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  • Writer's pictureMegan Estes

I'm Tired, But Heart Seeds Need Tending-Parenting Through My Own Weaknesses

Updated: Feb 3

"You guys coming?" my hubby asked as he turned around in the parking lot the other day. He was enjoying his "free life" while I felt stuck behind working out yet another teachable moment between my boys. "I'm just back here constantly teaching and training!" I hollered at my husband and we both laughed. We were both ready to get going as a family but knew that the teachable moment needed to happen and gave time for it to happen. Now to be fair, my husband is extremely engaged and intentional in our parenting together, but we like to give one another a hard time. Sarcasm, I think it might be a love language. Ha!

Some days I'm ready to "be all in" with the training moments that come up in daily motherhood, but often these teachable moments that require time and training fall into selfish complaints from my heart like, "God, do I have to keep training? Can't I just take a breather for a moment?" Seven months pregnant in the hottest part of the summer hasn't left me the most energetic mama, but I'm still trying to be faithful in the moments that God presents me with each day. Here are some real thoughts/feelings I've had concerning the never-ending job of raising children:

"I've already taught this lesson 100 times today, do I have to do it again?"

"I'm too tired so I'm gonna let that slide"

"I'm just gonna let that conflict figure itself out"

"When will they ever get this?!"

"Is anyone even listening?"

"How many times do I have to have this same heart to heart?"

"Why don't they get it, am I not a good teacher?"

"This is hard, I wanna take a nap"

"Jesus please help me be more patient in this training moment"

"Lord, why can't I be better at this?"

"God, forgive me for losing it again, help me to be patient and loving with my kids just as you are with me"

Here are a few things I remind myself to keep my eyes and heart focused on what matters most..tending to my children's heart seeds...

Presence Over Task

If you're a recovering perfectionist or Type A personality like me you probably already know you struggle with letting tasks go unfinished. Not only am I Type A, but I am also wired as an evangelist/shepherd leader--so I'm in CONSTANT tension in my own spirit of whether to take time to slow down for people, or press forward to finish a task. Sometimes I'm able to do both. Sometimes not. If motherhood has taught me anything it's that my kids need me present in heart and mind more than I think they do. When I'm listening to their stories my mind can sometimes wander to that laundry that needs switching, the friend I need to call back, or the email I need to resend. It's hard to stay focused in my brain with a thousand tabs open at all times. Anyone else feel this? They NEED to see joyful expression on my face and my whole countenance light up with their presence. Their spirit literally thirsts for it. I've recently been reading a book called, "The 4 Habits of Raising Joy-Filled Kids" which talks about how our brains develop and choose joy with how we are parented. One of the sections literally taught that when our faces light up to our kid's presence when they walk into a room our kid's brains in return give off a dopamine lift--they literally feel like they are the "light in our eyes."

Parenting with joy

So the question I asked myself was, "how often do I light up when my children enter the room?" I do pretty well at this but there's definitely room for improvement. If I'm honest sometimes I inwardly feel as if they are distracting me from what I feel I NEED to accomplish. The truth is that my work is the distraction from them--my real assignment. The challenge is to actually be emotionally and relationally present with my children even in the moments I feel I have nothing left to give. I have to continually pray prayers like:

Lord, help my eyes stay open to listen to this child's heart even though I'm so tired tonight.

God, please help me celebrate with this kiddo and their excitement over their life even though inwardly I want to talk about and do other things.

Do I always put their presence first? No. Sometimes what is needed for the family is to pause stories and set the table or get to bed. But, at the end of the day when I've listened and tended to my kid's hearts well it is much more satisfying when my head hits the pillow versus completing every task on my to-do list for the day. Often, my "to-do list" needs to die as it has snuck into my life as an idol.

Soul Care Over Worksheets

Whether or not you homeschool, every mom needs to be reminded that school isn't everything. Sometimes you need to take the reigns as a parent and write a note to your child's teacher for why they aren't gonna do the three pages of math that were sent home with them. A simple, "we had swim practice tonight" or "we needed a family night" is all the explanation you need when talking to an elementary school teacher. I mean, is your child's teacher really gonna fail them in third grade cause they didn't turn a couple homework pages? And if they were going to "fail them" maybe that's a sign you aren't in a healthy atmosphere for learning. The same can be said for us homeschool moms--we MUST choose to focus on tending to our child's soul instead of checking the boxes of every subject every day. If my kid becomes excellent at math and yet they have no concept or value of the spiritual life, then I've lost. How much more important is feeding their souls with truth and grace and working out hard relational conflicts than turning in every worksheet that is sent home? Are there days we need to push through and finish hard school things even when we don't want to? Of course. Are there moments that need to be cherished as a family and protected from meaningless task and ongoing homework? Yes! I'm still constantly learning this as an adult!

soul care over worksheets

Just the other day we were trudging through some hard math lessons and I knew in my spirit that my daughter needed a break so I sent her outside. Selfishly, I really wanted to finish her lesson with her so we could be done! I only had a few moments to be frustrated over how long this school day was taking before I took a phone call from a friend who had just moved. Within thirty seconds I knew that God had all my children playing outside so that I could minister to this new friend's heart for an uninterrupted forty-five minutes. God knew my kids needed fresh air and He knew my friend needed Truth and Life spoken back to her. If I would have idolized my daughter's math lesson instead of tending to what her soul needed that day I would have frustrated our relationship and also missed out on an ordained meeting God had planned for me to minister to a friend.

Parenting Truth-When I'm Weak, He Is Strong

Why do I keep trying to do everything in my own strength even though I know I need His? Motherhood has humbled me more than any college degree, job, or any other relationship on earth. It's stinking hard! And just when I feel confident and healthy in one area of motherhood another WEED shows up with deep roots somehow! I still struggle to "look like love" and choose loving words, actions, and thoughts each day--but I refuse to give up trying. Well, actually I may need to give up trying is what I'm learning. To cease striving. To be still. To let God come into my weakness and move. In my humanness and pride I can often feel like a lamb caught up in a wiry fence--the more I struggle the more entangled I become. Even when my Father's hands are there trying to cut away the sin that entangles me I find myself antsy and struggling. BUT, if I can be still and trust in my saving shepherd to untangle me, I know I'll be free. I need Jesus. Period.

mom frustration

Even though I'm over a decade into working through my own brokenness, I am still susceptible to old sin patterns. This morning I exploded so loudly that I made my entire household cry, including myself. Commence community ugly cry fest. I wept with my kids telling them how sorry I was and that no matter their behavior that it was unacceptable I behaved that way and humbly asked for their forgiveness. And then I prayed that God wouldn't let my sinful ways scar their hearts. Reaching out to my husband and accountability partners after such an episode was of course humiliating. BUT, I refused to let the enemy win. The temptation was just to move forward quickly with our next task and not make adequate time for restoration--but their heart seeds needed tender love and care after the "mom storm" had swept through. I made amends and yet again pointed my kids to Jesus, and how we need Him because we are going to mess up and hurt one another. We need His grace and forgiveness. I need to remind them and myself that Jesus will NEVER let you down. He's the one you can truly count on. I'm gonna fail you, but Jesus won't. Come to Him with open hands, He's got all you truly need.

Jesus has all you need come to Him with open hands

Whatever your assignment is from the Lord you must know this: if He's blessed you with children then they are YOUR gift to disciple, train, equip, and encourage. Their heart seeds need sheltering, watering, and tending to! No matter what your career is, no matter what kind of schooling choice your family has made, your kids have been entrusted to YOU from God. He could have made anyone their mom--but He chose you. I pray God gives you a heart to see when you're choosing task over presence, schoolwork over soul care, and when you're trying to do it all on your own so that you can turn to Him for strength.

It's our job to tend to our children's heart seeds; it's God's job to make them grow.

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