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Episode 80

God’s Complete Guide to Parenting

Neely McQueen, Co-Lead Pastor of Overlake Church

Welcome to Together by AGCI. I’m Marisa Butterworth. In honor of Mother’s Day, I invited a mom that I know and respect to share with us. Neely McQueen is the co-lead pastor of Overlake Church and has led for over 25 years in church and parachurch organizations. She is a wife and mom to three young adults. On a personal note, she is wicked smart, one of the funniest people that I know, and a fellow adopted mom. I hope you enjoy this conversation and learn as much as I did.

Hello Neely. I’m so excited to have you on the little podcast here. Like if you like, if someone was a fly on the wall, we’ve already kind of had this conversation. We’ve like talked to each other a little bit about this and I’m really excited. But also you’re like, you have always been, I’ve known you for, I don’t know, like 18, 17, 18 years, which makes me feel really old first of all. But like you are just one of the funniest people that I’ve ever met and also like super smart and it’s been cool to be able to kind of watch and be a fly on the wall to your life and like starting with, we were both like young moms and trying to just like keep things together and then, you know, branching off into careers and families and all that kind of fun stuff. So I’m so excited to have you here.

Yeah, it’s good. It’s good to be together. Yeah, my oldest is home from college and I remember when he was little and bit your oldest, but his little finger seat, you know, he’s been friends for a long time. You forgot about that. Yeah, Liam, for whatever reason, he’s been bit a lot by a lot of kids. That’s like a familiar story. So I’m starting to think maybe, maybe it’s him. Like why’d you pin your finger in their mouth, Liam? That’s right. Why was your cheek near them? That’s right, that’s right. Poor Liam. I know. It’s just how it goes at that age. I don’t think sim would bite him again though right now though. So I think we’re winning. I think he’s out that phase. It’s a parenting win for us. Oh my gosh. They’re not like that forever. Thank God. Well it’s perfect that we’re talking about this because this is our Mother’s Day podcast and so sometimes you just have to take the wins where you can get ’em. And if that’s your 19 year old not biting my 18 year old, then I think we’ve done it. This podcast right now. I’m a good mom. I have done it. Gotta hold onto that. That’s right. Oh my gosh. Well I’m, I’m so excited to have you on to talk about like the today’s podcast.

I’ve entitled God’s Complete Guide to Parenting and I’m excited about this because it’s a little bit of, of a different look at things than sometimes I think we’re taught as women and like I’ve done some research on this and really it’s just to keep up with you. So I know that you know a lot about this, so I’m so excited. Just like when we talked about this before, I learned a lot and then, you know, as we get going, I am a hundred percent positive, no pressure that I’ll learn more from you. I think I had a lot of like, oh my gosh, like I never knew that moment. So I’m super excited. But Jesus, Jesus’ favorite term for God that I have heard a lot of is always Abba Father, which I love and it’s like most closely translated to Daddy, which at least from what I can find, so correct me if I’m wrong, but, and and I love that cuz it’s like such a familiar term of like endearment that it would be daddy. And I love, like I love that because I love thinking about God as our parent, you know, that he’s our parent and that he’s also, you know, an example for us. So like everyone knows here, like both Neely and I are parents, but I should also mention like that we’re both actually adoptive moms. So we have that in common.

We didn’t have that when we first met, but it happened to be part of both of our stories. So for this Mother’s Day podcast, I really just want to take a look at some of like my favorite motherly attributes of God and like talk through it with you because you know way more about it and it would be really boring if it was just me talking about it. I’m pretty sure. I think you’d do great. It’d be great. I mean, I dunno, I might turn it off eventually, but whatever. So, so in like this is where I’m, this may be as deep as I get, but in the Celtic tradition, I can’t believe I just started that. I love that when I read that, that was such a great line. That’s great. Good. In the Celtic tradition, they really believe in God, like first of all as a father, then the Holy Spirit as mother and then Jesus as son. And like even if you think back to the beginning of the Bible to the creation story, it said God created humans in his own image, both male and female. But in, I think, I mean this is me in our current culture, sometimes the idea of God having a maternal nature is a more foreign concept. Yeah, I, and I’m curious like why do you think that is?

Yeah, well just to start right off with diving into it, even in that’s right, the passage you quote from Genesis in the, depending on translation you read, the language around pronouns in his image is actually different. In, for example, the common English Bible translation that says it removes gender and says in God’s image God created them. And I think that is actually part of our dilemma is our use of language around God. And you’re right, God does invite us to know him intimately as daddy. Like there is some intimate relationship there, but there we hold to, you know, the tradition that God’s not a man that God is being and within that being is both what makes us up masculine and feminine qualities. And so I think even in the beginning of language, I, I struggle still as I talk about who God is, the ease of which he comes out of my mouth. Yeah, well that’s going to be a hurdle for us then when we think of who God is, when we think of characteristics of who God is, if he is always the pronoun we use when we’re talking about God, then we find ourselves in our image, in the what we begin to see and connect to begins to be masculine or man in actually seminary. Most professors try to strive like not use, he like not use the language pronoun. Oh, interesting.

Around he, because, so they’ll say Godself instead of himself, they’ll say Godself, huh? Just to kinda invite us in because there actually is so much language, I mean right out the door, like is this idea that we see God birthing creation, we, the idea of us being born again, you know, that is all maternal processes taking place. Yes. It’s the mother who gives birth. And so even when you talk about the earliest traditions around Trinity, which you talked about, there is the language in which God be Jesus, which is kind of birthing Jesus into the world. So there is actually more language, but because of our use of pronouns and how we use language and the familiarity of like wanting to be in relationships with an intimate God, it kind of has been, you know, limited our own ideas about who God is or more comfortable with that. So yeah. And I, that language matters. I love that the language matters because it, bro, it gives us the opportunity like to broaden our understanding of God. And even just in that like little example, it’s like, gosh, there’s so much to be learned in in my entire lifetime. I’m not gonna understand it all. And that is like one little tiny example. And if I wanted to say for anyone like watching or listening, like please don’t let the like term, the pronouns term throw you off.

I know that that can be like a hot button issue right now. And we’re not even trying to go there. This is not like anything that I think is, is trying to be, you know, edgy or, or anything. This is just like talking, I, I think for, for moms it’s important to hear like that we have a Godly example as well and it’s something that we don’t hear about a lot. And like that it’s something that we can look to as well. It’s so important. So I don’t, I don’t know like yeah, it, it, I just don’t want people to like Yeah. Exit out just because this is like Right. Something maybe they haven’t heard as much. Right. And I love you saying like, this is what at seminary, this is what professors are talking about. Yeah. Well I think even too, like in like a really personal way, like how many of us could use the idea of connecting to God as mother as a healing part of our journeys, whatever that may be, the experience we bring to it. Yes. And I think it is actually a beautiful invitation to know God in, in another intimate way. And I think even some of the names of God we, I was sharing this with you earlier, is that one of the names we, we commonly know, especially if you’re Amy Grant Sam, which you know I am That’s right.

I think we went to see her in concert together actually We did is Elai, which we, we sung that song with Amy Grant not I’m, it’s hard to not sing it right now. Right now. Exactly. Exactly. And some who translate that, what that how that gets translated is actually like, it’s essentially the God who provides the God who gives us all that we need. And it comes from the like mountain or could be breast. And so it’s the God of is one way it is translated or understood. And it’s this idea of like what is so intimately happening when a child is being said and cared for by their mother in that very intimate way. Our own stories have keep us from connecting with God in the intimate way. Yes. Because of a paternal or a maternal wound. And here is an opportunity actually for scripture our, our image of God to expand and heal in those places, which I love. Yeah. And we talked about that, like, I don’t wanna speak for you, but for me, I had a strained, we’ll say that I have a strained relationship with my mom. And so I really felt like going into motherhood like, oh my gosh, I kind of don’t really know what I’m doing. Which I think everyone feels like, to a certain extent I’ll say that, but like, I don’t know how to do this in a healthy way. Like I didn’t have a healthy example.

And like, so even that like brings me some comfort to know that I can turn to God and the biblical example there of like what mother, what beautiful motherhood can look like. And, and yeah, it does bring me a great deal of comfort to know that I don’t Yeah. You know, have to relate. And I mean, not that I haven’t been around other amazing moms, I’ve seen other moms in action, that kind of thing. Yeah. But there’s like that wound that can happen from your father or and or mother. I happen to have both, but like yeah, this is, I hope, I hope something that people can like dive into a little bit deeper on their own and yeah. Maybe experience healing as well in this. Yeah. Yeah. Well, and I think this is, I think we’ll talk about this coming up so I don’t wanna get ahead myself, but I kind of have a, you know, my dad was so great in raising me and a lot of times I say like some of my most feminine qualities I learned from my father and it’s later in life that that sentence became problematic for me is cause I really just learned good parenting or I was cared well and nurtured well in some of those phrases that I defined as feminine were just really good parental things. Parenting Yes. And really good God things, you know, like that Yes.

That nurturing, that comfort, that ability to see in a particular way, listen and engage compassion in a particular way isn’t limited to. And we sometimes can see it most clearly in God as mother, God as father. Yeah. And so it’s like an invitation, you know, in a lot of ways to, to kind of allow ourselves to be who God has made us to be. Yes. And heal us in that way also. So yeah, I think, yeah, it’s definitely, yeah. I love that. I think it’s a good point too that I love you bringing up your dad because I’ve heard you say that before about him, but yeah. That, that’s something that doesn’t have to be limited to one parent or the other. Right. You know, that these are things that we all like, they’re gonna be things we’re good at coming into this and things that we really stink at. Like there’s hope for all of us to like do better and learn these other sides of things that we maybe always have been taught are like inherently male or female Right. Or right. You know, like that, that a dad couldn’t be a great listener or tender with their child. And I know so many dads that are that, but there’s that like, sometimes that idea of for men and women of like what they can and can’t be within that. So I love that.

So like in general, I would say like moms are known for being like great at comforting their kids. And like I just said, like dads are great at this too. Like my husband has learned how to be a better comforter because I realized that I couldn’t hold all of that myself. Like I couldn’t do all the comforting of all my children and didn’t want to. So I know that you and your husband Josh, like have, are also like, I’ve seen you guys at work. How do you guys take God’s example of comforting and use that within your own parenting styles? Yeah, it’s interesting sometimes I think Josh is a better comforter than I am. Yeah. He’s a he is, he’s just a very tender and caring, you know, one time it was a bad mistake, I, I regret doing this, but we decided as a family to rank our family members from kindest salise kind as kind a funny bit to do with teenager. You walk yourself into that. Yep. I’m, I’m Josh did a lot better than I did. Oh gosh. That’s a dangerous game to play. It really is. I’m little just, I’m little surprised at where I ended up. I’m gonna say my sarcasm apparently doesn’t come across as kindness. It’s not gonna make the way you would. That’s right.

That’s, that’s, well it’s interesting too because even, you know, I think even Jesus Ian, like I think what we see in displayed in the life of Jesus is these, these different moments of tenderness and then these different moments of like commanding attention or you know, anger expressed and Yeah. You know, this is the whole of his humanity in him in being expressed in both sides of this. And I think that’s actually the invitation for us as parents, co-parents is the fullness of our humanity to be available and, and, and, and that which is a God designed in us, our imago day. When I say humanity, I mean imago day in us. And so, you know, there are moments in which my children awaken a unique comfort in within me. And then there are unique moments when my, because my husband has permission to embrace his full imago day that my kids awaken that particular comfort in them and him. And so I think it’s kinda just giving yourself permission. Like it’s actually all in you, you know? Yeah. The capacity to care. Well the capacity to nurture is in each of us, we all bear the image of God in us. And so I think most, I think sometimes it’s permission giving and we just have, you know, partnered in our parenthood parenting together in a way that allows, you know, permission to be like even maybe like, I don’t have it in me right now.

I’m gonna need to tag you in to be the comforter because I’m just not there in that space right now. And so I think it’s, I mean, what a game changer for parents if we could, you know, like care well for our kids and how they feel by allowing ourselves to feel the fullness of it. I love them. Yeah. Yeah. And then, I mean, that’s what you see again in the life of Jesus. You really do like see kind of him able to sit with someone to weep with someone. And those are good things for parenting, to be able to weep with your kids. And then you see Jesus mad at the injustice and he’s, you know, turning tables over. I mean, I don’t know if I’ve turned tables over in your home, but, but you know, we can see injustice take place in our families Yes. In our, to our kids. And to be able to like say, you know what, I’m going, you know, we use language like what is, what is it? The mother bear comes out in that moment, you know? Yes. You know the mama bear. You don’t mama bear. Yeah, exactly. But I also think, you know, that same righteous anger comes and, you know, fathers and mothers and just giving ourselves permission to have that. Yeah. So yeah, I think yeah. I love that. I love that.

And I think it’s so interesting because we’re both on this adoption journey and I, I know I’m guessing you went, you went through like we’re older adopted parents now, so what they, like the adopted parenting training that they go through now is probably better than what we got. We learned more, you know, over the years. But it like rocked my parenting Oh yeah. A lot. And like in such great ways like challenged me in a lot of ways. Even just like, I don’t know, like timeouts. Like I had been giving my kids timeouts and them advising like, Hey, let’s not do a timeout. We don’t wanna, you know, push our kids away in this moment. We wanna bring them in and, and like that’s something like Jesse and I had to like, oh my gosh. Yeah. And we had our two older biological children that were like, this isn’t just for, this isn’t just for our daughter that we’re bringing home. Like this is for our kids. Like this is for our parenting. And like the connectedness that I saw, like, like Michael, of course that’s what Jesus modeled was connectedness. Right, right, right. But there’s something like, I think like we do what we’re taught a lot of the time and so it took like being open and like learning something to change how that that narrative is of like yeah. Bringing your kids in and that, there’s just so many things like that.

But yeah, like the, there’s a gift to being able to challenge yourselves as a couple. Like you both have to go through those things like Yeah. Of like learning that together and not just one or the other, you know? Yeah. Like, Hey I heard this. But yeah, I love, I love the different versions of Jesus though. We get an example of, and that you can think of for both, you know, male and female like moms and dad that this is something that we both possess. Yeah, yeah. You know, inherently, so obviously sacrifice was a big part of Jesus’s story and I think moms are asked to sacrifice a lot. Yeah. And it’s kind of like sometimes it’s the like yoke we put on ourselves of like, I am going to be the like sacrificial caregiver. I’m gonna pour, my whole life is gonna be poured into my children’s and I’m not dogging all of that For sure. But for me, like I definitely did some of that when my kids were younger to myself of like, and it didn’t turn out well for me. I ended up in some therapy. That’s right. Like why am I doing this? I don’t have anything left to give now and I wanna give, I want to, I wanna pour my heart out to my kids for sure.

But like, I, like I said, I’ve just struggled on the front of doing too much and I am much healthier now, but I still sometimes maybe enter into codependence and that was like what was modeled for me a hundred percent. So a lot of it’s like redoing it. Yeah. But what, what are some healthy ways Yeah. That Jesus modeled of how we can like Yeah. Enter into that without sacrificing everything of who we are. Yeah. You know, as moms and dad. Yeah. Yeah. Well I feel a little like, I wanna say from the start is even the idea of Jesus sacrificing, this is like a divine purpose moment. And the laying down of life is, you know, an invitation that is given to lay down our life for our friends. And at the same time there’s this also invitation that’s like, follow me or my yoke is easy, my burden is light. There is often like this tension of an invitation to carry the cross An invitation. Yeah. To lay down our, our concerns and worries to Christ. So I think for me in parenting, when I think about what I can offer my children is that I learned from Jesus and the way he laid down his life and the way he followed even in the garden when he says, you know, not my will, but you are will be done. Yes.

And you know, this is an internal struggle that there is a part of him that is, doesn’t want to endure the suffering. He’s about ready to endure. And sometimes it’s actually more about that moment for me with my kids is what is it that like even I don’t want to do right now that is maybe a will that I need to surrender And, and sometimes it’s not, you know, it isn’t what we have, you know, seen I, I feel often like there is a dying to like all things for our children and in that it feels like we’re actually not showing our children what it means to like live into our identity, our purpose, our calling. Yeah. Yeah. And so sometimes it’s like the will of what is it God has willed for me to do in this particular moment and making sure I do that. And that is where it’s like the sacrifice is meant to come in the invitation to what God has called us to do. Not to our kids needs, desires, wants. It’s, it’s much more about what has God called me to do. I have often felt like if I wasn’t faithful to what God has called me to do, that actually my kids would suffer more than if I was sacrificing so they could have all their needs, wants and desires met. Oh, totally.

You know, so that, so then it’s like I think there is an invitation to, you know, like take up the cross. That is a real invitation, but what is that call that God has given us to do to take up our cross? And then what is it when we think about parenting? Cuz I often think some, and this may maybe is just me, but the times where I feel like, you know, I get a little caught up in like, I’m trying to think of a really practical example right now because you, like, my kids want have success in something and I want to have success then I to like sacrifice things to help them testing. But maybe it’s in the not having success in that that my kids are learning, you know, what is what it means to walk through failure, which is appointment. Yes. But to let your kids do that is so oftentimes like we’re sacrificing and it’s not the right even sacrifice for our kids. Instead of saying talk, what is it that you will for me and how do I, how do I sacrifice towards that? And that benefit then unfolds for our kids. And that is an honoring, you know, I mean pick bullet for my kid in a moment. Yeah. Which feels like, you know, a hard thing to say on a day like today and the realities of that.

So there is a laying down our lives, there is a, a willingness that we’re willing to do and there’s an invitation. What is it that God called me to do and how can I model for my kids with that kind of obedience? And that kind of sacrifice looks like more than losing my personality, losing my identity Totally. To give my kid everything I think they need. Those two things are different and I think we get ’em blurred a lot. Like we, yeah. So that’s really deep Neely. I’m not even, I’m not being sarcastic here. Like that’s really deep to look at that, that way I’ve not like considered like I totally agree with you, but I’m not considered that. That’s like where the beautiful tension lies right there. Like at that point in the story Yeah. Of like what sacrifice looks like. And that’s exactly it. Especially, it’s easier when you have like older kids to kind of look back and see, you know, areas that you of course can do, have changed how things had been. But I mean that’s the thing is we’re developing our kids and trying to be a part of this. Like letting them have some of their own stories and plot. Yeah. Like we’re taking something from our kids by trying to Yeah. Sacrifice everything to them. Like we’re not helping them in the long run, I don’t think. Yeah. You know, I think that’s something bigger.

I think it actually was in my home study with through AGCI Yeah. Was a moment where there’s, they have the question again. You’re probably right. They probably, you know, my daughter’s been home 14 years now. Crazy. So a long time. But I was thinking it was in that, I don’t know if it was on the application or through our social worker, the question of like, you know, what is the goal for, you know, parenthood? You know, and it was like a question of like, they wanted you to know, say, are you gonna say like, I want my kids to be happy, I want my kids to be this when they grow up. You know? And I do think there’s a wrestling there if there’s clarity and like I want my kids to grow up knowing that they are deeply loved. They are, they are created in the image of God that they have purpose. And you know, those things all are worth sacrificing for. Yeah. If I want my, if I think it’s about my kids’ happiness, my kids’ material success, you know, those things are just not, they’re not, it’s not it. I mean. Yeah. Okay. I love that. It’s super deep and I wish honestly that I had thought through or known that, I mean, we are all where we’re at like for a reason and we’re all on an individual journey, but I think it’s so great.

Like maybe a younger mom right now is listening and hopefully has her own moment of like, whoa, that’s, that’s pretty cool. And gives us, it gives it, for me, I just feel like that idea gives me direction. So when you’re like trying to make these big decisions Yeah. For your kids or like what you should do, what the next steps are, there is that direction within that that like helps you process through like where do I want my kids going? Is this something that’s helpful or is this something not, you know, and, and run through that. Yeah. And I think even like, you know, when my kids were young I felt often like, you know, we’re all trying to do the best we can and sometimes that best I can gets compared totally to each other. And when you like, are much more certain of like, oh no, I think this is how God is called me to the obey, it kind of helps with that, you know, whether it’s internal comparison that’s happening or you know, I, the handful of times in my life when my kids were young and I would have to travel for work, you know, people would say like, I don’t know how you do that. Yeah. You know how you leave your kids.

And it would be only in knowing my identity, my what God’s will was for me, that it actually felt like to not do it would be more harmful to my kids because to sacrifice it would be actually not modeling for my kids what it means to live out who God’s called. Yeah. So it was helpful in those times as well. I agree. And I mean, and you said that example for me, I just saw it, I mean, just as a, you know, I don’t know that I ever said those words to you like, but just seeing like, oh it is possible. Like obviously we’re both working moms but we both also were at home moms, like when our kids were younger we got to have that as well. But yeah, I think like seeing you lean into it, I didn’t know what that would look like in my life, but it was almost purg permission giving for me to lean into it. And that’s not even to say every mom is supposed to get a job or work, but whatever that is for you Right, right. Leaning into who God created you uniquely to be Yeah. Is I think the most important and powerful and models that, like you said, for all of your kids, like searching that out Yeah. And embracing that. Yeah. That’s huge. I love that. Yeah.

So I’m gonna quote a little scripture here, Neely and oh, I love it when you do that. So Matthew 2337, Jesus says, oh, Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who killed the prophets and stoned those who those sent to you. How often have I longed? And here’s the part that I love to gather your children together as a hand gathers her chicks under her wings. I just love it so much. And like through Jesus, God showed us that he calls people in, he doesn’t call them out. And he brings like what we were talking about before with connection and what we like learned in our parenting when we, you know, adopted at least for my husband and I. But he brings us close in those times when sometimes like actually what I was like, what was modeled to me, what was taught to me was, and like can be what can be the human response is to like push people away in that moment of like, I need my space from you. Like you need to go. Yeah. And I’m not saying that’s always wrong. There are definitely times that I need my space from people. Like, but like what, what does scripture want us to know about like this kind of beautiful connection that God talks about, like I love, like as a hand gathers her chicks under her wings. I’m like, oh, I feel that so deeply. Yeah. Yeah.

I actually was just in Jerusalem on where this is hap where Jesus is said to, I’ve said this. Oh cool. And there’s a be beautiful moosa mosaic they made of like a hen with the wings open and all the baby chicks inside. It’s, it’s actually quite beautiful on Analar that looks to Jerusalem from, it’s actually very beautiful. But, and for some reason thinking about that just made me sort of forget your question. I get it. Well now I’m like, tell me more about this beautiful. Like, that’s amazing. You were just there and you saw it. But I mean really, like, I would just like, as we talk about that, like what is scripture want us to know about that specific type of connection that, that Yeah. You know, Jesus Yeah. Talked about himself. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Well I mean it’s, it’s interesting cause you’ve said so many good like little phrases of, you know, even the time, time in versus timeout, you know, like the, the idea of getting close. And I do think that that is, you know, if you look at, I would say almost every paternal example given in scripture from father to maternal Yes. The mother ones. It’s all about intimacy. It’s all about closeness. It’s all about, I think that’s even why scripture, you know, the a the, the different authors and poets and prophets use that language is to remind us that’s what God’s inviting us into is closeness.

And so, you know, then again, internally, and this is where it’s I think coming back to our image of God, yes, we bear this, that we have a desire for that kind of connection and to provide it to our kids, to bring our kids close to, you know, you know, even this moment when Jesus is on the mount, you know, like this is timeline wise, he’s about ready Yeah. To endure suffering. And you know, these, if you keep on reading, it’s like you don’t know yet who’s with you, who’s among you. And it’s like often, you know, as our kids or even our spouses or others in our lives when it’s most painful is actually the time to bring them closest to us. And that’s the beauty of what Jesus does over and over in the counts as well as when you read the, the Hebrew scriptures, the older testament, like again and again, it’s get close, get close. And again, I think that’s the, the beautiful metaphor imagery of parenthood throughout scripture, whether it’s father or mother, it’s all about intimacy and closeness. And it doesn’t have to be, I love, we’ve been talking about this obviously, but it doesn’t have to be like, just because it’s a hand, you know, with all of her babies. Like this is something for all of us that was Jesus giving it per us permission for this to be for everyone. That’s like the beauty, beauty of it.

Totally. That totally he’s doing. He’s talking about it as a male, you know, so it it opens up Yes, yes, yes. And not to, you know, come back to our controversial subject again, but it, it’s the beauty of Jesus who is why sometimes we get trapped in a male understanding of God because the person is a man and there’s actually a lot of theology about God as man and Jesus’ man. But here is Jesus again, kind of pulling himself away from a limitation of manhood to even a motherhood trait. And again, I think that’s why it, you know, the genesis story matters so much that genesis one that in God’s image, male and female were created, that this is within each of us, is that ability. You know, my, when we, when our daughter came home, she was a little bit older and you know, I don’t know if they told you this Marisa when you, but did they say like, oh, you know, typically when you bring your daughter home, they are more like curious about dad. Yes, totally. Yep. Did they say that? Yeah. But same thing they told us, like, you know, they’ll be more curious about dad. You know, our daughter wanted nothing to do with my husband, nothing to do with Josh. And like just all her caretakers had been women. That’s what she familiar Yeah. Safe for her. Yeah.

And so she, I mean, nothing we, it was a little surprising because it was like, you know, we adopted a, she’s a little bit older, she was almost four when she came home. So we, I kind of thought I would be skipping, you know, some of the newborn ish experiences, but it felt like I had brought a newborn home because she only wanted, she wanted to sleep near me. She wanted to be near me, she wanted me to feed her the all the like, here are, we’re back again. Yes. Yeah. And I think it would’ve been easy before Josh to say, that’s fine, you go do that, you push over there. But Josh modeled like, okay, I’m gonna pull close, I’m gonna be intentional. What will she do with me? And I’m gonna make sure there’s lots of times for us to get close and play close and sit close and begin to form that relationship. And, you know, you have to be willing to be a mother hen who gathers in that moment and to, for that attachment to take place. And so I think, you know, again, it’s within all of us, the capacity to love and to parent in that way, not just Totally. And I think so beautiful. Like as we, I don’t know, I just love that imagery that it’s something for all of us.

Like that it isn’t, I don’t know, I mean this goes way back to when I had my first baby of like, the idea that I even had in my mind of like, well my, I guess I’m the only one that can do this. Like, and then to my second child where I like freed up some of that and gave my husband even some more permission, which was good for me. And so beautiful to see him rise to the occasion as well and like be more of that caretaker role that in my mind he couldn’t be, you know, and then moving on to bring our daughter home where, you know, like I couldn’t nurse and some people do, you know, decide to try to lactate, so that’s an option for some people, but it wasn’t something that I felt like I could do at the time. And like, so all of a sudden my husband was like, put into this like, I, I, and this is again, I think it was, it took me allowing that for him to join me and like truly Yeah. Both offering her those things. Yeah. And ours, ours was funny. I mean, she was a baby and she actually, like the first week we were with her, like she was a daddy’s girl from, from the start and kind of had no use for me. And that changed, this time went on, she decided I was okay too.

But it was like the first time with all of our kids that I was like, whoa. Like she’s wanting that from him. And he’s totally, and again, this is me coming from a different background where I didn’t have that model, but he’s totally capable and not only capable thriving in this role. Like this isn’t, it wasn’t just something that I could do as a mom, which was such a, a big moment for me. And also like, I honestly apologized. I’m like, not only did I make things so much harder on myself, but I was keeping him from like leaning into his truest self because of my idea of what this should look like and Yeah. Yeah. Like how beautiful it is to see our husbands too, like come into themselves and who they are, who God created them to be. And that it’s not just all Yeah. Yeah. It’s not, we don’t get to hug all of the good stuff there. And then same thing, it goes both ways, right? Like obviously we’re talking about yes. Mother’s Day and that kind of thing, but that there are things, you know, where the mama bear comes out are all the things that we Yeah. Like that for whatever reason is totally okay, but, you know, some righteous anger. Yeah. I definitely have all that like that sometimes more so Totally. Sometimes totally little more Yeah. Fiery than I should be.

Well, yeah, and I think, I mean, I wonder, I would, I would wanna say like, like parenting is a beautiful invitation to self learning and growth and reflection and it, it’s beautiful and it’s like also a privilege and, and you know, there are parents out there who do it alone. There are parents out there who then have to engage community around them to help parents. I mean, and we engage a community to help us parents well, but like, I think it’s in, it’s in being you who you are, God created, who you to be that our best parenting happens. And so that’s where then community or partnership happens and is so beneficial is, you know, I we are different. Like not, but you and I are different, you know, your kids and my kids have benefited from you being around and me being around. Yeah. Cause we’re different and we parent different and, and that ing is true in our own homes, but so much of it is about us recognizing who we are and what, what is it that God has fired us? How has our story shaped us? And and recognizing again, within us the capacity to live into what we see God’s character as a parent. And so I think, cause you know, obviously I wouldn’t want, I think there’s, you know, we’re not all the same. No. Yeah, yeah. Any human. No human is the same.

And, and there is opportunity for us all to grow and experience and learn and be reshaped and make different decisions about what we’re gonna allow ourselves to do and, and the way we’re gonna be. You know, I I want move up the kindness in my house. You’re that testing I’m sure, but maybe it’s just like a informal question. I’m like, Hey, how am I doing on the goodness? That’s right. How am I doing on this? Yeah. Yeah. And I think, you know, those are, those are things, you know, that we, there are areas in which we want to grow and improve. And then there’s our areas where the growing and improving is embracing who we are. Well said, well said. I think that’s exactly it. And like, I think anyone listening, I hope like what they would take, because I, I genuinely like, the older I get and the like longer I parent and I’ve shared things with you, it’s like the more convinced I am that I have no idea what I’m, I’m doing. Like I, yeah, it’s not, I’m not the first person to say something like that, but it’s true.

Like the older I get, the more I’m like, oh boy, I thought I knew what I thought I had this under control and turns out I don’t like, so as people are listening, I like just consider this like a call to like learning more, to leaning in, to figuring those things out and that they both can exist at the same time. You know, that that’s, and sometimes that’s hard to, I know I struggle with two things being both at the same time. Right. And you know, like leaning into that is, is hard. But, so I would love, like if you’re, if you’re ready for this, and if not, we can put it on like later. But for anyone that’s like heard this and maybe this is the, the first time they’ve heard any of these things and they’d like to like lean in to learning more about it. Do you happen to have any like, good resources for people? Yeah. Yes. I pulled them down before because I thought they were, they’re really good. Perfect. Show them. But is it backwards? Oh, no, backwards. It worked. Okay. First. Okay, good. First one, liberating Traditions. This one, this one in there has some co-parenting but also talks a lot about some of the language around God that we don’t celebrate and use talks a little bit around Elize in here.

This, this information disregard talks a little bit about the pronouns and how we ended up where we are. Pronouns. Super interesting. Okay. It’s pretty great. Yeah. And then this one. Okay. Gender and grace. And, and this one also has, you know, a little bit more, I mean there’s a whole section on Yes. Parents and partners and so it’s a really great resource. She’s a pretty well known. Okay. Theologian’s. These are that’s a good read. It’s, it’s, it’s not. Okay. That’s good too. This is, these are the things I, we all know that I don’t need too head. Yeah. But they’re both really, really great reads and there’s each of them like clear sections where it’s like parenting co co-parenting, gender and, and God’s name. I love that. And so you, you would be easy to be, easy to find a section you’d wanna read so you wouldn’t be in for the whole book. I love that. So I knew good resources. Nothing else, but we can, the resources are great. Well, and like, I, so I don’t know, I love this conversation. I love, like I, I knew I would, I learned something from you today and I so appreciate that you would even like take the time to share and like do some education around that. And yeah, I obviously think you’re pretty great and worth listening to and that you’ve done.

I, I know you’ve done this work for yourself too, like, and that you’re always like taking that posture of like learning more and doing that work. So I so appreciate you like coming on and sharing and well, seriously. Thank you.

That was Pastor Neely McQueen sharing on God’s Guide to Complete Parenting. If you like what you heard, please make sure to follow us and rate us wherever you listen to podcasts. Keep up with us on social media by following us on Instagram and Facebook @AllGodsChildrenInternational. Thank you so much for watching or listening to Together by AGCI.