunately, its an inevitable part of every one's life. No matter how hard you try and what fool proof formulas you attempt, the perfect life is an illusion. Bringing hope, this well-written book points out the beauty that can be found in brokenness.
Are you exhausted by this fairy tale? Sick of it? How did we become convinced that following Jesus would provide an escape from sorrow in our families, that discipleship would always produce loyal disciples? And why do we keep pursuing the myth that if we just follow some parenting formula, our children, even the wayward ones, will turn out right?

 For any one who has ever struggled with feelings of disappointment, discouragement, and failure as a parent, Elisa Morgan has written a book which will push you forward like a shoulder to lean on. She eloquently reminds the reader that God has all things in His tender hands even using our children to help to shape us into what He wants us to be.
My children have been God's chief tool for the shaping of me, shaving off the certainty, molding a softer version, raising up the gumption necessary to face another day.
Broken can be a place to begin again and allow God to reshape the structure of our lives if we allow Him the opportunity...

 I received a free copy of this book from Booksneeze in return for an honest review.

Check out more about the book here.

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