Tuesday, May 10, 2016

To China and Back

We are drawing closer and closer to July. If the timeline remains constant, that's the month that we will bring our little boy home from China.

We had hoped that our house would sell before now and provide the funds that we need to pay for our travel expenses, but that hasn't worked out quite yet. There is a woman renting the house who wants to buy it, but we're not confident that the sale will go through in time to cover the travel costs, which are substantial. At this point, we need about $10,000 to fully fund our adoption.

As I've started running over the last couple of months, I've learned about something called a virtual 5k. In these races, participants register, pay the dues, and then send in their times digitally to qualify for medals that go to the winners.

Without further adieu, here's our big announcement:

To China and Back 5k
Run to bring Li home!

For $30, you get this terrific T-shirt, and you'll be able to send in your time to compete for one of three medals for the top males and three medals for the top females.

We are strongly encouraging everyone interested to find nine extra friends to run with them. If you can get a group of ten together, we'll cover the shipping and throw in three medals for your top three runners.

A few questions that you may have:

  • Do I have to run? Can I walk?
    You can walk, crawl, stroll, or roll. Honestly, it doesn't matter to us. If you love the thrill of competition, run your fastest and see if you can beat everyone else. We'll post the names of the fastest runners in kids, teens, twenties, thirties, forties, fifties, and sixties up on this website as well as reward the top three of each gender with medals that you can display however you want. But if competition isn't your game, that's cool too.
  • Where can I do this thing?
    Anywhere, even on a treadmill. A 5k is 3.1 miles, and the Map My Run app will help you find the perfect route. If you're organizing a group of more than 10 people, we'll happily help you find the ideal course for your race.
  • Is there a certain time or day that I have to complete the run?
    Not really. You can complete the run any day in June. If you run regularly, you can choose your best 3.1 mile run time for the month and submit it as your time. 
  • What if I want to help but can't afford the $30?
    There is a button on our web store for donations. We appreciate any help that you can give! We just think it's a little more fun if you can say that you "did something" instead of just giving money. 

If you have any other questions, please feel free to email me at hdattaway@gmail.com.

If you're interested, you can register right now here
If you would like to organize a group, you can download and print this flyer.

Friday, May 6, 2016

Shame Free Parenting

Over the last couple of years, I have been slowly unwrapping a gift from God that has made a tremendous difference in my life. I hope that you don't mind if I re-gift it to you, but I think it may make a big difference in your life, too.

It's taken me some time to figure out how it works and how to put it to use, but since getting the hang of parenting without shame, I've found that I'm not just happier, I'm much more loving to my kids and others.

What is parenting shame? 

It's the belief that our children's ignorance, failures, sins, or faux pas make us less valuable, less worthy, and generally just less than other parents. It creeps in when a child asks an impolite question in public, when a child misbehaves in front of other moms or dads, when a child struggles to get the kind of grades we hope for, and when they fail to hit certain milestones. 

"Isn't that just a normal part of parenting, though?" 

I used to think so, but then God started to show me that my shame was really rooted in a belief that my kids exist to make me look good. Shameful parenting is actually selfish parenting. It's me focused, not others focused. It comes from a prideful desire to be seen as a great parent instead of a loving desire to be a great parent to the children that God gave me, with all of their faults and struggles. Shameful parenting believes that we are supposed to control our children instead of raise them. Simply put, shameful parenting isn't biblical parenting.

I didn't see how big of a difference this shift was making until one of my precious children, who shall remain nameless, made a super-rude comment in public. "I couldn't tell if she is pregnant or fat." (Awesome! Thanks, kid!) 

Because I felt no shame in that moment, I could simply address the statement and the belief behind it. Because I didn't interpret my daughter's embarrassing statement as my failure, I could remind my daughter that her body is made to be more than eye-candy. I told her, "Her body is doing an amazing thing. She is being used by God to build a whole new person!" I didn't just get to address my child's incorrect belief. I also got to speak to the pregnant woman, who may just feel like she's fat instead of awesome. (Side note: If you can't have children biologically, don't think for a second that your body is any less awesome! God is using you and your body to do amazing things!)

But I could have missed that moment. I've missed more opportunities than I care to count because I was so overwhelmed by what I perceived as failure that I didn't recognize the chance God was giving me to be the mom He has called me to be. I was so focused on what my children's behavior said about me that I didn't notice what it was saying about them. I didn't see their need because I was so focused on my desire to look like a "good mom". 

So what changed? I came to understand that Jesus Christ has justified me completely. I no longer have anything to prove to anyone. His death and resurrection release me from appearance maintenance and enable me to truly live my life for His pleasure instead of for His approval. That one truth has totally, utterly revolutionized the way I do everything, including the way I parent. I still have a lot more to learn and understand, but I'm grateful for this sweet gift from a perfect Father who so dearly loves His imperfect daughter.

For more on shame and how Christ responds to it, you can check out my book, We Win, available on Amazon.