Monday, October 21, 2013

10 things: a letter to a new mama from 10 years later


As of Sunday, I've officially been a mama for 10 years. I'm a decade in, and yet I still have so much left to learn. In any other field, a decade of training would make you an expert, but it doesn't seem to work that way with parenting because the field keeps changing.

A decade has taught me a lot, though. I know for sure I'll never be perfect at parenting...but if I somehow had the chance to go back in time, here's what I would tell the 21-year-old me, way back when they handed me a newborn all those years ago:


Dear sweet young mama,

The next 10 years will not be easy, but they will certainly be some of the most wonderful years of your life. You will have moments you want to give up, but don't look around you at the mess- look up. Your Father knows what you need, and will provide it for you at just the right moment. I promise.


Your patience will be challenged to what feels like no end- but there is an end, indeed: your sanctification in Christ Jesus. The Lord is doing great things in your heart by bringing you these challenges on a daily, or even hourly basis. You might be slow to learn, but that's okay. The Lord is full of patience and mercy, even when you run out.


The Lord will give you wisdom to do this parenting thing, and while each child will present a different challenge, here are some practical tips from a mama in the middle of it that might help you as you start on this journey of motherhood:


1. Look into their little eyes.

Look at them- really look at them. You can show your little one so much love just by holding their gaze.

2. Be proud of what those little ones accomplish, and tell them you are. You don't easily forget the praise of others, and neither do they. 


3. Understand what makes them excited and be interested in it. Speak encouraging words of life into their passions.


4. Help them practice sitting still without distractions- in places like church, in restaurants, and in waiting rooms. Teaching them how to wait will be a gift to you in the present, and a gift to them in the future. 

5. Tell them stories. Real life ones- things you've seen, places you've been, lessons you've learned- let them learn from your life experience.


6. Teach them how to be diligent by showing them how to do tasks over and over, until they're done right. It will take so much work at first, but it will be worth the effort in the end.


7. Surprise them sometimes. They will look back on it with such fondness later.


8. Tell them you love them often. Like all the time.

9. Hug them, kiss them, pick them up, and when they're too big, let them pick you up. Kind affection is a gift of it's own.


10. Pray for them out loud. When they're being stubborn, when they're hurt, when they're afraid, pray to their Father with them- in front of them- so they can learn to do the same on their own. Show them we aren't in control, and neither are they. 


If anything, hope to remember that you have been given a gift from the Lord: the beautiful blessing of being a mama of these little children. 


You can't keep them safe- their life is never in your hands, but it is always in your Father's. Love them- hug them tightly, but hold them loosely as you watch them grow. Remember: you care for their sweet little lives for only a season, but your Father cares them for a lifetime. He will give you wisdom to do what He wants if you seek Him with all of your heart.


You can do this. Because of Him.


Love, 
the older mama of your little ones


A decade flies by. What a precious boy this one is.

What do you wish you had known about motherhood when they handed you your little one?

If you don't have children, what is one thing you loved about the way your parents raised you? Or another great example you've seen?
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