Archive | May, 2016

The S word I won’t use

18 May

When my oldest brought home her first report card in Kindergarten, I looked at the data and swelled with pride over her wonderful marks.  And in that moment I made a split second decision that I don’t think I will ever regret.  I decided that when it came to grades in school, I would not tell my daughter she was smart.  In fact, I knew then and there that I would never look at a report card from any of my kids and use that S word… smart.

I have 5 children, and while I would love to believe that they will all be brilliant and make fantastic grades, I realize that there is a decent chance that there will be at least one child who will struggle in school.  Maybe it will be a learning disability or a flat out low IQ.  But if I use grades as a standard for smartness, what will I do when a child works really hard and comes home with a C? Am I willing for him to assume that he is not smart?

So instead, when papers come home or report cards are issued, I say, “Your grades are a great reflection of how hard you worked.” Norah is a great speller, so she has heard me say, “One of your strengths is spelling.  I struggled with spelling, so I’m thankful it is easy for you.”  When grades aren’t great, we talk about what (if anything) should change in the way we approach homework and tests, and we have frequent conversations about carelessness and reading directions thoroughly.  (Lest anyone think I go easy on Norah, we spend A LOT of time hashing and rehashing math.  It isn’t a strength for her, but the grades she brings home are more because she rushes to get done with her work and not so much about her intelligence!)

As the kids get older, I look forward to the individual gifts that my children will discover.  That report card full of C’s may just come to a child who can fix a problem with our computer or play beautiful music or build amazing things.  It will be so great to discover a million ways that they are smart in their very own ways!


(Thanks a million to my friend Cindy who has for several years been such an inspiration to the way I think about this. The ways you spur me towards better parenting are endless!  Love you!)


Undeserved Grace

4 May

I won’t bore anyone with the day in, day out hectic-ness that my life has been over the past weeks… but trust me–I’ve felt overwhelmed.  So yesterday when I found out that someone had stolen my debit card information and taken all but $180 from our checking account, I was furious.  It wasn’t so much about the money because we will be able to get it back.  But, I was so angry about the inconvenience of it all.  You see, Matt got paid on Friday, so they took the money I was going to pay all of our bills with for the month. It just puts extra work on me to try to get everything paid on time now.  The sheriff’s office sent someone to the house to file a report, and I will have to now go to the sheriff’s office to pick up a copy of it.  Then, I will have to go to the bank and do paperwork.  There will be time that we have to sit and wait while everything gets sorted out.  So, yeah, I was mad.

My first thoughts were of how much I hated the person/people who did this to me.  I told myself that I didn’t deserve this.  Why didn’t they rob a wealthy person who had plenty to spare or someone who didn’t have 5 kids to take care of?  And almost immediately, God struck my heart with so much guilt over that attitude.  Last year in the most tumultuous season of my life, I never once asked God why I was walking that road.  I knew without a shadow of a doubt that I could do it with my head held high, not because I was capable alone or had confidence in myself, but because God was telling His story of grace and love and redemption through my circumstances.

And now God wants me to bask in His goodness in this, too.

You see, in all of my anger yesterday, God kept prodding my soul with the words of John 16:33.  I tried to ignore it, but the words kept bubbling up through my ugliness.

“… In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

And as those words ran in my mind over and over, I became so awed over the tense of the verbs that Jesus used.  I will have trouble... but He has overcome.  Every day will have problems, but He conquered death.  He has already won.  I don’t have to wait on that.

I am the robber, I am the thief, I am the crook.

Yet, I am redeemed.

Thank you, Lord.