I’ve been really working on my approach to my loved ones. I can get a little frustrated with immaturity and just being around them A LOT. However, the day I read this passage, I felt the Holy Spirit tell me this was foundational to my life, especially in raising “more” kids. I need to consider my words, my work, my actions through this lens.
“As surely as I live, says the Lord, every knee will bow before Me; every tongue will confess to God.” So then, each of us will give an account of himself to God.” Romans 14:11-12 (NKJV)
So, this is how I’m *trying* to live my life as a wife, a mom, a sister, a daughter, a friend, and a person. I know I’m going to going to have to give an account of myself and what I did with this life before God.
That’s why I don’t want to mess up this chance I have with my kids. I have the chance to teach them how to be accountable before God. I have the chance to teach them how to honor others with their lives. That got me to thinking about my extra dose of children. I have two who take turns being “MORE.” More intense. More frustrated. More needy. More selfish. More of something on a regular basis.
Yet, when I think about the immense honor it is to be these kids’ mama, I’m in awe that God chose me. He put His handiwork on my heart and gave me what it takes to love these kids as he loves them. We sang “Reckless Love” by Cory Asbury in church yesterday and it really encompasses what I’m talking about. He gave me these kids to mother. Why me? Why now? The only answer I can give you is from the song’s chorus:
O, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God. O, it chases me down, fights ’til I’m found, leaves the ninety-nine. I couldn’t earn it, and I don’t deserve it, still, you give yourself away. O, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God, yeah. (Cory Asbury, “Reckless Love”)
When I think of this love, I’m brought to tears. He gives us mothers the immense reward of loving His most beautiful creation with our entire souls. I can put up with intensity and immaturity for that honor.
Here’s my strategy for these intensities and immaturities.
Accept the child He’s given you.
I can’t change my kids (or my husband for that matter), so I might as well love them for who they were made to be. That means I may need to get over the fact that sometimes I’m going to have to spend 2 hours on a battle for their heart, even when I’m trying to cook dinner.
My “more” children have the potential to be real fighters in His Kingdom. It’s my job to see the long-term plan for that and to help them to use this gift in ways that honor others.
“More” children need a lot of connection.
I can be intense. I can be harsh. I can be automatic in getting stuff done. I’m a doer. And sometimes that takes away from my kids. These “more” children need a lot of touch, reassurance, and connection. I’m not perfect, but this is not my natural bent. I have to intentionally attend to these needs. And I notice that I get a lot less pushback when I do.
Be consistent in your words and actions.
“More” kids will walk around any boundary you set in place, so be ready to hold it. I struggle here because I don’t like conflict, but if I don’t insist on a few boundaries, I get wiped out and disconnected.
Let the “more” kids learn how they want to learn – the hard way.
Some people just need the hard road. Even if it hurts me, I have to let my kids fail sometimes. I’ve also realized I have to let them learn how to be adults. I’m pretty servant-hearted, but it’s my job to teach them how to care for themselves, their possessions, and their own families. This takes SO MUCH TIME. But it’s SO WORTH IT to have kids that can do for themselves.
Recognize that they are right sometimes.
Sometimes, I’m negative and harsh and my oldest “more” calls me out on it. I’m ok with that.
Try to coach instead of demand.
It’s right to demand respect from your kids. But you can get a lot further with the “mores” when you coach instead of command. These kids need advising on strategies for overcoming obstacles. I can almost always trace a power struggle back to me being demanding instead of taking the time to coach one of my children. Coaching takes time, but demanding takes your energy and relationship.
Let them figure it out with siblings (within reason).
Someone commented recently on how my kids struggle, but mostly get along. I’ve noticed it too. They may get in each other’s way, but they really do respect each other. Figuring it out with siblings is the best training ground there is for figuring it out with others. If you know you have abrasiveness or personality clashes, be cognizant of this. My girls are like fire and ice because they think very differently. I have to be mindful of this in a “help her” situation.
Figure out what you can overlook.
This is SO HARD for me to do because I’m a perfectionist. I think people should get up and get going in the morning. However, not everyone is like that. Some people need time to start the day. I’ve learned to ignore (mostly) the morning negativity. I don’t communicate much with my night owls until they’ve gotten themselves together.
Let Dad handle things on which you clash.
I’m too quick-tempered on certain topics, so I rely on Daddy to be the level-headed one about things that inflame me. This is good for all involved.
Focus on together time with your older kids.
My oldest is “more” than the rest of the family, but she is FUN. I’ve found that just staying up 30 minutes later with her is often the key to our relationship. We watch TV and chat most of the time, but we’ve had some incredible conversations. I’ve noticed that she’s making a mental change from kid to adult. We talk about what she wants out of life, and I’m loving this stage of life with her. Hanging out gives me a really good picture of what’s really going on.
Get them moving. Exercise is good for everyone.
When we go outside or even just do a silly movement song, I see a big difference in my kids. So much of that intensity is just pent up energy. Burn it off even if it means you have some dishes in the sink. I recently got my daughter some spin shoes for my spin bike. She rides almost every morning. I see a big difference when she does that.
Don’t feel guilty about your “more” children taking more of you.
I know it seems like these kids take from the rest, but the other kids know they’ll be there when they need a leader to lean on. I’ve seen my littles’ friends chase my big girl around because everyone wants to be near her. We mamas may get sometimes get the worst of them, but others get the best. You may not see the fruit because you’re too close to it. But that’s ok. God gave you these “more” kids because He trust you.