I have been thanking God lately on how He has brought specific women in my life who bring out the best in me, make me laugh, have honest conversations with, go on crazy food adventures, understands that coffee is a love language, and whose lives continue to help shape my character through their examples. My dear friend, Emily Schenzel Lanphier, is one of them. Our friendship has been one of the biggest sources of refreshment in this season of my life.
When Julie Lyles Carr sent an advanced copy of her book, I immediately knew that it needed to be in the hands of my precious friend -- who is one of the most humble, authentic, and greatest mothers I know. I also had the pleasure of knowing her mother Terri Schenzel, who I continue to miss deeply. I knew, without a doubt, that her words will be a blessing to you.
It is with great excitement that I am guest-writing on my dear friend Samantha's blog. I am reviewing the book "Raising an Original: Parenting Each Child According to Their Unique God-Given Temperament" by Julie Lyles Carr.
My name is Emily Schenzel Lanphier and I currently live in Omaha, Nebraska with my dynamic, passionate, marathon-running husband Paul, and our three spirited babies (ok, well, 2 out of the 3 are "movers and shakers"). Theo is 4 1/2, Violet is three, and Beatrix is eight months old.
To give you a frame of reference about my own upbringing, I am the oldest child of four kids, born to parents who have been in full-time ministry our whole lives. Our childhood left nothing to be desired, in fact, it almost feels like a lot to live up to as a parent.
Unconditional love, lively conversation, and nurturing interactions were the bedrock of our upbringing. To be honest, when Paul and I were newly married, I would picture myself as a parent that never had to read any parenting books because I could just pick up the phone and call Mom and Dad with any questions I might have... Or receive advice from Mom during our weekly day together: Wednesdays.
But a lot of life can turn into Plan B....
And one year ago in August of 2015, I lost both of my parents to a car accident. I was five months pregnant with our third child at the time of their death and not only did I mourn the loss of my parents, but all the future guidance they would have given me.
In the blink of an eye I became a parent that would need to read parenting books. Enter "Raising an Original."
Julie Lyles Carr's book was a welcome compilation of insight from a seasoned mom of 8. Many of the books I read offer practical applications or formulas, but what I appreciated about her text, is a bigger-picture perspective that focuses on the overall life of the children entrusted to us.
One of my favorite themes, was how Julie highlighted that we are truly leaving a legacy through our kids. Maybe because I'm in a season where the brevity of life is so at the forefront of my attention, but LEGACY is a topic I think about often.
I want my kids to understand they are a part of greater scheme and what they do matters. May they make right decisions and have good hearts not because of "shoulds," but rather, because they are a part of a PLAN.
Julie writes: "It's the gift I want to leave for my own kids long after I'm gone... I want them to still hear my voice. To know deeply that I saw them for whom they each are, cherished in their originalities, integral and singular in God's blueprint."
Yes. Just yes.
What we instill as parents lives on long after we are gone. I'm living proof of that.
I love how the book gave grace to see a child's individual personality as a thing of beauty -- a "curious, beautiful thread" as Julie so eloquently articulated. I was encouraged by her perspective on the rough areas that we, as parents, might see in their temperament.
She explains, "But what you might see as her weakness may hold incredible potential. Her weakness may hold treasure. Her weakness may just hold inklings of her direction." I felt a weight taken off my shoulders just reading that.
It occurs to me that sometimes I so despair over these "weaknesses," but it's impossible that any of us are immune to setbacks. My point of view is shifting as I prayerfully consider the entire person of my child.
I want to be aware of their strengths and challenges. I am now cognizant of the fact that their greatest struggles may be what God uses in their life to bring them into their destinies.
I found myself reading the final pages of this book feeling a sense of peace. The author reminds us that our children, while entrusted to us, do ultimately belong to the Lord.
Like the biblical story of Hannah dedicating Samuel to God's purposes, so we must step over the line of our own fears and failures and commit our beloved offspring back to their kind, heavenly Father. Sometimes, the greatest thing we can do as parents is realize that seeing our children,-allowing them to really be known by us is a gift.
We nurture their strengths, help them navigate their weaknesses, and allow God to fill in the cracks.
If you would like to read this book and take the assessment test for a better understanding of your child's unique personality trait, it is released today for you to purchase! I am also giving away 1 copy of this book. You may enter by leaving a comment on why you want to read "Raising an Original." I will announce the winner on September 19!