Yeah…so I thought I was going to write a word or two on gratitude. But instead the still small Voice led me to this…And well? My Thanksgiving for the peace it gives my heart? A humble gratefulness.
Thanksgiving approaches, slipping and sliding its way into my year faster than I know how to breathe. I just want time to slow. Before I blink I’ll have children grown, and there may be a Thanksgiving I spend without them. Or a Christmas. Or any other holiday.
I only have so much time.
Only so many minutes to nurture and instill the values I cherish most. Yet the deepest lessons can’t be rushed. Like stuffing a trash bag too full, cramming morality and gratitude and Jesus-love down into their deep parts will only cause them to burst—leaving fragments and gaping holes and emptiness.
Do you ever worry they won’t get it? Wonder if they’ll love God with every ounce of their being?
I’m often consumed. Fearful I discipline too much or not enough. Guilt ridden my kids won’t understand the most important things of life. Anxious I’m raising the entitled and not the grateful.
Because when my children forget to say thank you? When they argue and fight with each other? When they make fun of someone? When they’re dishonest? When they continue to disobey?
When they do all of those—and more—I feel like a parenting failure.
I wonder if my kids are ever going to learn. If I’m ever going to get this kid rearing thing right. Because I only get to raise them once. If I screw it up? Once they’re grown and gone…? I can’t even think about it.
I’m not alone in this. You might worry too?
But, momma? This is what we need to tell our brains and our hearts and our worries. This is what we need to pound into our deep parts and hold tight. This is what will get us through the days we get wrong.
Growing children is not one great moment—it’s a thousand quietly planted seeds that poke quietly through the soil when ready.
Because growing children is slow, tedious, backbreaking work when planting by hand. And they can’t learn all they need to know about living in a day. That expectation is too much for them. It’s too much for us.
The lives of our children aren’t forever changed by loud lectures or a few moments of parenting brilliance. No. We impact their hearts in the everyday. Not in the fabricated lessons but in the fabric we weave during the spontaneous.
The molding and shaping of little hearts happens in the car pool lines, at the dinner table, in the coming and going. It takes place at bedtime, in the arguments, at the grocery store. It happens in the daily.
Teaching life to our children never happens all at once.
Loving God and learning to live a life of beauty is a journey—for them, as well as me. One incremental step at a time.
The lessons we give our children happen in the middle, the in-between. When we don’t overwhelm with the cramming and the stuffing. They’ll learn to live life well when we hand them one bit of Truth at a time.
Little by little. Lesson by lesson. Example by example.
Tiny increments produce a harvest. It won’t be perfect. It will take sacrifice and the constant, unending planting. The daily watching over and pouring of our lives into theirs.
One day we’ll turn around to see our daughter pull one of her own notebooks from her bag to fill a Christmas Shoe Box and be bent by the sadness of “It’s not enough, Mommy…”
We’ll put our arms around her shoulders, tears filling our eyes, and we’ll know.
Know something is sinking into their souls—we must be doing something right. We’ll sink to our knees in holy gratitude for the little ones we lead into life, praying we take hold of each teachable moment.
There will be lessons we miss, overlook, forget. This is the beautiful grace of do-over days. Because growing children happens in a thousand little moments. Moments that build a life.
So don’t worry, momma, if you missed one opportunity today—because there were dozens of others you got right. From the shoes you made them put away, to the ground you held in the face of defiance, to the kisses you planted on faces as you tucked them in—you got it right.
And you’ll keep getting it right—one teachable moment at a time. Keep on planting, brave momma. Don’t let fear and worry waste another thought.
Your daily is enough.
It has to be.