Sunday, January 3, 2010

From Tots to Teens ~ Introduction

Let's start with a quick introduction - I'm Jill - blessed Mom of 9 - 7 through international adoption over the last four years. You can read the rest of my bio here.

Yes, we are the proud and very blessed parents of 9 amazing children - ages 2 - 15 yrs old. Life is fun, busy, silly, never dull and always full of His praises.

As a mom of many I hope to bring you wisdom through the many experiences I have gone through over the last 15 yrs of parenting and what it is like to raise children who fear the Lord!

Our home and hearts are truly set on Him - as for me and my house we will serve the Lord. Joshua 24:15

Sometimes setting your heart on Him and desiring to parent His way is not popular with family and friends. Yet, everyone benefits from the fruits of my obedience to Him and the grace His pours out each and every day to parent His children. The fruit each of our children bear comes from hours of training and mastering skills needed to bring honor and glory to God and us. It is not due to luck or them being good kids. It is because every word we stand on is 100% truth and does NOT return void. God is a promise maker and keeper! I only need to do one thing - trust in them and allow them to be what guides me every single day.

Our family is blessed by my husband who loves and fears the Lord, and that he spends hours each week teaching us from His Word. We are blessed by the discernment and ways in which he stands before me in parenting our children. Parenting this many children is a two parent full-time job - that needs every ounce of grace God gives to us as we look to Him and walk by faith on this journey He has called us on. Had it been our way - we would be a family of four maybe six. No way would we have believed you even three years ago that we would soon be the parents of 9 children! But God knew and His plan for us is perfect! It has refined us, stretched our faith and given us wings to love with great abandon!

As we travel this journey together here on Totally Tots - I will share funny stories and struggles that we experience in hopes to encourage you in the greatest job on earth - loving His children His way with joy!

My life verse and rock in which I stand - Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the Lord your God with all of your heart, mind and soul and lean NOT on your own understanding. But in all of your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths straight. AMEN! Thank You LORD!

I often quote that verse to myself when I can't see the fruit of weeks of discipline and correction. Or when a child is testing me over and over again on something and need to remember He is in the middle of this struggle.

I remind myself of the fact I am to do this powered by His Spirit and not by my might. Zech. 4:6

I remind myself that I am to do this (parent) without complaining or disputing. Phil 2:14

I remind myself that I can only do this through Christ who strengthens me. Phil 4:13

I remind our children that it is well pleasing to the Lord when they obey me and bring honor to God in doing so. Colossians 3:20

I remind myself that as I obey God - they are watching and will follow my lead. So if I willingly pick up my cross each day, deny myself and follow after Jesus - they too will do the same thing as they understand the full meaning of being a child of the Most High God. Luke 9:23

Parenting tots to teens requires all of Him and me humbly dying to self each day. When I don't do it His way - we all have a really long day - filled with whining, arguing amongst the children and a battle of the wills. When we begin our day and even throughout the day calling upon Jesus - our day is peaceful, calm and joyful.

Our children at very young ages have learned to go to God whenever they can't gain self-control on their own. They stop what they are doing and pray. It has been amazing to watch our now 2 yr old daughter do this at 18 months old - then walk away from praying with a smile on her face. It has been my saving grace with her because she tends to get wound up really fast and her temper is quick to take action - I give her the cue - "please stop and pray - you need God." Down she drops, hands folded, head bowed and her sweet words that we can't understand all of the time come out and up to Jesus. We all benefit from watching her do this and has taught our other children to do the same thing when they are hurt, angry, frustrated, sick or not being nice to their siblings.

You see our day begins and ends in prayer. Prayer is our rock and it has given us great power to do the impossible - parenting 9 children who love and desire to serve the Lord at such tender ages.

Parenting doesn't have to be a struggle - when we give up wanting to control our children and force them to obey - and our desire becomes for them to obey even when are not there - things begin to change. This has become our focus over the last year and it is amazing to see the changes taking place in our home. It has been hardest on me not to jump in and stop every behavior or action they know breaks the rules of our home - yet, watching them catch themselves and making a quick change is the greatest reward there is. They made the change because their heart wants to bring honor to God first and us second. They know He sees all and nothing goes unnoticed before Him. They know that even when we can't see or won't be there to tell them to stop - they truly want to tell us, "I made the right choices while you were gone."

That is my hope in writing this feature - to teach you ways to train your children in the way they should go - where their hearts greatest desire is to bring honor to God first and then you as their parents. That they seek to hear, "good job, well done my faithful little one." And that they will be a light in a dark and hurting world - shining their lights so bright for Jesus that our Father in heaven will be glorified in all they do. Because we know that, "even a child is known by his deeds." Proverbs 20:11

Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth. 1 John 3:18

I hope you will join me and let me know the areas of parenting you have questions or ideas that you want me to share here. I look forward to hearing from you and sharing this amazing journey together!

Blessed beyond measure! Walking in His amazing grace!


Carrie said...

Wow. I really needed this this morning - I'm copying down those Biblical statements right now about what I should remind myself each day. I just started mothering TWO instead of one, which, to me, is rather overwhelming, and I need to call on God's strength - what a neat example to your children, and what a blessing to see them following in your footsteps even at such a young age!

theonewhere said...

i can't even imagine teaching my 2 year old to pray when he is frustrated. what an amazing idea.....i will have to think that one over...bc he is my super frustrated one. thanks for the idea. :)

Cari said...

Thank you so much for your encouraging words. It is awesome to know that there are other people out there who want to raise their kids up RIGHT! I love your blog and advice.

He & Me + 3 said...

This was awesome Jill. I love to hear how you parent. It is so encouraging. Keep writing and I will keep reading.

Valerie said...

I'm so excited about this feature. I've been feeling a bit overwhelmed and defeated by not seeing the fruits of weeks of discipline as I had hoped. With an amost 3 year old and a newborn, I'm thrilled to just have todays words of encouragement and exhortation. I already feel encouraged to press on - it's so nice to have company on the journey!

Kim said...

Beautifully written Jill. As always you teach and encourage me to be better! Thank you dear friend.
Love & Blessings from Hong Kong,

Amanda said...

I am excited about this new feature on Totally Tots! I have enjoyed your blog, Jill and look forward to gleaning some much needed wisdom from a more experienced mother. It helps to know that we are not the only parents dealing with some challenges. Thank you!

jill peel said...

Jill -
Thanks for your post and I'm really looking forward to your new section!
I echo the thoughts about prayer with your children. I a future post I would love to hear about how you teach your children to pray when they are angry and also how you all open and close each day with prayer as a family.

Debbie Petras said...

Although as you know, I have no children ...I learn best as a child. You have such wisdom and I want to follow along too. I've many friends with young children so I'll send them your way.


Beth said...

I was just in the shower mediating about this exact thing.

I want to train our children in the ways of the Lord. I don't want to just "control them into obeying" us, but have them obey because they know that in doing so they are pleasing us and most importantly, God.

I often struggle with the appropriate means to discipline and would love to hear about Godly ways to do so.

I am SO using the "stop and pray, you need God" with my 2.5 year old and 5 year old. Why didn't I think of that?!?!?

Thank goodness for other Mama's like you that are going through and doing it before me!


Unknown said...

Amen! I absolutely adore how you say to your children, "You need to pray; you need God." YES! I do this too. I didn't learn this until I was an adult had had to go through some life shattering things to master this skill/habit of FIRST seeking him.
We must show our children that He is the Healer, he is the Wise One. He (not mom or dad) has the true answers.

emily said...

thank you for sharing this. i got all teared-up as i read your article to my husband. we are training our 4 and 3 year old (and our 1 year old!) to consistently obey us for God's glory, and your words were so encouraging. i find that i often get too worked up over the disobedience of my children... which shows that i am not trusting in the Lord. i love your routine of encouraging your daughter to stop, drop, and pray (kind of like stop, drop, and roll in a fire! ha!). my 4 yr. old could benefit from that. we all could! thank you for your words of wisdom.