It had been a rough week. School was just beginning. Our family was transitioning through some things. My husband and I had to adjust to a new job change for me, which requires some extra travel. And our girls were in new classrooms with new friends and new teachers.
Everything new can easily equal every thing crazy.
Both my kids were in tears that day, for different reasons. One of them wasn’t so sure about her reading abilities any more (she had been confident in them yesterday), and the other one had decided she would use yelling as her main form of communication. Normally, I feel like I have what it takes to at least have patience and ask good questions.
But I didn’t.
I wanted to fight for their hearts in that moment.
I wanted to give them the best a mommy could give.
I wanted to be able to live with the tension and give them loving truth.
But I couldn’t because my heart was breaking.
I hadn’t taken any time to take in the source of love and truth for myself.
You see, I know how important it is as parents to pour love into our kids and always fight for their hearts.
But last week, I learned an important nuance to that truth.
When I couldn’t hold it together for my girls who needed me to help them navigate two very different growing developments (lack of confidence and too much confidence), I knew that I needed a check-up.
The very best I could muster was getting them through their evening routines and into bed. No prayers, no conversations, no special time with each of them.
Every now and then, that is okay. Sometimes they just need me to let them be. Space is a beautiful and gracious gift we can give as parents, especially when our kids become teenagers.
But that’s not what happened this time. I walked away from their struggles empty, and I didn’t want that for me, or for them.
I laid down to go to sleep, and it was like God sat down on the front porch and had a conversation with me.
If you’re going to fight for their hearts,
you have to hold onto yours.
Where is your heart, Brooklyn?
Warm tears pooled.
No one had to know about this moment but me, but I want to share it because it’s real.
Parenting is real,
and it isn’t easy.
Knowing and feeling the love of Jesus is real too,
but it’s sometimes difficult to hang onto when there’s so much hanging onto us.
I returned to some habits that I know help my heart. To fill me up so I won’t be tempted to give up. Here’s some things you can start, too:
- Put a date with yourself on the weekly schedule (daily if you can!).
- Use ⅓ of the time praying, ⅓ of the time reading God’s Word, ⅓ of the time doing whatever the heck you want to do—it’s your creative date with yourself.
- Don’t let anyone, not even your mom, keep you from your heart.
You need this.
I need this.
It’s as important as your morning coffee.
And as important as brushing your teeth.
Our kids will thank us for holding onto hope in our hearts when they need us to fight for the hope that’s in theirs.
Brooklyn has been a youth pastor since 2001. She has authored numerous books and projects, and is a youth pastor at Highland Park Church of the Nazarene, her first priority. Second she is a speaker who loves teaching from the Bible, and leading people to live in response to God’s love. Brooklyn, while named after a city in New York, lives in the sunshine state with her husband, Coy, and their sweet girls, Kirra and Mya.