"If the God you believe in as an idea doesn’t start showing up in what happens to you in your own life, you have as much cause for concern as if the God you don’t believe in as an idea does start showing up. It is absolutely crucial, therefore, to keep in constant touch with what is going on in your own life’s story and to pay close attention to what is going on in the stories of others’ lives. If God is present anywhere, it is in those stories that God is present. If God is not present in those stories, then they are scarcely worth telling." ~ Frederick Buechner

13 January 2016

Sing a Song

One lesson that I am teaching my preschooler seemingly a hundred times a day is first-time obedience.

To do what I ask of him the first time I make the request.

I don't do this because I want to be a giant monster truck bearing down on the little truck and crushing it. I do it because it is important for our children to learn to trust us as their parents, that we love them completely and always have their best interests in mind. He knows that it is all right to ask (respectful) questions, but the obedience needs to come first. His first response needs to be "Yes, Mama" before the protests of "I don't want to do that right now" or the ceaseless "Why?"

When parents are unsettled, the kids pick up on it. This past week has been rough, and although the children have been blissfully unaware of the gravity of how our circumstances have changed, they notice we (mostly me, since I'm the one they're around all day) are preoccupied. And in my case, I'm ashamed to say, more prone to becoming unhinged.
Get your gratitude bracelet HERE.
Of course, this is the week that I read Kristen Welch's newest book, Raising Grateful Kids. Through some mysterious crossings of the web-o-sphere, I missed the initial emails that were sent out in the fall, and I only just got the book a week ago.

Clearly, this was not a coincidence.

Little Lady deals with external stress by singing. I've noticed that when her brother is getting in trouble, when there's tension as we're all running late to something in the car (usually church), when I get frustrated at the state of the house ... she sings.
She's already "borrowing" my stuff.
This may just be a coping mechanism for my toddler, but it's a life lesson for her mama.

Because that never-ending "Why?" from my preschooler?

That's me. All the time. With God.

Even while knowing in my head that He is good and faithful to provide, I want to know all the whys. I definitely don't sing my happy songs. I get hung up on all the whys and I have moments when I completely forget about joy. How entitled am I to get so bent out of shape over everything I don't have, everything I'm having to surrender? That I forget that all I have is by the grace of God and that all I don't have? Well, that it could just possibly be divine mercy.

I grew up in the capital city of the coastal nation of Cameroon in west Africa. It's a rainforest, and every year, we would get at least a handful of fairly substantial tropical storms. Sometimes, the area downtown where my dad worked would get flooded. Cars would have to be moved up the hills so they wouldn't get submerged under all the water. Gushing rust-colored streams would suddenly appear along the sides of the roads.

There was a tiny neighborhood near where we lived. And by neighborhood, I mean a handful of shacks constructed by some cement blocks and sheets of corrugated metal. They were arranged around a small dirt "yard" of sorts, and when it poured, that little yard would fill and fill and fill.

And the children would swim. They would shriek and jump and splash in that orange water.

Delight in the midst of the deluge.
I wonder if part of Jesus' call to his disciples in Matthew 18 wasn't just about the innocence of children, but whether it also encompasses their ability to find joy where we adults only see potential for stress, fear, and anxiety. That maybe the point is that healthy children are able to play and laugh, even when circumstances aren't ideal, because they trust that they are safe. Because they know their parents love them and have their best interests in mind.

How much more does my God love me and know what I need? How much more can I trust that, even though I don't like what's going on, even though I hate the uncertainty and the seeming injustice,  He sees the entire tapestry and that this is His masterful plan for us? How much more can I rest assured that His plan is good, better than anything I could dream up?

Maybe, just maybe, God just wants me to learn to put aside my whys, jump into the rain, and sing my own happy songs, trusting that He's got this.

*This is Why Parenting is So Hard (Kristen)
*Teach Them to Give (Courtney)
*Inspiring an Attitude of Gratitude  (Alison)
*Raising Grateful Kids (amanda)
*Why You Can't Buy Gratitude At The Dollar Store (Andrea)
*Missing- Gratefulness in our home (Ange) 
*Choosing Gratitude (Angela)
*5 Steps to Gratitude-Filled Family (Christa)
*Practicing Grateful Parenting (Dana)
*Sing a Song (Hannah)
*Cultivating Gratitude in Our Family (Jamie)
*Gratefulness in Our Home (Jana)
*Let It Begin with Me (Jen)
*Choosing Gratefulness (Jennifer)
*Raising Grateful Kids in an Entitled World - The Book (Jeri)
*Eradicating Entitlement - What are You Rooted in? (Jessica)
*Gratefulness in Our Home (Kate)
*7 Unusual Ways I Know How to Be Grateful (Kathryn)
*Raising Grateful Kids (Keri)
*How My Children Remind Me to Pray with Gratitude (Kishona)
*Grateful (Kristy)
*Entitlement: The Ugly Truth of a Beautiful Lie (Leigha)
*The Most Important Thing You Can Do to Raise Grateful Kids (Lindsey)
*Dear Son: How Do I Teach You to Be Grateful without Guilt? (Marie)
*Gratitude: A Practical Definition (Mia)
*Cultivating Gratitude in Our Home (Nancy)
*Learning Gratitude through Chronic Illness (Rachel)
*Being Grateful (Rebecca)
*I've Found Something I Can't Live Without (Sarah)
*The Power of Naming our Gifts (Sarah)
*Outfitted (Sarah Jo)
*Growing Gratitude in Our Family (Sondra)
*Teaching Gratefulness (Stephanie)


  1. Love this- thanks for sharing your story. Such a sweet reminder, to sing Happy Songs and trust God.

  2. I love how your little sings when she senses tension, such a great lesson for us all in her precious heart! Thanks for sharing! #RGK

    1. Thank YOU for sharing, with honesty and vulnerability, about your past year! What a valley you've walked through! I appreciated your framed graphic -- that maybe, if we don't see a single thing we are grateful for, maybe we haven't chosen to be grateful. There is ALWAYS something to be thankful for, isn't there?

  3. I, too, having a singing toddler with convicting timing! Praying with you through the whys <3

    1. I learn so much from my own children, these miniature copies of my husband and me. Thank you for hoppin' by! I loved your post ... and the reminder to continually mold myself into Jesus and not the other way around! And I'm always happy to see Jams!

  4. First of all, how ADORABLE is she?!?! We have 3 boys, so I tend to daydream of all things girly from time to time.. Now, back to your post. As I said, I have these man cubs, and the oldest is the one that drives me bonkers. Our middle will come rub my back & say, "it's ok mama".. Talk about a reality check! Yes, it is ok. It's ok, because God's got this.

    1. I always imagined I'd be a boy mom! And then our secondborn was this feisty little lover of all things sparkly! And I wouldn't have it any other way. Thanks for stopping by today!

  5. Children can be the best teachers, can't they? :) And I love the idea of "Delight in the midst of the deluge." Beautiful!

    1. They really are! I think God has done the most soul-work with me since I've been a mother! Thanks so much for stopping by!

  6. Beautiful post! I love your perspective...the ability to understand your child's tendencies to question why she must obey immediately because you do the same thing with God. It's amazing how we, ourselves, end up learning the very lessons we are trying to teach our children. :)

    1. All the time! Mothering has given me a whole new level of insight into the heart of God. Thank you for stopping by, Andrea!

  7. So love this. Maybe I should try signing during stress...but I maybe singing all the time! Lol She is a cutie pie.

    1. Ha ha, thank you! She brings sunshine into our home every day.

      I think we could all use some more singing in our day to day lives ... like musicals or Disney movies!

  8. Thanks for taking the time & linking up for #LookInABook over at MamaRevivalSeries.com. Hope to read another book review from you, I will be hosting a link-up every month, you can either read & review the same book (Feb is Crazzy Love by Francis Chan) or select one of your own! :)

    1. I love that book! Francis Chan is one of my heroes of the faith. I so admire how he and his wife really do walk the walk.

  9. Beautiful words to live by, Hannah! I can so relate to all the questions at the end. Trusting, for me, is the hardest part. Really good stuff!

    1. Thank you, Leigha! And thank you for stopping by!