Avoiding Being the Fool :: A Guest Post

Monday, April 01, 2013  ::  

I met Tia in Emporia, KS when she was an 18 year old college freshman. That was over 13 years ago. Since that time she and her family have been an integral part of my family. Tia is loyal, dependable, trustworthy, compassionate, kind, and gentle. If something needs to be accomplished, she will work diligently to get it done. When a gift needs to be given, she creates the most beautiful, thoughtful baskets. If encouragement needs to be shared, she can find just the right scripture and words to lift a person's heart. 

However, one of my favorite qualities of my dear friend Tia is her heart for prayer. If she says she will pray for you, you can be absolutely certain she will be praying. The Spirit of God continues to teach her deep and beautiful ways to pray with scripture, insight, and discernment. She has blessed my family and me so very much through the way she prays for us. 

I'm happy she is sharing on the blog today. She also happens to be a mom who is intentionally working to invest in her kids. You will be blessed, encouraged, and challenged by her words! 
Photo by the lovely Laura K. Moore
Confession: When I was a 4 year old, my mother would often catch me standing in front of the mirror practicing my smile (and my best cry, too!)  And although I don't stand in front of the mirror striking a pose as a 30 year old, I still have a tendency to practice my “I have it all together” face.  It's not that I have any big ugly secrets to hide. It's just that I don't like to look like a fool or let people down.  If I am responsible for it, I want it to be done well. 

Nothing has challenged my “I have it all together” face like motherhood.  After almost eight years as a mom, I have found that parenting has held up a mirror to my heart more than anything I have ever experienced.  Without a doubt, parenting is rewarding, wonderful, and joy-filled but it is also full of hard work. It can be chaotic and unpredictable; I can look like a fool; I too often let my kids down; and I do not always uphold my responsibility as a mom well.  As much as my tendency is to put on the smile and look like I have it all together, I am consistently and graciously reminded that I cannot do this motherhood thing on my own or I am a fool!

God gently reminded me of all of these things in the hallowed halls of Ross the other day. :)  Norah and I were shopping for a new water bottle.  As we were narrowing down her choices, she pointed to a tumbler on the shelf and declared that it was “Perrrrfect!” Yes, it was bright pink and bedazzled but it also had a very large and famous bunny head logo on it.  I explained to my four year old that this tumbler wasn't a choice. It represented something that didn't reflect Jesus.  And it was in that moment that God stirred a lot of reminders into this momma's heart.

I was reminded of the enormous responsibility that Nate and I have to guide and direct our kids toward Jesus- even in moments when they don't know what their choices represent. I was reminded that I am not in control of every influence in my kids' lives and that I have and will continue to mess up as I parent my kids (not on purpose but because I am a sinner saved by grace).  This led me to be reminded that God's strength is made perfect in my weakness which reminded me that we don't have to do this parenting thing on our own; God has sent us a Helper.  Every time the Holy Spirit brought one of these reminders to my heart, it came in the form of scripture I had memorized. 

It was an “ah ha” moment for me.  The best tool I can equip my children with is the Word!  In times when I am feeling uncertain, the Spirit uses Scripture to speak to my heart.  He does and will do the same for my kids! It was a powerful motivator for me in being diligent with memorizing Scripture with Jack and Norah.  He has been faithful in using His Word in the life of our family.  This was another nudge to keep going!    

One of the best experiences in my parenting journey has been watching the Word of God be rooted in my kids hearts and then grow to produce fruit.  It is my go-to for parenting.  For quite awhile, Jackson was struggling with being afraid when he went to bed at night so we sought out what the Bible had to say about fear.  Isaiah 41:10 and 2 Timothy 1:7 were key for him as he was dealing with his fear.  

Isaiah 41:10  fear not, for I am with you;
be not dismayed, for I am your God;
I will strengthen you, I will help you,
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

2 Timothy 1:7
for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.

And any time that feeling of fear starts to creep in, these verses come pouring out. We can now literally say them in our sleep!  

I say “we” because that has been the best blessing of memorizing scripture with my kids---it is an entire family process.  Because my kiddos are still young, we walk through this process almost completely together.  We find verses together. We talk about what they mean together.  We practice them together. We sing them together. We pray them together.  So although we looked up Isaiah 41:10 and 2 Timothy 1:7 with Jackson in mind, the Holy Spirit has used those scriptures in all of our lives.  A beautiful by product!  

The thing that is so encouraging for me is that it isn't just Nate and I who see the fruit of Truth at work.  Our kids see how the Holy Spirit uses the Word in their lives too.  This past week Jack was struggling with a particular issue at school.  After much conversation one evening, he and I sat down to look up some verses that would point him to the Truth in his struggle.  We landed on Philippians 4:8, 9 and set out a plan to begin memorizing it.  Before he went to bed that night, he asked, “Mom, can we make some sort of craft that I can wear with those verses on them so I can see them all the time?”  I couldn't stop smiling.  He gets it!  Not only does he see the value in memorizing the Word of God but he also wants to constantly surround himself in it!   

Now, pause for a minute and remember that 4 year old little girl practicing her smile in the mirror?  Yep, that can still be my tendency---to make it look like I have it all together.  So let me be the first to say: I AM IN NO WAY PERFECT (in this area or any other!)  I am not as diligent with memorizing scripture with my family as I would like to be.  We don't sit down and find new verses or review old ones every night before bed.  And my kids are not always excited to review Scripture nor are they constantly showing that they are understanding the Truth they are hearing and reading.  

But God... has graciously reminded me of how much fruit has come from the half a dozen verses we have been diligent with this year.  He has reminded me through my own Scripture memory that His strength is made perfect in my weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9) and that His Word will not return empty (Isaiah 55:11).

I am so thankful for his gracious and tender love- for the mirror that parenting holds up to my heart.   I am so thankful that God reminds me of His perfect strength and the Truth of His Word in the middle of Ross.  I am beyond grateful that he doesn't leave me on my own to parent.  And I cannot express the joy that it is to see the fruit of Scripture in the life of my family!

Deuteronomy 6:6-9 And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes.  You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. 

This is no joke! If we believe scripture has power to change our lives, wouldn't we want that for our kids, too? I sure do. In case you missed it and thought this was just a post for parents, did you catch how Tia shared how scripture has changed her heart as well? Thanks for the challenge and vulnerability, Tia. 

Post your verses, friends. Remember that Galatians 6:9 tells us not to get tired from doing good, that we will bring a harvest if we don't give up. Don't give up, even though the temptation is great! 

18 important comments so far. What are your thoughts?

Erin Fabry said...

Tia, you have a huge heart for the Lord and a huge gift for writing. Thank you for sharing your journey of memorizing Scripture with your family. It is beautiful to see it take root in your children's hearts. I love your honesty about putting on the "I have it all together" face. I think we all have one of those! And even though I'm not a mom, I connect deeply with the need to rely on God and not myself. Thank you so much for sharing!

I am memorizing a simple verse that is great for springtime.

"He turned the desert into pools of water and the parched ground into flowing springs." --Ps. 107:35

wearitbaseball said...

Awesome post Tia! You are an amazing Mom who is influencing some amazing scripture-memorizing kids! So very cool.

Joni said...

Tia, Thank you so much for sharing your love for the Lord and how you are sharing it together as a family! What a blessing you are to your children and husband! May God continue to bless you and your family as you walk with the Lord.

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jenn said...

What beautiful words you have penned from your heart, Tia! Your investment in your personal scripture memory has now overflowed into your children's lives and it's absolutely incredible to see how it's become a family journey. Love you!

Emily said...

Tia, I am so blessed to be able to call you my friend. You are a wonderful mother and it is because you don't try to do it in your own strength. Thank you for the encouragement to start this with Yemi. :)

This month I am working on Lamentations 3:21-24. ESV

But this I call to mind,
and therefore I have hope:
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
“The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,
“therefore I will hope in him.”

Emily said...

Tia, I am so blessed to be able to call you my friend. You are a wonderful mother and it is because you don't try to do it in your own strength. Thank you for the encouragement to start this with Yemi. :)

This month I am working on Lamentations 3:21-24. ESV

But this I call to mind,
and therefore I have hope:
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
“The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,
“therefore I will hope in him.”

Tamara Casady said...

Tia, thank you for sharing your heart and how scripture has influenced your life and your children's lives :) I found this so encouraging :) Since I myself was not raised in a Christian home, I find myself struggling a lot with how to speak of Jesus with children since He was never spoken of to me as a child. Although I do not yet have children, I have often wondered what raising a child in faith would look like. I greatly appreciate you (and Angel as well) sharing how you speak of Christ with your children :) I absolutely love how you and Nate are bringing scripture into your children's lives :) Like being afraid of going to bed at night! Thank you so much for sharing Tia :)

grey rose (they/them) said...

amen. love both you ladies!!

Anonymous said...

Tia... thank you for sharing your heart so openly! I am going to share this with many of my 'young mama' friends.... it will encourage them to keep up the good fight for their family and it will also give them some wonderful 'God insights' to help them as they guide their children.
I also want to thank you so much for loving Angel, Chad and my grandkids soooo much. Your love for them blesses me over and over again! I am so thankful that Lord has put you in my life. I will keep you and your family in my prayers.
Mary Jo

Monique said...

Thank you so much Tia for your vulnerability, for so eloquently expressing the struggles I so often battle in my own heart and for the encouragement that comes from seeing how God is growing the Word in you and in your family. :)

I am working my way to memorizing Psalm 139 (NIV). So far I have 1-14 memorized, so the beginning of this month will be focused on 15-18.

My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be.
How precious to me are your thoughts,[a] God!
How vast is the sum of them!
Were I to count them,
they would outnumber the grains of sand—
when I awake, I am still with you.

Unknown said...

Thank you for your post Tia! Your words are encouraging and challenging as someone who wants Scripture to be powerful and active in them, and especially as someone who hopes to be a mom someday. Thank you for your insight!

Luke 22:31-32 "Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers."

Lauren said...

So encouraging! Thanks you Tia or sharing.

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