Parenting {a pretty tough gig}

The other day I posted an Instagram picture of a note I found on my son’s desk. There was a slight tension in my spirit after I posted the note. It’s messed with me all day. I considered the misinterpretation of what the note might represent. Upon first glance it could be a misguided understanding that Cade is a spiritual super hero or that I’m presenting myself as a super hero Christian mom. I chewed over the fact that some would scoff when they saw the picture.

The note I found doesn’t qualify me as some sort of spiritual parenting giant or make Cade out to be some sort of perfect angel kid. Nope. Zero perfect kids or parents reside in the Trotter Tribe.

Last I checked parenting is a tough gig. Like, real tough.

It’s the kind of gig where you have to actually raise a human that stands on their own two feet. A gig that leaves your cheeks tear stained over praying, daily, that they will decide within their own heart framework that faith is a worthwhile pursuit. The gig that makes you jump for joy like a fool when they succeed and buy ice cream while catching tears when real life smacks them in the face and they realize that not everyone gets a medal. The gig that makes your stomach churn when they talk about how their feelings got hurt, or their dreams got dashed, or their soul felt weak and unimportant {and yes, that happens for small people too….} The kind of gig that could make you want to punt a total stranger for making some off color comment in front of your kid and threatening the growth of God sized confidence that you’ve been planting for their entire life. The gig that twists your thoughts tangled wondering if a single seed you’re planting by God’s sustaining grace will muster the strength to grow?

And then you clean your son’s room for the gazillionth time. You’re grumbling under your breath because Heaven knows you’re just tired. Tired because parenting is a tough gig. You wouldn’t trade it for the world, and it is a worthy wear out. But you’re just dang tired. You’re praying as you clean because well, you haven’t been the most compassionate lately, because well, again, you’re just tired. However, you know your son is having a tough week. I mean he’s only 7, but you’ve seen his heart and he’s had a heck of a week. You’ve helped with his homework.

You’ve taken him to the doctor when he got a concussion on the playground going up for a rebound.

You’ve nursed his cold that just seems to hang on for like, forever. You’ve talked to him about words he heard at school from the other boys that grieved his soul, but he wasn’t sure why. You’ve had the “talk” and died a smidge inside because he’s only 7 for crying out loud. You’ve watched him be patient with his sisters.

You’ve reminded him every night that he is special, created for God’s purposes, and because you’re tired and unsure of how that seed is digging into his soul’s earth sometimes it’s been halfhearted.

But nonetheless you remind him, by faith, what God says about his precious life…you string the Text together in one long run on sentence because well it just goes together…God’s Word, His promise, for this dear child has to go together…

“God has plans to prosper Cade, not to harm Cade. Plans to give Cade a great hope and a mighty future.” Jeremiah 29:11

“Only be strong and very courageous, Cade, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9

“Cade can do all things through Christ who gives him strength.” Philippians 4:13

“Go unto all the world, Cade, and preach the Good News to all creation.” Mark 16:15

“Take every thought captive, Cade, and force it into the obedience of Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:5

We say them nearly every night. Most nights I am too tired. We say them anyway. We say them by faith. Exhausted. Unknowing of the results they are reproducing. Curious to know if it even matters one iota.

Heard a pastor encourage a parent that felt discouraged over the fact that every time she tried to say scripture over her kids at night they’d already be asleep. In response the pastor said, “Keep speaking scripture! Don’t be discouraged! Their spirits are hearing it! Spirit to spirit it will penetrate.”

Many nights my prayers over my children have been as simple as, “Holy Spirit while I watch my babies sleep do what I cannot do while they are awake. Speak how I could never speak. Find and awaken a treasure in their hearts that I couldn’t possibly search out. Love deeper than I could ever love. Sow better seeds than I could ever hope to toss out.”

And then, tired and wondering I find this note.

Tucked in between his ninja turtle notepad and Lego instructions. So I celebrate it. I ask others to celebrate it with me by posting it. Why? Because something is happening between Jesus and Cade. A moment I wasn’t a part of happened.

When I know Cade needs the reminder the most he is scripting faith with his own hand.

That’s the point of this parenting gig – in a moment I wasn’t a part of Cade negotiated deeper faith. He did it without my prompting. He scribbled it out because it came from HIS soul, HIS heart, HIS need.

I realize that the seeds are growing. The seeds we are planting by faith are growing their own fruit in Cade’s life. The seeds will continue to grow as we plant.

That’s what all the tears, prayers, encouragement, weariness, celebration and heart wrenching point is to this parenting gig, to encourage our babies to keep going, to keep them climbing, to keep them growing in Jesus Name for His glory and the good of His people!

So I say post those pictures of those special Jesus notes, Mommas! Let the Jesus inside them stand up and let them hear from you that you are standing with them.

Keep speaking Words of affirmation and truth. Do it tired if you have to. Just don’t stop. You matter so much to the growth of their faith.

{How do you plant seeds of Truth in your children? Would you be willing to share in the comments so we can all get more ideas – we need each other….I need your encouragement. How are the seeds you are planting producing fruit?}


  1. Julie Stalder says:

    Parenting is a very tough gig! I’ve had some doozy questions asked lately that have pretty much thrown me for a loop. After the first one, which I did not handle well AT ALL, I stepped back and decided that the only way that we will have the open and honest relationship that I want to have with them as they grown is to be just that. Open and honest. Not to mention that I need to not flip out over every. little .thing! I want them to feel safe and secure enough to tell me anything anytime. This last one, we looked in the kids’ Bible to see what God says we should do. Funny that, even though I sometimes lose my witness, my kids know that God and His word have more authority than mine. You are doing a wonderful job raising those littles and juggling everything else that comes your way!

    • cari_trotter says:

      Julie, I love this so much. Open and honest is paramount in this generation of raising our babies…love how honest you were willing to be ~ thank you for sharing your heart, Julie. Your comments are a gift. You’re a great mom.

  2. Kerri Radcliff says:

    Keep up the hard-work of parenting. You are on track as long as you acknowledge God in your walk with your children. The road will not always be easy and you may not see the immediate results-but they do come and God presents them to you at the times you need them the most. My babies are 28,26 and twins at 21….and God is still working in their lives just as I am forever praying for them and the challenges they face with college, jobs and relationships. You are such a blessing and such a talented young mom !
    P.S. I loved Cade’s note.It has given me perspective as I teach my 1st graders each day in reminding me that they too face challenges with their spirit just as adults.

  3. Cari!
    Such a beautiful and encouraging post! I love your heart!

    I just stopped by after Eryn shared your prayer for our Declare Conference team. I wanted to say a sincere and heartfelt thank you for your prayers! They mean so much!

    I am really looking forward to meeting you at declare. Blessings, Kristin

  4. Nikki Schalla says:

    Love me some Cade!!! You Are amazing and this post made me reflect on myself and how I parent. I wish I could be half the momma you are!! You are beautiful inside and it beams outward. I can be in the crummyiest mood and when I see your tribe and you it puts a smile on my face.

  5. Cari, your post moved my heart today. My children are all grown now but I have grandchildren and this all still applies. In a recent Bible study I took part in the speaker said that God had entrusted those in our lives to us. What you have written here shows just how serious we should take that assignment. I love your thoughts and how you put them into words.
    This part ….”Keep speaking Words of affirmation and truth. Do it tired if you have to. Just don’t stop. You matter so much to the growth of their faith.” – is so very important.
    Your right the parenting gig is a pretty tough gig, but I would not give it up for the world 🙂 Your writings always seem to bless me, thank you for that.. God bless you.

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