This image is a tool we use to paint a visual for how we teach. It's how we parent.

It's how we live among the elements, yet still fully covered.

under the umbrella.

it's the Godhead that supersedes all else, held in His authority, trusted for His perfect plan.

the handle extends down to our hands. that of mine and ben's. it was graciously placed for just our hands. crafted.

the handle is meant to be held together - 4 hands. it works easiest that way. though easy is not always possible. moments cause one hand to reach for this or that or child.

our hands tire from the holding. one of us holds strong while the other's arms flop down naturally to the sides to rest.

yet the umbrella remains open wide.

understand that the umbrella is no force field as our boys pretend in their imaginary worlds. believe me, i'd much rather wear the wonder woman cape and come in and save the day. that's far more glamorous. i'd swoop in with all the tools needed to zap that bully or suck out pride from my child's heart. what good would that do? i would have made myself a hero-god and would have deprived my boys from growing in character and strength.

the umbrella serves as a covering. to live as Jesus called us to live, we walk among the elements of this world. rain. sleet. hail. we are to keep the umbrella up on the sunny days as well. heat is an element though it warms and brightens.

the umbrella is a parenting tool only. it’s the imaginary visual of God over us and us choosing daily to parent together as a team while praying and displaying to our children how God’s way is best.

what do we teach under the umbrella?

that there is God's way of life and man's way of life. each are a choice. God’s way is under the umbrella where there is blessing in the obedient and protection from the evil one. man’s way is our selfish choice to do life on our own, making ourselves the authority, thinking our way is better.

when we remain under the authority umbrella of God, we are saying in our heart that we choose obedience. we choose submission. we choose life abundantly. we choose to walk in truth and with integrity. we extend grace and love to everyone.

when we want man's way of life, we step outside the umbrella. it alluringly and deceitfully appears better. it advertises promises it can't keep. it leads to a life all about self.

to parent under the umbrella, you are the guide, you make the call as it aligns with Scripture truth. you lead. children follow. you talk with them along the way. you don’t ignore the elements that surround you or pretend they are not there.

we use our surroundings to point out how powerful God is.

we must give credit glory to Him for our wins.

we must seek repentance and forgiveness for our losses.

we must hold steady when the elements are strong.

we choose the umbrella so we can brave the storms, the elements. it shelters us, but doesn't make us invisible to pain or hurt.

under the umbrella.

fully covered.

yet among the elements.