A weekend spent watching two young loves fight over common ground left me weary and wondering. I know, as younger marrieds, the husband and I battled over every thing big and small. And I thought I wasn’t a fighter. I’d told him so before we were even engaged. But that was then. Now, I’m watching you kids, and I’m questioning the groundwork we laid as parents. I pray you saw the good ground too. There was lots of good ground, yet I know, because these lists have more than covered my own nearsightedness, that sometimes the hard times make up the majority of the memories that stand out. But haven’t we learned about hard times? They make us stronger. Or maybe, you need more time to mature enough to know the truth about hard times. At your age, hard times can make you think you’re weak. That’s a lie.
Don’t let the enemy of your soul rob you of the ground you’ve fought and bled over. Your walk through marriage is one victory after another–daily–down the road to becoming two people who live and breathe as one. That walk down the aisle was only the beginning.
So that’s the first of this list and bears repeating.
- Don’t let the enemy of your soul rob you of the ground you’ve fought and bled for.
- And the next one as well. Your walk through marriage is one victory after another–daily–down the road to becoming two people who live and breathe as one.
- And the most important lesson I learned somewhere around five years into my own vows. Love covers. That verse says exactly that. Love covers a multitude of sins. Love covers.
- I wish I could carve this one into the mini-mountain we climbed that holiday weekend so all the young marrieds could read it and remember. Winning an argument with your spouse is not a victory you celebrate.
- You don’t want harsh words to be the legacy you leave to your loved ones.
- Remember, your spouse is an adult. Treat one another with mutual respect and affection.
- Don’t keep a list of wrongs. The verse so important to a solid marriage. Those lists grow like weeds and produce a harvest of hurt and regret.
- Silence is not a weapon or a shield. Silence is something you gift to one another when truly listening, really hearing, relaxing, and/or simply appreciating. Silence should be a gift you give.
- Give one another second chances. And thirds. And fourths. You’ll see things differently with a little more time.
- Being right doesn’t make you superior. Being right makes you a teacher. Be a godly teacher.
- Respect one another’s differences. Recognize one another’s feelings. Don’t try to mold your spouse into someone they’re not. Don’t set one another up for failure. Instead pray and pray hard. The love of your life needs your prayers. They need you to intercede for them. They need to know you go to God on their behalf. There’s no greater love than to lay down your life for a friend. Now there’s a verse to live your marriage by. Love like that.
This has been the hard-fought for list, the list written through tears, and all because a holiday weekend of watching young couple dynamics left me in a quandary. This list may seem cliche to some, but in truth, these are the hard truths. These are the reckonings of my heart for the hearts of the ones I love. This is the list I prayed over, lost sleep over, and finally received the words for all within a day and a night. Yet still, this is not the last list. More to come.
With all my love for those I love,
I smiled at this sweet video, but questions filled my mind as I watched. I remember days that went something like this. But why are the days of shredded nerves and lost tempers the days I remember most? Maybe I lost that temper more often than I sculpted grace. Maybe epic fail really did describe my attempts at child-rearing. I hope not. Hind sight isn’t as clear as everyone tells you. So, I make lists for the grown kids in hopes of letting them know all the things I want them to know and lists of the things I still want to reinforce like,
- I made a lot of mistakes, and you will too. Don’t judge yourself by your failures. Learn from them.
- Perfect has no value. Don’t miss the small, broken, stumbling path along the way to small successes.
- Learning to see you and respect you as an adult would be easier if you were someone else’s kid.
- Admiring your adulting skills is similar to the way I felt your first day of school.
- I’m not scared of being dependent on you one day. I’m scared I’ll be a burden rather than a treasure. Being honest with you about aging isn’t easy.
- If the ones you love feel neglected by you, make changes. You will never regret spending more time with the ones you love most.
- A lot of people are going to challenge you. If you’re right, if you’re decision is for the best, if you’re conscience is clear, if you’ve carefully prayed over a big decision… Stand your ground.
- I wish when you were small, I’d known to say this to you: Be you. Do you. You really don’t want to walk in their shoes.
- I may struggle to always remember you’re grown now, but I love that we get to be friends now.
- Now that you’re grown, sometimes I’m not sure what I’m allowed to ask you about.
- I wish you still told me every detail of your day.
- I know it must not always seem so, but as your mom and dad, we don’t mean to disrespect you, sell you short, or interfere when we offer advice or an opinion.
- It’s difficult to shake the parenting tone of voice.
- I always worried about being acceptable. Don’t waste your time on worry. Instead, work hard to be exceptional and accepted as true to yourself.
- Believe in yourself. Don’t be afraid of learning the hard way.
- I believe the toughest thing for me to accept would not be your failure to succeed. It would be a tough thing to accept that you failed to succeed because I didn’t teach you to be independent and a responsible member of society.
- I believe the very hardest thing for me to know would be that in all I taught you, I failed to teach you the value of knowing, loving, and following after Christ with your everything.
- Chase your dreams, but chase after God harder. You’ll never need less of God.
- Every time I see you, I want to ask if you’re about finished with that time you said you need.
- Thank you for trusting me enough to tell me the truth.
I keep thinking this listing business will get easier. Not so far. More to come. Always more.
I keep thinking about that last post with its list and those sons. One list has bumped its way into a next, falling into line, one thought after another. See, we started adding daughters in law to our family mix a little over two years ago, and our family dynamic quickly changed. Now we’re up to two marriages and one very serious relationship. There are some things these girls really need to know, like, how I fear failing them. I fear not measuring up against their own amazing moms. I fear giving them bad advice. I fear they’ll see all my mistakes and faults, and not through any character shortcoming of their own, simply not be able to see past mine.
And so, another list of things I’d like these kids to know I said.
- I think you’re beautiful.
- I don’t how how my son got so lucky.
- God blessed our family with you.
- I admire the woman you are and wish I’d known the girl.
- I think you’re scary brilliant.
- I couldn’t have made a better choice for someone to love my son.
- Your talent continually amazes me.
- I’m grateful, thankful, and thrilled for the way you love Jesus.
- You’re going to be an outstanding mom.
- I owe a debt of gratitude to your parents for the way they raised you.
- I hope and I pray that we become better friends every year.
- Sometimes, I wish you lived next door.
- You’re the daughter I always wanted.
- The way you look into his eyes, melts this momma’s heart.
- You should open that business you dream of.
- You’re the woman I wish I could have been at your age.
- I prayed for you all your life and still do. Every. Single. Day.
- Being a soulmate is the second hardest job in the world. You are doing fantastic.
- I’ve prayed every single day of his life that he’d be the man of God, husband, and father of your future children that you need him to be.
- Thank you for being the daughter, sister, and example that you are to your family and ours.
The thing I’m learning about listing is that none of the numbers apply to just one person. The numbers all have their niche in each life. So, there are more lists to come, but this is the end of this one for now.
More listing next time…