Generation Cedar

I stood talking with a woman at the checkout and her 5-year-old was climbing first up her leg, then squealing, then dropping to the floor, still holding her mother’s arms, jerking her downward, demanding to be picked up, running round and round while the mother’s face grew more tense, trying to focus on our conversation–both of us attempting to ignore the giant elephant of this demanding child.

“I have two and I’m exhausted”, she said.  “They’re wild.”

Wild.  Her words played back as I drove home.  The lady appeared to be a Christian–I know at least that she attended church regularly.

Lately it seems that  I see too many mothers not enjoying their children.  Some of them say so right out loud.  They scramble to go places, to find activities to entertain them.  It seems impossible to them to just be at home for any length of time with their children, playing, hanging out, soaking them in.

Just being….something, I think maybe children need more than anything.

What is the problem?

I sit frozen at my computer after typing that question. I think of so many things, intertwined, reciprocating, and it’s impossible to make a list.

I think of mothers and fathers who simply lack the wisdom and understanding of basic child-training.  I think of a new wave of parenting among Christians that shames parents for even believing that the Bible teaches they have authority over their children. What do we do with that?

I think of parents too busy to engage in child training if they did understand it; too consumed with other pursuits to roll up their sleeves and perform the arduous task of raising children.

I think of how the birth control mentality we embrace inadvertently distorts our view of children and makes them a burden before they even arrive.

I think of the sheer lack of time parents spend with their children that hinders the natural friendship and affectionate bond that should exist which draws us to enjoy them.

I think of our addiction to entertainment and distraction and how it destroys family relationships.

I think of so many organizations that subtlety pull the already-fragmented family in different directions–physically, emotionally and spiritually.

I think of a century of feminist dogma that convinced us that motherhood was peripheral, at best, and not worth our full attention.

I think of the utter death of the “Christian soldier about my Father’s business” in the 21st century.

And I think of how all these factors become a vicious cycle that reaffirms our decision to stop having children–godly offspring that were intended to “speak with the enemy in the gates”.

I think of apathy among Christians, and a lack of theological depth and a flippant belief system.

What we believe affects how we live.

And if we believe that “it doesn’t really matter–this way or that, whatever works for you” we all end up swirling around in this cesspool of confusion and consequences from rejecting the wisdom of God.

Yep, I knew I wouldn’t be able to stick with “Do You Like Your Children”.

Everything’s connected.  It’s about our whole world view.

That’s my life message.

And we’re going to have to do a lot of rewinding to get to liking our children again.

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67 Responses

  1. Ditto. Good post — very provocative. I have often thought of this same issue. There are times that I struggle to like my children (3 children less than 3 years old) because of the great amount of work involved, the attention they require, the constant and consistent discipline I’m obligated to perform and because I see in them the same sin issues I want to be sanctified of that I hate in myself.
    But we are not commanded to like our children (or our husband either) all the time or even some of the time. We are commanded to love them, be kind to them, discipline them and train them up to fear God.
    How about a follow-up post on loving them when we don’t like them?

  2. So agree, Kelly! I see these facebook posts proclaiming how happy people are that their kids are finally in school and it grieves my heart! If you don’t like your children’s characteristics, look in the mirror, fix your parenting and then fix them. Don’t think for a second that kids don’t know how you feel about them. They are waiting for your love and approval. Liking someone is a choice. We choose to overlook some things. Discipline and teach your children properly so you ill like being around them!

  3. YES! Preach it!!!! Christian parents need to WAKE UP! Oh, I wish more would realize this! But then I have to be a little forgiving, because I, myself, only really started thinking about it, taking it seriously, and taking steps to convert my parenting methods this year. I’m 38 and my children are 5 and 8-1/2.

    I thank God for the conviction He put me under about this ~ I wish it had happened a little sooner, but I’m thankful it happened while they were still young. I pray that I will set an example of self-sacrificing, godly parenting not only for them, but for so many young mothers around us ~ even in our church ~ who are still obliviously enmeshed in a worldly view of children and parenthood.

  4. I love this and found it incredibly encouraging! I have noticed that a lot of this mentality is evident, as you said, even before children actually arrive. I am pregnant with our second, another boy, who is due in a little over a month. The boys will be just barely 14 months apart and people are constantly giving me looks like they “know” how difficult it must be.

    I have heard no end of “are you doing okay” comments from well-intentioned friends and family. When I tell them I feel great, they look at me in astonishment…and it baffles me. I finally realized that they expect me to complain. To tell them all the horrible things that I feel, how tired I am, how difficult our son is, and all my little aches and pains. I don’t have an exceptionally easy pregnancy, but knowing the amazing things that are going on in my body and looking forward to meeting this baby FAR outweigh the minor inconveniences that come with being the size of a house 😉

    Thank you for your reminders and encouragement. I hope that as more women take these messages to heart, we can start making changes for the next generation!

  5. I think my mother’s greatest regret about parenting is that she didn’t enjoy us more. we weren’t the undisciplined hooligans, running wild, we were mostly quiet, well-behaved children, largely because of our parents’ very strict discipline. as a parent, i have feared my mother’s criticism because i parent my children differently. but instead of scolding me, she praises how much i enjoy them. and i do. they’re not perfect and we’re working on various behavioural issues, but oh, they are so much fun! i’m enjoying so much this process of teaching them to follow Jesus and building them up to be beautiful people of God. on the days that this feels overwhelming, i pray and ask God for wisdom A LOT! James 1 v5 is my parenting life verse.

    thank you for this post. i am also sadden when i see parents not enjoying, cherishing and discipling their children.

  6. Wow! I bet your brain nearly blew up when you were writing this! So many things all connected. Yes, I was thinking of some folks I know in real life when reading it. Would they even comprehend 1/2 the things you have said here?

    Thinking that the Bible does not give authority really messes it all up. If you don’t have that basis what is left but psychology?

  7. You are exactly, precisely right. It does come back to our worldview. We have bought into a belief system that says our children are a burden to be endured until they leave the house and we can get on with our lives. That is, if we decide to even go to the trouble of having children.

    We MUST reclaim the vision of what the Lord intends to do through Godly families. As parents, we must embrace our role as parents and allow Him to instill in us a multi-generational vision. We need Patriarchs and Matriarchs that understand the importance of raising Godly children who will raise Godly children. We must believe the Lord when He tells us that children are a blessing and heritage from Him.

    I know that He uses the role of motherhood to purify me, refine me, and make me more in the image of Christ. And through me and my husband, He is raising up young men and women who will glorify Him and be used to further His Kingdom.

    There is NO more important job I could have in this life than that of motherhood. It breaks my heart to see women all around me missing their calling, wishing it would be over, being deceived into pursuing things that don’t matter.

    May the Lord humble us and open our eyes to the true importance of our task.

  8. This is a very timely post. I was working at the mall today and several mothers and their young children came in. One woman with a two month old infant came in. The mother looked exhausted. When I spoke to her about your young son, she looked at me and said, “you want a baby?” I laughed and said when the time comes. The mother said, “How bout now?” Then when she learned I hadn’t any children she said, “Don’t make me feel bad. I wish I were that smart. I have four. Only two with me. Thank God.” Uncomfortable, I excused myself, but this was so depressing. I don’t even have words to describe how this saddened me.

  9. Love this!!! Thank you so much for what you do! It is much needed wisdom, too bad too many minds and hearts are closed to it. May God have mercy on us all.

  10. Our daughter is 21yo and has autism and aphasia. She is a joy even though some abilities that people take for granted are a struggle for her. Our son is 18yo and we homeschooled him for his first ten years of school. He wanted to try a real school for his last two years and we are seeing the results of the time we spent with him, talking, sharing, being together, doing together. He is his own person and thinks for himself and does not get caught up in the group think that dominates schools. He was one of those wild kids too–strong willed, energetic, perpetual motion. We guided him when it seemed like those around us either caved or broke a child’s spirit. We focused on relationship, not carrot-and-stick. His teenaged years were much easier than his toddler years because we found a way to respect his personhood while nurturing him and guiding him (which is very different from forcing him) toward what was right.

    Besides accepting Christ as my Savior, the best thing I ever did was leave my career and homeschool the kids. The second best thing was cutting out programmed television.

  11. Oh my goodness, yes, yes, yes!! It’s one thing to believe the correct things about child training; it’s quite another to actually take the time and energy to *do* them!
    And I love that Mary Cassatt painting. She’s my absolute favorite impressionist. So many mother & child paintings. She never married and never had kids, so go figure.

  12. While my family is down for a Sunday afternoon nap I came here to read your latest post. And here I am now, tears just streaming down my face. Because I feel at such a loss. I am a full-time, stay-at-home mama to two little ones aged 2 1/2 and 1. My children are always with me, and I am so grateful for that. We believe in having all the children God want us to have and we already consider ourselves a home schooling family. And yet…why do I feel so ill-equipped and such a failure as a mother? Because my two year old daughter can, on a bad day, be just like that 5 year old you wrote about. And as much as I cry out to God in my early-morning quiet times to give me wisdom and help me exhibit the fruits of the Spirit towards my little ones, I so often find myself scolding, and being impatient or even shouting. I hate that. Why can’t I seem to discipline with gentle authority? Maybe because I have never seen it done before?

    I realised early on in my mothering that I have no idea about how to discipline my children, so my husband and I bought a book by a famous Christian couple on child training. We studied all the relating Scriptures and I started using a little ‘switch’ to correct wrong behaviour. But within a few days of this, my daughter became really aggressive towards her little brother and me. She figured that if she can be switched, she can also dish it out. Did I maybe administer the discipline with the wrong attitude? I don’t know.

    I hope you won’t judge me for my failures. My children truly are such a joy to me, but I just sometimes feel like I do them more harm than good. And let me just say at this point that I am not buying into the whole idea that children have to be kept happy all the time. With my whole heart I so desire to be a mother after God’s heart, disciplining my children with love and firmness, and teaching them His ways. I just wish I knew how to go about disciplining without getting cross.

    1. Best advice I ever read about child rearing is “Raising Godly Tomatoes” by Elizabeth Krueger And the reason why it’s the best is because it is right out of the bible. I really enjoy my children now because I am disciplining them the way God says. Hope this helps.

    2. Joyfulmama,
      I’m sorry you feel at such a loss. I feel like I know where you’re coming from — my first two children were 14 months apart and to have two toddlers so close was very overwhelming to me, especially since I came to motherhood with virtually NO experience with children (no younger siblings, no babysitting, no working in the church nursery even pre-kids). Now with my third at 8 mo., I have so much more peace with my child-rearing and it has made an immense difference on my perspective to see my older two grow and mature. I just want to encourage you that yes, as they get older, some things do get harder, but for me it has gotten much easier now that they’re “kids” instead of “babies.”

      As a side note, I’m excited to read that tomato staking book that was linked above but another great book about biblical spanking is Shepherding a Child’s Heart. I have seen a big difference in my children since I implemented their technique (talk, spank, then prayer/restoration) and having obedient children also just makes day to day household duties much easier on me as well as the good it is doing them to follow God’s command.

      Hang in there!

    3. Joyfulmama,

      If I could reach out and give you a big hug I would! Let me encourage you, dear one…you are not a failure or anything close. You have a heart that desires God’s best for your family and that makes you a great mom.

      But, as my friend tells me sometimes when I’m feeling like a failure, “You’re in the trenches right now”. Liking your children doesn’t mean it’s always easy–far from it.

      And I’ll also tell you that when my second-born was 2, I thought I was was going to have to give him to someone else to keep from “ruining him”. I cried almost every night and felt all I ever did was discipline him. He threw tantrums, bit other people, was angry, etc. and I couldn’t seem to get a grip on him.

      Several words of advice:

      BE CONSISTENT. It’s not a magic bullet and it’s not easy. But consistency in child-training is very important.

      Keep your focus and if necessary, tune out everything else in your life while you concentrate on your relationship with your children and getting some of the behavior bugs worked out. The link Natasha recommended IS excellent, and the book Amanda recommend is the one that was a turning point for us–Shepherding a Child’s Heart.

      Consistent love, consistent boundaries, consistent authority, consistent affection–that will make all the difference!

    4. Please be comforted in knowing that He IS Sufficient!

      He knows we are weak and completely incapable of mothering these precious treasures.

      He knows we will mess up over and over and over.

      I am right there with you–been there, done that.

      But I want you to KNOW beyond a shadow of a doubt that He will redeem our feeblest efforts to honor Him.

      I have been a mom for over 23 years and I still mess up. Often. Daily. But I have a testimony that you must understand: He has brought forth such amazing children who have grown into such amazing adults from our flawed parenting efforts.

      He WILL do the same thing for you. Continue to cry out to Him. Remember our lives are divided into “seasons”. The season you are in is a very intense one, but He will help you glorify and honor Him through the raising of Godly Children. He wants that for them even more than you do!

      Isaiah 40:11
      He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young.

      Be comforted, sweet sister.

      Another great resource that I wish I had had when I started this job:
      Don’t Make Me Count to Three by Ginger Plowman. ( Filled with much wisdom with lots of humor thrown in. Easy, quick read but absolutely grounded in Scriptural principles. Ordering from Timberdoodle,they include a wall chart that has Bible references to deal with each type of misbehavior. It gives questions to ask your child to help reveal the matters of the heart and then gives a suggested “replacement” for wrong behavior. I love it.

      1. Antbed (I should look up your name ;-))

        “I have been a mom for over 23 years and I still mess up. Often. Daily. But I have a testimony that you must understand: He has brought forth such amazing children who have grown into such amazing adults from our flawed parenting efforts.”

        Your words are so encouraging to THIS mom!

  13. Natasha, thanks so much for this link. I have only browsed through it very quickly, but already discovered a tip or two that I found useful. Will read a bit more after the children are in bed tonight. I appreciate your encouragement. Love, JM.

  14. Children being a burden before they are born……Expecting our fourth child, I am encountering this thought process *everywhere* I turn. I lay in bed with my husband last night in tears over this very subject. We had spent some time in town yesterday, I am barely even showing, walking with my 18month old, 3yr old,, and 4yr old, and pratically everyone we passed had the most awful comments to make! It crushes me! I don’t know how to respond, how to take it, or what to think! It frusterates me, and I’m not sure that I even have the right attitude because it makes me downright angry at these mouthy strangers!

    1. Charity, I am sorry you are encountering so much negativity. Do you mind sharing where you live?
      I live in Northern Minnesota. I am expecting my sixth baby this fall, and though I know there are people out there who do not like large families I have not experienced them myself. More often we are stopped and told how wonderful our family is and how blessed we are. Just a note of encouragement for you… your children are a wonderful blessing. There are a LOT of people who think so, even if you have not met them where you are. Keep loving those babies where everyone can witness the beauty of your family. God will use you to bless others and change hearts.

    2. Charity,
      Don’t let it bother you. Feel blessed that God has given you 4 children. I have 4 boys and would love to be pregnant again and have people make comments to me. We have had 2 miscarriages in the last few months. This world is deceived. Be thankful that you are not. Smile when people make comments and tell them how thankful you are that God has given you such precious gifts. Don’t let them steal your joy.

      Blessings to you,

      1. I do feel so abundantly blessed! We are thrilled to be expecting again…God has been SO good to us! The only response I give to anyone who makes rude comments is a smile, but I’m afraid that’s because I’m too mouse-like in personality to say anything. I feel like a hypocrite, because on the inside I’m thinking, “I dont like you! You are saying you hate my children!”, and other things that aren’t quite Christ-like. I desire and strive to have the meek and quite spirit that Christ says I should, but I struggle greatly with that when someone shows hatred and disgust toward what God has called a woman to do.

    3. How many children you have is no one’s business but your own, let alone strangers. You will always be judged one way or the other for everything concerning being a mother. A lesson I learned the hard way. The only person who should matter other than God is your husband and if you need any validation, please look at the faces of your children. Helps me.

      God bless you

    4. They really do not understand. We got this a lot (we have 7). People would say to me when I was pregnant, “You do know what causes that, right?” And I would smile and say, “Yes, the Lord does. He opens the womb and blesses us with children.” That was usually the end of the conversation. I believe the Lord plants seeds through those encounters that can bear fruit we will never see. If that didn’t end the conversation, I was given an opportunity to declare Truth and it was always a blessing. It did make me angry, too. But, that’s where I have to be reminded: They truly do NOT understand. They have believed a lie and just the simple act of walking down the street with several young children allows you to be “salt” and “light” in a very dark world. It is through our faithful parenting of these treasures that the Truth will be spoken the loudest.

      I cannot tell you how many people comment on my “well behaved” herd. They cannot believe I can be out in public with so many children who actually obey and don’t “disturb the peace.” Our testimony, through out children, declares the Truth and He is glorified. I believe our culture can be changed and that He is raising up a Godly generation who will help turn the tide.

  15. Great post.In fact,all of your posts have been really encouraging to me.I just posted this one on my blog this morning!
    The struggle that we all have in trying to not let the world affect us in our parenting and trying to focus on a God centered world view,is hard.I am 38 and have 6 children,20,13,12,9,2,1 and one on the way.Before the last two came I was infected with the world’s view of children,even as a Christian.Even when we were expecting our 4th child,we were constantly questioned if we knew what we were getting ourselves into!I ended up having my tubes tied soon after she was born,convinced that I needed to stop having children.In 2005 God began to work on my heart and by 2006 we were set up with a tubal reversal Doctor.Had the reversal done in 2007 and here we are waiting on tubal reversal baby #3!I can only thank God for changing my heart and doing this reconstructing within me.It is still a struggle because my husband and I come from unbelieving families so our whole walk is a new one that we are doing alone(with God)but,our children will reap the benefits.
    Thank you for being such an encouragement to so many of us out here in blog world.
    May God continue to bless you and your family!!

  16. I, and I am sure many more would love a follow up post on how to change myself and my children so that I can “like” my children. I ofcourse love my children, but latley my kids have gotten out of hand, and they are the ones screeming in the store, and I am the mom trying to discipline them and the next time we are in the store they are fussing again. At home I feel like I am 24 hours a day scolding and disciplining. Mine are 10, 7, and 3. They are always fighting and yelling at eachother and winning. So if I am the mom you are talking about, how do I fix it? I would love a post on discipiline styles you use and any reference books you use to learn the right way to discipline. 🙂 Thanks for your post!

  17. I don’t have any children but then I never had the desire.

    I’m a high school teacher working with at-risk and high risk teenagers, a great many of whom come from dysfunctional, broken, and sometimes abusive homes. Much of the work I do has nothing to do with curriculum and everything to do with parenting. Sometimes when people ask me what I do for a living I say “I love and raise children whose parents don’t want them.” The things I hear and see make me so sad, I often think I can’t do this job anymore, I just can’t take it. This is my 17th year.

    I’ve lost many girlfriends because I don’t want to have any children of my own and was honest about that when asked. I’ve had people – almost all of them church-going Christians – tell me I’m selfish and self-centered for not wanting any children of my own. I’ve been called unrealistic, immature, stupid, you name it. I finally quit going to church for this reason.

    It’s my belief that the selfish people are the ones obsessed with childbearing, any thought to the time, energy, and effort required be damned. So hasty they make babies, when they discover how much work is actually involved they lose interest and move on, and the poor child suffers for it. It’s always the innocent kid who’s forced to pay. Very sad, and all very wrong.

    But I’m still here in California, hard at work doing the job biological parents don’t seem to want to do anymore. Going to football games on my days off to see my guys play, watching a brokenhearted girl run at her track meet because her father was “too busy” to come (and he always is), teaching two boys who can’t speak much English to read, spending the day writing a report for law enforcement about the girl in my first period class who confessed she was being abused. That’s me, the selfish guy.

    After that I go home to peace and quiet, there to try and recharge my worn out spirit so I can be positive and encouraging the next day, thinking about these poor, broken kids and how I might give them hope despite their awful circumstances. I confess I like the calm and the peace of my garden after work – a lot. I suppose that’s selfish, too.

    But no, I don’t want children of my own. It’s not for me, I have little to no desire to be a dad. I guess that makes me selfish and a bad person.

    But no worries, I’ve been pilloried for so long it doesn’t offend or hurt me much, anymore. So go ahead and think the worst of me, reject me, and tell your friends how self-centered I am. It’s okay. I will still be here doing the job after your new baby grows up, and you decide you want it’s too much for you and you need to move on to “the next thing.”

    You can always count on me to be there for your child, it’s what I do. I am the selfish man nobody wants.

    1. Many children do not come from good homes. And not all children have the care they deserve. I’ve had the privilege of seeing one of the best moms in the world in person with children. A woman who did not bear them herself but who was one of the kindest, most loving mothers I have ever seen. Mother Teresa. It takes a bigger heart to devote a life of service to children other than your ‘own’.
      God has endowed all living things with the ability to care for their young. It is a shame his highest creation does not. You have my respect for stepping up to fill the void.

      God bless you.

    2. Thank you for loving so deeply those who haven’t been loved. You are probably the only “life-line” these kids have. May the Lord fill you up to overflowing so that you don’t completely burn up in the process of loving them.

      I am so sorry you have been so wounded by the unloving comments of many Christians. I would like to ask your forgiveness for those who have spoken condemnation to you. Please know that all of us, as Christians, are sinners covered by His matchless Grace. I’m so sorry that all you have seen of parenting has been ugly and broken. That is not His Design. He intends for us, as parents, to be emptied of self through the act of daily dying to self as we serve those He has placed us in authority over. When we refuse, the consequences are what you see everyday. If, however, we allow Him to pour us out everyday and become more and more dependent on Him for our very breath, the fruit borne in our children is glorious. I am a very selfish person, by nature, and He is still so patient with me, but the children He has blessed us with are AMAZING testimonies to His faithfulness. They are His precious servants and His is glorified through them. Parenting should be the highest calling most of us could have in this life.

      Thank you for being a dad to so many hurting hearts.

  18. It is a great post. But sometimes, it’s a very simple matter of children being wild, as they will at some point no matter what. Sometimes it’s a matter of a mother who loves them greatly needing some rest time desperately.

  19. “I think of a new wave of parenting among Christians that shames parents for even believing that the Bible teaches they have authority over their children. What do we do with that?”

    Kelly, you know that book “Conversations with God”? There’s a teen version. One girl who loves it told me that she doesn’t believe in “parental hierarchy”. I just knew it would be teaching that kind of trash. God help the fools and the children.

  20. Thought provoking post. But shamefully I have been there. More times than I care to count or remember. Used words I should not have, getting angry at things which I need not have. Hindsight is 20/20. I’ve done the same to my husband, my parents, sibling, in laws, extended family, friends and so on. When I was tired, frustrated, angry at something and shown my anger to people I could not and shown it instead to people who would forgive me. Who love me despite my flaws.
    I really, really try so hard not to show it to my children for what I say affects them. But we must also recognize that parents are not super human. Raising children is hard work. It is not always roses and rainbows. It means giving up dreams and desires. It means lack of sleep, lack of personal time etc. There are moments when they will run wild or be disobedient. Sometimes those frustrations come out using unwise words. We should recognize that and give grace to parents to have an outlet. But IMO we must try to speak kindly and not lose sight of the goal. Of raising Godly children. For they are given to us for a season and pretty soon it will all go in the blinking of an eye. Dreams can wait but childhood does not. So we must enjoy them through the frustrations and learn to look at the joy they bring and the love they give us. For nothing is as precious the life of a child given to us to mold.

    1. Sylvia,

      “But we must also recognize that parents are not super human. Raising children is hard work. It is not always roses and rainbows.”


      You know one of the hardest things I find to communicate to mothers is the need for balancing our parenting goals with reality with grace with hard work.

      What I mean is, women ask me all the time to “tell them how I do it”. I’m not always sure what that means. I am so thankful for a home full of sweet, usually obedient children that DO respect me and their father and bring us tremendous joy.

      AND YET…I have crying days. Days like everyone else when I feel like we have monumental areas of character issues to tackle and I don’t feel adequate.

      I have days that I just *decide* “I can’t do this anymore”, LOL! As if I had a choice.

      It’s such a pendulum and I don’t pretend to have mastered anything. But I’m confident that “He who began a good work will perform it”. And I must bring myself back to a constant place of renewal and fresh vision.

      It’s very hard work. Most worthwhile things are. My heart is to encourage mothers, as I walk right alongside them, to persevere and keep looking to the One who has called them to this glorious–though difficult work of raising the next generation.

      1. “You know one of the hardest things I find to communicate to mothers is the need for balancing our parenting goals with reality with grace with hard work.”

        One of the hardest things I struggle with. Grace with parenting. It is so much easier to shout or show an angry face than parent with grace.

        Though I know in my heart I am not the only one who struggles this way it is so hard sometimes. But is it worth it ? Absolutely. I may not live out all my dreams but hopefully I am leaving a Godly legacy with hard work and prayer.

        You do not pretend to have all the answers Kelly. At all. But posts like this and the responses makes me feel like I am not the only one who struggles. And thank you for that.

        1. I was raised in a home of anger. It was the first response to us children if we did the littlest thing wrong. I grew up knowing and understanding anger very well.

          Now,as an adult I have seen it is in me and in the past 12 years I have seen it come out in ugly ways sometimes. It can come out toward my precious husband, my children, family that I love. So, I have been working on it a long time. It is actually getting better – I saw the monster in the mirror and I decided to expose it and work on destroying it!

          I have come to see that anger is a destroyer. For the past 5 years I have been working through “why is anger my first response?” “how did anger make me feel as a child?” “how is it making my children feel when I respond to them in anger?” “what does the Bible say about anger?” “How does the Lord want me to respond to my children?”

          Anger has GREAT negative power – it is something Satan used in me and I allowed to push my children away from me. It is something I have really looked square in the mirror and asked myself the hard questions. It is ugly, it is hard, but it is worth every minute to work to get it our of my life – because this anger is affecting my children. Yes, I have those moments, I used to have many of them, but they are getting fewer and fewer as I get to know my Savior better and I see the way He wants me to respond to the little hearts HE has given me.

          I downloaded this talk – it is worth every penny if you are willing to tackle this issue head on with yourself.

          He has another I plan to listen to very soon.

          Mr SM Davis does not beat around the bush – he challenges the one that loves the Lord to deal with the sin of anger because it is a destroyer to homes and families. I am learning new responses – my children’s hearts are being given back to me and they are loving their “new” mommy that is being transformed by JESUS and I like her too – it is good to see change taking place. My husband likes being around me too. I see lots of women struggling with this and hurting their families. I was very frustrated with myself and the anger – but getting my eyes on the Lord has helped me tackle the beast! Deciding to expose the sin in my life before the Lord is allowing for healing to take place.

  21. EXCELLENT. One of your best posts ever. I love my kids and know them well; they know me and we enjoy each other. It is hard though at times; my oldest is getting quite saucy and I have to squash him down a bit. Of course he is at the natural age to test my authority over him – but I will not tolerate certain things. I have to try hard not to lose my temper (I have a lot of patience and then I EXPLODE -which I am working on but my oldest totally knows how to make this happen) At the same I need him to realize we are ALL under the Lord’s authority. The things you listed about reasons WHY we don’t enjoy the kids is spot on. I have a lot of concerns about where our culture is going/has already gone.

  22. Would you give me permission to reprint this on my blog, either in part or in full? I will give you full credit and link back to your blog. This has been so impressed on my heart lately and I find myself CRINGEING every time I hear moms complain about the mess their kids leave behind, how their kids cramp their social lives, how they don’t craft with their kids because that just adds to the annoying clutter in their rooms, and how excited they are for their kids to be back in school. It absolutely breaks my heart. I’d love to either add my own thoughts to this on my blog, or just share it by itself because you say it so much better than I probably could.

  23. So timely! My daughter is my “wild child.” Her nicknames are “Hurricane” “Crazy (her name)” and “Wild Mustang.” Lately, she’s been very difficult to the point where I dreaded her even being awake! Isn’t that horrible? I would look at her and be afraid of how little I felt towards her besides frustration. So, I had a good cry and made up my mind to love her for who she is. God gave me my Hurricane. Funny thing is, since I made up my mind to love her, things have been so much better. When we expect the worst out of our children, we get it. Even out of our 2 year olds.

  24. Wow!! Kelly, Thank you for your post, you have a way of stating things that are on my heart very clearly. Ladies, Thank you for you honest and open comments, I have been encouraged. I am in the “trenches” too. I came from a broken home, so the Lord is my teacher and I use blogs like this as a Titus 2 kind of tool. After my third blessing was born five months ago I was really struggled with liking my children. I don’t know about you but I have all one that seems to know how to push me… to the Lord. I was also not liking me…and that lived out in how I was responding to that child, what tone I was using and the looks I gave. These things were not a godly examples in my home at the time. As Kelly was saying world view is key, and mine was focused not on the things of God but on the things of Man(me and my ideas). I am still struggling with this but once I got the right view things were much improved. God’s faithfulness to my obedience was see in behavior improvements. I had to learn to see who I was in Christ, what my calling is, and what is true and how I am to impart these to my children. We as a family are all growing and learning how to know God and enjoy him forever. May others find hope in the word of God and here with other encouraging words from the saints. May Grace fill your homes today and evermore….Stephanie

  25. I have an honest question. I am 37 years old and close to engagement with a man who is 36 and still in school. I honestly believe he is where God intends him to be and that God has brought us together. I come by this with much prayer and listening. We agree on not using birth control and having babies when God blesses us with them. However, he has another 7 years of intense schooling. Certainly, God could change that at any point. The area of concern and the question I have is this…how do I work to support the family (while he is in school only) and still have the connection I know is so vital with my children? This is my #1 concern with him still in school. Our hearts are not for him to be in school to live a high lifestyle or to do anythign else but be obedient to God. Would appreciate the thoughts of anyone who has been through it or anyone who feels led to share their thoughts. Thank you, sweet sisters!

    1. I am no means qualified to say what to do or pretend to know the answers.

      What I will say is this. Make your choices according to your situation. No one can tell you what to do. Only you and your husband know what to do, no one is walking in your shoes. There could be judgement from both the secular and unfortunately the christian world for your choices. But the truth is much as we like to say no, we also judge others who do not make our choices. So please learn to let go. And give grace to others.

      As for being a mom, it is a hard job. It means losing sleep, it is sometimes dirty and the responsibility of raising children is very overwhelming. But with God’s grace, consistency and prayer you can do it. And the best part are the children themselves.

      God bless you.

  26. Just wanted to add that I love the post and the Raising Godly Tomatoes is awesome! I would recommend it to most Christian parents.

  27. I agree with what all of you are saying. Many parents do not want the task of raising their children. I see this in some of our relatives. Their is no bond between the mother and father, nor between mother and child or father and child. The children are pawned off to whoever will take them. It’s very disheartening. Unfortunately, it’s the same way many of these young adults were raised. Shouldn’t we be the light of the world by encouraging and gently taking the parents by the hand and showing them the way of Biblical and proper parenting?

    Another thought, when we see a child misbhehaving, as in the story above, it’s automatically thought that there is no discipline in the home. Why, if there were discipline the children would not be wild. Right? If anyone has a special needs child, you know where I am going. Autism and many other differences do not have a physical characteristic that tells others that this child is autistic. My child had sensory problems and she would act out similarly to the children in the story whenever we went away. Let’s be real, sometimes we NEED to go to the store and personally we had no one to babysit. Consistency I hear many scream, including so called friends from several churches (which I no longer attend because of hypocracy). On the other hand, you CAN NOT discipline for every infraction or you will damage the child’s self esteem. Pick your battles! The parents of these “wild” children are often embarrassed, stressed and worn down by the constant different, oftentimes uncontrollable behaviors and by all the negative remarks from Christian friends and family members.

    1. Excellent points in Calina’s post.

      “Autism and many other differences do not have a physical characteristic that tells others that this child is autistic. My child had sensory problems and she would act out similarly to the children in the story whenever we went away.”

      That is an important consideration to make when we see a child who appears to be misbehaving in public. Autism or other profound sensory challenges, rather than a lack of parental discipline, may be at the root of the child’s response. The most ordinary of occurrences that neurotypical children can cope with — banging carts at a grocery store, flushing toilets in a public restroom, barking dogs (or even the mere presence of a dog) at a park — can rapidly overwhelm a child with autism, especially if he or she has intense fears of any of these things. Those fears may manifest in the very behaviors we may think are deliberate disobedience, or a lack of child training, such as vocal outbursts, pulling on the parent’s arms in an effort to escape from the fearful situation, and the like.

      Yet those are the very children who need the most exposure to ordinary scenarios that elicit fear for them, to help them develop coping strategies. It’s a tricky balancing act for parents of children with autism, especially when the children may not be able to adequately put their fears into words, to know how much exposure to difficult situations out in public will advance their children’s coping skills while still averting a meltdown in front of strangers who know nothing about the children’s history or the parents’ use of Biblical child training methods.

  28. Bethy-

    When answering this question we can look to scripture for our answer, we can pray for God to guide us to what his Word says. It’s awesome you want to have children and stay home with them, and I am sure your future husband will work when he is done with school, but if he is to marry you, then he is to provide for his family.

    “1 Timothy 5:8 But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.”

    In the beginning God gave Adam his orders, to Work for his family.

    “Genesis 3:17-19 And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life;
    Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field;
    In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.”

    Genesis 3:16 is Eves curse ” Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.”

    It is always God’s will for a man to provide for his family.

  29. Bethy-

    When answering this question we can look to scripture for our answer, we can pray for God to guide us to what his Word says. It’s awesome you want to have children and stay home with them, and I am sure your future husband will work when he is done with school, but if he is to marry you, then he is to provide for his family.

    “1 Timothy 5:8 But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.”

    In the beginning God gave Adam his orders, to Work for his family.

    “Genesis 3:17-19 And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life;
    Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field;
    In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.”

    Genesis 3:16 is Eves curse ” Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.”

    It is always God’s will for a man to provide for his family, this is not a matter of personal choice and God does not answer prayers contrary to what his Word says.

  30. Kelly,

    I understand what you’re saying, but I think that too much is being made about moms met in the mall who say seemingly disparaging comments about their kids. I submit that most of those comments are said w/tongue in cheek, or when a mom is caught up in a harried, frenzied moment. Certainly, most moms love their kids, and if words could kill, we would all be guilty of murder.

    On the other hand, as a mom of ten kids, I am pretty tired. I enjoy my kids, but, honestly, I want them to evolve–as God intended–grow up, and marry (if that’s what God wants for them–my 33-year-old daughter is still single, and while she would love to be married, is content where God has her), and have families of their own. I adore my kids, but I also adore my husband, and am looking forward to uninterrupted time w/HIM. We still have two school-age kids at home, and, this morning, before they left for school, I had devotions w/them–because that is our routine in the morning, and because I want them to hear God’s Word before leaving for the day. I don’t necessarily enjoy it when I’m dog-tired, and have a horrid cold (like I do today), but every aspect of child-rearing isn’t enjoyable. In fact, it is downright hard work. The Bible speaks of Epaphras “laboring in prayer (Colossians 4),” and child-rearing is no different. “Laboring” while in the throes of child-rearing isn’t all that fulfilling, but God can use your labors to produce results.

    I am still learning that though I am a mom, I can be too emotionally invested in my kids. I realized that last week after my son called to say that he had lost his job (the economy is still producing unemployment). Often I don’t handle that kind of news w/much trust in God. But, God gave me His peace when, rather than worry, I focused on the fact that God has a plan for my son’s life, and this is part of His plan. I think that perhaps I commit idolotary when I make my kids the focus, and begin to fret and worry. As moms, it’s hard not to be “concerned (often God-speak for worry),” but I want to trust God instead of trying to fix everything, which is my tendency. God is so much better at “fixing” things than I am.

    And, finally, I haven’t always liked my kids. No matter what you teach your kids, only God can change hearts. So, although my kids cut their teeth on Biblical teaching, some of them have still had a disrespectful mouth at times. They’re sinners, after all, and while we crack down, it is their sin, not ours. They, alone, are culpable to God. Don’t be surprised when your kids, who are sinners, act like sinners. And, make no mistake about it, though, if your kids continue to walk w/God after leaving the nest: it is a credit to God ALONE, and not to your parenting skills.

    Now, off to transfer laundry from the washer to the dryer, despite feeling lousy. What a martyr. I’m good at that. In fact, I began laying on the guilt when the kids were still in the womb. I’M KIDDING…please no letters about this woman who doesn’t like her kids, and who made a comment about trying to make her kids feel guilty!


    1. Cathy,

      For the record, I was not talking about the mom “caught in a frenzied moment”…I’ve qualified that we all have those and that isn’t related in the least to not liking our children.

      I’m talking moms (some I know personally) who boast about “finally going on my vacation..with no kids“. Huh? Mind you, this particular mom works full time while her children are in day care. She literally doesn’t really like being with them.

      Of course we have harried days. Had one today 😉

      I’m speaking of something different, and I think it’s more widespread than you might think. I’m talking of a different mentality toward children. Yes, we all want our children to grow up and marry and have their lives. But in the mean time, if we aren’t devoted to putting in the time, attention and love required as parents–and yes, liking our children, generally speaking, we are missing something monumental. But our children are missing something much bigger.

  31. I don’t know a single mother anywhere who doesn’t grow weary, at times. Bone tired, in fact.

    And yes, all my children (and I) are sinners in desperate need of a Savior. I am capable of every sin known to man, as are my children. And it is only by the Grace of God that I don’t fall more often or farther than I do.

    But, I do know that I can walk whatever path He sets my feet to with joy, if I choose it.

    I find that when my responsibilities are the heaviest, I can choose to look at my “load” or look at my Father’s Face. When I look at my never ending list of “to-do’s”, or have to deal with a recurring character issue in myself or my children AGAIN, I have to choose how to handle it. Do I use my strength, energy, wisdom? Or do I allow Him to fill me to overflowing with every resource I need to not only faithfully fulfill my responsibilities, but to sing in the process? I always have the choice.

    I love this text in the Message:
    Matthew 11:28
    “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”

    I believe it!

  32. This discussion is encouraging to me…I am pregnant with my third and have already had someone (a Christian) asked me if it “was planned” in front of my other children. I feel estatic to have the chance to be blessed with another child! It is a lot of work and sometimes I get so tired but the Lord really does supply the strength and love. I have also noticed that when I think the problem is with my children and/or being a SAHM, the issue is usually with me not wanting to die to myself!

  33. I think sometimes, for my husband and I, its NOT so much that we’re not around our children (we’re with them all the time) or that we’re not focused on training (everything becomes a lesson of sorts… academic, spiritual, etc.). For us, we’re so hyper-focused on training, spiritual and academic, that we forget to ENJOY our children. Everything becomes a serious “spiritual” issue and we find ourselves trying to address the “heart issue”, because we’re “trying so hard” to do it all right. We err on the OTHER side of it all. And it makes me just as sad, because the reason WHY we act like we don’t “like” our children doesn’t matter…. if everyone can see it or perceives it, it’s not right. I love my children, but I know I don’t take the time to enjoy them…

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  35. Wow.. I know this is an older post, but I have to thank you for putting all of this into an organized format. Over the years, we’ve made some “drastic” decisions to spend more time with our children. EACH ONE HAS BEEN SO WORTH IT. Thanks for posting… I’ll share. 🙂

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