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I have a confession that needs to be made today. It is something that has plagued me for a number of years and an occurrence (or lack thereof) that I bemoan almost daily.

I don’t have quiet times. I just don’t- and sometimes the weight of not having them is almost overwhelming.

You see- I have 5 kids, 3 of which have special needs. I’m a stay-at-home mom who runs a consulting firm out of my house. I have a husband. I’m active in our church. I try to write and nurture my ministry between snotty noses, feeding kids, and diaper changes. I have no time for anything past what I’m doing most days. I wake up tired and fall asleep each night exhausted. I’m in a season of raising tiny tots and there is precious little more that I do.

Though it saddens me I just don’t have time for quiet times. And it’s become a constant source of discouragement.

Because somewhere along the line I bought into the lie that there is such a thing as ‘quiet time’ with God that must be done daily. Somewhere I started thinking that if my time with the Lord didn’t look like an Instagram picture or a Pinterest worthy photo then I was doing this whole Christian-thing wrong. Somewhere I started believing that if I didn’t have 30 mins of uninterrupted, hot-coffee-on-the-desk, picturesque-mountains-in-the-background-with-birds-chirping-around-me-overlooking-a-crystal-cleat-lake-Bible-time... that my walk was somehow lacking.

Somewhere I thought that this idea of ‘quiet time’ was Biblical.

I was wrong.

Dear ones, as a busy mom and wife, writer, nurse, etc etc etc I have spent too many days and seasons of my life regretting seemingly lost moments with Jesus. I’ve shed tears that my kids don’t see me deep in the Word at the kitchen table every morning. I’ve deeply mourned the supposed empty spaces that I should have been spending time with the Father.

I’ve been so sorely mistaken. And though I would that I could have these amazing moments with God, I’m slowly learning that these types of quiet times are just not in the cards for me during this season of my life. They may yet occur in a different time, but for now it’s not possible.

I would imagine that there are not a few of you that have similar longings. Perhaps you feel the weight of not living up to this idealized facade of Christianity. Maybe you too find yourself regretting that your walk isn’t Instagram worthy. You compare. You feel unworthy. You feel lazy perhaps or even sinful.

I get it all too well.

Today let me encourage you. Let me show you what our Father esteems as a true woman of God... the Proverbs 31 woman.

“An excellent wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels. The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain. She does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life. She seeks wool and flax, and works with willing hands. She is like the ships of the merchant; she brings her food from afar. She rises while it is yet night and provides food for her household and portions for her maidens. She considers a field and buys it; with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard. She dresses herself with strength and makes her arms strong. She perceives that her merchandise is profitable. Her lamp does not go out at night. She puts her hands to the distaff, and her hands hold the spindle. She opens her hand to the poor and reaches out her hands to the needy. She is not afraid of snow for her household, for all her household are clothed in scarlet. She makes bed coverings for herself; her clothing is fine linen and purple. Her husband is known in the gates when he sits among the elders of the land. She makes linen garments and sells them; she delivers sashes to the merchant. Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come. She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: "Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all." Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. Give her of the fruit of her hands, and let her works praise her in the gates.”


‭‭Notice there’s not one place here that shows this woman of God sitting down with a cappuccino and diligently spending hours in Bible study? Notice there’s no vases of flowers sitting in the background with perfectly highlighted Bibles laying around?

This season will not always be this way... and I’m learning to not compare other’s seasons with my own. My quiet times don’t exist- at least not in the idealized form I’d like. But I work to daily be about my Father’s business and I choose to stay contented with that. I refuse to live under false conviction that I’m not doing it ‘right’.

God meets us where we’re at. Whether it’s a pretty picture or (in my case) a blurred shot of a busy life. He is good. He understands. And He too is in these moments- crazy as they may be.

Please don’t get me wrong. If I could have quiet times like these with the Lord I would in a heartbeat. There’s nothing unBiblical about them. In fact for those who have the time to spend time with God in this way, I would challenge you to. Everyday. How I long for that kind of time!

But for those of us who’s time with Jesus doesn’t look the way we’d like it to, don’t get discouraged. This passage speaks of raising children, taking care of the poor, being thrifty and running a household well; teaching and working sun up to sun down. The woman of God is BUSY! Did you pick up on that? She’s got her hands and days full! She is about her Lord’s business.

I take such great comfort in that.

My quiet times may be anything but quiet but I see God in my kids faces and He certainly speaks to me through their little voices. I may not get to spend hours in the Word but I get to teach it to my children daily. I may not enjoy that hot cup of coffee each morning before the sun rises with my Savior, listening to the sound of creation awakening but I get to roll out of bed each day with the call of ministry to my family.

Yesterday's Testimony

But in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect. 1 Peter 3:15

Testimony for the Christian is an odd thing. Many new believers fear speaking God's truth in their lives aloud to others at first. Other believers may be struggling under the silence of shame despite being freed by Christ's blood. Some speak from a place of embarrassment or dishonor rather than victory and freedom. Still others have no issue proclaiming to the world what Jesus' forgiveness has done for them.

And then most stop there.

Have you ever noticed how our testimonies tend to be in a vacuum? We tell stories of our past life, our new life through the cross; what changed and how God transformed us... and then we stop.

As if our testimony is over.

As if our testimony is a single-story, told statically, with a beginning, middle, and an end.

I think we've cut ourselves short. And certainly the work of our Redeemer as well.

What if I asked you what yesterday's testimony was?

What did God do in your life 24 hours ago? How did He work through your words and actions the day before? What did He refine and renew in you? What was being sanctified, what was being put to death? What new and exciting thing did He reveal about Himself yesterday?

Let me tell you my testimony from these last 4 days. Last Wednesday we got an unexpected surprise- my parents came to visit. In their 70s, my folks are full-time RVers so our family doesn't get to see them very much. Usually 1-2 times a year is about all we get, so it was a welcome visit. About 2 hours after they arrived, my daughter came to tell me her neck was hurting. Long story short, she has a history of infection from wounds she sustained in a car accident last year. Before I knew it, we were emergently driving the 4 hours up to St. Louis to Children's Hospital for surgery. I spent the whole of the next 3 days away from home- not only not seeing my mom and dad, but not with my 4 other kids or husband either.

But God was in this. As you can imagine, the logistics of having 5 kids is not easy thing to work out even in the best of circumstances. Having something so unplanned happen and trying to figure out life on super short notice is usually impossible. But God knew. He sent my parents to hold down the fort, watch the kids, keep a semblance of normalcy during a stressful time. He KNEW! What a thing! In the midst of illness and surgery, being gone and alone... He provided completely for us. It wasn't ideal. It wasn't perfect. There was a LOT that felt bad. And yet, it was so completely obvious that He was in control and would be, in a very tangible way... Jehovah Jirah.

It may not have been 'our' plans, but His were more complete. More planned. More prepared. Yes, God was surely in last weekend's testimony for me.

You have a testimony from yesterday too.

Dear ones, our testimony do not have an end. Just as God promises ongoing protection, renewal, refreshment... presence. So also should we be constantly proclaiming this continual work within us. His day-to-day work in our lives is no less part of our testimony as our conversion was. Each minute of God's guiding hand, each moment of GodStuff is part of our story.

We should be telling that too.

We should be telling it regularly.

Because our story... HIS story of our lives is unending, eternally being written and provided for. Therefore let us proclaim the whole of our testimony- yesterday's, this morning's, last hour's, and all our tomorrow's... until He takes us home.

Oh give thanks to the LORD, call upon His name; Make known His deeds among the peoples Psalm 105:1

Let the redeemed of the LORD say so, whom he has redeemed from trouble. Psalm 107:2

I will not die, but live, And tell of the works of the LORD. Psalm 118:17

What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands, concerning the Word of Life-- and the life was manifested, and we have seen and testify and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was manifested to us-- what we have seen and heard we proclaim to you also, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ. These things we write, so that our joy may be made complete.
1 John 1:1-4

5 Ways to Avoid Being a Helicopter Parent (part 5)- Takeaways from Helicopter Mom by Bethany L. Douglas

For those still with me, we have officially reached the finale of this series! Wahoo! I’m super excited to have taken this journey with you.

Okay, so there’s been (hopefully) some really good GodStuff for you to pray through and contemplate over this last month. If you haven’t read the first 4 blogs, I highly encourage you too check them out first. Here’s a link to the first one to get you going.

As this is only a 5 part series, I had a heckuva time whittling down the entire book. Not to brag, but there’s just so much good stuff in there- not because I’m a brilliant writer, but because God has tons of stuff to say about how to overcome fear and raise our children with Him at the helm. The Bible is just chalk-full of wisdom for this area! So as much as I’d love to write it all out (oh wait… I did… seriously check out the full book!) I’ll leave you with one more nugget of advice for helping to overcome this helicopter parenting thing.

Prayer!!!!

Prayer is a thing people… and not only a thing… but an extremely powerful thing- a thing that brings peace, calm, and comfort. It’s a thing that nurtures your relationship with Christ, will bring His supernatural aid, and produces results. Simply put, prayer is the lynch-pin to this fearless lifestyle we’re all trying to attain.

We should be circling anything and everything in our lives in prayer- not the least of which is our children!

The obsessive nature of our fearing needs to be turned to obsessive praying! The goal is to pray-walk

through every aspect of your life and the lives of your children.First thing in the morning, pray. Before

meals, pray, Walking to the park, pray. Have a fear pop up- pray. Worrying about your kids- pray. Sitting at

the computer at work- pray. Driving in the car- pray. Let it infuse the beginning of every single new moment

of your day. We do a walk- around every time those skids leave the ground, which for some calls, is

multiple times on one flight. Make it a habit. Make it a very necessary practice in your head.

We’ve learned about taking all your fears and thoughts captive, now let’s bind them up,

down, and around and around. Let’s start praying circle upon circle around those fears. Hedge

them in with prayer! Make so many prayer circles around them that they are literally strangled

out. Death by prayer-asphyxiation! Suck all the life out of them by enrcircling them with prayer.

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you, I Peter 5:7.Those fears that paralyze you,

that freak you out, that make day to day normalcy impossible- pray around them, pray and pray

and pray about them, pray through them, underneath them and over them.

I am absolutely all about envisioning things. Putting a minds-eye visual assignment to

stuff. Use this tool if it helps you to ‘see’ what prayers can do. Personally I have all kinds of

prayer visuals- I imagine chains of bondage going around my fears when I pray against them. I

shoot ‘arrows’ up towards heaven with improper thoughts I find myself having. I imagine my

guardian angels flying through the air to assist me when I know I’m going in to a spiritual

warfare situation and I’m praying for strength. Much of this came from my counseling

experiences and I’ve found the imagination to be a very helpful place to put spiritual eyes on

soul-problems.

Conversely, I pray rings of protection around my children all the time. Whenever fears or

concerns of any kind rear up (whether logical or not) I pray circles around them. I think of them

as layers of spiritual bubble wrap followed by feather pillows surrounded by thick jello and all

suspended by angelic parachutes. Seriously, my kids are protected! They are earlobe deep in

prayer protection all the time. And I take that to the bank, I stand firm on that hill, and I rest

peacefully in their protection- because I’ve been intentional and proactive in my prayers for

them. I willfully and faithfully choose to believe that God’s got them because I’ve give them

back to Him, prayerfully, all the time. It takes some practice but, for me, it helps.

When it comes to fear, circle it, pray and pray and pray. Everytime you pray-walk around

that fear you strength the bonds that hold it, you create more safety from it, and you diminish it’s

ability to rear up and kick you in the shin. Instead of it chaining you to the ground, you are

imprisoning it. You are making it captive (very literally a prisoner) to Christ! Bind it spiritually with repetition

and persistence until it is strangled out by Christ bonds… and, poof! that fear is

no longer able to move, blink, paralyze, or handicap you anymore. (excerpt from Helicopter Mom ch. 13)

Prayer is such a powerful thing and yet we all too often use it as a last resort. Someone gets ill, we Google it, we ask friends, we try oils, etc etc and THEN when all else fails… we pray. Friends, this should literally be the FIRST thing we do. Our fears, our worries, our anxious thoughts… why are we not taking those early and often to the Throne? Why?? Doesn’t ‘work’ the first time, still battling those demons? Take them to the Father again… and again. And AGAIN. BE that needy widow beseeching the king. BE that irritating ask-er to the Lord. Spend so much time on your knees that you don’t have the time to actually worry. I promise you… THAT is very much a ‘thing’.

Do THAT kind of thing… you got this! Be that parent that kids grow up seeing on your knees. Let their memories of you be ones of prayer, thanksgiving, and supplication to a very big, very kind, very worthy God.

Whew! You made it! That’s the end of the this part of the trail. If you’re interested more about this prayer stuff, check out a few other blogs (The Power of Generic Prayer, and When All Else Fails Pray First among many others.) I also posted an entire series about praying through God’s names which is spectacular and written by the very talented Karen Guthrie. You can also check out the entire section within this blog that is just poetry and prayers or (again!) grab a copy of Helicopter Mom, chapter 13 not only goes into more depth regarding prayer but has several practical specifics that will give you a jump-start into a new prayer-life.

For those who’ve made it this far and have read the entire series- I’ve got a surprise for you! I’m giving away a FREE, autographed copy of Helicopter Mom to those who had traveled this far with me. I want to keep up your momentum by giving you the entire ‘fearless mom user-manual’!

So here’s the deal- Go back through the series and (if you haven’t already) comment on each blog post. What stuck you? What are you working with God through? How did that post affect your parenting or fear? Anything that’s on your heart will do! Next, be sure that you’ve signed up (if you haven’t already) for my email list. Next, wait with bated-breath to see if the computer chooses you! I’ll do the drawing on July 13th, 2019 so that should give you plenty of time to get the blogs read.

I also have some super-exciting new! A version of this series will also be available on YouVersion this summer. It’s in the works so stay tuned!

5 Ways to Avoid Being a Helicopter Parent (part 4)- Takeaways from Helicopter Mom by Bethany L. Douglas

Oh dear friends you’re almost there! I do hope that these little excerpts from Helicopter Mom have driven you to find out more about how <not> to be a helicopter mom! This series is by no means a complete synopsis of the book, rather meant to give you some go-to tools to start you on your journey towards a fear-free parenting lifestyle.

If you missed the first three blogs, check them out here:

Intro

Trauma Drama

Medical Mayhem

Now on to this week’s blog which will be a couple of chapters rolled into one. Another major issue, actually THE major issue that I’ve found helicopter parents deal with is the big C word.

CONTROL, CONTROL… WHO’S GOT CONTROL?

We like getting it, we like taking it, we like wielding it, we like having it.

Helicopter parents are total control freaks. #sorrynotsorry #truthbomb

We like to think that we can control the small universe of our children. We like to think we can alter their destiny. We like to think we have the ultimate say in their little lives.

We’re wrong.

So, let’s take a quick closer look at this control-thing… or as I like to call it what it is…. a complete facade of illusion (DElusion) of who’s in charge. We did some redecorating last week, now its time to step aside and let the actual pilot-in-command take the controls.

I tend to be a bit of a control freak &lt;though I’m much better than I used to be!&gt; but at the

same time, I know when to say when. I know that there are times and places and things that I

need to hand over control to someone else. Like actually flying a helicopter…

People who see me in my flight suit will almost always say, “Ah, so you fly the helicopter?”

No. Uh uh. Absolutely not. You wouldn’t want me trying to fly anything! Not my thing, not my

skill set. I like my life and would really like to stay alive for a while longer. Nope. The whole

piloting thing I tend to leave to the pilots.

Let me be frank- I’m smart, I’m talented, I’m educated, and people like me (Stewart

Smalley anyone?) I’m NOT a pilot and I cannot fly a helicopter. In one yes, actually controlling

one, no. And I have to be okay with that! In fact, I am VERY okay with that!

Not, however, a good friend of mine.

My person, who is an amazing lady (and shall remain nameless but you know who you are),

absolutely hates to fly. Any and all modes of aviation, she just cannot handle it. It gives her

anxiety attacks to even talk about flying. And if you were to ask her why, it’s all about control.

She will tell you that she doesn’t like not seeing the ground, not knowing what is happening in

the cockpit, not having control over the aircraft, not being able to be in a position to ‘handle’ any

emergencies that may arise. I really think she legitimately thinks she could help. Have I

mentioned that my friend is not actually a pilot? Yet, she feels the need to control the place, the

destination, the altitude, etc. Not. Even. Joking.

Anybody relate?

Perhaps in a different area of their lives?

Maybe with fearing loss of control over their children? Worst. Nightmare.

I’m hearing resounding amen’s…

I think it may be safe to say that every mother’s absolute worst nightmare is to lose

control of her kids. In whatever way that manifests itself- be it kidnapping, lost at the zoo, lost to

drugs, taken off to exile by terrorists, growing up and not needing us anymore. Really any

situation, big or small, that we can’t immediately and directly control makes us nervous… and

we fear those times greatly. We can’t handle the idea of letting go control, or worse, having it

taken from us. It’s terrifying!

But Bethany, it can’t be all bad right? We take control because we have to, right? No one

else will. No one else loves and cares about our children as much as we do right? No one

understands what they mean to us. No one will ever take as good of care and love them like it do.

I know best. I can. I will. Is it just me or is this starting to sound familiar? Control, control,

control. I, me, mommy- am the end all, be all, to my kid’s safety, security, health, protection, and

destiny. Anyone feel that way? Be honest.

So, what do we have here? What we have here is pride. We are the momma, we are the

caregiver, we are the protector, the preventor, and the provider. We have placed ourselves

squarely in the pilot’s seat of our helicopter- convincing ourselves that we know best how to fly

the aircraft. We fear losing control so what do we do? We take MORE control. Makes sense….

Or not at all.

I would be a fool and very dead to try to think I could really do much to help fly the

helicopter. (excerpt from Helicopter Mom, ch. 6)

I’m not a pilot. As the book discusses, just because I’ve flown thousands of hours IN a helo doesn’t mean I can FLY a helo. Big difference!

And, dear ones, just because you’re IN your kid’s lives, doesn’t mean you can CONTROL your kids lives. Only God can do that. Somewhere along the line, we’ve gone from being a caregiver for our children, while assisting God in His plan for their lives as best we can- to taking those reins from Him and leaving Him and His wishes in the dust.

We’ve taken God off the throne and put ourselves and our wills there instead.

Ouch.

This is the spiritual equivalent to me telling my pilot how to fly a helicopter. Me… who has zero training or experience in doing that. Me… who has no business dictating to a higher officer how things are going to go.

It just doesn’t happen.

So what to do now? It’s time to give controls back to the One who is actually IN control. Let us take ourselves out of the picture a good bit… exiting stage left to allow for more of Him and less of us. Dear ones, I know it is not an easy thing to ask; giving control of your children’s lives and well-being to another. But this is The Other… really the Only.

For this last bit, I need you with me. We have some more work to do- and this may be the

hardest part- not because we’re sacrificing ourselves to the cause, but we’re giving up control of

our kids. Our most precious children need to be given back to the One that really IS able to care

for them the best. It’s not us, ladies! It’s not their dad’s, their grandparent’s, pastors, teachers,

coaches, or family members. “Can a mother forget the infant at her breast, walk away from the

baby she bore? But even if mothers forget, I’d never forget you – never. Look, I’ve written your

names on the backs of my hands…. As sure as I am the living God,” God’s Decree.

Isaiah 49:15-18 MSG

God- the Pilot in Command. He is the One in control. He is the One to best take over the

controls out of our white-knuckled, cold, over-my-dead-body hands. Will you let Him?

Meditate on these questions this week. How much of a control freak are you? How much are your expectations (fears!) dictating to God how things are <supposed> to go? This is a faith-game friends. There is no faith-building without faith-testing, and I can think of literally no harder or better thing to trust God with than our own kids.

Give them to Him…

And I’ll meet you back here next week for a few more thoughts!

For more lots more reading and much greater insight into all this please don’t hesitate to grab a full-copy of Helicopter Mom, available in ebook and paperback from my website and Amazon.

5 Ways to Avoid Being a Helicopter Parent (part 3)- Takeaways from Helicopter Mom by Bethany L. Douglas

Okay, so here we are. Blog three is comin’ at ya in this series based on Helicopter Mom about fighting fear for our kids and being fearless in our lives and parenting. If you happen to miss the first two blogs, check the first out here and number 2 here.

Thus far we’ve acknowledged that there is, indeed, an actual problem of fear in our lives, and we’ve started dissecting out some of the reasons that this fear is so pervasive. Last week’s blog focused on what we focus on… the kinds of fear-mongering shows, books, movies, music, etc. that we put into our minds. These kinds of images and ideas take our focus off of the One who deserves it most. The fear drives us to worry instead of the cross, it focuses our attention and minds on things of this world, not on things of the Almighty.

So we have a renewed focus. Check.

Now it’s time for some redecorating. And I do mean we’re changing the very scenery of our souls…. we need to clean out the idols we’ve erected all around us.

Medical Mayhem

We live in a society that flourishes with knowledge and with intellect. We have at our

fingertips the vast data of all scientific studies and medical breakthroughs; article upon article

about history, religion, science, politics, and economics. We have access to more knowledge than

has ever been accessible in the history of man about subjects that are only still newly discovered.

There is so. much. knowledge.

As parents, we obsess about the best food, the smartest doctor, the safest car seats,

immunizations, the most eco-friendly wood to use on the playhouse, whether or not the udders of

the cow were shaved when they produced that organic, raw, partially soy almond milk you just bought

<actually I conversation overhead at a mom’s group the other day- I kid you not!>. We

read books, skim articles, become members of mom chat rooms, watch YouTube videos, pour

over parenting books, take out subscriptions to magazines, join Facebook pages, and attend

seminars. We get a special plaque from WebMD quarterly as a most-valued costumer.

<Kidding, those don’t exist! At least I don’t think they do>, All to attain more knowledge; to

gird ourselves with the safest, the healthiest, the best. And then we can back up our craziness

with 1400 articles from Google and our Mommy-and-Me blog that will all prove us right…

because we can! You get my drift? We are both blessed with such knowledge and absolutely

cursed by it. Because the cold, hard fact is we think we know best.

Knowledge is fine. In fact knowledge is great! Don’t get me wrong. I’m just putting forth

the idea that man’s wisdom will always be imperfect. Thus we need to look at it for what it is.

MAN’S WISDOM. I have no issue with researching stuff. I have no issue with making sure

we’re giving our children the most appropriate upbringing. But consider the source! Unless the

source of your decision making is Christ you are in dangerous territory my friend- and very

foolish territory to boot. If you spend more than 5 minutes researching “sore toe” in WebMD,

guaranteed you’ll eventually find out it’s probably Ebola. I promise it’s not!

We live constantly bombarded by tales of woe and tribulation because of this or that. Faulty

knowledge, man’s knowledge, knowledge we too often stake our claim on. Antibiotics or

probiotics, to vaccinate or not to vaccinate, dairy is good/dairy is bad,

paleo/vegan/Adkins/SouthBeach, to oil or not to oil, there’s glass in the juice boxes, there’s fecal

matter in the water, there’s a fly in the ointment, etc. etc. etc. The news no longer delivers news,

now we’re hard-pressed to hear any story about something happy. It’s all bad, all the time. Some

of it is real, some of it is faulty. How often do we take it all at face value though? Can I get an

amen? No wonder we lose sleep at night! The world around us is a scary place!

We have failed to protect our brains and now they are contaminated with filth from our

eyes (see blog 2 of this series) and false-gods from our knowledge. Again we’ve internalized an attack

from the Enemy that has been allowed grow and fester into unrealistic fear and at the same time

prideful knowledge. In most cases, as is cancer to the body, it has grown insidiously in our

minds. I would even argue it’s metastisized to our hearts. We too often place trust and faith in the

man’s knowledge. We’ve conditioned ourselves to run to that knowledge first- to take comfort in

that website first, to check our magazine articles first. It has a place of honor in our lives, and

thereby the lives of our children. And like the Israelites waiting on Moses in the desert, when

God tarried in showing up to them, they turned to something more “concrete”- man’s inventions,

man’s reasoning. My sisters… we are guilty of the very same thing. Hear me out, man’s

knowledge is fine but fallible. Our calling as Believers is to a higher knowledge- a more pure,

infallible way of thinking. (excerpt from Helicopter Mom ch. 5)

Dear friends- we have put idols on our thrones. Idols of knowledge, of learning, of (man’s) wisdom. We run too quickly too often to that which is not of God to fix our woes. And then wonder why the answers don’t stick…

So what to do? I would suggest a re-prioritizing of fear-mitigation. Instead of going to that webpage, that chat group, that book… seek FIRST God’s wisdom, pray FIRST about your worries, read FIRST about it in your Bible. This is not rocket-science people! Don’t oil first, pray first. Don’t google first, open your Word first.

I’m not saying that knowledge from the world isn’t helpful, I am saying let God bring it to you as you seek Him through your fears. Put Him in His proper place…. FIRST in our lives! Take the idols that we seek for and acknowledge too much… down. Don’t use God as a back-up in case everything and everyone else doesn’t work.

He’s not a “when all else fails” kinda guy. He’s a “I will never fail” kinda God.

Give man’s knowledge it’s due (which let’s be honest, is very little…) and start giving some real weight to what God would say, what He would instruct, how He would lead. Forget what the internet says, what your best friend says, what the family member says… find out FIRST what God would say.

Here are some questions to consider-

What or who reigns heavy in your decision-making?

When you worry about something for your children, what most effectively calms your fears- advice, books, WebMD, other moms, God?

What CAUSES you more anxiety?

We need another day of confession about this. Ask for forgiveness for placing idols ahead of God. Ask for help in keeping Him at the center of your life, asking Him for wisdom and guidance, looking to Him for calming of your fears. Look to nothing else sister!

You’ve stopped the distractions so you can look at the right area. Now put the right Person in the right place.

But regarding anything beyond this, dear friend, go easy. There’s no end to the publishing of books, and constant study wears you out so you’re no good for anything else. The last and final word is this:

Fear God. Do what He tells you. And that’s it. Eventually God will bring everything that we do out into the open and judge it according to its hidden intent, whether it’s good or bad.

Ecclesiastes 12:12-14 MSG

You’ve got this! See ya back here next week!

But regarding

anything beyond this, dear friend, go easy. There’s no end to the publishing of books, and

constant study wears you out so you’re no good for anything else. The last and final word is this:

Fear God. Do what He tells you. And that’s it. Eventually God will bring everything that we do

out into the open and judge it according to its hidden intent, whether it’s good or bad.

Ecclesiastes 12:12-14 MSG

5 Ways to Avoid Being a Helicopter Parent (part 2)- Takeaways from Helicopter Mom by Bethany L. Douglas

Wahoo! You came back for more! I’m super proud of you because this fear-stuff is no joke. I hope you’ve had a great week of hashing out with God the amount and kind of fear you have. If you missed the first blog in this series about overcoming helicopter parenting, please check it out here. For those caught up though, let’s get to it!

Last week we worked on simply acknowledging that there, in fact, IS a problem. That’s a huge step. Getting to say the words out-loud is no small thing. This week we’re going to take the next step and identify some of the reasons we fear. In my book, I go into great detail about many of these roots but for this blog we’ll just skirt them a bit. (For the complete read, please grab yourself a copy of Helicopter Mom <shameless plug>. I promise it will revolutionize how you deal with fear!)

These next 3 blogs will all address certain factors in overcoming fears- call them fear-mongers if you will. These are the WHYS of fear as well as the answers to fixing them. As you read, see which ones strike a cord with you…

Trauma Drama

Friends, our minds are simply filled with trash- with blood, guts, goo, rape, violence, abuse, profanity, nakedness. The list of what we intake daily (by choice!) is crippling our souls and infecting our hearts.

Our culture adores blood and guts for some

reason. They get a kick out of the horror of it or the heartbreak of it. Walking Dead anyone?

They love the freakish nature of terror and letting the worst parts of their imagination get the

better of their sanity. Americans go in droves to theatres to be entertained by the morbid.

Weird… and wrong.

So much of our battleground fighting fear is in our minds. In our imaginations. And I

believe women, the female gender, is especially prone to breaks in the protection for our minds.

We, more often than men, live in our imaginations. The fight is for control of our thoughts. And,

gals, our thoughts are too often out of control! These blood and guts visions are not unlike those

distracting injuries I spoke of earlier. They are gory and scary and often can distract us from

what we should be working on. We are losing the battle for our minds because we obsess over

the fear and lose sight of the faith.

Mom’s fear trauma. We fear blood, broken bones, broken backs, broken heads, broken

hearts <yes, it’s a thing> broken skin, broken fill-in-the-blank. Our blood turns cold to think of our children

laying in the middle of the street having been run over by a car. Our heart stops

when we see them fall down the stairs and we’re sure their neck is snapped in two. Our thoughts

explode and tears spring up in our eyes to imagine them drowning in the pool. We are terrified of

these things! They keep us up at night and haunt our dreams. They cripple our days. One stray,

random thought can hijack an entire afternoon. One ill-placed news article on Facebook can

overcome our sense of the realistic and plunge us into the fatalistic. One sad scene from a tv

show can alter how we approach a certain situation. And before we know it we are already in

deep mourning for our child that has died some horrific death- if only in our (overactive)

imaginations.

We are masters of destruction in our own minds! We’ve become distracted by the

injuries. We have become slaves to fear- slaves to the vibrancy of our imaginations.

It’s time sisters, to acknowledge our pitiful state. It’s time to acknowledge we have not

been diligent in protecting ourselves from fear and worldly thinking. We have blurred the lines

between real and make-believe: by not taking every thought captive to Christ, by allowing death

and dismemberment into our heads as a way of entertainment, by allowing the images of gore in

our culture to permeate our minds, by allowing the fear of fictional situations and stories to play

out in our daily, non-fictional lives. (excerpt from Helicopter Mom ch. 4).

Oh friends! How filthy our minds have become! We intake the most horrendous things and then wonder why we fear that which we regularly and intentionally watch. It’s confounding when you think about it. Satan is using these shows, books, movies, etc to distract us from reality. Better yet, he’s using the make-believe to keep us pondering ‘what-ifs’ not the ‘here-nows’.

Distraction is never a good thing when it takes our focus off of Christ. EVER. He is a

jealous God and demands 100% all the time, every time. This is hard enough to do in a perfect-

case scenario let alone when we’re battling demons from our imaginations. I would venture to

say it’s impossible! So let’s start clearing out the trash, the blood, and the guts from our homes,

our families, our lives, and our own imaginations. This is indeed, a bloody mess, but let’s hang

out here for a bit. Look at it for what it is. Identify what it is, what it causes. You have to know

what you’re stained with in order to know what cleaner to use right mom.

So today we’re going to work on cleaning up and cleaning out.

What needs to go?

What do you need to examine in your life/mind that is creating distraction between you and God?

What shows, movies, books, music are you intaking that needs to go?

Are you a glutton for sob-stories and fatalistic accounts?

Are you filling your mind with scary and frightening images?

God calls us to a much higher standard than the world. We simply cannot dwell within in like the rest of the world.

bibleversestogo.com

Philippians 4:8 - Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable if anything is excellent or praiseworthy think about such things.

True

Noble

Right

Pure

Lovely

Admirable

These are high standards… are you meeting them?

Before we go to next week, we need confession and cleaning. Ask God to clean our your mind. Ask for help and accountability to avoid that which is contaminating your spirit. Fear needs no additional help from ourselves feeding it. Have our Father renew your mind and I promise all this distraction will not be for much longer.

Cant’s wait to see you back next week!

5 Ways to Avoid Being a Helicopter Parent (part 1)- Takeaways from Helicopter Mom by Bethany L. Douglas

Okay, so it occurred to me the other day that although I’ve published an entire book about helicopter parenting and how to avoid being one, I’ve never really written a blog about it. So, in order to wet your whistle I’ve decided to condense the book into a few super helpful (and more importantly, BIBLICAL) tips on how to ‘not be that parent.’ This will be an short blog series that I’m super excited to bring to you, hopefully you will gain insight into yourself as well as your fear behaviors. More importantly I pray that you will be inspired to LIFT instead of hover! .

We all know them, some of you ARE them… helicopter parents.

As some of you may know, I <sort of> know a thing or two about this particular phenomenon. Being a flight nurse for a number of years gave me an extremely unique perspective on the helicopter mom thing. And oh! dear ones… it is most definitely a thing… and a growing thing at that. Following the launch of Helicopter Mom I heard from all manner of helicopter grandparents, helicopter dads, helicopter wives, helicopters bosses, helicopter husbands… literally the list is almost endless. There are people hovering all over the place!

As it turns out, everyone on the planet has fears. Which is the crux of what Helicopter Mom is about- facing fears for your children (or fears of fill-in-the-blank…) and pushing past them so that we can LIFT! But for those who haven’t yet read the book, I’ve condensed it for you (I highly encourage you to get yourself an actual copy though, I’ll even autograph it for you!)

So, without any further ado, here’s 5 takeaways from the book that will help all you hoverers out there. (Stay tuned for all the follow-up sister-blogs to this one!)

Acknowledge the REASON for the hovering behavior.

Fear is a funny thing. It manifests as worry, anxiety, co-dependency, love at times, abuse at others. None of it’s manifestations is healthy or of God however.

I remember, before having my boys, my younger sister talking to me about the overwhelming

fear she had experienced as a new mom. I had not yet had my own children, so I had no personal

experience to base her reports, but I had been around enough new parents as a nurse that I could

at least empathize with her musings. Then I had my first son…. And suddenly a dark cloud of

fear came into my field of view almost immediately. Like storm clouds in the distance, the

horizon suddenly became dark… and as I held my newborn child, Jesse, I suddenly felt fear

unlike I’d known before. Fear for his life, for his health, for his walk with Jesus, his first scrape,

his first heartbreak; fear for potential car wrecks, drowning, kidnapping, tornadoes, dog bites,

tick bites, spider bites; fear of future addiction, future relationships, future grades in school,

future illness, future sports losses; fear for rug burns, wrestling bruises, choking on hot dogs,

falling out of trees, eating poisonous house plants… well, you get the idea. In one fell swoop, I

was terrified, stricken, paranoid, and basically rendered into a blob of new-mom goo. After all,

being an actual helicopter mom, I’ve seen the worst of the very worst happen to kids…. Believe

me, I guarantee you some of my peds calls can rival your worst nightmares! And now I had my

very own kid to raise, keep safe, keep fed, keep healthy… basically keep alive. All of a sudden, this mom

thing was looking a bit out of my league… actually I was thinking it was not even in

my universe.

Anybody relate?

As if these (technical) possibilities of maiming, dismemberment, horrific death, and slow

parasitic wasting away by some remote Pacific island virus carried by a previously unknown

species of albino snail was not enough- my mind was completely unprepared for the absolutely

sick and twisted visions I would have occasionally of me accidentally causing death to my son. It turned

my blood cold that such musings would pop into my head. I seriously though there was

something seriously, seriously wrong with me. Surely I was, in actuality, the worst mom/human

being/wife on the planet! Who thinks such things? It’s one thing to be paranoid, it’s quite another

to envision yourself causing the hurt. Lord Jesus, I thought! What is wrong with me??

Anybody relate?

And yet, even in the midst of these visions, feeling these feelings of inadequacy and

incompetence… I also, just as vehemently, decided that I, and I alone could protect my son from

all these things. I would protect him from the big, bad world out there. And, perhaps, in my

biggest shortcoming and display of pride, decided that I could protect him from the big, bad

world out there. He was mine, my very own, my son, my precious (cue Gollum voice...); and I

was going to ensure his forever safety- come hell or high water. Makes perfect sense right? I

should’ve won the award for most delusional and hypocritical mother for 2012.) <I’m pretty sure

I was at least nominated… I’ve yet to receive any official letters about it though.>

Reading about my mindset on paper clarifies the absolute absurdity of my feelings. Yet, in

the moment, at the time, and I suspect for many of you, these thoughts and attitudes, oxymoronic

as they are, seemed totally legit. And how much do those delusions still dictate and shape our

lives?

This is a scary book to write but I imagine for those of you who live in the fear of the Valley

of the Shadow of Death, this book is even more scary to read. Scary because, as I’ve already

said, it addresses our very deepest and darkest fears about those we love the very most.

But I do know a thing or two about fearing for our kids. Mine and yours. Too often their lives

are in my hands… and that, my sisters, is absolutely terrifying. I know you hear what I’m saying.

Kids are petrifying. Fear for their health, their well-being, their life, their bodies, their brains,

their emotional stability… every single, little, sticky, hair on those heads is precious to us. And

damn it! we’re going to keep them fed, healthy, alive, and unharmed in any possible way

including physically, mentally, emotionally, economically, spiritually, politically,

geographically, seasonally, religiously, homeopathically, etc. etc. etc. etc.

We all know that we fear for our kids. This chapter could be an entire book by itself, talking

about talking about writing about fearing for our kids. We talk at nauseum about it. We feel

guilty about feeling guilty about fearing for them. But enough of talking about it and I’m

certainly not writing about it anymore, let’s look at it. (excerpt Helicopter Mom ch.2,)

In order to truly fix any problem we must first acknowledge that it exists right? I had a crazy hard time with publishers getting Helicopter Mom published because editors had an issue with my demographic. In the wise words of one of them, “The women who need this book most likely fall into 2 categories- either they are totally unaware that they are a helicopter mom, or they are very aware of it and proud to have the badge. You’re going to have a hard time getting people to read it.” They were not wrong. This is a systemic, western parenting issue. And yet, whether is be oblivion or a medal of honor, living in fear and the attempts to mitigate it is no way to live.

Like in all successful recovery programs, we have to admit we have a problem.

“Hello, my name is Sally Sue and I am a helicopter mom.”

Cue, “Hello Sallys” from around the room.

So, today, right here right now… let’s take a look at your fear level. This is written specifically for moms out there… but the Biblical principles we’ll apply are good for any kind of fear, worry, and anxiety.

Prayerfully consider your fear levels. Here are some questions to ponder-

Where are you on the helicopter mom scale? Do you make decisions (both for or against) out of fear?

How much time do you spend just flat-out worrying about your kids?

How much energy do you expend hovering over them (physically, emotionally, academically, etc etc etc.)?

How much of your head is partitioned off and labeled “things to worry about”?

Pray it out. Admit the problem, whether huge or small, and let’s start rooting it out! See ya next week for the next step!

If you’re like, “Yaaasss, it’s about time. I NEED this book!” I’d love to get a copy into your hands! It can be purchased on Amazon or this website (if you buy it from my website, I’d love to autograph it for you!)

In His Time

Lately I've had a string of days where nothing has come easily. Actually I think I'm going on more like a month. Having five kids, 3 of which are special needs, our calendar is literally jam packed with appointments, therapy, games, school functions, church stuff, with times in between to eat, sleep, and bathe if we're lucky. I would say 2-3 days of each week is literally back to back items that are all super time-dependent.

Soooo, what better time for God to teach me to slow down and smell the roses right?!

For those who may not know, I'm a RN by vocation, a flight nurse more specifically (or at least I was until this whole writing, speaking, momming thing started a couple years ago), so my life as a whole has been defined by high-speed, high-energy, high-adrenaline. Its not overstating the matter to say that much of my adult life was consumed by life or death split second decisions.

Time matters, seconds count, plans going smoothly is paramount- and my A-to-B personality thrives within that structure.

Yet God has been teaching me more. Not that any of those kinds of things are bad, that kind of mindset can be super helpful and effective in fact... but He's been dragging my feet, usurping my plans, and downright challenging my patience literally non-stop lately.

You know that t-shirt that says, "You're testing the Jesus in me!" ? What happens when it's God doing that testing?

These last thirty days have been exhausting and trying to say the least. Nothing, and I do mean nothing, has gone easily. Nothing's gone according to plan. Everything on my schedule has had to be moved, sometimes multiple times. Much of what we do is dependent on other stuff or people doing what they need to; so one thing fails or is delayed and before you know it, the whole house of dominoes has fallen and you find yourself vaguely looking around for the hidden cameras wondering which "Totally Hidden" reality show you've inadvertently found yourself in.

Welcome to my life. Anybody relate?

Any yet God has been good time me and given me so much inexplicable patience. I've taken more deep breaths, given more smiles, rearranged more appointments, given more grace and mercy to people (and myself!) than I ever have in my life. I've been forced to slow down and smell the proverbial roses. After all, unlike my previous jobs, <almost> none of this stuff is life and death.

I admit it's been a total mind-set change for me. And I'm loving the aroma of seeing Him work in me through those undeserved smiles. The scent of His grace and mercy working in and through and towards me. It's been astoundingly peaceful despite what on paper looks life a mess.

More times than I can tell I've found myself humming the words to an old Psalty the Psalmbook song (totally dating myself here!)

In His time, In HIs time,
He makes all things beautiful
In his time

Lord please show me everyday
As you're teaching me your way
That you do just what you say
In your time

In Your time, in Your time
You make all things beautiful
In Your time

Lord my life to You I bring
May each song I have to sing
Be to You a lovely thing

In Your time.

I've been keenly aware in the last few years of my life that I have this sub-conscious timeline in my head of what I should be doing, where I should be going, what goals I should be meeting, etc. etc. etc. Yet His time is so very different from mine! And more poignantly, He will take care of HIS goals for me in HIS time... not mine.

Not mine.

Whether it be a mundane doctor's appointment that's a no-go or getting my first multi-book publishing contact (insert wink wink and lots of prayers here!) I can rest in knowing He is in control and He does, indeed make all His plans, all His people, all His creation- beautiful in His time.

Jeremiah 29:11 "For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD . “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope." NLT

Playing Hide and Seek

Lately my kids have been on a hide-and-seek kick. Generally from each other, though occasionally they just <love> to hide from me... especially when they're playing and I'm not even aware that I'm in the game.

They think it's hilarious to hide when I call them.

The other day after a particularly frustrating round of me calling and looking for my oldest (all the while not knowing she had decided it was hide-and-seek time) I came to my momma-whits-end. I had started by simply telling her it was time to get in the car. She disappeared. After 5 minutes I was generally yelling around the house telling her is was time to get in the car. After another 5 minutes I was actively searching for her and yelling even louder to come.get.in.the.car. We were late. I was frustrated. I had finally realized somewhere along the line that she was in fact, playing the game and not being <completely> disobedient.

And yet she was being completely disobedient.

And now several people would be late to a  function that would make many others have to change their plans as well.

That night my husband and I were talking over the general hide-and-seek situation. As I was bemoaning her general lack of behavior and how it vastly changed the outcomes of our afternoon, God gently reminded me that I had done the very same thing to Him... on more occasions to count.

How many times had He told me to do something and I didn't? I ran away. I hid. Like my daughter I literally went the other direction and disappeared. How much of His Word, meant for my good and instruction, have I disobeyed? Sometimes inadvertently, sometimes I was simply 'playing' a game and not listening, and other times I intentionally and purposefully didn't listen.

I was immediately convicted that my own games of hide-and-seek with my Father have (I'm sure) caused my fair share of frustration and Fatherly angst. Several situations in which I didn't do what I was supposed to ran across my memory-banks. Ugh. I wonder how many people were depending on me to obey? I wonder how much blessing I lost out on because I didn't listen to what I was told? I pondered who I made 'late' and who had to change their 'plans' because I was MIA. Innumerable I imagine.

But God is good, and even in those dark thoughts He reminded me of something else. That just like I had done for my daughter (probably a bit less angry...) He will also come looking for me. When I was lost, He came after me. Yelling my name, searching high and low.

Better yet, HE is never hard to find, because He never plays games with me. If I need Him, He is there- right there, always ready and willing to be together. There are no games, no hide-and-seek, no wondering where He could be.

In that moment and in the moments after, I have found that wonderfully reassuring. I have a God and a Father who looks for me and is always with me. He will never leave me or forsake me. He will not tire of searching for His wayward daughter, nitwit that I may be at times.

Deut. 31:8 "It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.” ESV

Jeremiah 29:13 "You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart." ESV

Isaiah 41:10 "...fear not, for I am with you;
be not dismayed, for I am your God;
I will strengthen you, I will help you,
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." ESV

Amen and Amen!

Holding Hamsters, "Onions", and Grudges- Part Deux

So most of this is a reblog from my Easter post from last year. I was going to write a new one… until my beloved middle son (the same one as below!) pulled another ‘easter surprise’ for me a few days ago- and the feelings were so similar to this time last year that I figured I’d just add the story to this one (feel free to check out the original post here!). That boy sure knows how to show me Jesus… lol. But let’s start with what happened last year…

(April 2018) Over the Easter weekend a tremendous and long-awaiting event occurred at the Douglas house. Jake came to visit us for the weekend! My sons in particular had been looking forward to this time together since last fall when we heard that there was a chance he might come visit. Since then almost every weekend came the expected, "Is Jake coming this week?" So, after many months, the special visit arrived. We picked Jake up after school on Thursday, settled him in his cozy little room at the house while both boys busily made plans for the long, 4-day weekend. Before long, all 96 hours of the Easter weekend were lovingly and thoroughly planned for Jake and our family. Quite frankly the first 20 hours were spectacular. Jake fit in with the family wonderfully, participating in all the kid's activities, eating what we gave him, and generally being quite pleasant. Our visit was going swimmingly.

Until he disappeared.

Or rather, I should say, until my 4-year Jonah old let him out of his cage....

And just like that, Jake the hamster was gone. The class pet, the children's Kindergarten mascot, who I was ultimately in charge of keeping, well... alive.... was MIA.

Before I knew it, my generally low-key, tidy world (I write this with the caveat that I have 3 children under 6, a dog, and a cat <who's role in this story will soon become apparent>, so take "low-key" and "tidy" for what you will...) was turned upside down. Instead of making dinner, I made non-lethal hamster traps (Google it, it's a thing). Instead of cleaning my house, I searched my house. And quite frankly I was irate. I was furious. Not that the hamster was lost necessarily, I was angry that my son (who we had already caught messing with the cage multiple times) had disobeyed me once again. I was 1003% O.V.E.R. him!

Me, who is used to high energy, high adrenaline, high trauma work... was seeing RED at my son's defiance. I was fuming. I called my husband, telling him to prepare himself for my mood and <his> child when he got home. I prepared for a long night, praying for a miracle; reasoning that it was Good Friday after all and surely if Christ could take the sins of the world upon Himself than certainly He could find and restore a rodent back into his cage. (Yes, my prayer was actually and literally that I would wake up and find little Jake happily and safely back inside his quarters... I know, I know... one can never accuse me of thinking or praying small!)

Fast forward to Saturday morning and Jake was found. Actually our cat Fievel was the one who discovered him and brought him to me like a good cat should. I, rather, found more specifically pieces of him. All over my bathroom floor. #goodmorningtome

I would have been mad except I literally don't think my anger from the previous night could have gotten any higher. I was legitimately perhaps the angriest I'd ever been at one of my children. The fallout from his decision to defy me continued on and it was not lost on me how much of a headache this visit was turning out to be. It was totally lost on Jonah though- he seemed to not even remember how or when he had opened the cage, only that he had. And though very sorry to see the bits of Jake all over my tile floor, he clearly hadn't made the connection that it was his disobedience that caused the hamster's untimely death. It was infuriating that I couldn't make him understand, and though he is only 4, I found myself resenting the ensuing expense and time to find another flippin' rodent, the embarrassing text to the teacher about the situation, and generally living down what, for anyone else that's not in the situation, is a hysterical story (the humor was not lost on me.) I resented him for it. Jonah could do nothing to fix the situation or even help it... an acknowledgment of guilt would have been nice at least. I was still angry.

Until my husband told me what had happened the previous night at church.

While I was busy (read: frantically) searching the house, christian-cussing under my breath about spending Friday night looking for a missing hamster who wasn't even ours... my husband had taken Jonah to a Good Friday walk-through at our church. I'm pretty sure it was more to ensure the tot's safety from my wrath than for his spiritual sake, but nevertheless at the end of the walk-through, having learned all about what happened to Jesus before and during his crucifixion, there was an opportunity to nail sins or burdens on a life-sized cross. When Gabe ask Jonah if there were any sins he needed to tell Jesus about he apparently replied, "I lost Jake." And taking a way-too-big hammer with a fresh nail, he nailed that black piece of paper his daddy had written his little sin on to the cross.

Que: massive mom-regret and a wee bit of self-loathing...

I was hit with a tidal wave of conviction. 24 hours later and I hadn't forgiven him yet, I was still dealing with the fall-out of his sins and disobedience and I desperately wanted him to understand what he had done.

It doesn't matter Bethany.

He doesn't understand anymore than you do of what sins you've committed. He and you don't need to... that's for Me to deal with, just as you are for him.

He asked for forgiveness. I have forgiven him.

You need to as well.

Fast-forward to several days ago and Jonah hit again. I was out in the yard, bemoaning how much yard-work there was to do before the mowing could commence, when I discovered a random flower bulb laying in the yard. Hmm… that’s interesting I thought, wonder where that came from. I continued cleaning up sticks when another wayward bulb appeared in front of me… another.. and then another. I looked up from my work towards my flower bed to discover that every. single. bulb. had been yanked out. ALL of them. I mean the entirety of my beautiful spring bulbs had been unceremoniously dumped onto the ground. In this garden, around that tree, in the front beds…. A.L.L. of them.

I flipped. I didn’t yell, I didn’t scream, I simply fell to the ground crying hot angry tears. I was done. Capitol D O N E done.

Now let me take a step back. I love to garden. I’d do it a lot more often if I got the chance. But it’s not like a live and breathe flowers. But we had just taken in a new, medically-complex foster kid, a backlog of work and appointments had been piling up in the interim of our transitioning her to our house. My mom-schedule (as all are) is tighter than a toddler’s mouth trying to feed him green beans. I had no extra time to replant dozens and dozens and DOZENS of bulbs. (Did I mention he pulled every.single.one?? Cue that christian cussing again.) Something inside broke a little bit. The recent days of my life had been those kind where nothing comes easily and everything takes 15 times longer than it should.

This day had just reached the “you have GOT to be kidding me!” phase.

Somewhere in the blur I ascertained that Jonah and a friend had pulled them all thinking they were onions. Knowing that onions ‘would make the flower garden smelly’ they took it upon themselves to correct the impending oderous problem.. In the moment, somewhere in my mind’s eye I acknowledged that to be a relatively fair deal. They weren’t being malicious… just curious and impulsive little boys (also in my minds-eye… curiosity killed the cat… but I digress.) I didn’t have the strength to deal with it- so I did what all professional moms do- I left the situation to dad.

I didn’t go to bed mad that night. I went to bed down. I went to bed sorrowful that I couldn’t seem to catch up and now (like it matters) all my beautiful flowers that I was so looking forward to enjoying would miss this season (they may even miss next spring and the next… because let’s be honest, it’s not like i’m going to make the 5-year-old replant them and I certainly have no time to right now.) It wasn’t a big deal. In the grand spectrum of eternity it didn’t matter at all. But it was the proverbial straw for me that day. And I wept bitter tears of exhaustion, sorrow, and not a little bit of discouragement.

The next morning, my blue boy knew I was still depressed. So, he did what this child does best- he picked me a flower. A big, beautiful, yellow tulip plucked out of the yard as his peace offering. It soothed my soul to see his little eyes peering up at me and that huge smile on his face as he told me that “this will make you feel better mommy!”

God is good to us. Even when we’re behind and running to catch up. He’s sees our shortcomings, our sorrow, our mourning of even the smallest things like pulled up “onions”. I think He must smile down lovingly, perhaps with a slight Fatherly smirk now and again as His children try so desperately to ‘help'.

And for those times when we royally but innocently mess up, His arms and smile open wide. Much like mine were when I found out that my tulip was the only one in the entire yard that (had) remained….