Thursday, April 07, 2011

Grace on a Thursday: in Shauna's words

{I'm so happy to have the pleasure of featuring my first guest for Grace on a Thursday! Shauna is my incredible friend of 8 years. Her blog the reed life is another level of beautiful. Her crazy lovely photography and humble words reveal her even more amazing heart. And after you read this, you'll know I'm not lying. Don't miss the goodness happening over there. From my perspective, she gets to be the first guest poster because she's my pal and I want to show her off. From her perspective, she is probably agreeing to be first because I'm her pal, and she loves me despite my issues. And despite my too many words. I'll stop talking now.}

I'm Shauna Reed and I am the mommy over at the Reed house.
I'm also the other half of cake & cotton, where Leslie and I have a funny little conversation going on.
Leslie is a very special friend in my life.
She is truly one of the most loyal people I have ever been around.
She and I are different in lots of ways (as you will see if you click over to our sassy little blog), but one thing we almost always agree on is our need for grace.
So that is why I am so blessed to be the first guest to share one of the many ways I can accept the grace offered me.
Grace on a Thursday.

One thing I have a lot of is little kids.
Yep. I've got three.
Now some of you have more and some have less, but I'll just bet that all of you who are mommies have felt burdened, at some point, with a lack of time or attention to give to your kids.
And I just had to share with you an idea about this seeming deficiency that has been stewing in my little head lately.
It is an idea I heard from a friend of a friend called benevolent neglect.
Now, I didn't make this up or coin this phrase...I just heard it somewhere. And it stuck in my head.
It is the definition of something that I have somehow known, deep down, since the day my second born son was born.

That although it seems overwhelming to have to muster up enough love and energy to give to all your kids, at times, there is a sort of benefit to leaving them alone!
Now, come on, don't freak out, of course this doesn't mean ignore them.
It just means when you are giving it all you've got, and it just doesn't seem to be enough, you can either panic and start to get over controlling, or you can realize that God sees your little child much more clearly than you do.

It means that although you are super into what is happening with your child and want to always be his helper and guide, it may be that just when you run into the end of yourself and the other son, or daughter, or husband takes your last bit of self and service.....that little guy (the one that needs you but you are empty) stands up on his own little feet.

He stands up for himself (without mommy's tutelage)
or his sister sees his need and helps
or his daddy has a chance to step in
or he is alone...but really is that so bad?
Is he ever really alone?
Can you entrust him to the Lord?
Can you trust that He sees his path, and even means it for good?
Can I?

Benevolent neglect.
It means that I swallow my pride and realize that me keeping my child's life nice and tidy is not the only way for him to be taken care of.
It means that I realize that life is messy, even if you are 5 3/4 years old.
It means that I accept the grace that God has already handed me and take my place.

I am not the manager of my child's life.
I am here to help him navigate as best I can, and sometimes I will fail.
And in my failure......God can still glorify himself.
The best thing I can do is not distract that from that glory by drawing attention to myself, as if the story is about me!

Maybe you will relate to this and maybe not.
I tend to labor over my story and at times forget that there are other characters and that they have their own story unfolding.
In short, I make things about me.

And the truth is, although each new life that comes to your family takes a little time away from the others, God will give you the grace to handle your job.
It may come in many different forms. 
Look for it.
Is anything too hard for Him?


  1. wow that was exactly what I needed today. I only have one (15 month old) but I am feeling at my end right now. exhausted. and my enemy tries to make me feel guilty for not being at her side every single second. I love this perspective though. The Lords been reminding me that HE speaks to her too. So when Im watching her lay there in the crib trying to nap, when I know she needs it so badly, I cant feel guilty that she's just in there awake...maybe God is speaking to her, and I don't want to get in the way of that. Thanks so much for sharing!!! Blessings!

  2. This is very good. Sometimes I feel like I can't parent 3, but c'mon: Michelle Duggar parents 19! And how? With God's help and help from within the family! Still not sure if I'm up for a #4, though! :)

  3. "the best thing i can do is not distract from that glory by drawing attention to myself, as if the story is about me!" well said, shauna! i just love that. i wrote it down and i'm tacking it in front of me so i'll remember it. imagine the world around you if everyone heard that. thank you. : )

  4. I have just come to this realization in the last three months or so, but didn't know there were words for it!! Benevolent neglect. Very good. I've noticed a lot of positive changes in my children the more I step back and let them grow up. They are learning to be responsible, kinder, smarter individuals! And I'm taking time for my own sanity. Win-win! Thanks for this post!

  5. oh shauna, this is so right on. so, so good- thank you! thank you for reminding me that it isn't about me, it's not my story. God is unfolding my daughter's story, regardless of my strengths or weaknesses. this is HUGE for me today!

  6. You hit home with me as well....I came across this blog and have checked back several times because of the encouraging words. I have my own story unfolding, numbers not being important, and I appreciate the reminder of other characters have life unfolding, and it's not about me. It 's hard not to think that when your everyday depends so heavily on you doing your duty. But being reminded, I am only an instrument used by God to accomplish what He wants done in my everyday! What a blessing to read!

  7. Love it. Do I allow God to be big enough to be the God of my children? Or do I put Him in a box and only allow Him to be as Big as I think He is. We limit our view of God when we don't allow Him to be God of our children. Nicely put. :)

  8. So good. So true. So unnatural and a wee bit scary. But what worth doing isn't?

  9. shauna this post hit very close to home. my oldest son lives with his dad and is not walking with the Lord. i used to sit home and worry myself to pieces over his every move, though etc. it took alot for me to just give him to God and let the Lord take the reigns (i mean he already had them anyway right?) not to say i don't still worry, but now I know that the Almighty is in total control. He is definitely the God over my children, our marriage and our life.