the kingdom of heaven belongs to the littles

1 week and 4 days left of my miraculous pregnancy.

the pregnancy that flooded the banks of what is good and merciful and abundant.

and here our lucie kate pounds at my insides.

i’m utterly and completely exhausted in a way i have never been before.

the anticipation to meet her is becomming too much.

 i’ve placed a little pair of her shoes on my night stand reminding me of the little feet that are coming.

the last several months i have felt like i’ve dropped the ball in parenting my 6 year old. i haven’t given her consequences for disrespect or delayed obedience. her ability to communicate and talk circles around her mother as a 6 year old is daunting to me.

i truly have felt at a loss.

one saturday a couple months ago i left emri to watch cartoons in the living room. samuel and ben still asleep. i gathered my bible and journal and went to our screened in porch to collect my thoughts. emri and i already had a run in.

as soon as i got settled in my chair i told Jesus i have no clue what to do.

god i look to you was playing on my i phone and it moved my heart so much that i decided to pray that song over my child.

how do i parent her? how do i discipline her disrespect or sassy tone? its becoming unreasonable. and i have dropped the ball on parenting her in this.

hallelujiah our God reigns.

hallelujiah our God reigns.

hallelujiah our God reigns.

(over my family, over my daughter)

forever all my days. hallelujiah.

as i prayed these words,

i felt like Jesus gave me clarity. something from heaven that was different than my natural response to her.

clear as glass i knew what i was supposed to say to emri.

i called her out to me. she didn’t want to come. i waited.

she was rolling her eyes at me as she walked as slowly as she possibly could out to the porch.

i told her to sit down.

she sat down but looked the other way.

i asked her to look at me.

she finally did.

i told her God has given her so many gifts and talents. that God gave her the ability to use her words, to share stories, to speak and talk and communicate.

i told her that this wonderful gift God gave her can be used in a powerful way or it can be used to be destructive.

i looked her square in the eye and told her that her words have been destructive in our family recently.

instantly her countenance changed.

her eyes welled up with tears and rolled down her little cheeks. she put her head down.

i saw a reptenance in her heart, in her eyes that i’ve never seen before in a child.

there wasn’t a consequence. i didn’t have an abrasive tone. no time outs. not spankings.

i simply held up a mirror.

and she saw it.

when i saw her tears it gave me tears.

i continued to speak to her. i told her that’s why Jesus died on the cross. he died to rescue us from our sin. to make us new.

and he wants to make you new, i told her. and change your heart. and use your words for wonderful things.

to heal, to empower, and make wrong things right.

she nodded with tears in her eyes. and i knew she understood.

she told me she felt like she heard Jesus speaking to her heart.

she said,

“i feel like Jesus is telling me he won’t ever leave me behind.”

i somehow craddled her in my pregnant lap and wrapped my arms around her.

we prayed.  the moment was such a breakthrough for us.

her heart and her words have been night and day since that moment. truly something in her heart has shifted.

i didn’t know little kids were capable of hearing the gospel in regard to their sin at such an early age but its making me rethink the way that i parent and discipline.

what would it look like use the good news, the gospel in the way i parent and discipline? at what age do you start doing this? when do they understand? we speak words to our children as they are babies before they get it. before they see. and somehow they catch on as they hear  and develop…and it seems as though the understanding comes later.

i just want to tell the world how thankful i am for my emri. thankful to see Jesus moving in her little heart. so thankful to be her momma. so proud of her. so in love with who she is and the glimpses of the adult woman i see in her.

here are a few sweet pictures of emri and ben’s date to the daddy daughter dance at her school a week ago.

i tried to wiggle my way into their dinner that evening, but emri responded with.

“…well, its really a daddy daughter date so…you probably want to stay home. you know, rest. samuel can be your company and you can maybe get a massage….”

oh. okay. i see. 😉

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as i celebrate emri i’m also reminded of a conversation we had not too long ago. as some of you know, my family and i are connected to a small neighborhood in the urban core called ivanhoe.

we don’t know what the future holds for us and this neighborhood, but we know we are supposed to be present and connected in whatever capacity we have right now.

here is emri’s take on this neighborhood.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=awqs4t89NNo

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4 thoughts on “the kingdom of heaven belongs to the littles

  1. Ryan and I have been so blessed to watch your family and hear you speak to them about Jesus in a way that’s real and life-giving! So thank you for being such great leaders and responding so obediently to what God’s saying. We love you guys! Can’t wait to see this new little one!

  2. This is beautiful! I have been so encouraged to watch the way you parent and speak of Jesus with Emri. Every time I hear stories like this it makes me dream of the possibilities of what working with children at the gathering could be like! Thanks for going first and being willing to share.

  3. whoa.

    also. i hadn’t listened to “God i look to you” in a few weeks, however it’s one of my favs. But i listened to it on repeat today on my 45 min drive to clinical this morning. Even posted a pic on instagram this morning with lyrics from that song… I also hadn’t come to your blog in a few weeks…but i did tonight…and low and behold… “God i look to you” shows it’s face again. This is how He gets my attention…because i’m kind of slow. 🙂 So He often has to repeat himself. Thanks Kerri (and thanks Em) for the reminder, that Jesus will not leave me behind. I will not be overwhelmed.

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