The Perfect Parent

Are you the perfect parent? 

Now that is a loaded question!  Most of you probably know my answer…or do you?

My answer is this:  Yes!  You are the perfect parent.  Stay with me and let me explain.

Perfect is not a word that I toss around very often because there is little to nothing in life that is without fault.  I’m not being a pessimist, just a realist.  Despite our valiant efforts, perfection is simply not obtainable.  We’re human.  We’re sinners.  We have fallen short.  Our lives bear the scars of past hurts, wrong decisions, and trials.  However, we have a God, the God, who is just that…perfect.  He has ordered the universe and is in complete control.

None of us are perfect people.  “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”  Romans 3:23 does a good job, or may I say a perfect job, of disqualifying all of us from perfection.  However, if I believe God’s Word to be true, which I do, and I believe that nothing happens by chance, which I do, then I have to make a logical conclusion here:  God chose me to be the mom of my children, not by chance, but by choice.  He could have selected anyone else for the job, but He chose me.

About seven years ago a friend called me asking if I would be willing to become part of the leadership crew at our local co-op.  I was kind of stunned.  “You want me on leadership?”  Really?  I proceeded to remind her that I didn’t have any experience dealing with large groups.  I tend to be quiet and to myself.  I just do my thing and am content with not being in the spotlight.  Her response?  “Exactly!  That’s why we thought you would be a good fit.”  See, the current leadership saw the big picture.  I didn’t.  They saw places where I could fit in and contribute.  I didn’t.  They had a plan for the group in place.  I didn’t.

Parenting is a bit like that. God sees the big picture.  He knows your children.  Even before they were formed, He knew them.  He knew what their strengths would be, what their weaknesses would be.  He knew they would need a certain kind of parent to guide them through life.  He knew that one child may be hard on themselves and need a parent who wasn’t expecting perfection from them.  He knew another child would be prone to laziness and would need a parent to provide a little (or not so little) push.  He knew a child would make a wrong choice, one with big consequences and need a parent who wouldn’t demean and yell, but would choose to embrace, forgive, and remind them that they are still loved.

I often hear people comment that God gives us our children.  There’s nothing wrong with that statement, but I tend to think the opposite.  I think that God gifts us to our children.

Here are just a few random thoughts about parenting:

  • You are the right parent for your child because God has ordained it.
  • God has been working on you for many years to prepare you to parent your child.
  • You may be a bit rough around the edges and imperfect, but you are still a work in progress.  God is still molding, shaping, and changing you.
  • You are equipped to be what your child needs, and if you’re not, God will equip you with what is needed.
  • Let God be your guide, in life and in parenting.  Seek out His will.  Scour His Word.  Pray fervently for His wisdom and believe that He will supply it.
  • Rely on God’s strength because parenting is exhausting.  We will falter if we are only relying on our own strength.

Life is not always easy.  Being a parent is a challenging job, an ever-changing job, one that keeps you on your toes or better yet, on your knees.  Maybe you are struggling today with a child who is wandering.  Maybe one of your children has received a diagnosis that has rocked your world.  Maybe a child’s disability pushes you to your very limit everyday.  Maybe you have a child who has gotten caught up in the world or is just flat-out living a destructive life.  In all of these challenges remember, you are the perfect parent for this child, at this time.  You may not feel well-equipped.  You may feel like you are floundering, but I promise you that God chose you and He will work through you.

I speak from experience here.  This year has proven to be a challenging year.  I have questioned, cried, and sought the Lord for wisdom like never before.  Among the lessons the Lord has shown is this:

You are the perfect parent for your child, hand selected by God to care for them even, and especially, in difficult times.  You were chosen!

Who am I?

A few short months ago I launched this humble blog.  It was, and still is, my hope to share my heart.  While I have had no difficulty in stringing words together as they relate to food, recipes, and competitive cooking, I have strained and struggled to compose entries relating to family life.  It’s not as if I am at a loss for words.  My head is spinning with topics and personal stories to share.  My next blog post has been sitting in my draft folder for nearly two weeks, yet I simply can’t hit the publish tab.  Why?  Last night that question was answered.

Talking about food is safe.  No offense to all the wonderful bloggers out there, but me writing about food is not going to change the world.  Oh, it can certainly enhance your life.  It can encourage you to spend time cooking wholesome, homemade meals.  It can assist you in dealing with food challenges such as allergies and the like.  It’s a great arena to encourage the exchange of wonderful ideas.  But in the end, if you made my recipe for Italian Meatball Soup, you may have enjoyed a yummy meal, but you likely didn’t have an epiphany or life-changing moment.  Food is safe.

The reason I have procrastinated in finishing my post is because I feel the weight of responsibility upon me.  If someone is going to tackle matters of a personal nature such as marriage, parenting, and the Christian walk, one had better prayerfully consider the words they choose to pen.  People, most of whom I do not know, will read these posts.  They may contemplate the words they’ve read.  They may examine themselves.  They may be moved to tears, moved to laughter, or moved to change.  If I write something misleading or wrong, I am accountable for that.  That is heavy!

I asked myself, “Who am I to write about these topics?”  I am certainly not a professional.  I’m not a Bible scholar.  My life is not a glittering example of a woman who has always made the right choices.  I still have my own struggles that I have to lay down at the foot of the cross each and every day.   I am in the midst of seeking wisdom myself.  I’m a lump of clay, gold in the process of being refined, a work in progress.

As I write this I am reminded of my first day of seventh grade.  I vividly remember sitting in my homeroom, my nervous fingers running across my red binder, a red binder that read, “Be patient. God isn’t finished with me yet.”  Part of me laments that maybe I haven’t come too far since middle school because there is still so much the Lord is working on.  Then the “more mature me” realizes that that quote should be my anthem, for God is not finished with me yet.  Praise God He’s not finished with me yet.


So, as author of this blog, I am officially providing you with this disclaimer:  I am no expert.  I’m a wife trying to support, love, and encourage her husband.  I am honored to share life with this man whom I adore and call my best friend.  However, I know there are times that I fail.  I’m a mom of three boys (two of whom are teenagers…pray for me).  I’m trying to guide them, encourage them, and show them what it means to be a man according to God’s Word.  Sometimes I fail.  I’m a child of God.  I’m still in awe of God’s love for me.  I am so undeserving of it but so thankful for it.  I try to be Christlike, but I fail…big time.

I’m here to share my journey, to share lessons learned (some the hard way), and to share hope.  I’m here to be transparent, brutally honest, and blunt.  I’m here to simply write the words that Lord lays on my heart so that He may touch yours.

Ahhh!  That’s a big sigh of relief.  Now you know who I am.  So there you have it, read on at your own risk!

Next post:  Are you the perfect parent?

The Journey Begins

Welcome to my new blog, my first blog, Life in the Van.  Let me explain the title.  No, we don’t live in a van.  My kids were concerned about that one.  However, as the mom of three active boys, I do feel like I live in the van at times.  Life happens in that van.  Great talks.  Laughter.  Off key singing.  Often the van is the first seat after a celebration.  It’s the place we exhale.

This blog is meant to be a way for me to share the things that are on my heart, a way to pass along some encouragement, and a way to remind each of us that there is great joy to be found in the simple things in life.  For me, those things are faith, family, food, and fun!

So who is the one behind the wheel of the “van”, behind the words on the page?  Here’s me in a nutshell:

Faith: For me, it’s all about my faith in the Lord, my relationship with the Lord, and my daily walk with Him.  It’s about knowing that only by His grace, only by His love, and only by His forgiveness can I get up each morning to a fresh new day where his mercies are new.  Under the Faith category I’ll share what the Lord’s been teaching me, what I’ve been wrestling with, and some encouragement for our daily lives.

Family:  These are the people you laugh with, cry with, grow with, and learn with.   For me, that’s my husband and three boys.  We’re a simple family, kind of down-to-earth.  We love to laugh and goof around.  Our house doesn’t look like a Pottery Barn catalog; we don’t dress in designer duds; we don’t travel the world.  We’re focused on building relationships that will last a lifetime, working through life’s challenges, and having some fun while we are at.  I guarantee that we share many of the same struggles as you do, too.  Under the Family category I’ll write about topics like marriage, parenting, and home life.

Food:   I’ll be up front here: there is no gourmet food rolling out of my kitchen.  You won’t see my favorite foie gras recipe because I don’t have one.  There won’t be photos of exquisitely set dining tables.   There won’t be reviews of our favorite high-end restaurant.  What you will see are family friendly meals that are satisfying, fresh, nutritious, and budget friendly.   I will also share allergy friendly recipes, as we deal with several different food related allergies in our family.  I firmly believe that you can have “safe” food that is also delicious and nutritious.

A few years ago as I was looking to earn some extra money from home, I stumbled into the world of competitive cooking.   I’ve been blessed with a few successes here and there, and it always seems that a win comes at just the right time.  I’ll share some of my competitive cooking adventures and give you a backstage pass to some of the coolest cook-offs around.

Fun:  Tossing a ball in the yard.  Long bike trips.  Hiking a new trail.  Dropping a line in a local river.  Camping.  These are some of the things that we call fun.  Our family is most comfortable outside enjoying whatever the season has to offer.     Board games.  Movie nights.  Football.   Yep, those are some of our favorites as well.   Entertainment for us is simple and low-tech.  We have one television, one family computer, no smart phones, tablets, iPods, iPads, or the like.  We think getting back to basics is where it’s at.  I’m all for kids filling the yard, building forts, and digging for worms.

So there you have it.  Me.  Dry sense of humor, sarcastic at times, happy with life’s simple treasures.

I hope you will check back regularly to see what’s new.