On Growing Teeth, Blowing Bubbles & Trusting the Process

My five-month-old daughter sprouted her first set of teeth this week. And I'm proud to say she's taking the process of growing them very well – um, well, as well as any tiny human would. There have been days of uncomfortable pain and tears and countless nights of struggle trying to make it through the wee hours. I found myself continually replacing her little fingers with a rotation of teething products in fear she wouldn’t have any more fingers left after this teething season. But through the many changes her body was enduring, she managed to find joy giggling, blowing bubbles, and playing with her toes. 

Just like the process of growing teeth, creating a solid foundation for our dreams to take root requires us to practice patience and find joy during the days of struggle. And that is a process, a painful one at that. 

In the first stage, the process of growth is tender and sore and after a few days it'll begin to throb. It's unpleasant and hard and honestly just darn irritating. How can you be cheerful and festive in moments when you just want to retreat, curl up in a ball and binge watch Grey's Anatomy for the fifth time? 

Growing (something) is hard. Little humans know that process the best. Between discovering this new world, teething and hitting all their milestones, they deserve a diamond crown and a gold throne. But my Haven Belle settles for extra cuddles and many, many kisses. I wipe away her tears and give her another kiss, she makes a little huff and continues playing with her toys and blowing bubbles knowing all well that tomorrow her teeth will still be making its way through her gums before their glorious appearance. Because it’s a process.

Allow God to walk with you through the process of change and growth. Let him be the shoulder you cry on and the place where you gather your strength for the next day. Keep feeding on Jesus and his word. Do the work, trust the process, don't fight it, and most importantly don't rush it. 

Easier said then done! I was an anxious mess constantly peaking in Haven’s mouth hoping to see the fruits of her labor finally coming through. Two weeks went by, then one month, then two more weeks – I was ready to see at least a bit of relief on her face, but she continued to giggle and drool. Wait, Mama. Have patience. They're coming. 

If you're in the process of growing – in your work, in your dream, in your new venture, in your new project, in your development – just hang on. You're 2016 may be off to a slow start and that's okay. Strong and stable cannot be rushed. And if you worry and fear that this process isn’t working or the work is too hard, take a step back, breathe, maybe blow some bubbles, and trust your God that what you’re going through right now will produce a rich harvest. Doubt only hinders our ability to live a joyful, confident life.

Don't miss out on the giggles. The pain is not for nothing. You’ll see. So, stay the course. Do the work. Log the hours. Growth takes time. 

Anything You Can Do, I Can Do Better!

I was 17, walking from the girls bathroom to my Geology class during passing period.  I had an extra spring in my step that day – I looked so cute!  I’ll never forget the grey shirt with black velvety stripes, the black pleated skirt ala Britney Spears coupled with my new patterned opaque tights and Mary Jane shoes.  I spotted a couple of girls at their lockers looking as cute as me; but my boobs were bigger and my waist smaller and I thought to myself, “I look way better!” No sooner was I seated at my lab table then the Swedish exchange student walked over to me and said, “Kala…” he didn't have to finish his sentence.  I knew immediately that I had walked down the hallway with my skirt tucked into the back of my tights and I was completely mortified!  As a teenager I cringed at the event, as an adult I realize the lesson I was being taught.  I wasn't better.

“Let us not become conceited, or provoke one another, or be jealous of one another.” Galatians 5:26 (New Living Translation)

More and more employers have put an emphasis on teamwork in the workplace, leaving little room for those who do not play nice with others.  I recently transferred into and new job and replaced someone who was great.  While it’s easier to find the things that he did poorly and showcase MY strengths, the real challenge is focusing on his wins and reminding myself that I am building upon that.

My way, his way… neither is better or worse.  We lead differently plain and simple, we have a different approach to business, training and communication.  I'm certain that I will be able to take my job to another level, I am also certain that a great leader can step away to let another shine; and for that I'm grateful for this chance.

“Don't be selfish; don't try to impress others.  Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves.”  Philippians 2:3 (New Living Translation)

Stoplight Prayer:  Father in Heaven, thank you for the talents you have given me.  Help me to recognize when I am being selfish and when I’m frustrated, show me the bigger picture so that I can move on.

Building Self-Esteem in Children - God's Way

“Good Job, Hannah.” “God Job, Zach.” “You are awesome!” From the moment six-year-old Hannah and two-year old Zach came home from the hospital, their parents have showered them with words of love and admiration such as these.  Hannah beams from ear to ear, gives the thumbs up sign to her parents, while Zach squeals and dances a little jig.

It goes without saying that they are obviously elated with the words of approval their parents give them daily.  I applaud my daughter and son-in-law for the God kind of love they are modeling to my grandchildren.

Soon, Hannah and Zach will be branching out beyond their home environment and embracing the world around them.  Surely these two kids, along with others like them whose parents have planted the seeds of acceptance into their lives, are ready to face the outside world, right?  Unfortunately, the answer to that question could be “no.”

Robert McGee, professional counselor and the author of You and Your Parents, says that parents can do all the right things, and a negative word or a circumstance could come into a child’s life that would block their emotional development.  Along with the blocked emotional development, their self-esteem begins to spiral downward.

What are some of the circumstances that can cause a child to feel badly about himself and lower his self-esteem?

1. Being bullied by another child.

2. A rude remark by a teacher, such as “You’ll never amount to anything.”

3. Making a move to a new place and not making friends right away at a new school.

4. A parent’s divorce, especially if he feels to blame for the divorce.

5. Being made fun of because of a disability.

6. Not making good grades in school.

7. Not approving of his appearance.

Do any of those circumstances sound familiar to you and your own life?  In an earlier post, I recounted my own journey down a muddy road in search of where my self-esteem had plunged to its lowest level by the time I was 40 years of age.  The path led me right back to my childhood, as is often the case.

The question we must ask ourselves is:

  • What can WE do to help build self-esteem in a child's life in the midst of circumstances in his world?  By WE, I mean parents, grandparents, youth leaders, school teachers, or any caring adult who desires to be an instrument in the foundation building of our leaders of tomorrow.

I believe the answer to that is:

Help a child see the magnificence

that is within them

because of the God who created them.

Take a view of God’s magnificent creation:

1. God created you with a beautiful body. [Psalms 139:13-14 TLB]

“You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body, and knit them together in my mother’s womb.  Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex!  It is amazing to think about.  Your workmanship is marvelous and how well I know it.”

  • Everybody has a different shaped nose, ears, eyes, and teeth.
  • Some people wear glasses.
  • Some people have curly hair, some people are bald.
  • Everyone has a different size body and shape.
  • People have different skin tones.
  • Not everybody looks the same, but the way you are uniquely designed is what makes you beautiful and handsome.

2. God created you with special abilities [Ephesians 4:8-12]

God gives each person special abilities.  Not everyone has the same ability.  Some of those special abilities are:  Dancing, Singing, Acting, Aerobics, Playing Baseball, Jumping Hurdles, Drawing, Painting, Writing, Sewing, and the list goes on.

3. God calls you by special names.  A few of the names God calls you are:

Salt of the Earth  [Matthew 5:13)]       Light of the World [Matthew 5:14]

Bold   [I John 4:17]                                   Friend  [John 15:15]

Strong   [Ephesians 6:10]                       Conqueror  [Romans. 8:37]

4. God loves you.

  • He loves you so much that He has counted every hair on your head!  [Matthew 10:30]
  • He loves you so much that He protects you while you are asleep.  [Psalms 4:8]
  • He loves you so much that He gave his life for you.  [John 3:16]

5. God values you. [Mark 10:13-18]

This passage of scripture tells the story of mothers bringing their children to Jesus to bless them.  Jesus’ disciples shooed the mothers away, telling them not to bother Jesus. But, when Jesus saw what was happening, He was very much displeased with his disciples and said to the disciples, “Don’t send the children away!” Then Jesus took the children into his arms and placed his hands on their heads and blessed them.  “Bless” means that Jesus gave the children honor and special value.

Think about it: Do you suppose your own childhood would have been different had you realized your beauty and worth within because of the God who created you?  I know mine would have been.  Does it not give you a desire to pass this knowledge  on to children around you to counter-attack any negative circumstance that may come into his life?

Hillary Clinton once wrote a book entitled:  “It Takes a Village to Raise a Child.” I have to agree with that.   Together, we can lay a foundation in children’s lives which will  Build Self-Esteem in Children--God's Way, paving a path for them to become all God created them to be.

Excuse me while I make a phone call to my grandchildren and shout out to them---

“Hannah and Zach,

“You were magnificently created!