Heart Pondering

The ponderings of one Christ-following mom on raising preschoolers

Safety, Jesus, and what we’re teaching our kids October 25, 2010

Filed under: Culture,Fear,Parenting,The heart — Susan @ Christian Mothering @ 4:24 am

Salon recently put out a thought-provoking article called “The War on Children’s Playgrounds;” definitely worth a read if you haven’t seen it.  The byline was: “By trying to make kids’ spaces safe and risk-free, are we taking all the fun out of growing up?”  The article discusses our cultures’ trend toward prioritizing safety above all else, using the lens of playgrounds, and describes the losses our children will ultimately face from this mindset. “What we’re bequeathing our children is a childhood designed by lawyers,” author Lenore Skenazy writes.  Too true.  We’re also implicitly teaching them that the most important thing in life is staying safe.

The problem is that being safe isn’t the number one goal in life; at least it shouldn’t be if we’re following Jesus. We follow a God who was hated by many when He walked this earth as a man, who was murdered by his enemies, and whose followers often came to similar ends.  He was not a man who prioritized earthly safety above all else by any stretch of the imagination. Jesus told his disciples, “‘No servant is greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also.”

Our culture idolizes health, safety, and longevity of life; this is a flawed viewpoint even from a secular perspective.  From the Salon playground article: “‘It’s as if we think that there’s a world in which, if only people did things properly there would be no accidents, ever,’ says Philip Howard, author of Life Without Lawyers.” Howard’s right, and it’s ludicrous.  Accidents and injury are as old as the earth and an unavoidable part of life; more than that, they’re part of our inheritance as humans since our first parents fell.  They come with living in a sin-stained world. (more…)


Parenting with full surrender and trust in God July 18, 2010

Filed under: Fear,For moms,Parenting,Prayer — Susan @ Christian Mothering @ 11:31 pm

There’s a large, vibrant church in our community called Jesus is Reality that I’ve often heard about; you see bumper stickers all over town that simply say: “reality.”  The lead pastor, Britt Merrick, is a 30-something guy from a serious surfing family and apparently an amazing teacher.  Last week I learned from Kendra of Preschoolers and Peace that Britt’s young daughter Daisy has cancer.  A large tumor was discovered last fall; after surgery and six months of chemo she was declared cancer-free; last week a new tumor was discovered.  At Kendra’s recommendation I watched Britt’s sermon from last fall, given six days after Daisy’s tumor was discovered… It was, without exaggeration, one of the most powerful sermons I’ve ever listened to.  It spoke into the places of heart-wrestling, at the mother level, that recent months have presented… when my baby’s heartbeat was irregular; when my friend’s son died of SIDS; when my nephew was born 14 weeks premature.  It spoke to me about parenting with a spirit of full surrender and trust in God.  Britt’s sermon, “When my heart is overwhelmed,” was so powerful that I took some notes; I figured I might as well share them here.  Bring me, O Lord, to this same place of parental conviction and peace…

–What I want to talk to you about this morning is, what do you do, as a Christian, when the doctor says to you, “Your 5-year old has cancer”?  How do you deal with that; how do you process that?  As the people of God, who (more…)


The junk and what to do with it April 20, 2010

Filed under: Behaviors,Culture,Emotions,Fear,For moms — Susan @ Christian Mothering @ 10:22 pm

I’m not a big TV-watcher; my normal repertoire consists of political news and a couple prime-time shows my husband and I watch together.  One show I do enjoy is TLC’s “Hoarding: Buried Alive.”  Anyone seen it?  Each episode follows an individual who over-collects stuff and ends up with an insanely full, cluttered house.  My husband, who finds the show depressing (and justifiably so), teases me for liking it. Which made me wonder: “Why do I like this show?”

Here’s what I came up with: I like “Hoarders” because it takes a common human problem and illustrates it in a visible, material way.  What problem?  Accumulating baggage, piling it up, ignoring it, and carrying on with life as if it weren’t there.  As if we can simultaneously hold onto all our junk and continue living a productive, focused, healthy life.  (more…)


Helping kids learn to rely on God April 14, 2010

Filed under: Behaviors,Communication and speech,Fear — Susan @ Christian Mothering @ 10:18 pm

Lately our 4-year old has been having the occasional bad dream, and the other day he told me he’s afraid of the dark because something unseen – “wolves or bad guys” – could come for him.  He made the comment in passing; his fear is nothing debilitating – easily assuaged by his two nightlights- and doesn’t interfere with his night sleep.  Fear of the dark seems to me to be, at some level, a rite of passage that most every young child goes through at some stage.  The next part of the conversation was most important to me:

Me: “You know what you can do that helps the most if you’re ever afraid at night, don’t you?”

Him: “Yes, pray to God. But I don’t do that.”

Me: “Why not?”

Him: “Because I think I should be able to do it by myself. I don’t need God to help me.”

Here we go, I thought to myself.  He’s four years old and yet a perfect specimen of one of the most monumental human struggles: reliance on self instead of reliance on God.  “Of course God could help me,” we think. “Of course I could ask him. But I should able to do take care of this sort of thing on my own. God’s a last resort (or for the weak).”  How many grown men and women has Satan taken down with that lie?  Evidently it’s not taught but bred right into our hearts… it comes with the territory of being human.  It’s part of the curse.  As is the enormous rift between knowing what we could (or should) do and actually doing it.  Not the same at all. (more…)


Of earthquakes, fear, and Mary April 5, 2010

Filed under: Bible,Fear,For moms,Holidays,Mary — Susan @ Christian Mothering @ 4:26 am

It’s Easter, and we had an earthquake here this afternoon – a tremor so subtle that it we weren’t sure at first that that’s what it was.  We all just felt a touch dizzy, standing on the sidewalk, and then my husband realized that the cars were shaking a little.  Nothing too unusual for southern California.  Easter afternoon, though.  Could there be a more fitting time for an earthquake?  When the life finally ebbed out of Jesus, hanging on the cross on the first Good Friday, “the earth shook;” then again on the third day, there was a “violent earthquake (when) an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it.”  So the quake today was really fitting.

An earthquake can be a pretty scary thing; I’m sure if I’d been present for one the first Easter quakes – much more dramatic than our little rumble today – I’d have been petrified.  The soldiers standing guard at the tomb clearly were, as they evidently fainted.  Jesus’ mother and Mary Magdalene, also present at the time, must have been terrified too, because the angel’s first words to them were: “Do not be afraid.”  Whether their fear stemmed primarily from the earthquake, the angel, or the absence of Jesus’ body in the tomb – who can say?  All three rolled together, no doubt. (more…)


Questions from the waiting room July 1, 2009

Filed under: Fear,For moms,Pregnancy — Susan @ Christian Mothering @ 7:56 am

doctor-summoning-woman_~vmo0198Pretty quiet on the blogging front as we’re on vacation for a few weeks.

Last week I had my routine OB check-up a couple days before our departure.  It was my 32-week appointment and I expected the normal quick in, quick out: weight, blood pressure, heartbeat, mini-chat with my midwife.  My mind was on packing and final preparations for the trip.  It caught me off guard, therefore, when the midwife detected that the baby’s heartbeat was irregular. 

Without panic or fanfare, the midwife arranged an appointment for me with the perinatologist in a nearby town for the following morning.  Irregular heartbeats at this stage were not at all uncommon, she explained to me, but were cause for information-gathering and possible monitoring.  As I emerged from the elevator and walked to my van in the parking lot, I began mentally scanning options for childcare for our two kids for my appointment the next day — while also fighting back tears. (more…)