Tag Archives: parenting and the Bible

A Letter To My Parents on Their 43rd Anniversary

11 Jun

Frost Family

My brothers and I with my parents (May 2014).

My parents are celebrating their 43rd Anniversary today. I am forever indebted to them for their love, discipline, encouragement, support, selflessness, and faithfulness to not hide the things of God from me (Psalm 78:1-8). This is the second year in a row on their anniversary that they have kept our sons for my husband and me due to commitments that we’ve had. (Thanks, guys!!!) Again, they are selfless and love us well. Six years ago, my husband and I had almost 3 year old and almost 1 year old sons, and I believe that only after becoming a parent myself did I truly begin to appreciate what a gift God gave me in my Mother and Father. I wrote them a letter that day on the occasion of their 37th Anniversary, and six years later, the words still ring true. I love you, Mom and Dad! Thank you for demonstrating God’s love and grace to me as a child and continuing to do so as an adult. I pray that these same words can be written by our sons to my husband and me when we’ve been married 43 years; it will only be by God’s grace, if so! To those of you who are moms or dads, aunts or uncles, or godparents reading this post, never underestimate the impact that you can have on the life of a child! Praying that each of us will be faithful to the words of Psalm 78:1-8 …that the next generation might know the ways of God. Mimi & Pop and Mosley boys

My parents with my 3 sons. Thankful for their investment, now, in my own children!

Happy 37th Anniversary! What a wonderful blessing, as a child, to know that my parents still love each other and have kept their marriage vows. Now that I have children and know the stresses and bumps in the road that come along with life, I have even more respect for what you both did for Phillip, Carl, and me as you raised us. Thank you for investing in & being steadfast in your marriage and honoring your vows during your childbearing/childrearing years. I see the temptation of investing too much in your children and sacrificing your marriage, and I know of the physical and emotional energy required to nurture and to strengthen a marriage with young children underfoot. The easy road would have been to not go the extra mile in your marriage and to be selfish and lazy with the minimal excess energy you had during those years. However, you were not and did not and for that I am grateful. As Jamie and I, too, have made the decision for me to stay home with our boys, I recognize the sacrifices that you made, Mom, to give us what we needed most–love, nurturing, and instruction from our Mother. I know what it’s like to be with small children all day and extended family hours away. I know, Dad, the pressures placed on you as the sole financial provider. I am grateful that you both valued us–not material possessions–and were willing to sacrifice the financial gain that accompanies a double-income household. As an adult, I now understand the ‘shoestring budget’ that the five us lived–and thrived–on! I never knew that we were living on a ‘shoestring budget.’ I never felt that I missed out on anything; we were rich in my eyes. You were creative with what we had, and it is amazing to relive memories of family vacations and youth camps and to know that those memories were a gift from you. You both did without certain things in order for those memories to be made. We, as children, did without things that you would have liked to have given us, but I can’t even begin to think of what we had to “do without.” I have no memories of every lacking anything! With all of the external pressures of life weighing down on our family, I never felt the pressure, stress, uncertainty that was possibly there. This is where the greatest gift you gave me was evidenced. The faith that you both have in Christ obviously carried you through those days. That same faith was passed on to us. You instructed us in the ways of God and His Word. You loved and valued His bride, the church, by your actions. You cultivated that in me. You did not teach us to fret and to worry about life. For if you had done so, I would remember that. Instead, you taught us to love the Church and to trust Him as our Sustainer and Provider. That was evident because that’s what I remember. Oh, and did He provide! What a wonderful blessing to be able to look back on His gracious provision to our family! These same things that you valued–God, our family–are what we long to pass on to our boys. We feel the weight of the task before us. However, it is a gift of God’s grace that we have such a wonderful example from you both to reflect on and to learn from. We are thankful that even as Grandparents you are investing in our boys the same way that you invested in Phillip, Carl, and me. Proverbs 1:8-9 says, “Hear, my son, your father’s instruction,and forsake not your mother’s teaching, for they are a graceful garland for your head and pendants for your neck.” As parents, you gave me a graceful garland for my head and a beautiful pendant for my neck through your instruction and teaching. Both of which were both rooted in the wisdom of God’s Word. I wear them today as a testimony and fruit of your labor. This is what I celebrate today on your anniversary.

Your VERY grateful daughter,
Suzanne June 11, 2008 (and 2014!)

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Thoughts on Psalm 127:3 (a guest post)

3 May

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Danielle’s kiddos. Yes, they do their own stunts. Love these kids!

I shared my friend Danielle’s Facebook status last week because it was oh-so-good. As she and I texted back and forth that day, she jokingly said, “I should write a book.” I told her that I totally agreed. I asked her, in the meantime, if she could hold off on book writing and write a blog post for me. 🙂 Her statement and reference to Psalm 127:3 had given me pause and sent me into a reflective mode. I wanted to hear her further reflections on the verse, and she kindly agreed. Thank you, Danielle, for your wisdom, challenge and encouragement all centered around God’s Word. Enjoy her reflections now…

Jana’s beautiful family. (Used with permission from Jana Fowler.)

It all started with a tweet. I was scanning through my twitter feed when a single tweet caught my eye. My sweet friend, Jana, a mom of 3 beautiful girls and wife of a Nashville church planter posted this…

When people say things like “I don’t know how you get out the door in the morning” that isn’t very encouraging.

This tweet was so disturbing to me. I had so many thoughts like…How dare someone say that to a young mom!? Why would anyone make such an awful and discouraging comment? I prayed the Lord would help me to counter this response and then posted this on Facebook in response to the woman who said this…

If you see a young mama today please encourage her. Don’t say things like, “I am not sure how you get out the door every day” or “I can’t imagine how hard your life must be.” Help her carry her bags, buy her a Starbucks, encourage her and let her know that she is doing one of the best things possible…raising her babies.” Psalm 127:3

I think that our response to mamas with little ones is two fold.

One, we are life givers or life takers with our words. With a simple passing comment, we can breathe life into someone who is laboring hard to raise children, or we can cut them to the core. Sure, life with young kids is difficult. I am not sure on many occasions how I made it out the door when my children were 4, 18 months and a newborn. Yet, the helpful moment when arriving at my destination was to have an encouraging word offered or a helping hand-not a snide remark. Mamas already know how hard their job is. They are living it. Let’s help them along with an encouraging word, a helping hand, and a pleasant response.

Two, we as Christians have truly bought into the lie, offered to us by the world, that children are a burden. Scripture says the exact opposite in Psalm 127:3,

“Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb a reward.”

My friend, Annie Laurie, said it well, “We are so saturated with secular culture’s definition of what it means to parent and parent well that many Christian moms (and women) can’t see that they are believing lies.”

Children are a blessing. The fruit of the womb is a reward. Be reminded of this truth woven through Scripture. View your children as God views them. Help a Mom of young children do the same today by offering her life giving words. Allow God’s Word to remind us of this truth in a world that is screaming lies into our ears.

Danielle Henley West is wife to Ryan, NAMB National Coordinator for LoveLoud and mom of David, 11, Sally, 7 and John, 5. She was the SojournKids Director, East Campus (Lousiville, Kentucky) before relocating with family to Atlanta earlier this year. Follow her on Twitter @daniellehwest