The Presumptuous Ladybug

A blog about Faith, Family, Life....and Anything else

Month: February 2017

The Parenting Game- Level: 3 Year Old!

I was sitting with my son assisting him with a Mario Brothers video game when it occurred to me that parenting has some similarities.  Parenting is full of pitfalls, obstacles, and opposition.  At the same time, it’s fun and adventurous.  In this parenting game there are no instructions.  Sometimes you arbitrarily get “leveled up”, possibly without even feeling like you passed the last level.  There’s no rhyme or reason; all I know is that every time I think I have the game figured out, I get leveled up.  My current level: 3 year old!

My 3 year old daughter is insistent when she wants something.  That something is usually a cookie.

Recently, my little Flower bounced around the corner of the kitchen, her eyes bright and hopeful.

“Cookie, cookie, cookie, cookie…”

My mind was reeling.  I couldn’t formulate a coherent thought except for “cookie.”  I absently walked to the cupboard and found one.

“Cookie, cookie, cookie, cookie…” she continued, a bit too eagerly.

“Wait…didn’t I already give you a cookie?”

Oh yes!  Yes I did!  Not 15 minutes ago.

Or maybe…maybe she’s had a few cookies….

I was stirring the skillet of dinner thoughtfully.  Yep! It was all too clear now.  My little opportunist had eaten three cookies already.

“No more cookies today,” I said gently.

Her little eyes welled up and tears started pouring out and she began to wail.

Suddenly, I knew I was standing before a 3 year old boss in this parenting game.  I crossed my arms and looked at her unsympathetically.  Defeat boss became a pounding rhetoric in my head.  I must beat the boss and stop those tears.   And of course, there isn’t any reasoning with a 3 year old so other tactics are necessary.

In this game, there are no actual rules.  You may “level up” at unexpected times, but you’re just as likely to get stuck on the same level, repeating it over and over again with no sense of why you can’t overcome the current obstacle.  Sometimes you try something different just because and shoot aimless arrows into the sky hoping something will change.

Level 3 year old is both fun and frustrating.  My daughter’s persistence and inability to deal with disappointment can be overwhelming.  At the same time she is funny, sassy, independent, and confident.  Traits I love about her.  Something I realized is that she responds best to love and compassion and…sympathy.  Even when she doesn’t get what she wants because what she really wants is to be heard.

Parenting at every age presents its own challenges and difficulties.  I won’t always do things perfectly and some of my kid’s tactics and manipulations work now and then.  Some “levels” I can barely survive.  The thing is, I wouldn’t trade it for the world.  Parenting is an adventure full of puzzles, twists and turns, and laughter and love.  And also…learning!

So, the next time that adorable little face attempts to manipulate me into four cookies before dinner…I’ll be ready!

 

“Let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance.”  Proverbs 1: 5

 

“The LORD is good to all; he has compassion on all he has made.” Psalm 145:9

Author: Jacqi Kambish

A Little Change for Ladybug

Hi friends!

I want to let you in on a little change coming for The Presumptuous Ladybug blog.   I appreciate so much my faithful readers.  I’m having a lot of fun writing and sharing.  Unfortunately, my family has entered a pretty busy season of life.  I will continue to write regularly but I wont be posting every week, for the time being.  I really want to take some time to dive into and break down some topics that are bigger and bit harder to address.  I want to have time to think about what I’m saying and edit my writing without feeling rushed or that I’m over simplifying the topic.

As a reader of “The Presumptuous Ladybug”, you matter to me and I really want to write solid an honest material.  I also would like some time in my busy life to pursue other outlets and adventures and possibly expand this blog.  I want to continue to enjoy writing as a hobby and not make it something that becomes a burden.

For those reasons, I have decided to post every other week instead of weekly.  Most posts will every other Monday starting with a post this coming Monday, February 27, 2017.   Occasionally, for a special or timely topic I will write additional posts.  I am excited to be able to give more time and thought to what I’m writing.  By now you probably have an idea of the style and voice of my writing and I hope you will hang in there with me and continue to read what is on my heart.  Thank you again for being a part of my journey and walking with me.

Today I want to leave you with this Bible verse that I love.  This is my prayer for you today and always:

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

 

Not Every Valentine’s Day Gift Sparkles- ditch expectation and disappointment

Valentine’s Day is upon us and I’m doing something I want to do…all alone.  The best gift my husband could have bestowed upon me is happening now at our local CLIMB café.  I’m sitting in a quiet corner, writing and sipping a hot cup of coffee.

When Valentine’s Day rolls around on the 14th my Husband and I will send the kids to school or the babysitter’s and head to work.  At the end of the day we will arrive home tired; dinner will be left overs followed by homework with our Sweet Pea.  There will be a bedtime routine of pajamas, brushing three tiny sets of teeth, and a bedtime story.  If we are lucky, we will spend a few quiet moments together cuddled on the couch with a cup of tea and each other.

When I venture a look at Facebook, I will find the feed full of fancy dates and bright, shiny gifts on display in boisterous contrast to the quiet routine I will experience.  It’s not because my Husband doesn’t care, but he is relieved when I let him off the Valentine’s Day hook and release him from the expectations and pressure.  Still…there is a temptation there.  When I see the sparkles and special dinners and roses…the power to steal my happiness lies in the undercurrent of ingratitude and envy.  Suddenly jealousy and discontented emotions rise up from the corners of my mind and I hear the lies of the enemy speak with venom into my heart; for a moment, I want those things.

A younger version of myself did want those things.  The fun night out, the thoughtful expensive gift, the dozen roses and loads of sappy expressions of his love.  Yet, the practical side of me could never quite fully enjoy them.  The money has always been tight and there are more practical everyday things I really need and want.  The kids have needs, the bills need paid, the car needs fixed…  For goodness sake, we are still recovering from Christmas!  Is it all necessary and does it answer the real question that rises up within me:  Does he still love me?

You see, the one day a year that is supposed to highlight and celebrate the love between two people has the power to create doubt and dissatisfaction in the relationship.  The symbols of love flashing on the computer screen mock the insecurity within me.  And yet, do I really doubt the love of the man who gave me his heart simply because my ring isn’t as sparkly as the one my friend has?  In my mind, I can hear the instant retort, “it isn’t about the gift, its about the thought.”

Is it?

Because prior to Valentine’s Day, I can list a thousand ways that my Husband loves me in his quiet, un-flashy and sincere way.  Every day he goes to work and every evening he comes home, he loves our kids and makes time for them, he supports me in all my endeavors, even the ones that make him roll his eyes and he laughs at my quirky jokes.  My husband takes his turn with dishes and laundry and lets me sleep in.  My Husband tells me I can shoot for my dreams and if it costs us every penny we have he won’t regret supporting me; he loves to see me succeed.  My Husband is a good man.  And no amount of fine jewelry or fancy things could prove that more than how he spends his every day.  I have to ask myself if all his efforts are really worth nothing on the one day  my friends are flashing their enviable gifts in my face?

There was a time when I thought those gifts were important, but I see it differently now.  I see what I have more fully.  And, when I doubt my Husband’s love, it hurts him.  There are very few ways I can hurt him more than to accuse him of not loving me well enough.  And, truth be told, I never really wanted those material things.  I never wanted the giant house or the pricey jewelry or the elaborate dates because what I have always wanted was, and still is, more than that.

I want a companion to dream with and walk with and face life with.  I want someone faithful enough to stand beside me through the thickest most painful years of life.  I want someone who will take up the sword and fight when we need to fight, and laugh when we need to laugh, and cry when we need to cry.  I want someone who will climb the mountain, travel the world, or stay right where we are when needed.  I want someone strong enough to refuse to give up on me and someone I can trust and cling to when I feel like walking away.  I want someone who will pray with me and for me.

Not every dream comes true.  Not everything is sunshine and roses and magical rainbow clouds and …not every gift sparkles in the sun.  There are days and periods of time that are very difficult in every relationship.    Neither one of us is perfect and we both make mistakes and misunderstandings happen; hurt and angry feelings rise up.  But, I think in the end, I actually have the best Valentine’s gift of all:  someone who takes my hand and weathers the challenges of life with me.  Someone who won’t give up when the road gets hard.  When I remember that, then I don’t need the diamonds, or the balloons and flowers, or the special gift or fancy date night because what I have is actually more precious than that.  Now that I can see it, there isn’t anywhere I’d rather be then curled up on the couch next to the gift that God has given me: a faithful and loving man.  No matter what the future brings we will hold each other tightly and face life together because what my husband has given me is the gift of longevity, and that has been the sweetest gift of all.

To the dear wife who doesn’t get everything she hoped for on Valentine’s Day, let me encourage you to search your heart for the gifts your Husband gives you every day.  Please, don’t let this be a day of division and sadness and hurt, let this be a day of remembering and a day of celebrating the things that are good and the things in your relationship that can’t be defined or quantified.  It’s ok to want to be recognized and appreciated but don’t let the enemy win this day.  Tell him to take his lies and beat it!  Then try to focus on what matters and what’s truly worthwhile.  Focus your eyes on the things that are lasting and then practice thankfulness for the gifts that can never be lost or stolen.  Most importantly, love and celebrate and remember the one thing your husband has given you that can never be purchased: his heart.

“Place me like a seal over your heart, like a seal on your arm; for love is as strong as death, its jealousy unyielding as the grave.  It burns like blazing fire, like a mighty flame.  Many waters cannot quench love; rivers cannot sweep it away.  If one were to give all the wealth of one’s house for love, it would be utterly scorned.”  Song of Songs 8:6,7

Author: Jacqi Kambish

I’m Not “Enough” For My Kids And Why It’s Okay

I am not enough.

The truth resonates through my whole being.  It cuts to my core as I stare into the mirror.  I know the truth no matter what they say and no consoling or absently reassuring me with fluffy unsubstantiated reasoning will convince me otherwise.  “You’re enough” is a popular attempt to appease the wave of uncertainty that every parent feels at one time or another, but is it always true?

As I stare into the mirror I see everything that is good and everything that isn’t.  What I know, absolutely, is that I am not strong enough or good enough or capable enough to always be the person and parent that I want to be.  But the truth that comes quickly tumbling to the forefront of my soul with my next breath is the realization that I don’t have to be.  The truth is refreshing.  No matter how broken I am, or how many meltdowns I have, I don’t have to keep up the façade of being enough when I know that at the end of the day I could fill a book with my failures.  God never asked for me to be a parent by my own effort or my own enough-ness.  God never said, “Don’t worry, because you are enough and that’s all you have to be.”

My ability to be enough is not enough.  The gaps of enough-ness are deep crevices I can never fill.  What if I believe that I’m enough and it turns out to be untrue?  Will my children prosper anyway or will they need counseling later?

You see, I’m impatient and I lose my temper, I make 2 star meals, I swear when I’m angry, I’m immature, I fail to properly discipline my children at times and over discipline at others.  I get caught up in gossip, I complain, I get dissatisfied, I yell, I can be selfish, and I’ve lied.  Life can be overwhelming and the ugliness of my internal struggles can erupt and mistakes get made and then what I want gets in the way of my ability to love them enough.

Inside I feel conflicted.  Is what I want more important that what they need?  Am I really a “good Mom?”  Life is messy and complicated and can’t be controlled but it doesn’t stop me from trying when I feel overwhelmed.  My kids aren’t perfect either.  They are tiny people learning how to manage the world and navigate relationships. I don’t want to control them or force them into a quiet obedient state because we learn from the messiness and the chaos.  And yet…sometimes…in public, I can feel it rise up.  Can’t they sit still in church?  Can’t they listen?  Why are they running wild?  Why aren’t they always well-behaved angels?

At home there are other struggles.  My son has no volume control and is always making noises, my daughter has executive function issues and toileting struggles due to her battle with Epilepsy, and the littlest one wants to get her way all the time and wails when she doesn’t.  Between monitoring seizures, dirty diapers, soiled underwear, the loudness of constant noise, and a tight living space I can feel the threads of control and an element of peace begin to unravel, all the while my emotions start soaring and my patience disappears.  “Quit shouting!”  I shout before I walk to my room and shut the door for a quiet moment.  It doesn’t last.  They seem to know I’m about to lose my mind so they follow me and bang on the door, push each other for the knob and begin to fight.

I am a sinner.  And, no, I am not enough.  Regardless of my best social face and appearances, I know I fail regularly, as we all do.

The good news is: I don’t have to be enough because I know Someone who is enough.  God didn’t create me to be enough, he created me to rely on him when I’m not enough.  God didn’t fully equip me to handle being a special needs parent, a cop’s wife, or a good person because if I was enough on my own, I wouldn’t need him.

I do need him.  I need him because I am not enough.  I need him to fill the gaps in my life and in my parenting and in my relationships where I fail.  I need him to infiltrate my heart with his love.  Love that overcomes and perseveres and finds peace in the chaos.   We learn through our mistakes and the more I realize I am not enough, the more I rely on God and the more he is able to fill the gaps until what is lacking in me is much harder to see and much harder to perceive.  Not because I have done anything good, but because the Author of all that is good is at work in me.

I can’t make myself a better parent or a better person.  I’ve tried.  Telling myself that I‘ll do better next time doesn’t work.  The darkness within me always comes out eventually and the depth of my selfish heart is ultimately revealed.  I know I am not alone either because…

“All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” Romans 3:23

Thankfully, God isn’t done with me, just as he isn’t done with you.  God has been at work within my heart and soul for years and he hasn’t given up on me.  No matter how big of a spoiled punk I can be, he keeps up the hard work and keeps molding me into the parent, wife, and woman he created me to be; the woman I want to be.  I may not be enough, but God at work within me is enough.  He can fill in the gaps of my love, my parenting, and my relationships.  God isn’t trying to control me, he is trying to shape me into something beautiful.  I’m going to stumble and fall and fail, but I trust and pray that God will come along side of me every step of the way; and while he guides me and grows me, he will clean the slate and bless my family and create “enough” where “enough” is lacking.

“Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”  Philippians 1:6

 

Author: Jacqi Kambish

Thanks for Stopping in

Hi!  Thank you for taking the time to stop by.  This week I am on hiatus due to family illness.  Please check in next Monday, 2/6/2017, for a new post about being, or not being, “enough”  and God’s faithful work in us.