This month started out with a girl's dream come true: a princess party with your besties. What fun to see you dressing up, applying makeup, dancing, singing and enjoying being a girl. I know your Heavenly Father looks down with such joy at the innocent, beautiful, treasured daughter of his. And he is teaching me every day how to nurture those precious parts to help you be the girl he's made you to be.
I don't remember who, but a few weeks back a friend likened you and Sam to the children's book characters Ruby and Max. Now, I've done this many times myself. That show is such a perfect example of what it is like to live with a self-assured, well-meaning, bossy big sister and quiet, sneaky, do-his-own-thing little brother. We checked a book out from the library and on one of the pages Max is counting and it goes like this:
When we read this page aloud, you and I just cracked up. That is almost verbatim Sam-speak, though yours sounds more like, "A, 3, 2." Talk about hitting the nail on the head. (Truth be told, Ruby can be downright annoying. You are the sweetest big sister ever.)
Speaking of storybooks, last week after getting disciplined, you went and drew this picture of me:
It reminds me a lot of one of our favorite stories, Lily and the Purple Plastic Purse. When Lily's teacher makes her mad, instead of drawing her usual kind, loving, accurate portraits she makes this mean, ugly, fat teacher man who takes away kids' toys. As a matter of fact, I think you titled it, "Big, mean, fat Mama." Art Therapists would have a hey-day with this one! I thought it was really funny but Daddy made you apologize. A few minutes later you drew me more accurately, with a smile on my face. But this one was just too good to pass up. Lucky for you, it is forever immortalized on the blog.
I love the adventures you two plan and carry out. One day, after getting new rain boots and umbrellas (thanks, Costco!), it was a blustery day and you decided it was perfect umbrella weather. There the two of you stood there, leaves raining down in the wind, umbrellas high. It was classic.
That same day we rode the quarter rides and played at the Blackhawk play area. It's really getting too small for you guys and you move on quickly, but it was still fun for some late-afternoon shots:
And, as often happens these days, your sweet mood turned sour and you treated me like the paparazzi, demanding I stop taking pictures and put. the. camera. AWAY.
I am learning how to parent in the midst of the big storms of your life. At times your emotions come on like a horrible, rushing wind, sweeping away all logic and leaving me with a weepy, tragically sad and despondent little girl. I've been praying for wisdom in how to parent you when these emotions boil up, as it seems like nothing I do or say ever helps. Just this week you completely lost it one night after we shared how Samuel got his name. You yelled at us through tear-stained cheeks, "Give me a new name! Give me a new name that is a GOD name! My name means nothing!!!" Thankfully, in that moment, God gave me the wisdom to realize exactly what was happening. I started to tell the story of Adam and Eve, of the lies the snake told them to distract them from the truth. I called out the lie right in the middle of your sobs, "Satan is trying to get you to believe that you are not special to God, that God hasn't given you a name and a purpose. He is telling you that you are nothing, but, Maddie, because Christ is IN you, you are God's everything. Jesus put all those lies to death on the cross. Satan is in chains now because Christ is greater than him. You don't have to believe this lie. You just ask Jesus to crush Satan like a bug and remind you of the truth: you are chosen, you are forgiven, you are precious, you are treasured, you are a daughter of the King. No one can take that away."
And like that, as we prayed and talked, as we asked Jesus for help and told Satan to flee, the mood lifted. Even as I type, tears fill my eyes. God is changing my perspective with each passing day and I am seeing how the truth of WHO HE IS intersects EVERY CHOICE we make. In each moment we can choose to believe the lies of the deceiver or turn to the truth of the God who made us, who loves us, who died for us, and who lives and reigns forever.
What a blessing to be sharing the goodness of these lessons with you. I am so sorry that you have to suffer through the flaming arrows of the evil one. It is a burden of this broken world, but now I'm learning how to teach you to arm yourself, how to put on the armor of God, how to turn your thoughts to the truth and take lies captive. It is so freeing, sweetheart, and I pray that it becomes more and more regular in our home, in my parenting, and in your life.
I love you,