… Is my middle name.

It’s been a hard week.

My emotions have been on edge as my parenting style was rocked trying to figure out how to let Isaac be Isaac and not expect him to be me.  You can’t just change your parenting tactics overnight…

On top of that, we’ve been struggling to get (and stay) healthy for over a month after having the stomach bug, the super cold, and most recently pink eye (Come on!).

Then last Wednesday, my grandma (mom’s mom) got sick and on Thursday, she unexpectedly passed away. So Thursday through Monday, my life was filled with cleaning my house for guests, cleaning Mama’s house while everyone was in town, and trying to love my family well as we all grieved this huge loss.

With all the emotion, I felt like I was barely able to take care of myself, much less my children, and our relationship struggled because of that.

Yesterday I was feeling much more stable but that didn’t stop me from yelling at Isaac when he flat out refused to obey after about five minutes of asking him nicely.

I got control of myself pretty quickly and by the time he was able to control his behavior, I went to him and apologized for yelling.  I kissed his head and told him how much I loved him.  “Even when I’m screaming, I still love you.  Even when I’m mad at you I still love you.  Do you know that?” I asked.  He nodded. I took his face in my hands and looked him in his blue eyes and told him one more time, “Isaac, I love you.”

He nodded. I can tell him a million times that I love him, but I can’t make him love me back.  That’s something he’ll have to choose to do.


I was at a meeting at church last night when a counselor got up and talked to us about pain.  “Why do you think pain is so hard to deal with?” she asked.  “Because it hurts!” someone answered.  We talked for nearly 30 minutes about the importance of dealing with our pain when the counselor said something else that caught my attention.

“You need to know that God loves you in the good times and bad.  Even when you’re in pain, God still loves you.”

Suddenly, I was reminded of the conversation I had with Isaac and it occurred to me that in a way, God is parenting me, while I’m parenting my kids.  I’ve seen time and time again that He is teaching me the same lessons I want my kids to learn.

It was like in that moment, God took my face in his hands and mirrored my own words, “Even when you’re screaming, I love you.  Even when I’m mad at you, I love you…  Emily, I love you.”

I like to think of God most often as the big Grandpa in the sky.  One who loves me unconditionally and wants to spoil me rotten.  I realize that I may be in the minority of thinking of God this way, but I’m a cup half full kinda girl.  I don’t like to think of God as being capable of anger, though the Bible clearly says He is.

I wonder if God gets angry with me when day after day I refuse to control my temper and hurt my relationship with my kids in the process.  When I think about it now, it’s a worthy reason to get angry.

Or maybe He’s just disappointed in me.  I remember feeling the most guilt when my mom was disappointed in me.  It often happened when she’d ask someone to do the dishes for her after slaving over our dinner in the kitchen all afternoon.  My brother and sisters and I would start fighting over who’s turn it was to do the dishes.  Ten minutes later, my mom would sadly turn on the faucet and start doing the dishes herself.  That felt way worse than any punishment she could have given us.

Either way, I realized last night that my inability to keep my cool not only hurts my relationship with my kids (which you’d think was a big enough reason to get it together) but it also disappoints God.

Thankfully, I know He loves me anyway.


I wrote the above post yesterday but something didn’t sit right with me.  I couldn’t post it.  So I slept on it and waited until today to finish it up.  I thought about it all morning, wondering if anyone else can relate to the little revelations I get from God.  Maybe this post was just for me.

Then, I checked my Bible app and read the verse of the day: 

For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime!

Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes with the morning. 

                                                                                  -Psalm 30:5

That’s what I needed to hear. Did you need to hear it, too?

God, I’m sorry.  Every single time I am pushed to my limit I fail to do the right thing.  It’s a big deal.  I’m sorry for yelling at my kids.  I’m sorry for not having the patience they deserve.  You’ve got to help me.  I obviously can’t handle it by myself.  Please give me patience, and peace, and understanding when I just don’t have it.  Remind me how much I love my kids and want to strengthen our relationship, not tear it down.  Thank you for loving me anyway, in the good times and bad.  Thank you for your favor on me and my family.  Thank you for joy in the morning and cutting through my wandering thoughts to speak to me clearly.  Don’t let me forget how much you love me in every circumstance, but don’t let me forget that my actions here affect our relationship, too.  I trust you.  I know you are just AND good.  Thank you for being both.  Help me to be the same.



Scare Tag

The last night, because my kids requested it, we played scare tag.

We shut off all the lights in the house after dark.  All of them. Then we separated.

There are no real rules to the game, we just turn off all lights and try to scare each other.  Everyone is “it”.

The boys stuck together, but Randall and I hid in the shadows around the house.  The boys came looking for us, knowing that around any corner, Randall or I would jump out with a loud Boo and scare them half to death.

I have to admit, the game made me nervous.  The first time I played, I picked a spot flooded by the light of the street lamp outside, sat, and waited for the scarers to come for me.  But last night, as I played again, I got the hang of it.  My eyes adjusted to the dark quickly and I was able to move about the house stealthily.

I’ve questioned how fear and parenting go together before, but I think character can be shaped from these types of experiences.  I’m astonished at how brave my sons are.  Isaac uses the excuse that he’s afraid of the dark so we’ll keep the hall light on while he’s trying to sleep.  The truth behind that is, that he wants to read in bed.  We know now, he’s not at all afraid of the dark.  I saw him time after time grabbing Asher’s hand and saying, “Let’s be brave,” as they’d head out in search of their silent father.

I think the most powerful thing I noticed in this game is how my boys trust their parents.  Yes, Mom and Dad will jump out at me, yes, they will make a loud noise that will startle me.  No, that is not something to fear.

Can that be translated to our lives?  Do we have a loving father that will make any scary situation okay?  In a time when christians were being killed and jailed, Paul, in Hebrews 13 says:

For God has said,

     “I will never fail you.
         I will never abandon you.”

     So we can say with confidence,

     “The Lord is my helper,
         so I will have no fear.
         What can mere people do to me?”

Yes, we may be startled in life. God does not promise to keep us away from all harm, but do we need to be afraid?  We can put our trust in the safety of our Father.