Updated: Jan 12, 2021
I've got bad news and good news for your new year.
THE BAD NEWS: You’re going to make some more mistakes. You’re not going to always say the right thing or identify every struggle accurately in your kids. You’re going to have lots of decisions to make and you’re not always going to make the right ones. You’re probably even going to cause some wounds on your children’s hearts that will require regret and uncomfortable mending.
THE GOOD NEWS: None of us is a perfect mom and there is HOPE for each of us because we serve a capable LOVING, FORGIVING, GRACE-GIVING, REDEEMING God! *He FILLS IN THE GAPS of our inadequacy. *He INTERCEDES in miraculous ways in our needs. *And He REDEEMS our messes. We serve a God who is a redeemer! He doesn’t just redeem our souls from an eternity without Him, although that is a great gift! He redeems our MOMENTS. Not by erasing our mistakes but by reshaping our scars into something meaningful, IF we’re willing to face our messes and clean them up.
Somewhere around ten New Years’ ago, I began a personal mom tradition - taking some time alone to practice something I’ve come to call the Five R’s of Intentional Parenting: Reflect, Regret, Repent, Redeem, Refine. I would love it if you joined me in this practice!
Steps to the Five R’s of Being an Intentional Mistaking Parent
Begin by Reflecting on the past year (or semester because we moms often think in semesters). Here’s some questions to help you begin this beneficial time of reflection:
❓What are some things that went great or is going well in our family?
❓What needs a little tweak of refinement because it’s not quite right but is on the right track?
❓What were big fails or is really not going well right now?
❓Where do I see relationship "walls" that a family member has put up? Or, what other signs of potentially troubled hearts do I see in our home?
(The hearts of your family are the most important things of all focus on for your time of reflection. Linger here the longest.)
Relationships always need to take priority over academics, sports, a sparkling clean house, or whatever else might be tugging at your attention.
I am not saying that health doesn’t matter, or academics don’t matter or that sports are insignificant. I just see heart & soul health as the only aspects of our lives that is eternal, so I give it special consideration.
We were created for relationship, for loving, and caring, and sharpening, and serving one another.
When I am REFLECTING on the past year or semester, in those moments of prayerful reflection on how the relationships in our home are going, God begins to show me some trouble-spots. I don't think He would show me, if I wasn't seeking to find them.
Next, it is time to figure out the source of the trouble.
Is it a son’s lack of humility,
or a daughter’s hot temper,
or is it possible that some blame lands squarely on ME?
Most likely, it is a mix of multiple root issues. In other words, it's usually MOST OF US that need some work. But isn't that the way life is - it is stepping stones of growth throughout a lifetime. In many podcast episodes and blog posts I address ways to help our kids grow in character. Today, though, we're focusing on us - the intentional mom in the house. (Raising my hand way up on this one, cause I am definitely a work in progress).
I do some reflecting on the troubled areas and ask if I caused some heart wounds or if I set a bad example in my attitude or have a poor habit in conflict resolution… You get the idea. This is when I ask God to show me any areas that I may be off-course or hindering their strength, or growth, or hindering my relationship with them.
When He points something out to my spirit, I linger there and take a close-up view.
That close-up view is going to lead to some REGRET.
Now I know that doesn’t sound like a positive word, but it actually IS!
I’ve learned to stay in this REGRET step for a bit - to go ahead and live in the pain on purpose for a little while, letting reality sting. I don’t want to avoid the important role of regret. It is like a refiner’s fire of my character. It sears into my heart the importance of not remaining the way I am, of sincerely apologizing where needed, seeking to mend however I can, and being passionate about pursuing God’s help in growing in that area. There is healing in the refiner’s fire of regret. Don’t skip it, don’t undervalue it, but also don’t build a summer home in regret. It’s a temporary stop in your journey to refinement.
Stay at the regret spot as long as is necessary for it to do the work it needs to do. Then it is time to move on to REPENT.
Repentance is a time of TURNING, turning away from my old ways and pivoting to a better way. It’s admitting that my way wasn’t working and acknowledging that God’s ways are always best. Repentance is a wonderful cleansing of my heart by God while making room for a fresh start. Fresh starts are so FREEING and HOPE-GIVING!
Now there’s a very important action to take during the Repentance step, besides seeking God’s purification of our heart.
This second part of repentance can be tough, but it can also be so powerful for bonding with my family members.
An essential part of repenting is apologizing to any family members that I may have caused heart-wounds from my actions, attitudes, or words. Now, for bigger heart-wounds, apology alone is completely inadequate. Here’s my recent podcast episode about Mending Your Child’s Heart at every age that can help you with the other steps of restoring relationships that matter to you.
The next R for intentional moms in this new year practice is redeeming what has happened. This is the time for me to allow God to take my mess and RESHAPE it. He doesn’t wipe out the memory of the past, but He does give it new meaning. God is the great miracle worker who loves transforming brokenness into beauty. Some of my biggest bonding has taken place because I leaned in to the lessons I needed to learn from my mistakes, sought forgiveness from my children, asked them to pray for me, and I committed to change.
*Ask God to stop the negative ripple effects of errors made
"Let all bitterness and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you." Eph 4:31-32
*Ask God to show you what LESSONS He has for you AND determine to STOP doing what is harmful to your life and relationships
"Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you." James 4:7
*Commit to being RESHAPED by the RENEWING OF YOUR MIND
"Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect." Romans 12:2
As you go through this process, you are also learning a wonderful skill to teach your children as well! You are equipping them to face their mistakes in a productive, strength-building way.
Finally, learn to live a lifestyle of this REFINING PROCESS - refining your character, your perspective, your parenting habits, your priorities.
Take the time you spent in reflecting, regretting, repenting, and redeeming to permanently affect your future so that you don't head right back to the same troubles all over again. REFINING IS PERMAMENTLY MOVING TO A NEW PLACE.
For the most thorough refinement, you want to be sure that you spent adequate time at each of the steps prior to Refinement. In the refining step, seek God’s wisdom on HOW to implement change – what action steps to transformation that He would have for you. This is hard work but so worth it!
Go ahead, dig deep, even ask your kids some hard questions that you won’t want to hear the answers to. Ask them if they have bad memories, if they feel resentful, or have a hurting heart about anything in their past. Open the door to those wounds and look at them together. Take some time to reflect and ponder, even if it stings, even if it’s messy.
You see, hiding in the messy moments from our past are opportunities for new God moments with us and with our kids –moments of growth & bonding, times where God is quietly calling out for our attention to refine us WITH HIM. He wants to reveal His heart, His ways, His character, and His power to transform the broken.
He wants to do this with us and wants us to help our children discover who He is as we help them learn to walk through these steps as well.
He takes the wounds, the regrets, the messes and transforms them IF we will allow Him access to our heart and join Him in His work.
CLICK HERE to listen episode 68, Mom, Take the Time to REFINE with the 5 R's of Intentional Parenting.
In the Kitchen with Val - Care & Share Baskets
This episode also including a segment on CARE & SHARE BASKETS - taking jars and using them as containers to give food to someone. I might give it to a mom with a new baby or to a sick friend or when someone moves into a new home.
Some items I may put in my care & share basket might be Chicken Salad, Fruit Salad, Bread Sticks, Lemonade, Soup & Salad... Jars so handy because the person doesn't need to return the containers, they are microwave safe (with the lid off), and it makes it cute, I think.
RESOURCES for Episode 68:
Full Length Workshop on Answering the Six Questions of Your Childs Heart - LIVE WORKSHOP & SLIDES to accompany audio, $12 download. These six questions include the steps of RESTORING your relationship with your child after more serious heart wounds.