There are seasons with each of my children that have been difficult. I'm not talking about the potty-training stage or the two-naps a day stage when you really can't go anywhere at all or even the stage where the formerly napping child doesn't need that nap anymore. I'm referring to those seasons when a particular child is a challenge-- whether it be their attitude (or my attitude in combination with theirs!), disobedience that never seems to let up, excessive whining, pushing the boundaries, or continual emotional melt-downs.

I talked with my friend this morning on the phone and she said there were times when her children were younger and one of them would just really push the boundaries for a week or two, as if to challenge, "Did you really mean this?" My response to her was, "Oh. Well, this child has been pushing the boundaries every day, every minute, for more than a year." (At least that's what it feels like, but then again I have been known to exaggerate.)

So. Needless to say, I'm in the throes of one of those seasons with one of my children. Hence the post on weariness yesterday.

When Mark comes home from work, he'll ask, "How was your day with _____________?" And I do not disappoint: I have kept a running list in my head throughout the day. "Well, this happened and then this, and then I said this but our child did this instead and, and, and..." I just sort of dump all of it out. It is not a happy list.

On Saturday, then, when I was in tears and Mark and I prayed together, God reminded me of this. I whispered to Mark as we crawled into bed, "Honey. Do you see what I've been doing? I've been tallying up every negative thing, when what I really need to be doing is tallying up each praiseworthy thing."

And then on Sunday morning, that word of exhortation from a dear elderly woman: "live out your mothering in thankfulness and praise."

I asked God to soften my heart; to help me see the praiseworthy things in my child. Because, truly-- there are days it has been difficult for me to come up with one. And do you know what? God has been so faithful in answering that prayer!

The past two days have been so much better. When I have had the opportunity to steal a moment, I've grabbed my journal and scrawled a list of things I was thankful for about this child. Throughout the day I find myself taking mental notes or snapshots of what is happening that is good. Or cute. Or even just normal, and not naughty. I actually say to myself: ______ is being so cute right there, putting on those boots. Or, that was a very sweet smile our child just gave to daddy. Or, Wow! This one has been playing so quietly in here for the past few minutes!

I am being purposeful about setting my mind on the things that are right. Excellent. Praiseworthy. Lovely. They are there. And they've been there all along, it's just that I haven't been looking for them. Now I am.

Ah... God's Word is so GOOD! And helpful. And such a wonderfully gentle kick in the behind when I need it.


  1. Good word Stacy! I can totally relate to this. Lord have mercy on us all!

  2. Stacy -
    I'm really proud of you for coming up with this way of looking at our children when they're troublesome. (Actually, I know all praise is due to God for speaking into your life; but you did have a listening ear and a receptive heart.)

    Love you. Mark

  3. Thank you so much for sharing this. I'm having some difficultly with one of my children and your words were very encouraging. Blessings,

  4. Stacy, you are such a blessing. I learn so much from you!

  5. That gentle kick - He is so faithful to give it when we need it!

    I'm purposing to be purposeful with you, friend.

  6. Stacy,
    I too am a "narrator", often of the faults. Thanks for this reminder to narrate the good.


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