5 Reasons Why My Daughter & I Are Better Than The Gilmore Girls

Alyssa made me watch it. She said, “Mom, you have to binge Gilmore Girls with me. They. Are. Us. ”

I wasn’t too thrilled. I had tried the show before via reruns and couldn’t get into it. Over/Cheesy-Acting…and Stars Hollow…I mean really, who names a town Stars Hollow?!

But I watched. Episode 1, then 2 …then 15. I was hooked. It was horrible, yet so, so good.

And every moment of seamless conversation between Lorelai and Rory made me miss my Alyssa even more. And I missed her so much, because she was right… Gilmore Girls…

They.
Are.
Us.

As I went on, and developed true emotional ties and family like love, I also developed family like dislike of some them. Surprisingly, I found myself really really hating–or rather STRONGLY DISLIKING–wait for it– LORELAI.

Saying I hated the mom was like saying I hated myself. I was dysfunctionally “ONE” with this show, seriously dysfunctional.

As I thought about my relationship with my daughter, I soon realized that we are so much better than the Gilmore Girls. Here are my 5 reasons why. It helps if you’ve seen the show, but even if you haven’t, I think you’ll be encouraged in your own relationships with your kids.

1. My daughter is not my entire purpose in life. Probably because I have 4 other children and a husband. But I think this is an important point to look at. It’s so great to have a close relationship with your kids, in fact, it’s one of the most fulfilling things in any mother’s life. But I don’t totally and completely depend on Alyssa for the purpose of my being. I see too many parents who put their kids at the foundation of their identity. ahem Lorelai.

2. As Rory grew up and moved away to college, Lorelai still wanted to know every intimate detail of Rory’s life. I absolutely want Alyssa to talk to me about things, in fact I want all of my kids to know that I am here for them in the most difficult of circumstances and just to chat about their favorite coffee shop. But I do not want to know when they are having sex or every intimate detail of their relationships. I want to speak truth and guide. I want to listen and be there when they can’t navigate on their own. I will ask questions but I absolutely refuse to invade their ability to make their own decisions and most importantly their own mistakes. I am a friend, but I am not their peer. At some point, I have to let go.

3. If Alyssa or my other children have a dream to go to specific college when they are 12, I won’t throw a temper tantrum if they change their mind at 18. In addition, if they take a break from college because they feel lost and confused at 19 I will not throw a temper tantrum and refuse to talk to them because they don’t do what I want or expect of them. Life is hard, even more so at those ages where you can’t legally buy beer. I had no clue what I was doing when I was 19 or 20 or 21. Hell, I don’t have a clue what I’m doing now. Alyssa, Cody, Zac, Karah & Kayla don’t need my emotional needs to cloud their judgment of their lives. I will err on the side of them finding their own way over me thinking I know what’s best (even though I probably do). My fears and failures aren’t their job to fix.

4. I am not so protective of my relationship with Alyssa, or any of my offspring, that I want to be the only adult in their lives they love and depend on. I encourage my kids to have other trusted adults in their lives they can talk to…especially about me. I’m not perfect(most days anyway) and sometimes they will struggle in their relationship with me. They need people they can talk to and get guidance from who aren’t so totally in love with them.

5. We have Jesus. This is really the most important reason. I know, I know, it was just a TV Show. But I hated how the Christian mother/daughter relationship in the show (Lane & Mrs. Kim) was so rigid and Pharisee-ical. It is so opposite of a real Christ-centered mother/daughter, parent/child relationship. Because we have Jesus, I can pray for my kids, and pray with them. I can lead them to a source of truth, not opinion or feeling. I can encourage them to become all that God created them to be, not all that I want them to be. When they don’t know where to college or who to marry or what to do with their future, we have a fearless, confident perspective that God will provide and He is Sovereign and everything will legitimately be okay.

Despite that I know we are better, I know we aren’t perfect. I know we are all just trying to do our best as moms. But I’m glad I found Lorelai & Rory.  I loved the Gilmore Girls. I loved how it brought me and Alyssa even closer. I love how it made me miss her and hug her tighter when I saw her. But I will say, most of all, I loved Kirk.

What did you love and hate about the Girls? Comment and let’s chat about it!

When Your Daughter Leaves For College

I was laying there in bed holding my new sweet girl.  I was alone, twenty and a new mom.  I had to pee and was in so much pain.  I didn’t know what to do.  I pushed the button.

“Yes, can I help you?”

“Umm yes, I have to use the restroom.”

“Did you need help?”

“No I just don’t know what to do with my baby.”

I’m certain the nurses at on the other end of the intercom either a. laughed hysterically at me or 2. shook their heads and murmured, “Bless her heart.”

I pulled myself up and put her in the clear plastic bassinet. I waddled to the restroom, pulling her behind me.  “don’t cry don’t cry don’t cry don’t cry.”

She had never been alone. Not for a minute. She was with me for nine months and in the nursery, and now I was not going to be the one to leave her. She had to pee with me.  That’s just all there was to it.  And if she cried while I was peeing, I have no idea what I would do.

But we made it, we made it through the first night in the hospital, and learning to breastfeed.  We made it through the hours I watched her sleep and periodically poked her to make sure she was alive. We made it through a new brother, and the loss of a family because of divorce.  We made it through a new family, with new siblings. We made it through moving and tears from stupid boys. We made it through the trauma of leaving friends, and the disappointment of new schools.

And we will make it through when she leaves in two weeks to start a new life, at a college, with new friends, and new rhythms.

I’m embracing this relationship thing. This humanity thing. How changing our lives can be but our connections remain. God told us about new seasons, and to live in expectancy of them. In watching Jesus’ life, he had ever changing relationships. And still does.  One day you seek after Him, the next you fail to acknowledge him.

Humanity is about this, changing relationship thing. As our relationships transform, we are forced to as well. Sometimes I wonder if what we struggle with the most in the changing of ourselves. Wondering if we are strong enough, courageous enough to make it through.

That’s why we need a constant, a ‘never changing’. That’s why we need that thing that no matter what relationships come or go….

  • the marriage
  • the girlfriend who ditches you
  • the death of a parent
  • the sister who just wont’ talk to you
  • how she just doesn’t look at you the same anymore
  • how he just doesn’t want to be best friends with his mom
  • the business partner that betrays you
  • the daughter who leaves for college

He will be that  constant, the forever, unchanging…the timelessly faithful.  God knew this humanity he created would be always transforming, so He himself forever remains.  Be courageous, when everything changes, He is there.

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How To Build Relationship with Kids to Change the Faith of Families.

I live in a large, interconnected neighborhood. In order to save money on school bus service, schools tend to be plopped down right in the middle or our community. At the end of the day bell, the streets are flooded with kids. First elementary school, then half an hour later the middle-schoolers.

Tons of kids, even more families, just waiting for us–the church.

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That’s all I saw that day, a bunch of teenagers who needed Jesus. I wondered how many of them went to church. I wondered how many of these kids who went to church ever invited other kids. I thought of how Christians are pulling their kids out of schools, pulling Jesus out of schools, and I was saddened at the thought. (But that’s a post for another time.)

When  I lived in Florida, one day I drove into our gated community at the same time the bus was dropping kids off. I counted them. Fifteen. There were 15 kids, and I knew their stories. I could have invited them to church, but they wouldn’t have come. Instead, I brought church to them. The first week I ordered pizza, twelve kids showed up to eat the free food and hear about Jesus. The next week we grew, and the next and the next. There were nights I had 40 kids piled on top of each other in my living room, just dying to hear, dying for community, dying for connection.

I find that kids, including teens are willing to take responsibility for their own faith apart from their parents. We need to find ways to connect with kids even if parents aren’t willing to come to church. In fact, we can change the entire trajectory of faith in Jesus in families through kids and their faith. It isn’t going to happen with a single event, or with flyers on doorknobs. People need real connection, real relationship and that takes time.

Here are some ways to minister to families through kids:

1. SCHOOL INVOLVEMENT: whether you are in PTA, or just show up to a class party, getting to know kids and begin building friendship with them is a great start.

2. OUTSIDE TIME: When you see a group of kids outside, or you have a park near your house, get off your couch and go play some basketball.  One of the things I try and do as much as possible is walk to pick up my 4th grader. I talk to his classmates, give fist bumps and high fives. Sometimes I even end up with groups of kids around me as we walk and talk together. Not only am I getting to know them,  most of these kids are going home alone and I can offer a sense of security for their walk home.

3. GAMES: Go to local highschool or middle school games and get to know kids names and start conversations with parents.

4. BLOCK PARTY: throw a block party with hot dogs and juice boxes in your front yard. Have a few games out or a football. It’s a great way to get to know the kids in your hood.

And I wish I didn’t have to say this, but have some boundaries when hanging out with kids. Don’t friend them on Facebook, or ever be alone with any of them. As you begin to build friendships, make sure other kids and adults are around as you spend time with them.

The reality is, not every child or family will come to church with just an invite, but we can always bring Jesus to them, through our kindness and acts of love, and showing them how much we care.

What are some ways you have or you can start building relationships with kids in your neighborhood? Comment and  share your ideas. 

And LIKE my FACEBOOK PAGE somewhere over there —-> for daily updates, encouragement and crazy talk!

LG|LP

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Church Talk: How to Blow It With Volunteers

If you know me or follow me, you know that my journey to find a new church was a long one…a painful one…an insightful one. There are a few churches where we attended that I actually thought “Hey, we could stay here!” I have served in ministry for almost 15 years, and I’m not one to sit on the sidelines. I jump into the deep end with both feet. I don’t need anyone to say “Hey you’re so awesome! Hey you have experience, please stay here!”  I just want to serve.  I believe in the church, and know the power of God and have dedicated my life to serve Him, with or without a paycheck.  Although my preference is WITH  a paycheck, I don’t muddle around over details such as those.

With the few churches where I truly thought we had a future, I would sign up to volunteer, make meetings with Pastors, offer my services–consulting, teaching, training…whatever was needed.  Including rocking babies or shaking hands. I was an able and willing person ready to give back. Besides, when you are in a new church, serving is one of the absolute best ways to meet people and begin building relationships. With great expectation I filled out forms, signed up online, did whatever I was asked and the most amazing thing happened:

NO ONE EVER CONTACTED ME.

I’m not even kidding. And not just once…several times. So this is a pattern in churches, a dangerous, and ugly road we are building.

I’m a grace-extender. I understand overworked and underpaid. But if you want to completely blow it with volunteers, just never contact them. I know it sounds like a “duh”! But I write this to encourage you to re-prioritize your To Do List, your daily meetings, and even your values.

Ministry is about people, and not just the people you serve. We often think if we are in the ministry of children, kids are our target audience. That couldn’t be further from the truth. ALL people are your target audience regardless of your ministry area. To say we need to group people is a very corporate perspective. As a ministry leader in whichever “department” you lead, people are the most important…this includes volunteers.

Volunteers are the absolute heart of your ministry.

They will stand in the gap, and be raised to lead in their own way. They are the entire reason you exist. As I train or teach or consult one of the greatest struggles is finding and keeping “volunteers.” Volunteers are simply people who are searching for the same exact thing you are: God. And God is in our serving. No matter how busy your day, or how imperative other tasks seem to be, volunteers should always be your number one!

When you don’t contact people back they won’t contact you. And you build a reputation, one that I had once. I was horrible at calling volunteers back, because everything else needed to get done. But volunteers are the “be” part of our ministry not the “do” part of ministry. They are the part of our ministry that builds relationship and draws us all closer together and closer to Jesus!

Pick up the phone, give them a call.

LG|LP

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P.S. For regular ministry encouragement–LIKE my FB Page!!—-> over there some where

This Time, It’s Different

My house is drenched in Lysol and the scent of every possible Scentsy bar I could find in my drawer. The stomach bug is being passed around in my house like good weed at Woodstock. (Probably bad weed, too). Either way it’s not pretty, or fun. We are just making bets on who is getting it next, who will have it the worse, and who will sleep the longest. Thank goodness we are past the age of, “Mommy, I didn’t make it to the bathroom!”

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I will not let this horrible little prick of a virus stop me from writing. Even if I only get a paragraph or two out of myself between picking up sick kids from school, buying ginger ale, and spraying down every light switch. I am receiving so many stories: heartbreaking, cries from the soul, triumphs of strength. I’ve cried reading every one…EVERY. SINGLE. ONE.

I am writing this book…and I’ve started writing books before, but not like this. This time, I swear it’s different. I’m certain you’ve heard that before…I know I’ve told myself that. Oh this job will be different…this boyfriend will be different. But for real this time. It’s like when I married Michael, it was just different–and right. For some reason, this time when I sit to type it just all flows out…and no only does it just flow out of me, it actually might make sense when I’m all done.

If you have “daddy issue” stories, please keep sending them. If you need some questions to help you get started, I have a few. Or if you just want to tell me your story, how you tell stories, I’m listening (and I will then proceed to cry). And if not, pray for me. I believe God will use this thing I’m doing in some small way, to make some huge difference in some jagged corner of this round world.

And just keep doing your thing, loving God and his peeps!

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