Thursday, November 19, 2015

alone in a crowd

There are one, two, three, four, five, six of us. Me and my siblings--six total. Life in our house growing up was almost always busy and loud.

But it was also lonely. For me, at least.

In the fourth grade I started journaling. What began as a weekly assignment for English became a life-long spiritual discipline of writing letters to God.

When I first started writing letters, I folded them up real small and kept them in a box. One night, in tenth grade I think it was, I was going through my memory box (start one for each of your kids if you haven't already!) when I stumbled upon this box of letters to God.

I started reading them, of course.

I couldn't help but laugh at my younger self and the things about which I chose to write. Small things, petty events. But as I read, a common theme kept popping up every so often.

Dear God, please send me a friend. I don't have any friends. 

I read this note and tenth-grade me cried for fourth-grade me. I was a lonely kid growing up. The kind that people liked but didn't really belong anywhere. I cried because I hurt for fourth-grade me...and because I knew that deep down inside, I was still lonely.

Loneliness is inevitable. God made us for relationship, specifically for an intimate relationship with Him, and when that relationship isn't nurtured, we do all sorts of things to try to make feelings of loneliness go away.

We'll never be able to protect our kids from the clutches of loneliness, but we can be parents who nurture young, tender hearts with God's love.

Without a doubt, I know that we all want to be the best parents we can be for our kids. Not perfect parents, but parents who can say, "I'm doing the best I know how." Following Jesus is a good start. Following Jesus on purpose is an even better one.

I've been giving it a lot of thought, and there are five attributes I want to cultivate as a God-honoring mom. As best I can, I want to be a mom who

1. Invests without constraint,
2. Empowers without fear,
3. Connects without pride,
4. Endures without surrendering, and
5. Prays without ceasing

Cultivating these five attributes enables me to intentionally raise my kids as best I can. Over the next few weeks, I'll be sharing about each attribute and how they challenge me at the very core.

While you'll be hearing a lot about me and my struggles, I encourage you to reflect and confess with me, that we may find victory in the Lord together.