| | |

Raising Little Lights


Have you ever tried to change the diaper of a baby that was flipping over? Yeah, it’s so cute the first 12 times and then super annoying. I’ll never forget the day that Larson was doing this and I had to play it cool because I had a friend over. My dear friend, the amazing Carolynn James of Global Leadership, had stopped by with another friend Natasha.


She is one of those grandmothers that doesn’t hold back when she sees opportunity. She watched my struggle during the diaper change. I think Larson was 8-10 months maybe? And she said something that struck me big time:


You know it’s funny … so many moms think they cannot correct these tiny ones at this age. We are quick to teach and celebrate their first “bye bye daddy” or other fun milestone. They are just as capable to learn ‘not’ to do something.


Whoah! She was right. I laughed and agreed. I knew she was trying to gently tell me to fix that issue and that Larson was capable of getting the point. The next day or so, I wasn’t mean … I just rolled her back over and said, “NO Larson! You sit still when Mommy is changing your diaper. “ I didn’t smile. I was stern. I did it again. I did it every time. After a day or two – that girl stopped rolling.


This illustration has stayed with me for many reasons. The main point that stirred my heart was “THEY ARE CAPABLE. Far more capable then we know.” Am I willing to do the work?


Kay Wyma does a beautiful job in Cleaning House talking about this very issue of responsibility and hard work. If we do everything for our sweet kids – we are doing a true disservice as their parents. It IS easier to do most of it ourselves! And it’s WORK to stay on them, but what a beautiful thing when lessons or virtues or values begin sticking.


I’ve just had my girls sticking with a chore/responsibility system for two days (tested many ways in the past) and you can see the pride in their little faces. They are so proud. They are so very capable. It will be up to me to keep this going and stay on them so that amazing habits will form. Imagine if a 4-year-old and 6-year-old just naturally made their beds, put away their jammies and brushed their teeth every day? Without prize or reminder? They are capable. Many of yours are probably there.




I read MANY books and articles on parenting. I see the critics. I see the comments on “pushing too hard” and “setting too high expectations” and so on. I agree with some of that.


I am here today to give us a pep talk. Our world is fading. The standards around us are declining and it is scary. I am not willing to dumb down my faith or the standards of my family to fit in this society. Rudeness and disrespect is becoming the norm – not OK with us.


It says in the Bible, we will be mocked. I expect that. I understand that my family and its ways might not always feel right or look normal. I cannot expect everyone around me to operate through my same lens. And I definitely shouldn’t judge others for that difference.


My goal IS NOT to have the most well behaved children or the most perfect kids or the most self-righteous family or the Bible scholars. Trust me – if you spend a day with my family, you’ll see we have PLENTY of areas of opportunity.



I want to be really clear on our goal. Being moral or good “just because” isn’t worth all of this to me. I have a huge goal that keeps me going.


I want kids that fall in love with Jesus.


I want kids that choose to follow Him and believe within their own hearts He has a purpose for their life. I want kids that see each day and opportunity is a chance to influence another’s life. I want them to know they are far more capable then they know. I want them to taste and see that the Lord is good. I want them to experience faith in a way that it becomes REAL to them. I want them to see and feel EARLY on – that God uses them in big and small ways.


I am NOT raising good little Christian kids …I hope and pray I am raising…

  • respectful babysitters.
  • helpful wives.
  • loyal friends.
  • grateful guests.
  • eager students.
  • humble leaders.
  • loving moms.


I want their life to shine because they understand there is a hole in their hearts and it can only be filled with the love of Christ. It’s not how much stuff they have or the number of Facebook likes or Instagram followers or size of house. I want them to know that following Him fills the soul like nothing else in the world.


So, if we look a little bit odd – we are just training tiny hearts to experience the goodness of Christ.


You might see us taking a long time ordering at a restaurant because we want a 4-year-old to learn how to respect adults – even the waiters. So, eye contact – please – thank you – etc. You might see us with our little ones feeding the homeless and question that. We want them to see and understand contentment, gratitude and generosity on a life-changing level. You might see us apologizing to strangers on a playground if we were in the wrong. You might see us picking up trash or other “weird” things.


I believe talking about God’s love is a great start – living it out in front of them is powerful. Inviting them to the party – slam dunk!!! They are capable. Oh so capable.


If you have been working so hard with your kids – and you are discouraged. Please, please do not give up. You are doing MIGHTY work. HOLY work. It will pay off. Your kids will be different. Their future spouses, roommates, co-workers, bosses and friends will thank you.


Please don’t give up on that laser focus – to bring them into a relationship with Jesus Christ. Show them He is real. He is all we need.


Whew. I can go to bed now. One of those that had to explode out of my heart or I couldn’t rest.

Similar Posts


  1. I’ve been going thru a rough time of late and have been praying and waiting … I believe God led me right to you tonight! I’ve spent the last few hours reading all your wonderful posts and pouring thru the goodwill that you are exhibiting! I can’t wait to read more and order the scripture cards and use so many of your Light Em Up ideas both Summer and at Christmas! Thank you for ” being here” tonight. I needed you!

    1. amanda – for every post i write. i pray for JUST ONE. just one life truly impacted. and you were my ONE. so thank you for taking the time to say hi. praying that God continues to use this site or friends around you to show the truth about His love. that He is near. that you are never alone. hang in there!

  2. This is such an encouraging reminder – thank you! Teaching our children to choose to follow Jesus is definitely a war so worth fighting and with promised victory but easy to become a battle weary mom! Helps to connect with others in the army! Sometimes the ultimate goal gets lost in just wanting to not be the parent with the difficult child in the supermarket so thanks for shining the light back on the bigger picture…

    1. funny you say that sarah – today was a battle of the tiniest things. the supermarket, tears on a bike ride, etc. everything against what i wrote. it’s easy for me to get weary too. so glad we have friends, the body of Christ and our God to keep us hanging on.

  3. Amen, Courtney! Going through a phase with 9 year olds of beating my head against the proverbial wall sometimes because so many days are still about repeating the process “line upon line…” but there are periodic glimpses that these habits are sticking and these little people are growing up to be grateful, responsible, kind. I’d much rather take the time and insure it is planted deep in their hearts.
    Keep it up!

  4. Love this!! And I love how you lay it out like the process it is. So many think that the ultimate goal is accepting Jesus. No! That’s just the beginning! We are called to continually seek knowledge of Him and learn and grow in our faith. And as parents, part of that is teaching our children how to follow Jesus, and not merely by words, but actions! Thanks for sharing.

    1. amen friend. that is another soapbox post i’d love to do too – it’s a process and also not our decision. there is this guy called GOD involved with our kids and they have free will. so, it’s up to us – but not really. we can influence – but in the end. they will make decisions and have ups and downs and doubts just like everyone of us.

  5. As we patiently wait for our little miracle through this infertility journey, I pray that we can do this very thing you talked about–have a child that falls in love with Jesus. I didn’t fall in love with Him until this past year and I am SO excited to share and show our child the JOY that I’ve gained from being close to Him. Definitely saving this post for future mommyhood. 🙂

    1. sweet mary kay. praying for you tonight. what a journey you are on right now. I know this perfect timing that you decided to invite God into your journey and He will carry you through these days. He will never leave you. hang in there!

      1. I am so touched that you take the time to read and respond to comments. I know you are a busy lady and the fact that you take time for this is heart-warming. I also very much appreciate the prayers. I must admit that JOY was the complete opposite of how I’ve felt through most of this journey, but two weeks ago God used a friend to speak to me [long story!] and He offered peace and joy through this journey {regardless of the outcome} and finally released me from feeling guilty for being expectant in this deepest desire of my heart.

        Thank you for your blogs…I’ve been reading them for months. You are an inspiration! Those little girls are lucky to have you for their mama.

  6. Thank you, thank you! This is JUST the encouragement I need today:). What a blessing you are!

  7. Courtney, I absolutely LOVE what you are doing!! I am a wife, mom, author and speaker with Proverbs 31 Ministries. My daughter is going to be a junior at University of Georgia this year and my son a sophomore in high school. Oh, my goodness, how I wish I had moms like you to guide me along the way, What a blessing you are!!!

    Do you do guest posts? I would love to have you do a guest post on my blog to reach the moms on my blog. It can be as easy as something you have already pre-written or a question and answer.

    Bobbie Wolgemuth gave me your name to see what you are about and I am so thankful!! Erik Wolgemuth is my agent.

    If you are interested in connecting, my e-mail address is deuteronomysix@aol.com.

    Praying now for God to continue to bless and establish the work of your hands as you seek to encourage, inspire and equip moms to do the most important calling they will ever have!!

    Blessings to you,

    Wendy Blight

  8. hi all! thanks for your sweet comments and sharing this so much. it gives me great hope that i am not alone. our hearts are so aligned! SIDE NOTE ON CHORE THING. they are earning “tickets” right not to create the habit and make it fun. eventually – it will just be expectation/requirement. my friend amy suggested this and they are digging it. each morning/afternoon – they get 1 carnival style ticket if they complete their list in FULL. with a happy heart of course. if they get 10 tickets in their jar – they get $1 for the dollar store. that is high living. they love that place.

  9. Reading through these comments, and doing my best to fight back the tears. Love this posts…and your heart, Court! So thankful to know you.

  10. Wow!!! I saw this link on twitter and thought I’d stop by. Little did I know that I’d be spoken to so! I just wrote a blog post a week ago about trying to teach my kids responsibility and manners. You just hit the nail on the head and face me GREAT encouragement. So glad I stopped by and you can bet, I’ll be following along from now on! Good stuff! God bless!

  11. Absolutely loved this post. Thank you so much! I feel as though you encapsulated everything we am trying to do with our three young kiddos. I needed the encouragement. This week while on vacation we had extra coupons to an attraction, so I was passing them out to other guests to see if they needed them. My 5 year old daughter asked my husband what I was doing and he said showing God’s love and explained what I was doing. Her face lit up and she grabbed my hand and said she was proud of me and that showing God’s love was her FAVORITE thing to do!!! Feeling privileged to be on this journey with them!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.