Growing up in a household without any siblings is one of the most defining parts of my child and personal journey. Oftentimes, children are defined by their ranking in the birth order of their family. The oldest usually ends up being the “type A” overachiever while the middle child is constantly striving to be seen and heard. These generalities sometimes come to fruition and other times couldn’t be more wrong. But what about the only child? If you’re the parent of an only child, there’s no comparisons to be made between children. It’s a unique and special opportunity! As an only child, and also one who ADORED being the one and only, I thought I’d share a few of my observations from my own journey to provide insight on what it means to guide an only child toward Christ.
We have all be in that place of feeling unnoticed, unwanted or maybe even overlooked. We've all also felt what it's like to be welcomed with open arms, wanted and loved. If you have a beating heart, I'm sure you can relate to all of these high and low feelings.
Dave and I have come full circle on the “how should Christian families handle Halloween” debate. As our children grew we processed through several phases: From dressing up and trick-or-treating (reserved acceptance), to participating in the biblically-based ‘Fall Festival’ at church (Christian alternative), to going to friends’ homes for parties (controlled exposure), to skipping the whole thing by taking the kids out to dinner (avoidance), then back to celebrating with family and friends, costumes and trick-or-treating (happy acceptance). We did not know what was the “right” thing to do so we simply did the best we could. Just as the kids were growing in “wisdom and stature,” Dave and I were also growing as disciples. Over the years, our kids changed, the opportunities changed, and our attitudes toward Halloween changed (more than once). What worked for our family when they were toddlers, was different than what worked during elementary, middle school and high school. We started with carefully walking the kids around the cul-de-sac and ended several years later with inviting family and friends over for Frito-chili-pie, then sending all the kids off to trick-or-treat on their own while the parents stayed behind to socialize and answer the door. This year, my 22-year old (who still loves cosplay) is throwing a murder mystery dinner party for her friends.
My Anxious Brain
My brain likes to trick me, and it’s good at it. If you have an anxious brain, like I do, maybe you can relate. My brain sends my body danger signals when there is no danger. My body believes my brain and reacts by initiating safety protocols of fight, flight, or freeze (along with physical symptoms such as sweaty palms, racing heart, nausea, paralysis, etc.). My clever brain also likes to trick my spirit. I used to assume my anxious and fearful feelings were the Holy Spirit trying to warn me of a threat. I would get on an airplane and think, these fools don’t even know we’ll probably be dead soon (and it was up to me to pray us all the way to a safe landing). Once Dave (my husband) and I left the kids home with popcorn and a movie. As we drove off, I remembered a story about a child who choked on popcorn and got brain damage. I was certain the Holy Spirit was speaking to me about this and I began to fret. Then something wonderful happened. A different thought slipped through a crack in my brain: What if I’m worrying about nothing? I prayed for their safety and then added, “Lord, if this is from you, please tell me. If it’s not, then help me forget about it. Replace my fear with peace.” I soon became distracted and had a lovely evening (nobody choked, either). That particular fear-thought-loop got broken. After that night, I started to “test the spirit” (so-to-speak) and ask the Lord to redirect worrisome thoughts that were not from Him.
Have you noticed we have various women who write our monthly devotional? Devotions lead us to the heart of God and help us live as a disciple. They can stir us and direct us to the scripture in a way we can apply to our everyday life. Our newsletter needs devotionals that are story based, share a struggle, and show what God taught you based on a specific scripture. Want to give it a try?
Thursday night, September 17, found the church sanctuary filled with nearly 200 women having a good time together. The creative songs of Camille & Haley had us smiling and then standing to join in singing I’m proud to be an American…God Bless the USA! Then came the comedy of Amy Barnes. I’m not sure which joke or funny story I liked the best—wearing Yoga pants to go to Target, the hamster that died twice, or the thigh-gap giving way to the pie-gap! Amy was not just talented in writing witty lines, but also songs that she sang, accompanying herself on keyboard. Definitely a multi-talented woman!
If you saw my front porch today, you might think somethings wrong with this picture. In the tiered plant stand are three very tired looking begonias. The leaves are brown on the edges and beginning to curl as they slowly die (so sad). The color of the flowers are fading as they, too, have peaked and are making a slow decline. But then sitting on the cement at the base of the plant stand are three very bright, very happy looking yellow mums. Hmmm.
Most kids hit a phase when their answer to the good ol’ how-was-your-day question is less than, shall we say, informative.
I don’t know about you, but this school year has been ROUGH. It has only been 6 weeks. We have been in and out of distance learning twice already with my two elementary kids, and my preschooler is just been along or the ride. Poor guy, he really has been getting the bottom of the barrel of my attention these past few weeks. Mom guilt 100%. Add in the virtual disappearance of our support systems and babysitters (no pun intended). It takes a village to raise a child, but what happens when that village is in quarantine? This article from our curriculum provider really helped me realize that I am not failing, I am just overwhelmed. And there is grace. Lots and lots of grace for you, for your kids, and for their teachers. You are so loved, not only by your kids, but by the Father who made you. He doesn’t want you to feel like you are failing. https://theparentcue.org/youre-not-failing-youre-just-overwhelmed/