Hey, Mom! How’s it going?

When our first child, Catelin Elizabeth, was born I was scared to death. It finally hit me, “What a great responsibility this is – raising a person! I have to teach her everything!”

Of course I wanted to be the perfect mom – a Super Mom. Ha! (Insert the rolling eyes here.) Puh-leeze

But who knew the cost of motherhood would be so great? The loss of sleep, sanity, and self is real!

Thankfully, the rewards of motherhood are infinite in wonder, joy, and amazing love! My children are true gifts from God, and I love them more than words can express.

In fact, let me introduce you to my amazing crew of Groeschel people.

catie bw

CATIE: 20 years, typical first born here, responsible, thoughtful, encouraging

LOVES: rules & order, cats (shh…), books, ministry & worship

 

 

mandy bw

MANDY: 19 years, tenderhearted, intuitive & witty

We thought she was our last! (God’s sense of humor is sweet!)

LOVES: techy stuff, dance, words, & church ministry

 

anna bw

ANNA: 16 years, artistic, outgoing, compassionate, encourager

LOVES: people, music, dance & church ministry

 

 

sam bw

SAM: 13 years, disciplined, self-controlled, focused

LOVES: family, friends, church, history & soccer

 

 

stephen bw

STEPHEN: 11 years, funny, competitive, fearless

LOVES: math, soccer, church, video games & reading

 

 

joy bw

JOY: 10 years, joyful, friendly, go-getter, leader, nurturer

LOVES: people, dance, Jesus, stuffed animals & penguins

 

 

Don’t they seem like great kids? They really are! But hey, they aren’t perfect. Nope. Just like their parents, they are each a work in progress by our Father.

Speaking of being a “work in progress”, I sometimes find myself filled with significant discouragement and even fear. But disheartened or not, I really want to do the best job I can as a mom. So to gain a better perspective, I’ll occasionally take an inventory of sorts and list where I may have had parenting successes, as well as failures.

I’d like to share some of my personal parenting observations with you.

Successes

  • My children love Jesus! They observe Craig and I loving and knowing Jesus. They see Jesus in us, and I am seeing Christ in them. And there is no greater joy than this!
  • We have been authentic and repentant before them.
  • They are learning and growing in wisdom and knowledge as I teach them God’s word.
  • My commitment – years of faithful dedication to all God’s called me to be as their mom and home educator.
  • They maintain a high standard of purity.
  • They have a growing faith.
  • Close family relationships – they love us and each other!
  • They are secure in who they are.

Well, that sure made me feel good! But the inventory doesn’t stop there. It’s important to look at our failures. My mentor once said, “The way we live our day, is the way we live our lives.” So here we go:

Failures

  • I’ve been too controlling – I should’ve allowed more choices.
  • I’ve been a poor example – “Do what I say, not what I do.”
  • I’ve been distracted and not fully engaged in listening well.
  • I’ve been inconsistent with rules and discipline.
  • I’ve been too much Martha & not enough Mary (Luke 10:38-42).
  • I’ve changed the standards –Younger ones are getting away with more.
  • And too many more to list!

I, I, I, I… Now, I didn’t list these failures to deflate myself (God gives us more GRACE!). I listed them to gain an honest look at where improvement is needed because only I am responsible for what I do or don’t do.

But please hear this: We can NOT take all the credit or blame for their outcomes. No. But we can pray. We can war for them. They are ALL in a spiritual battle. For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places. Ephesians 6:12

Some of you know this battle full well.

Momma, you may want to do as I’ve done and sit and take inventory of your parenting successes and failures. I pray it will encourage and sharpen you.

Go to God in humble prayer and ask Him to lead you. And as you do, allow Him to cover you with His amazing grace.

To be continued… 🙂

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To Be Familiar with God

My husband raised an interesting question this past weekend in his message.

He asked, “What do you think is the greatest enemy to faith?”

Many people would suggest that doubt is the greatest obstacle. Some believe fear or worry would be the biggest hindrance to faith. While all these are great suggestions and certainly true, Craig proposed another idea that most of us probably wouldn’t think about. He proposed that for many, the familiar is often the biggest obstacle to faith.

Think about it. Life becomes so familiar that we stop believing that God can change our circumstances. We think or say things like:

“I’ve prayed and nothing has changed.”

“I’ve tried to quit… but I just can’t.”

“I’ve always struggled with my weight.”

“We will always have a dysfunctional relationship.”

In fact, in our Life Group last week, almost everyone there expressed their willingness to pray with great faith for distantly related people but they acknowledged that it’s much more difficult to believe for themselves or those close to them.

Even the familiarity of your own Christian lifestyle can potentially set you into a faithless place of expecting only the predictable!

Listen, even though our God is a God of order, He is often unpredictable in His workings and let’s not forget ABLE to do MORE THAN WE COULD EVER EXPECT!

You may have been taught that He is able, but do you really believe it?

I admit that when I’m in a bad place I often first look at the known facts and use my own understanding (what’s familiar) and form a faithless perspective before looking to the real Source of All Truth. I don’t want to be overly familiar with this world and its deceiving answers! I am not of this world and neither are you (if you have Christ Jesus).

If faith pleases God (and we know it does), how very pleased will He be if we forget about what is our “familiar” on this Earth and engross ourselves in becoming familiar with HIM?! A faith-filled perspective will be our first and hopefully continual outlook. We will see God working in new, beautifully powerful ways!

Therefore, I want to be preoccupied with knowing and pursuing my great God! This world will never have true and just answers outside of its Creator and King. I never want to be more familiar with my circumstances than I am with the presence of God. I want to always pursue Jesus and become more familiar with His ways. I want to spend so much time with Him that I’m completely aware of his gentle and guiding voice. When I’m familiar with His grace, His power, His goodness, then my faith in Him is always bigger than my circumstances.

The familiar is often the enemy of faith.

May God be so well known – so familiar – so close – that we are never deceived into thinking that anything is impossible.

“Isn’t this the carpenter’s son? Isn’t his mother’s name Mary, and aren’t his brothers James, Joseph, Simon and Judas? Aren’t all his sisters with us? Where then did this man get all these things? 

And they took offense at him.

But Jesus said to them, “Only in his hometown and in his own house is a prophet without honor.”

And he did not do many miracles there because of their lack of faith.

Matthew 13:55-58