Encouragement, Mothering, Words

Mothering: When Our Kids Are In Training

family-shadows

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

Can I be mama-level honest for a moment?

With a pre-teen and a teen boy living under our roof, consuming more and more food, our days with them are passing lightning-strike fast. Soon, one will be in high school. Just after that, we will celebrate a couple of graduations, and our boy-men will launch into the world.

Hubby and I have worked to instill godly values into them. We strive to live out our faith and share with them the things Jesus is teaching us.

Growing feet

We’re intentional about how we instruct them in life skills.

We’ve given them opportunities to try things they’re interested in. Sacrificed hours to drive them to football practice, Boy Scout meetings, games, Courts of Honor. We purpose to make memories as a family.

early-morning-football

And yet, I fear I’m falling short somehow.

I see the childishness they both live out so frequently. I wonder if we should be doing more to train them up to live as productive adults.

We’ve made decisions regarding screen time, and when they can have electronic devices. We know our sons and those things that will lure them into unhealthy lifestyles and choices. We’re trying to protect and prepare them for all the distractions our world offers.

We’re doing what we know to encourage our boys to have a heart that chases after Jesus.

boy-hands-man-hands

And yet . . .

I’m not seeing the fruit in their lives.

A wise woman once reminded me that . . .

when we see our kids exhibit attitudes, behaviors . . .

when they make choices that don’t line up with adulthood . . .

that our boys are still in training.

mother-and-daughter

When one of our boys smarts off, I remind my husband—and he reminds me—they’re still in training.

We only have a few short years left to train them. A few brief sets of months when they will live under our roof. Only a certain number of days when they will be influenced by our guidance.

How many times have I lost my patience? How many times have I placed my priorities above their heart needs in the moment?

More times than I care to count.

In the busy-ness of keeping our family running, of getting the kids where they need to be when they need to be there, I forget to speak words of life.

I forget to simply engage with them. Even if only through a hug or a squeeze of a hand.

brothers-arms-around

I need to be intentional about being in the now, speaking words of life to them.

When one of them lives out what we’ve tried to instill, I need to acknowledge it. I need to be purposeful in encouraging them.

For as macho and independent as they sometimes act, they’re still just thirteen and twelve. They are still a little more boy than man. And they need those words of affirmation.

Yes, they still require guidance and some instruction. But even more than that our boys need to know they are seen. Not just for what they do, but for who they are.

God has created them with such amazing hearts. I need to not become discouraged when they make poor choices.

After all, they’re still in training.

Big foot little foot

Most importantly, I need to remember that these two precious boys belong to God first and foremost. They are His gift to Hubby and me. They are our heritage, given to us for a little while.

We need to do our best to raise them well, but ultimately, it’s God who knows their hearts and their needs. He knows the plans He has for them. And God’s good enough to fill in the gaps that show up in our parenting.

gods-good-enough-parenting-copy

I have a hard time letting go of the burden of responsibility. But, God wants me to delight in these two gifts He’s given us.

I’m responsible to be a godly example, but He’s the only perfect parent. I’m slowly learning to let go of my craving for perfection and lean into the beauty of God’s grace in raising our boys.

What about you? In what areas of your life have you learned to let go of the need for perfection and learned to embrace God’s grace in the process? For those who are parents, what’s one word of encouragement you can share with other parents?

Click to Tweet: And God’s good enough to fill in the gaps that show up in our parenting.

Today, I’m linking up with Holly Barrett’s Testimony Tuesday, Kelly Balarie’s #RaRaLinkup and Intentional Tuesday

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23 thoughts on “Mothering: When Our Kids Are In Training”

  1. Great post. I have two boys, fifteen months apart. They are now eighteen and seventeen. What you pour into them does eventually come out when they need it most. You won’t see it for years, but it IS in there. B Blessed!

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    1. Lilka, I’m sure you have definitely walked through some of the same trials I have. My guys are seventeen months apart. 🙂 I so appreciate your encouragements. I keep remembering that they will one day live out some of those qualities we’re trying to teach them now. Thanks for the reminder that they do eventually “get it.”

      I appreciate you stopping by!

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  2. Yes, I am learning God fills in the gaps and it is something He wants me to embrace in faith. I remember a mother telling me once, when I was going through a turbulent time with my teenage daughter, ‘your going to get through it.’ And of course she was right. There can be so much fear when our children take a different path than we ‘think’ is right, and I so get that fear and frustration. Sometimes I will share my story with parents struggling to hopefully give hope and assurance that you do get through it and expect the unexpected which can be so much better than you ever imagined.

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    1. Lynn, you’re right. We do get through each struggle, each trial, don’t we? A long time ago, a friend had a magnet that said, “This, too, shall pass.” Yes, the fear. I try not to dwell on that, or give it room to grow in my thoughts, but it’s hard some days. I like the idea of expecting the unexpected. Thanks for your words of encouragement today, friend!

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  3. I’m *still* in training, while homeschooling the kiddo. I still seek the advice of Mom and Dad – though I suspect they give advice as equals rather than parents now. I remember what a church member told us before our kiddo arrived – don’t worry about being perfect; everyone is raised by amateurs.

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    1. Gabriel, after a hard afternoon yesterday, I was joking with some friends that I’m the one in training. 🙂 I have (mostly) given up the notion of being perfect. But it’s so ingrained that sometimes it still pokes its ugly head up into my thoughts and wreaks a little bit of havoc there. I love the words your fellow church member shared with you!

      One thing I’ve been told by a friend is this: “Motherhood—perfection not required.” I’m thankful for God’s grace in this child-raising season. I need it!

      Thanks so much for sharing your wisdom today.

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  4. Well you know that letting go is one of the themes I am living right now in my life. As parents we often feel we are not ready to let go of our kids because we are afraid we haven’t taught them everything they need to know. Guess what? We will never be able to teach them everything they need to know. We provide a foundation and rely on God to fill on the gaps. He does a much better job than we ever could.

    Today let me assure you that you are a wonderful mom who is raising two amazing sons. You keep journeys focused on God knowing that He will provide all that is needed. One of the biggest honors we have as parents is to pray for our kids. We can do that for the rest of their lives.

    Love your words today! Sending hugs across the miles!

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    1. It’s a beautiful-hard theme you’re working out, Mary. This letting-go thing. I needed your reminder that I’ll never be able to teach our boys everything they need to know. I guess that’s why I take such comfort in the truth that God does fill in our parenting gaps. I have to remind myself that the boys are His first, and ours temporarily.

      Thank you for your words of life. They breathed freshness into my spirit, friend.

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  5. Yes and amen. God fills the mothering gaps here as well. Our oldest is a senior. He heads off to college after this year. I find myself wanting to cram as much guidance into him as possible. It’s not always pretty, my nervous energy cramming love his way. 😉 I think there’s a lesson in trust there as well, but I must admit, this need has dropped me to my knees in a whole new, glorious way. He.is.God. Enjoying the visit via #testimonyTuesday.

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    1. Kristi, it’s so reassuring to know God has our backs, isn’t it? Our oldest hits high school next year, and I know that time will FLY by. I can totally relate to trying to cram into our boys all the guidance we can. But, truth is, they don’t want to hear it all from us. Some things, they’ll learn the hard way, or through experience. I have to be okay with that. And yes, trust. When we can trust God, then we can more easily let our kiddos go into the adventure of life, right?

      I agree. I’m praying so much more for my boys now than I did when they were younger. Thanks for the reminder that God IS God. 🙂 I so appreciate you stopping by!

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  6. God was the perfect parent and yet, His kids rebelled. Don’t take it personally. Your job is to love them and teach them the keys to the Kingdom. It’s their choice to make to follow God. You have them while they’re in training and then, they’re God’s. You will still always be there to love them. Your God’s arms for hugging, His lips for giving kisses and His presence in their lives. That’s a huge responsibility and a great blessing and if you do those three things, you’ve done your job Mama. Coming to you from the purposeful faith link up.

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    1. Leah, I have to remember God IS the perfect parent. And look at His kids!! 🙂 I keep praying for them, because I know there are certain aspects in them that can only be unlocked by the Holy Spirit. So, Hubs and I pray, and guide as we’re able, and we’re learning to trust God with the things beyond our control. Thanks for the reminder that one of my most crucial jobs is to love our guys well—through hugs and kisses, a listening ear, and “being Jesus with skin on” for them. It’s so true.

      I’m so glad you stopped by!

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  7. Oh, Jeanne, we were on the same wavelength this week. Our kids are still in training. And, I am still in training – as a mom, as a wife, as a daughter of God. Grace is the word, isn’t it – for myself and for my kids. Thanks for this reminder…

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  8. I love the reminder to let go of the need for perfection and lean into the beauty of God’s grace. It’s so easy to fall into thinking it all depends on us and taking on responsibility beyond what we were meant to carry.
    It sounds like you’re doing a great job of teaching your boys good values, helping them grow as individuals and pointing them to Jesus. And I love that when we do our part as well as we can, we can trust God to fill in the gaps.

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    1. Lesley, the best way to walk through this life is under God’s grace, don’t you think? I’ve definitely fallen into the trap that has me convinced all of life’s burdens are on my shoulders alone. We’re so silly to view life in this manner. Yes, we are to do our part, and then trust God to fill in the gaps as He does His. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts here today!

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  9. Wonderful, wonderful post, Jeanne!! I cannot tell you how many times I nodded and agreed and said “amen” while I was reading your words. There is so much freedom in knowing our children are still in training, it’s not all up to us to turn them into perfect adult humans, they belong to God first, etc. God’s been showing me some things about this very topic that will probably show up in a post of my own soon. In the meantime, I can’t tell you how encouraging it was to read this!

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    1. Lois, I always appreciate your encouragements. There truly is much freedom in knowing it’s not all up to us to make them perfect. There is rest to be found in embracing this truth, isn’t there? I am thankful God allows us to sharing this mothering journey together.

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  10. One word of advice would always be to be with them and soak in each moment because the time is so fleeting. But wow, that’s hard. Life just gets busy, but we never get those moments back. But … I think when we do the best we can, and love our kids, we won’t have regrets.

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