Wednesday, November 14, 2018


Today we were riding in the car, in the rain, headed home from gym. Each of them engrossed in whatever book they were reading and the Tiny one giving herself her own spelling test.  I turned off the radio and announced that we were going to have Bible study in the car today.  That is my way of getting them to pay attention to what I am talking about because they think this will mean less book work at home.  Home school mom for the win.  They are 9 and 10 and 5 or rather 6. And though the days are long, the years seem to be skipping numbers somehow.  And I remember.  Remember what it was like to be their ages.  When words like "stupid" and "not popular" and "fat" and "weird" started making their way to the surface, filling my head with lies and taking away whatever confidence I had in the moment.  In other words, I remember when I met the devil.

So I start with a question for each of them. "Name two negative things you think about yourself" I say. Without going into full detail I'll sum it up.  The 9 year old struggles with telling herself that she isn't very smart, and the 10 year old feels inferior to her sister because she struggles with fear and doesn't like her hair....and who could blame her about the hair thing, I mean we have all seen Presley's hair.  Just to be clear, I asked them all and the 6 year old feels like she is rude because she doesn't always like the clothes we pick. I appreciated her honesty.  There I was in the rain, driving, and thinking to myself "this is exactly how the enemy does it".  GO AWAY DEVIL, JESUS SAYS YOU'RE WRONG!!!! 

I took a few deep breaths, trying not to hyperventilate and trying to figure out how a child as bright as Presley feels dumb and one as bold as Kat thinks she lacks courage (and let's give it to her, the kid also has great hair!!). I pictured them, the way I see them, and I wanted to tell them over and over again how wrong they were. But what mom's say doesn't always count does it?  So instead I asked them.
 "Presley, when you look at Kat how do you best like her hair?"
"Kat when you think of kids Presley's age, how do you rate Presley on intelligence?"
"Presley, would you characterize Kat as brave?"

I want you to know that we are not a family that blows smoke, so this could easily backfire if you're not certain what the answers will be!!! In this case, I knew what was coming.
"Down mom, I love Kat's hair down.  She should always wear it down."
"Brave, she's very brave"
"Top of the list mom, she's one of the smartest people I know"

And you could see it in their faces, a stark reminder of what positive words do to a child's heart.  I didn't say anything for a few minutes. Just let it sink it.  And then I moved forward.

I drove on and quoted scripture after scripture.  Showing them how the bible relates to all of their fears and doubts. Actually, that part is a lie.  I quoted zero scripture. Mostly because I was driving and my bible app wasn't handy.  And honestly, "Siri quote scripture on what Jesus says about self doubt" seemed like it would kill the moment.  Just keeping it real.  Instead I gave them seven simple words.  GO AWAY DEVIL, JESUS SAYS YOU'RE WRONG.  I explained to them that all of the negative thoughts are from the devil.  Clearly, I realize there is power in the word of God and memorized scripture would come in handy here.  But honestly, there is more power in the name of Jesus than they will ever need and so my lack of knowledge didn't hurt me as badly as you'd think.

I explained to them that there is a great plan for their life and the devil is trying to spoil it any way he can. That if they don't combat the lies, they will not stay the course that the Lord has ahead. I was honest, explained where I feel inferior and watched as they thought how ridiculous I sounded. I used that to further my point.  I was real and vulnerable and all the time pleading with Jesus that they would hear me.  "Use the words" I told them.  When you think those thoughts say  "Go away devil, Jesus says your wrong". When you hear your friend say something ugly about themselves, use the words.  Teach them to your friends. Say them for your sisters, build them up.  The world needs more light, I explained. They smiled as I got louder and more passionate because, well because I am loud and passionate and it makes them giggle.  But they heard me.

I wish there were 20 more kids their age riding in that van listening. I ask you to tell your kids the same.  They don't have to be my words, but give them some to use.  This world is dark and our society as a whole is superficial and flawed at is very foundation that is built on nothing but greed and vanity. Media is ruining our children, teaching them that perfection is expected and reachable through filters and television that skews reality.  Tell your children that it's all a lie!!  Tell them that they are in fact wonderfully made by a Creator that expects them to fail and loves them anyway.  Teach them to combat the lies in their head with the One thing that will beat the devil every time. I recommend waiting until you have them cornered and maybe even bribing them to listen, whatever works for your family.  Just tell them, tell them to say it loud and clear and often  "GO AWAY DEVIL, JESUS SAYS YOU'RE WRONG!!!"  

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Happy 8th Birthday Presely Rose

Dear Presley,

Your birthday has come and gone along with the months that followed it.  Summer is almost over and though it is still warm outside, football is starting so we know that Fall is near. I am late, again, but I cannot let time go by so fast that I neglect to document another year with you. You, my darling, are our sunshine.  We are so grateful for each day with you, it is hard to put into words.  I can only pray that one day, Jesus blesses you with a child that brings you the joy you have brought us.  You are a gift.  A gift that brings smiles and giggles and music in way that we never imagined.  You are 8 and you are full of spunk. You have found your voice and your confidence and you are lighting the world up with both.  You love friends and school and your grandparents.  You love chocolate and breakfast.  You love sausage biscuits and French Toast.  You love your daddy.  Oh how you love your daddy. But your heart belongs to your sisters. They are your people. You make them laugh and they keep you from getting hit by a car crossing the street ;)  You guys are inseparable and you love each other in a way that only Jesus could have planned.  It is incredible getting to watch that everyday.  And you, my sweet girl, are still a mama's girl. At least for now.

We have a fun life, filled with piano and theater. And this year, for your 8th birthday, we filled it with Mickey Mouse.  As a huge surprise for you and your sisters daddy and I flew you guys to Disney World for four of the BEST days we have had so far.  You love surprises and you were SO surprised!  Below is the card we had you read before we told you:

Dear Presley,
Happy Birthday!! Tomorrow you will turn 8 years old!! Mama and Daddy are so proud of the sweet girl that you are!! You are kind and funny and gifted in so many ways.  You bring sunshine into our family with your sweet smile and your great attitude.  We know you wanted something BIG to happen on your birthday, and you know how daddy loves to give you everything you want;).  So tomorrow all three of you are getting a BIG surprise!  We hope your birthday is awesome, Sis.  We love you.
Mama and Daddy

Presley, it was so much fun and you were so surprised.  Your favorite ride was Splash Mountain, but you rode everything and always with your hands up! We met so many characters, we had breakfast with Mickey and his friends while they sang a birthday song for you.  We had cupcakes and balloons in the hotel room!  We even let you try cotton candy ;).  We got up early and stayed out as late as we could take it!! It was magical, it was fun, it was awesome and there isn't another kid in the world that deserved a big birthday like that more than you.

You are such a fun kid, Sis. You are so smart. You excel in Math and Spelling.  You aren't big on reading books, but your level is high.  You say "all books are boring in the middle".  I can imagine it is difficult to write a book to keep a mind like yours occupied.  You are mature and polite and very matter of fact. You love playing in the rain and riding with the windows down.  You like rock music and Jerry  Lee Lewis.  You dance and tumble and run more than you sit still.  You are good at almost everything you try, yet you are one of the most humble human beings I have ever met.  You prefer to compliment others, you have no desire you out do anyone you love (except maybe Kat haha).  You love your cousins and your family.  William and Savannah you especially have a connection with.

You love purple and rainbows. You love animals, all of them.  You wear black combat boots in the heat of the summer.  You make friends with people who look lonely and you are kind to older people even if they scare you. You and Big and great friends and if he is around, you are sitting with him or on him.  You are independent but you still struggle with what people think, I hope that goes away, because you are tremendous just like God made you.  Music is your home.  You love it. If you aren't playing it, you are singing it.  I pray that you remember as you get older how much peace it gives you.  As life gets harder, you will need it.

I am blown away by the love Jesus has shown us by making you ours.  I will never understand it, but I will praise Him for it daily.

Happy Birthday, Baby.
Thanks for making us smile.
Mama and Daddy and Kat and Josie