Parenting and the Beatitudes

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Parenting and the Beatitudes
source: Lou Bueno

John MacArthur wrote, “The Beatitudes demonstrate that the way to heavenly blessedness is antithetical to the worldly path normally followed in pursuit of happiness.”

Parenting isn’t about feeling good all the time.

Make it that, and you’ll have kids who run the house and don’t understand the word no. Some of my best parenting moments are when I feel the worse, I think. Holding a screaming, flailing 5-year-old who is throwing a temper tantrum – when really I just want to shut her in her room and go eat chocolate cake. Taking a deep breath and explaining to my 3-year-old onemoretime that “I need” is not the way we start sentences to ask for things. Not biting back when my 17-month-old decides to gnaw at my shoulder.

Often parenting is going against my human nature and trying to latch on to my Jesus-nature instead, asking for His power to flood me. Because seriously, there is no way I can do this on my own.

In the Beatitudes, Jesus shows us a flip-flop view of His kingdom versus the world’s. He says, “You’re going to mourn. You’re going to be persecuted. You’re going to need to show mercy and peace and gentleness when you don’t want to. But I am going to bless you for it, and it’s how I am going to work through your life.”

How many times as a parent do you feel mournful? Poor in spirit? Persecuted, even, by your children or other parents? Jesus blesses that.

The Beatitudes are everything I want to be as a parent. Gentle. Peaceful. Merciful. Pure in heart. In my study Bible, MacArthur also writes that “gentleness is supreme self-control empowered by the Spirit.”

I’ve seen a graphic around Facebook lately, with a toddler laying on top of his mama on the beach and the words, “You’re never going to be loved like this again.”

Until we see Christ, no one on earth is going to love us with the uninhibited crazy love of a toddler or preschooler. So let’s pour back that love, praying for the Spirit to fill us with mercy, purity of heart, gentleness, and peace, not giving up when we are mournful or feel persecuted or want to hide in our rooms and throw stuff at the wall.

In The Message paraphrase, Matthew 5:3 is, “You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule.”

Praise God and Amen!

The Kindergarten Tears

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Bus.
source: cinderellasg

So this is what it took to melt my frozen heart.

I still hadn’t boo-hooed about Libbie going to kindergarten as of yesterday morning. So far, so good. She loves being busy all day, although she is both exhausted and needs to run around like a crazy person when she gets home. Even in this exhaustion, she wasn’t falling asleep in the van on the way home.

I decided yesterday morning that I would let her ride the bus in the afternoons. For a variety of factors, this really works best for our family. Her school, although public, is a lottery/specialized type school, and it is a 20-minute drive in no traffic – and at that time of day, there is almost always traffic on the interstate I have to drive to get there. Joshua is often napping around the time we needed to leave. It seemed silly to drive all the way there (which some days was taking 45 minutes because of traffic), sit in the car ride line for another 20 minutes or more, and have to use the gas, wake up the baby from his nap, etc, just to avoid putting Libbie on a big scary school bus.

So yesterday morning I talked to her teacher and we worked it out. The bus was set to arrive at the stop at 4:45, according to the schedule.

All day I felt on the brink of tears as I thought about my baby girl getting on the bus. Why? Why is it such a big deal now? There were days when everyone rode the bus; and if they didn’t, they walked to school, probably sans parents. Mostly I felt torn at the decision: was I being selfish? Were my reasons valid?

So around 4:15 I got in my car, planning to go pick up a prescription before I headed to the bus stop. And at 4:20, before I even got off campus, her bus driver called me. They were there, he said. He couldn’t let a kindergartner off unless I was there. So where was I?

Um, the schedule said 4:45. But he said no one had shown up for the stop prior to Libbie’s, so they had come straight from the school. And I wasn’t there to get my baby on the first day she rode the bus.

Yep, that is when the bawling happened.

It feels like there are so many things I am supposed to know without being told. As a major firstborn rule-follower, this has been hard for me! Like my daughter, I want things outlined for me in pen, so I know exactly what I am supposed to be doing and can do it the right way. For both of us … this may not always happen. We both might feel a little bit lost for awhile.

I’m just hoping we can make it through the learning curve without some major meltdowns.

This Is How We Do It

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As you may know from my self-confessed blog crush, Modern Mrs. Darcy is pretty much my favorite blog. I comment there so much that I sometimes worry Anne will think I am stalking her. (But really, do you know any bloggers who LOATHE comments? Hint: NO.)

I am so honored today to be guest-posting at MMD about “how I do it” – as a work-at-home mom to three little ones, writing for magazines and managing my own blog as well as a brand’s, and just generally attempting to stay sane.

And if you’re visiting from Anne’s blog, welcome. You might enjoy some of these posts that characterize what I do here at JessieWeaver.net – parenting, faith, recipes, books, and confessing my awful housekeeping skills.

  • 25 Jesus-Centered Christmas Books to Celebrate Advent is by far my most-pinned post, and one I think is really helpful! I know we don’t want to start thinking about Christmas yet, but …
  • I’m slowly working on telling The Big Story, about God working in our lives and marriage through foreclosure and completely unexpected circumstances.
  • My son Joshua may have been a surprise, but he was no accident!
  • Nine Minutes is pretty typical of my inability to get a grip on keeping a clean home.

And to my regular readers, I hope you’ll hop over and read what I had to say.

_______

Also, I think I got the most Facebook comments I’ve ever received when I confessed I haven’t cried yet about Libbie starting kindergarten. I wrote a little more about it on ParentLife this weekend, if you are interested. Here’s “More Ways to Feel Guilty: Not Crying about Kindergarten.” Plus you can see Libbie’s adorable first-day-of-school picture.

Roasted Salmon with Creamy Dijon-Shallot Sauce

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Salmon with Dijon-Shallot Sauce

Let’s be honest: despite the shelves of cookbooks, I get nearly all my recipes from blogs. A couple of weeks ago I made a menu plan, went to the store, and came back and cooked those meals I had written down. But when I got to this one I absolutely could NOT find the recipe!

I searched my computer histories to no avail. I checked a couple cookbooks I knew I had referenced in the last week. Nada. Well, I decided, I would just have to improvise.

And this sauce was so dang delicious! I am glad I didn’t give up on it. I knew the recipe I’d seen had shallots (because I bought one), Dijon mustard, and sour cream. I went from there. I ended up eating the sauce on the salmon, asparagus, AND the rice.

Roasted Salmon with Creamy Dijon Shallot Sauce

Yield: 4 servings, with extra sauce for vegetables or rice

You can cook the salmon any way you like, but I prefer roasting in the oven to pan-frying. I feel like it's easier to catch it before it overcooks.

Ingredients

  • 4 salmon fillets
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1/2 large or 1 small shallot, minced
  • 1 T Dijon mustard
  • 1 T lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. dried dill
  • about 2/3 c. sour cream

Instructions

Preheat oven to 400F. Sprinkle salmon with salt and pepper. If you want to roast asparagus or green beans along with the salmon, toss them in olive oil, salt, and pepper as well. Lay on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. Bake 10-13 minutes, until salmon flakes easily. (Time will depend on the thickness of your fillets. May take longer.)

Meanwhile, heat 1 T olive oil over medium heat in a small skillet. Add minced shallot and cook until very soft. Turn heat to low and stir in mustard and lemon juice.

Remove from heat and gently stir in sour cream and dill. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Plate salmon and drizzle/pour/dollop sauce over it to serve (or serve on the side, if your husband is nuts and doesn't like sour cream, like someone I know).

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What’s your favorite way to have salmon? My daughter LOVES salmon, so I try to cook it once a week.

Saturday Linky Love

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Saturday Linky Love button

So it’s the Friday night of my child’s first week of kindergarten. It wasn’t even a full week – she went Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday. And I. am. exhausted. Why?? Shouldn’t I be less tired with one less child around (most of the time)? When she gets home it’s mostly insanity until bedtime, though, which wears me plumb out. I am trying not to fall asleep at 8:18 p.m. as I write this.

Here are my favorite links of the week.

Reading offline: I’ve made it to book three, Torrent, in the River of Time series by Lisa T. Bergren. I love them so, just as much in the rereading. (By the way, my Kindle DIED yesterday. I am mourning. So, you know, go buy some books with my Amazon links so I can get a new one. Someday.)

So, what did you read that was great this week? Link up here. You can grab the code for the button in the sidebar, if you want. Please link back here and add the PERMALINK to your post, not your home page.

My Baby Birdy Is Getting Her Wings

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My oldest baby starts kindergarten tomorrow.

At some times we’ve been sure it would never come, and at others feared the same. Libbie’s been ready – at least in her mind – to go to kindergarten since she was about 2. She would ask, “When can I go to eleventure school?” She had to be 5 AND it had to be August, we told her, feeling like it was miles and miles away down the road.

And now we’re at that crossroads.

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I fold her clothes tonight and wonder if she will still want to wear Elsa and Anna shirts. Will she still be obsessed with pink and love jeggings? Or will she be brainwashed into Justice and want to wear high heels? How will her thoughts and ways change, influenced by other little girls and boys and teachers for so many hours a week?

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If you know me or have read this blog basically at all, you know that my relationship with Libbie can be difficult. She is strong-willed to the core, fighting any instructions and reframing them to make them her idea. If she ever just said “yes” to something I told her to do I might pass out from surprise. She still has tantrums that put a 2-year-old to shame.

But then she is sugar-sweet and cuddly and loves to read, always has. She adores making art, singing, and dancing. She loves her brothers, sometimes a little too hard. She is often in her own little imaginary world, talking and singing to herself, not unlike another little girl I once knew, 27 or so years ago.

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She is tender-hearted and very sensitive, probably an HSP. She frightens easily, hates cats and most dogs, and is sometimes shy.

I afraid she will change. Without me knowing it. She’s never gone to school, been away from me, more than 15 hours a week since we moved to Chattanooga when she was 14 months. What will it be like? She is ready. I am ready. But we’re both teetering on the edge, unsure how to proceed.

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All I can do is pray that we have and will continue to raise her to find her strength in Jesus, knowing that we love and support her in all she does. I pray now, as I did when she was only 6 months old, that she will know the breadth and depth and height and width of God’s love and be filled with His fullness.

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I love this girl and I’m afraid I’ve messed everything up being too strict, not firm enough, too depressed, too crazy, too … something. Will she feel firmly her place in our family, in our love, and strive? Will she struggle to make friends, not to withdraw, to have confidence, like that other little girl I once knew?

I know it will be happy, and it will be good. And in every happy moment of growth, we feel grief in the growing. I am delighted. I am scared. I am grieving my preschooler.

We love you, Libbie. Go rock out at kindergarten. Be yourself and be His.

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