that they know jesus



i spend a lot of time thinking about mothering & assessing how i think it’s all going. not unlike most every other mother on the planet right? with four completely different temperaments & personalities in my four teenage/young adult daughters you can imagine this stage of parenting has been the most exciting, painful, complicated, and rewarding of all other stages. to me anyways.

my nursing degree might have served me better had i minored in psychology. but learning it all on fly has been the way parenting daughters has rolled out for me.

for the one that needs her space, have i given her too much & therefore she doesn’t feel seen or valued? for the tender teary one, have i validated her emotions or enabled an unhealthy behavior? for the quiet one, is she learning to just constantly take one for the team and stuff down deep and repress her emotions? does the snarky comment come from a heart full of bitterness towards me or is she just in a bad mood and mom is a safe target?

i think the biggest change in my own self i’ve seen while raising up girls is that i’ve become more of an observer and listener than the talking extrovert i was back in the day. while i’m naturally a reactive person, as my girls have grown up i have tried to loosen that a little bit at a time. i find myself pondering their words much of the time & choosing to say little or nothing at all when perhaps they were younger a comment or correction would have been appropriate. so i’m not quiet all the time but many times i find myself just listening and truth be told, they probably don’t even realize it.

here’s an example, when they were 7 or 15 and they’d make a snarky comment i’d call them out. once they hit that college age my corrective, train ’em stage needs to simmer way down. here’s another example. dan & i decided that when they hit their senior year that we would raise the curfew. ( & honestly i have a ridiculous memory so i can’t remember it anyway) when our girls head off to college there is a whole big world out there that stays up late and loads of other shenanigans as well. the girls need time to start making their own decisions while still under our roof and perhaps learning the consequences when those decisions aren’t so wise.  on the flip side, showing them we trust them is monumental at this age. i don’t need to read every text or diary entry, over analyze facebook activity, or drive around at night and see where they are. truth be told, dan & i are sacked out before my older girls even roll in at night.  i’m sure you younger moms are like what the sam hill is she even thinking? now hear me on this one, i’m not saying i close the book & check out of my parenting role before the college application is even sent. i’m just saying there’s a healthy time, often times its sorta grayish, when parenting needs to soften and become more stepping back and cheering from the sideline than walking in front of them and hoping they follow behind. make sense? maybe i’ll touch that one another day.

i recently told a young mama friend of mine, who incidentally is probably a much wiser mom than i despite her younger age, something huge i’ve gleaned over the last year or so of pondering mothering.

i am not jesus to my children.

i am to lead them to jesus. but i am not jesus.

i am to love out of a heart that desperately fails and will never get it all right all the time. i am to model a home and heart that is humble and messy and in need of a savior. i am not the savior. dan is not jesus ( a close second though). he is not the savior either. follow?

i think as our children hit the late teen years & perhaps young adult stage they realize mom & dad aren’t so perfect. while they never would have verbalized at age sixteen, wow my folks are the bombdigity and have it all together, something about realizing that mom & dad are just human and fail and mess up is almost license to be disappointed in them. just as we try to teach our girls to know that there is not a man out there that will “complete them” ( not a healthy/realistic role for anyone to need to fill but that is a sermon for another day) mom and dad aren’t either.

i have made more mistakes as a mama than i can even keep up with. i have yelled and said cuss words. i’ve forgotten an event and made soupy casseroles. i’m not slender & my car is not a luxury vehicle. i’ve said stupid things in front of their peers and apparently asked awkward questions “all the time” that i didn’t even know i was doing. i’m sure i’ve embarrassed them with how i dress or that i have too many cowboy boots. i’ve spent too much money or not spent enough. i’ve said too much or not said enough. i’ve not shown grace and i’ve demanded obedience. i’ve wanted order when they wanted messy. and then there’s “their reality” of a situation that is really not reality at all but in their mind it is. ya’ll. the list is endless. and of course it is.

i think i’ve felt the disappointment from them at times ( the times when i’m quiet & pondering instead of having to be the talker & corrector) when they realize we’re not perfect people. or that i’m not the perfect mom to them.

i hope as they head out on their own, despite all the times i’ve said and done the wrong thing, that they know that they know that they know, well…that they know JESUS. he is who “completes” them. he is the only perfect one. he is the restorer of the lost years. he sees & knows every hair on their head. he knows the hidden places of their hearts where things are tucked away and stored. he shows them how to love well, perfectly well. he shows endless forgiveness and unmerited grace. he longs to fill the broken cracks in the spaces of their hearts that were perhaps cracked by an imperfect mom or dad.

and that we’re just doing the very very best we can

and that they are loved & celebrated

and maybe one day, they’ll see that it’s been that way all along.06daughters05daughters02daughters01daughters



January 26, 2015 - 10:19 am

courtney defeo - FAVORITE one ever i think. this is EXACTLY what i saw when i was there. caroline mentioned something sad and i POUNCED on it – trying to fix it, learn more, talk, talk, talk and i was truly amazed watching you listen. not overreact. keep your cool. what a great environment you have in your home. no one is perfect but you those girls are happy, they do love Jesus and live in a way that shines. they love their mother. i see it. safe, lovely home that invites communication – snarky or not. xoxo keep on awesome momma.

January 26, 2015 - 10:19 am

dana - oh Paige…Amen sister! I think as moms we spend the first decade or so just “full on” parenting…loving, feeding, clothing, training, protecting. But then one day we wake up with a teenager and all of a sudden our world changes. The relationship begins to shift. If happens so quickly. Like you, I had 4 teenagers at one time…and i’m pretty sure i failed miserably. I wish i had learned sooner to “put down the dishrag and back away slowly” so to speak. Thankfully there is grace…and my children have shown me plenty of it. Hopefully, lots of young moms will read your wise words and learn to lead them to Jesus and not try to be their Jesus! Thank you for being honest and sharing so much wisdom!

January 26, 2015 - 10:51 am

Deidre - My favorite post EVER of yours. Truly. What a relief that we ALL mess up and have a Savior that more than fills in the gaps. I’m always so thankful for your honesty. My oldest daughter is 13 so I’m learning so much from your words. Thank you.

January 26, 2015 - 11:25 am

peggy - Paige, my dear, you hit this one on the head! Being a mom to 3 teenage boys has been quite the challenge because well, boys don’t talk…. not typically. Yes as a girl and a momma it has been a challenge to understand the male mind, that when asked what they are thinking and they say nothing they truly mean nothing. Quiet is just quiet… they can sit in a room, not say a word and honestly not be thinking a single thing, almost like a comatose state of being. It boggled my mind for far longer than I care to admit. I know there have been times I failed them miserably but I am so thankful the grace they have offered up. Daily I think the Lord for HIS grace in my failings, in their failings, in our failings! We may not always agree but they know that I LOVE them fiercely and always will. Thank you for sharing your heart! I thank God daily for your wisdom and your kind, loving, gracious heart! Not only for you friendship but for how you truly love the Lord and let HIM shine in all you do and say! Thank you for being a role model and letting God use you!

January 26, 2015 - 11:43 am

Lindsey - Just printed this out out. Love it, Paige! So much honesty. So much raw. So much Jesus! That they know Jesus..AMEN AMEN AMEN!! I can see God’s grace all over this post as you have grown and learned throughout the parenting journey. What a gift.

January 26, 2015 - 11:59 am

Mimi - Yes! Thank goodness for Jesus because we’re so fallible but try so hard. Over the years of reading your blog and watching your beautiful young women grow, I think you’ve done an amazing job — a human loving messy beautiful job. They will know and value and understand one day.
Like you, I also began giving my children baby steps into the big world as their age progressed. I think its the only way to help them bridge over with confidence, discernment, and wisdom not to go crazy. As we loosened the rules, they felt more grown up. The roots of faith and Jesus run deep and trust they are embedded into the very fabric of their lives.

January 26, 2015 - 12:14 pm

Karen - Loved this. Hey I do have that psychology degree and it didn’t always help. Haha. But your words are so true. Being a little further along than you they do come back and reaffirm how they were raised and are thankful. But that they know Jesus! So true. And even now as adults they need our ears. Letting them have space as they earn it in high school is so important. My girls went some distance to college and so we wanted to see how they would handle some responsibility while we were still close to pick up the pieces if we needed to. Whew. Parenting is not for the faint of heart. Not these days.

January 26, 2015 - 1:25 pm

Kimberly Falls - Thanks so much for this post and reminder that I am not Jesus to my kids, but I can point them to Jesus…..and when I fail(which is often) there is grace for me.

January 26, 2015 - 1:37 pm

chrissi - so well said. i am just learning that i am not Jesus to anyone. my friends who seek something i can not give. my family. anyone.
He is enough. i can just watch from the cheap seats.♥

January 26, 2015 - 2:38 pm

Cindy Smith - crying right now! I have two daughters – 13 and 16 years old and you echoed so many of my sentiments in this post. They are so different from each other and yet so alike. They are so different from me and yet so alike…

I too have learned to say less, listen more and love fully. Praise the Lord for grace and mercy in parenting. I know that He redeems our mistakes and validates our efforts.

Thank you for sharing your heart and these beautiful girls…

January 26, 2015 - 5:19 pm

Bridgot - Perfectly said. Thank you.

January 26, 2015 - 6:27 pm

ellie - love this! I need to listen more. I’ve been trying to do better but this is great encouragement to keep on keeping on! my kids are so aware I am not Jesus – I make so many mistakes and have to apologize almost daily ;( my 18 & 16 year olds are not perfect but lovely teens and I am told so often by friends they hope their kids are as good when they hit the teen years. I always say that I could not be further from the perfect mom however love truly does cover a multitude of sins!!

thanks so much for sharing your parenting wisdom!

January 26, 2015 - 8:43 pm

Kerri - Yes! Yes! Yes! I love how candid you are, speaking from the heart! My favorite post EVER! I have always cherished your mothering posts! Although we are about the same age, I didn’t have Ava and Caroline until I was 34 and 36 so I am in a different season and I always learn so much from you! Seriously! We are all made in the likeness of the Lord! Today I had a parent teacher conference with a student and his parents. And do you know what it was about? Them learning a life lesson! They are awesome parents (in my opinion) but are both Type A personalities learning to cope with a 12 year old Type C personality! The Lord says “Let the children come to me” and it is up to us as parents to do just that! XOXO

January 27, 2015 - 2:50 pm

Lemonade Makin Mama - You already know this was straight to my heart. Thank you Lord, for speaking to me through Paige. 🙂

January 27, 2015 - 3:37 pm

Michelle L. - “He longs to fill the broken cracks in the spaces of their hearts….”

January 27, 2015 - 7:17 pm

Michelle - Love this post SO SO SO much! And needed to read it. As a parent to a 19, 15 and 12 year old….it’s tough. Especially when sometimes you get the feeling you’re the “only” parent being this tough on your kiddos. Love the way you phrased about “letting up” once they hit college, etc. That’s what we have done too. And as tough as it is to be so strict and then go to being lenient, at some point we have to trust them.
Thank you more than you know for this wonderful post. 🙂

January 27, 2015 - 9:40 pm

Belinda - I absolutely love this post! For some weird coincidence today I had a huge argument with my 17 year old. Yes, I should’ve stepped back and not pounced on her for a snarky remark. She is such a great kid and I recognize that she can have her moments of fustration. I’ve made it a priority to be open and listen to her as much as possible. Sometimes fustration takes over though. You wrote exactly what I think and wonder all the time. Doubting everything and wondering how it will all turn out. Thank you for taking the time to write something that will stay with me. God bless you and your beautiful family.xoxo

January 27, 2015 - 10:51 pm

Jess - beautiful post. I got teary eyed reading it. Your girls definitely know Jesus and are amazing young women…no doubt because of a great mom. 🙂 thanks for the wonderful post.

February 4, 2015 - 9:57 pm

Ruth Grigson - Catching up on some of your posts…I needed this one! Paige, thank you for being vulnerable. It was a rough parenting day for me. I’m so grateful for the reminder that it’s not about me, it’s about pointing them to Jesus and his perfect LOVE!

February 13, 2015 - 12:02 am

wynne - crying and laughing at the same time. love you. i want to be like you when i grow up. thank you for speaking this truth.