Monday, September 12, 2016

Parenting - A Building Plan

Gabriel is at the dining room table. He looks downward. He’s working a tiny screwdriver with his hands. The worn oak in front of him holds a scatter of paper instruction, shiny nuts and bolts, pieces and parts of something that, in time, will be wonderful.

Gabe is our builder. His mind is patterned after his dad’s.
“What are you working on?” I ask.

“A crane,” he says.

“How is it coming?”

Gabe's face tilts upward. Dimples, from my dad, punctuate his smile. “Well,” he says. “It’s going to take a while.”

I expect so. But Gabe will get 'er done. He’s not afraid to put in the time. He knows that good things come slow. He knows that sometimes he’ll connect the wrong pieces and he’ll have to back up and try his best to make things right. He knows that sometimes he’ll want to give up.

But he also knows, that if he presses forward, the nuts and bolts and bars and pieces and parts will eventually take shape. The structure will be solid. The product, the result of the effort, will stand firm.

Watching Gabe, seeing his perseverance and push-forward way, encourages my own heart.

 His building seems like parenting to me.

It's been a tough week.  We're working through a struggle, years long, that has suddenly churned hard. The younger boys have worn thin on one another and my rant was fuel to the fire. We've been running fast and slipping behind.  Parenting. It's the sweetest blessing, but it can be darn hard work. There are days that I'd like to throw my hands up. Stomp off for a bit. Take a long, far break when discouragement is the color of the day. But I can't do those things. Because, like Gabe, I need to push through the pieces in hope of a wonderful thing.

I’m building men.

So, when life seems a scattered mess and the week has made me weary, I’ll continue to build standards that I believe are pleasing to the Lord, to develop my sons' moral compasses, even if it’s counter culture. I’ll build my prayer life with time set aside, daily, to speak with and listen to God. And I’ll ask the Lord to help me build a storehouse of wisdom  - straight from His Word to the tender places of my heart.

Because building requires a plan.

And when my parenting plan is centered on the Lord, I can trust that He's at the center.

I stand for just a moment and watch my young son. He chooses a small piece. Rolls it between his fingers. Squints and looks real close. Then he fits it into place, twists the screwdriver, and adds it to his crane.

The structure is growing. One tiny piece at a time.

The outcome is still far.

But there’s hope along the way.

So let us not get tired of doing what good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don't give up. Galatians 6:9 NLT


  1. Shawnelle, love your post, and I totally relate to it as a mother of three sons and grandmother to three grandsons. I wonder why God didn't give me girls. Did he think I could handle boys better? I can't imagine why, with no younger brothers, only older ones. Did he think I couldn't handle girls? Only God knows, but I've been blessed by the destructive creativity of boys, who take things apart to build something else. I suppose I'll be long gone before these human buildings are finished. I just hope I do the best I can and let the Master Craftsman fix the uneven places. Hang in there, this too, shall pass.

  2. Oh Marilyn thanks so much for the encouraging, wise words! Let the Master Craftsman fix the uneven places...what a beautiful, beautiful thing. Loving grace all over. Thank you for the reminder - precious. Sending much love...

  3. What a wise little boy you have! I love his perseverance. His faith. So much wisdom in that one-day man.


  4. Beautiful, Shawnelle. Our work as mothers is never finished until the Lord calls us home. We sow the seeds one by one, day by day but He is the One who brings the harvest in His time. Bless you for your perseverance and faith. Carol

  5. Beautiful, Shawnelle. God loves your perseverance too. Our work as mothers is never done until He calls us home. We slowly sometimes methodically and tediously plant the seed but He brings forth the harvest in His time. We need to trust the Lord of the Harvest. Your post is a great reminder that all He requires from us is faithful perseverance.

  6. While I didn't have any boys, it's fun to see in my grown-up daughter things that only her father could have passed down. From him, she gets his calm demeanor and ability to see a problem and work it out. It's a nice contrast to me, since I tend to be so emotional that I sometimes can't see the forest for the trees.
    Parenting, whether it's five boys or one little girl, is always an adventure. So much depends on us, or so it seems. For me, when it got too hard, I had to remember that God wasn't just my Father in Heaven, He was also Katy's. And He loves her so much, more than I can ever comprehend. When I was at the end of my rope, He gently reminded me to surrender. He still does and when I do that one simple thing, I am at peace. I'm so glad that you write! Sending hugs and prayers and love.<3